Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baystate Approaching Fast

I've really been feeling the pressure to pile on running miles as well as speed work; which seems to be non-existent after months of endurance training. All this running has just smashed my legs and they seem to be shot on just about every run. Bike miles are also lacking now that marathon training has started. Need to figure out how to train for Baystate and Clearwater at the same time without training all day. Baystate is now 3.5 weeks away, which only gives me 2.5 weeks max of training left, so for now, that will be priority 1. The good new is ... this warm weather should keep me going in Walden for at least two weeks. The sharks start next week, which should help me with my swim speed.

Anyone else going to Cleawater?? Let me tell you the bucks are just flying out the window and .. I'm shipping my bike with TriBike Transport. I don't have time to break down my bike as we fly early am the morning after the race. I'm nervous about it, but everybody says it works out great, but I insured my bike (on top of their insurance) anyway, just in case they smash the frame. If you have used them, let me know your experience.

Anyway, I may add Manchester Half Marathon to my race list. It's a stretch for me to race a half two weeks after a full, but it might be a good sharpening tempo run for Clearwater. I can't resist, because the race director sent me a complimentary elite application as a congrats for last years podium.

Anyone that has done Clearwater, please let me know what you think. I know that folks have a lot of different opinions about the race, but I heard last year the weather was beautiful. It is going to be a fun trip and is DEFINITELY my last race of the season (maybe).


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Muskoka Race Report - Going To 70.3 World Championships

Wow, What a weekend! I am completely exhausted and still need sleep. 4 days of driving in 5 days for a total of 1500 miles, but after 4 failures at qualifying for Kona, I return with a qualification slot for the Foster Grant 70.3 World Championships. I am really glad I raced in Muskoka and it has been a long time since my last 70.3 series race - Timberman 06 I think? That area is really beautiful and the cottage we had was great -right on the water and the kids spent the whole time in the lake and ... the weather was absolutely perfect, including race day. It is a haul up there, but everyone did great, including the dog. Anyway, the race went great and I am happy with my time and it was a big effort. For me to race like that in the late season was hard, after taking a 3-4 week respite from training after Lake Placid. I really only trained a few weeks and went up there and raced. Here is the report:
The race:
Takes place at the DeerHurst resort in Huntsville, Ontario. Everything about the race was great, except I was not staying at the DeerHurst and they make everyone take a shuttle bus from the air strip to the resort. This was a bit of a pain and made the race spectator unfriendly (also no dogs at the resort). The should try to open up parking at the ski area, but I can understand that area doesn't have the infra-structure to support all of those cars, which I am willing to be would cause a lot of traffic problems. I ended up riding my bike back to the cottage after the race, about another 7 miles of hills.
The Swim:
Yup, long and in the fifth wave. I look at the results and the times look slow for my wave. I swam hard, but may have opted to swim an inside curve to last turn buoy because of all the traffic. I am happy with the swim and it was a big effort for an almost 35 minute leg. My swimming has come a long way.
T1: Out of the water on the 18th hole and a 400 meter uphill run to the transition area (Deerhurst parking lot). I am running past a lot of people walking up the hill. Time 4:02
The Bike:
2:46:16, 21mph
and then the surprise 58.3 miles and ... I was pre-warned about this course; I was told that "the hills are relentless," " not like Placid" and "don't burn yourself out in the first 25 miles." I admit that I under-estimated this course and the section of quote "pebble lie" - which means they spray some tar and drop pebbles on it. It was dangerous to say the least and I am just not used to riding in loose rocks, sand, etc. It would be more appropriate for a cyclocross bike. Anyway, I could have been better prepared for this course - doing two TT loops of Oak Hill doesn't cut it and my legs were beginning to feel tired at mile 20!! I still road hard though and will take 21 mph anyday on that course. I thankfully did not flat on my tubular disc. There were a few 40s that passed me, but this was a competitive race. Finally reaching the resort, I felt tired and wanted to keel over on one of the soft golf greens and take a nap. My legs were beat and I wasn't sure about the run, but then ...
The run:
I had a great run and felt really good. Lot's of hills and the turn around is up a stair-step hill of about a mile and a half. It looked like I would run 1:26 or 27, but then another surpise; I was just about to cross the highway to run back to the resort, when I was signal to turn down this walking path, which zigged and zagged, and up and down these little goat hills, which threw me off pace. I had a great run and ran down a many in my AG.
71st overall, 10th AG
Let me tell this sport is out of control. I got the last official qualifying slot. Everyone in my AG grabbed and I was VERY lucky to be headed home with one in my hand. That said, this M40-44 AG is VERY competitive. I knew this would be a big race and it was with a lot of fast guys. That said I am psyched to being to Clearwater for the Championships and this did not come easy. It seems every race I do is more competitive for these slots then the last.
Anyway, it was a big race. Craig Alexendar 3:58!!! He beat me by one hour. 10 minutes on the swim, 28 on the bike and 20 minutes on the run!! It's dumbfounding to think he could run 1:11 after biking 2:18 on that hilly course, but I guess that what separates the best triathlete in the world from a hack like me. He is my pick for a repeat win at Kona next month.
On to the 10K NE championships this weekend.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Muskoka Race Weekend In Jeopardy

Oh no! I am fine, but two sick kids at home. We are supposed to leave for Ontario today. May be able to do the 12+ hour thing tomorrow or lose one night in the cottage - that is costing $300/night. Yup, the even gouge triathletes way up there. I am too poor to be doing this sport. We need to figure out a plan, as it looks like I am not going solo - the same discussion we are having about Clearwater, so I might not be grabbing one of those slots anyway. If we do get on the road, we have 12+ hours to discuss me going to Clearwater alone vs. Kids out of School vs. $$$, which I am running out of with all these expensive races - including the ones I have already forked out for 2010!

Anyway, wish me luck. It looks like a beautiful area up there. I am looking forward to rubbing elbows with Craig Alexander and Lisa Bentley. They have quite a stacked field of pros this year including Tweilzek - the winner at LP this year and local Janda Ricci-Munn.

The bike course is a little long at 58 miles and very challenging, which should work in my favor.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Race Schedule

I am back training and everything is going well. This training period is short, but I have a high level of fitness and just need to drop a few pounds to get back to race weight. With all the races I have coming up, I need to focus on quality, but keep everything under control. Thanks to Mark I am back at the track and doing speedwork, which I desperately need. Although with Baystate coming up, I am trying to raise my base miles to marathon level training. The race is right around the corner and there is not a lot of time to do the traditional training thing, so I will train as hard as possible and then just race. It worked last year for Manchester. I just need to set reasonable time goals. Anyway, Muskoka is one of the last 70.3 races around that I could do and get into. They have 50 qualifying slots for Clearwater, which is Nov. 14. Plan is to get one of those slots and race down there. Anyway, here is the schedule:

Muskoka 70.3 Triathlon Sept. 13th, Huntsville, Ontario CA
Lone Gull 10K NE Championships Sept. 20th, Gloucester MA
Baystate Marathon NE Champioships Oct. 18th, Lowell MA
Clearwater 70.3 World Championships Nov. 14th, Clearwater FL

I'm in too good shape to let myself go this fall, so why not race?