Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chicopee race result update

The results are out on the event organizer's website and while I'm not sure the splits are accurate, they look a lot better than they did before. Comparisons to last year and goals:

This year Last year Goal
12:18 13:43 11:30 Swim
2:40 3:14 3:00 T1
50:48 50:26 48:00 Bike
1:00 2:04 1:00 T2
29:47 32:01 29:30 Run
1:36:33 1:41:30 1:34 Total

I'm a little disappointed with the bike (need a new bike), but I am very pleased with the overall result. My placings improved as follows (age group/overall):

This year Last Year
4/46 10/59 Swim
6/41 12/45 Bike
9/91 22/119 Run
6/42 17/72 Overall

Total in age group 13. (last year 25)
Total in race 156 (last year 183)

Swim and run continue to improve - this is good. Bike was solid, but not my best showing. Things are going in the right direction.

Chicopee race report

Dave and I decided to do Chicopee earlier in the week - weather permitting. The weather turned out perfect for a race so off we went.

Dave has not been swimming much since LP, so I thought I had a chance to actually beat him in the swim. I got to T1 and guess who was already there with his wetsuit off. Perhaps if I swam a little harder I would have at least equalled his time. I still have not figured out the perfect pacing for the swim portion - I definately could have swam harder and finished a little better (but not much). This was probably the best T1 I ever had - the wetsuit came off very fast and I geared up and got out of there quick - I did not want Dave to have too much lead time on me. Well - I never saw him again in the race. I honestly gave the bike everything I had - stood on the hills, cornered very well and hammered the flats. I only got passed once (near the beginning of the bike) by a guy with ginourmous legs - I was pretty sure I was not going to see him again (though you never know - some of these guys can't climb).

I got to T2 and changed to my running gear pretty quick. No socks on a sprint (I'm paying for that now). I started the run easy just to see how my legs would react after a hard bike effort - they felt fine so I started to run hard as soon as I hit the flats after the steep downhill from transition to the run course. This course has a good hill in it that you have to climb twice. I was breathing heavy the first time up the hill, but actually felt stronger and faster the second time up.

My overall time was 1:36:something - about five minutes better than last year. Unfortunately the timing chip they gave me was defective so I may not be able to get all of my splits; however, they are trying to put it together with other data that they have (manual timing data). They had my swim split listed as 13:47 which is comparable to last year so it is probably right. They had my run posted as 29:30 which looks reasonable (actually - my target almost to the second). my T1 and bike splits did not look right at all.

I was targeting 1:34 and hit 1:36 so I am pretty happy with the result. I think perhaps I could have shaved :30 off of the swim, but that is all. I feel good knowing that I did not leave much on the table.

This was tehnology-less race for me. My HR monitor/stop watch was left over my in-laws house and my bike computer did not work during the race. I do not look at either one that much when I am racing (HR more than computer to make sure I control my effort), however, I like to get my stats after the race (plus today it would have come in handy due to the timing chip issue).

Overall, this was a great race. Unfortunately for me, Dave raced very well too. I would have liked to beat him in at least one discipline. THAT DAY IS COMING!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Race report - mixed results

A few general comments and then I will get into the Litchfield Hills race report. I have basically stayed true to the workout plan with a few minor exceptions due to scheduling conflicts. The diet is still going well - fell off the wagon a few times, generally on weekends, but I get right back to being strict and overcompensate (i.e. start measuring and weighing again). I attribute much of my early results to the diet and really don't want to blow it now that I have some real substantial goals I want to meet.

I did a workout called Murph one week before Litchfield (8/16/09). This was the second time the workout hit the calendar, but the first time I finished it. It is a brutal workout and I wonder if I recovered from it in a week.

Litchfield Hills Triathlon (8/23/09):

This race was on the calendar for a reason. It kicked my butt last year and I wanted to come back and have a much better result this year. As the blog title suggested, my feelings are mixed on the results. I am pleased to say that I took about 17 minutes off of last year's time. I am also 99% certain that the swim was longer this year than last year and that attributed to about 3 minutes more I am confident that I could have shaved off of last year's time. All in all, not too shabby - so what's my problem? What do I have to complain about?

I set a goal for myself to finish the race in 2:45. I finished in 2:53. I believe I could have reached my goal if everyting went well. I did not feel "full of energy" prior to the race. I kind of felt it on the Thursday before the race during my workout, but there were still two days before the race; therefore, I did not read into it. I warmed up on the bike and ran a little, did some stretches and headed for the water. I swam a couple of hundred yards more or less and felt loose enough, but still did not feel the energy coursing through me as I sometimes do before a race, especially when I have tapered. O.k., this has happened before, but as soon as the gun goes off, I'm fine. That did not happen. I swam o.k. - I could tell that my pace was decent. I was swimming fluently, I just did not feel real strong. After the swim I struggled with my wetsuit which is turning into a recurring theme which I know means I have to practice this aspect of racing and if I can't improve on getting it off, I need to consider getting a different wetsuit. Next was the .20 mile run to transition (uphill). I could not catch my breath going up this hill which annoyed the hell out of me. I walked a few steps to catch my breath and then continued on with a slow run. The rest of transition went well. I hopped on my bike and again did not feel powerful. I generally ease into my pace over the first mile - I had nothing. Finally, by mile three I seemed to at least get into a good rhythm. Most of hills in the first 23 miles of racing were fairly tame - the last couple of miles are brutal. I saw my average speed drop from an impressive 24 mph all the way down to 20. I would like to say that the ending hills on the bike attributed to a bad run, but that just isn't so. As steep as the hills were I rode them steady and kept the HR at a decent level. Plus there is enough flat stuff after the hill to spin the legs out.

The run actually started off fairly decent. That's probably because the only flat and downhill sections are near the beginning of the run. I still don't understand how there can be so much uphill in a 6.2 mile circular course. It seems to me that there should be equal amounts of downhill and uphill - it sure doesn't feel that way. My run was just over an hour dashing my hopes of meeting my goal.

I looked back at the race to determine where I went wrong and can't really put my finger on it. I was hydrated before and during the race. I have been sleeping well. My diet was good the week of the race. I took two gels on the bike (if any error was made in nutrition it that one or two gels on the run may have helped). The fact that I felt "flat" before the race even began suggests that the problem may be a recovery issue. I truly feel that I was still recovering from Murph, a workout I did a week prior.

Overall I'm pleased with the result. I am also pleased that I have something to analyze and try to improve upon.

I skipped my workout on Monday following the race, but did that workout (an easy ride) Tuesday morning and did Tuesday's workout (deadlifts) Tuesday evening to get back on track.

I was planning to go easy this week and race on Sunday to end the Triathlon season on a high note, however, I seem to be getting some of my energy back, therefore, I'm going to stick to the original plan (other than the fact that I did not max out the deadlifts). I swam an 800m time trial today- finished in 15:14. That's a benhmark number I will keep an eye on.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hard workout

Today called for a brick. 45 minute bike and 30 minute run, 100% effort. I take this to mean at your aneorobic threshhold. Any less effort and you don't acheive your best time, any more effort and you blow up. I rode the same course as yesterday and finished in 45 flat, 2:30 faster than yesterday. I find it ironic that considering the additional effort over yesterday I only shaved 2:30 off of the ride. The run was an out and back and I may have made it a little further than Tuesday, but fairly negligible. I did split the run much more evenly than on Tuesday. My return time was only about 5 seconds slower than my out time and that could be due to the turn. All in all I would say that I acheived 100% effort. I did not wear a heart-rate monitor so no stats are available.

I am very much looking forward to Litchfield Hills Tri. I just keep telling myself that I need to swim straight and the rest will take care of itself. Hopefully I am writing that race report on a high.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

This week so far

Monday - 45 minute swim. 90 laps of pool (no open water). Swam straight, no breaks. Did 40 laps with pull bouy.

Tuesday - Race simulation brick - bike was 15 minutes and run was 30. Warmed up for five minutes on bike before hitting it so total bike was 20 minutes. Run felt pretty good - no groin pain, but right glute still feels a little tight (not sore, just a little strange feeling). Did the same out and back that I usually do for my 30 minute runs and made it a little further than in the past so running is going o.k. Average HR was 151 with max at 158 (run only). Did 200 squats after brick - That was not easy (especially 150 - 200)! I can feel the squats today (Wed).

Wednesday - 45 minute aerobic bike (actually 47:30 from Dave's driveway back to Dave's driveway). Average was 18.7 according to my computer. Total distance 14.8 miles. I did not track my average and max HR, but noted that it spiked at about 152 on a hill and on most of the flats I was between 120 - 135.

30 minutes of swimming. Warmed up with a 400, 6 x 100 on 2:00, 200 warm-down. 100s are the hardest pool workout in my opinion. Because they seem so difficult I am going to incorporate them into more of my pool workouts and try to get the number of repeats up. Felt pretty good in the pool today - I finally feel like I have a decent swimming base.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


The group ride I was planning on today didn't happen. Carol planned lunch with her brother and who she is hoping is her future sister-in-law - I was not going to get out of it. The guys I was going to ride with were leaving too late for me to get back in time to make it to the lunch. I had already revised the schedule to fit the group ride in so I picked a route that I thought would be similar to the route that I would have taken with them.

Talk about hills - This was the best hill climbing workout that I have done this year. I need to get to the other side of the river to find better hills than what I did today. I rode the "normal" hill climbing route (190 into Stafford Springs and back on 140), but changed it up a bit. I rode up 190 to Gulf Road and turned up Gulf Road to Soapstone Mountain. The difference betweent this and the time I went up 140 and hit Gulf Road from the other side is that you have to climb a pretty big hill before you even get into Soapstone the way I went today. I rode most of the hills at tempo pace, but really hit Soapstone hard. I rode most of it at a high tempo pace and then stood and gave it everything I had for the last section of hill. When I got to the top I turned around and rode down to the scenic lookout, sat down and had a Gu. I don't stop very often, but it was a nice view and sometimes you just need to stop and smell the roses. I got going again in about five minutes and rode down the hill back to Route 190 and then continued the ride as normal until I came to Crystal Lake. The road was all chewed up as they are about to repave it (thankfully, it was getting treacherous) - I turned onto, or should I say up, South Street towards Tolland. The bottom section of the hill is steep then it rolls. I took a right onto Peter Green and continued on rolling terrain. I rode that whole section in the top chainring. I had to stand a few times to crest some hills, but it was a good workout.

Ride stats:
Total distance: 38 miles
Avg speed: 17 MPH
Total time: 1:20
Average HR: 137
Max HR: 172

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Today is Saturday and my workout plan called for five all out one mile runs with 8 minutes rest in between. I did not feel confident doing that workout due to the recent groin injury so I ran five easy miles instead - stretched real good both before and after the run. The groin felt good; however, I felt soreness/tightness in the right glute. Normally I would chalk this type of feeling up as normal muscle soreness, but it was only the right side which is the same side as the groin injury so I wonder if its related. Regardless, I took it easy and will see how I feel tomorrow.

Thurday night I rode all out for the "normal route" which is about 19.2 miles. Finished the route in about 56:50. I refused to the shift out of the big chainring and stood on all of the hills. I was running out of gas near the end, but kept pushing as I was skipping the run to get one more day rest for the groin. Also, it was getting dark and I was racing the sun (I lost).

Planned to swim Friday but that was a bust - busy at work and worked right through lunch. Would have preferred to get a swim in, but that does not pay the bills.

I'm going to an Italian wedding today - I WILL NOT BE IN THE ZONE.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Week in review

After the Greenfield race I was extremely tired - almost falling asleep at the wheel tired. I blasted the a/c and occasionally rolled down the window to keep alert. I took a long nap when I got home.

I was battling a cold - it was very evident Monday morning when I woke up. It felt like someone pumped air into my head.

Skipped Monday's workout due to the cold and still trying to heal the groin.

Went mountain biking Tuesday - not feeling 100%, but actually a little better than Monday. BBQ after the bike ride was not in the zone (oops).

Wed - lifted - squats, box jumps and step-ups supersetted for time. Actually felt very good and had the most energy that I ever had for this type of workout. Biked 15 minutes and started to run 15 minutes but had to stop as my groin started to bother me again. I'm guessing the lifting aggravated the injury. Did not swim due to needing to spend time with daughter. Can't neglect the family.

Thur - swam 45 minutes. Warmed up with 1000 yards. Did two 100s on 2:00. Did three 100s all out with three minutes rest between each 100. warmed down with 200. Tried paddles - did not like them - will try again tomorrow. Ride planned for tonight.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Greenfield Race report

They had to cancel the swim for today's race due to high bacteria count. At first I minded as I was really plannning to push the swim to see what I can do; however, I found out the water temp was only 57 degrees. I'm o.k. with the swim having been cancelled.

They started the race with a sprint to the bikes. Due to my groin injury, I did not push that first run very hard and unfortunately had to let a few people by me that I really would have liked to keep behind me. There were no rules about what you could and could not wear on that short run, so I wore my helmet and riding glasses to keep the transition time down - all I had to do was put my bike shoes on.

I biked hard. This was the hardest I ever pushed in a triathlon and it felt good. There are two hills on the course - the first is right out of transition and is long and gradual. The second hill is short and steep. I stood on the hills and kept power to the pedals. I did a lot of passing on the hills and no one passed me after the hill. I believe my average speed on the bike was around 23 mph but will need to see the official splits to confirm that.

One of the reasons I biked so hard is I had no clue what I would be able to do on the run due to the groin. It felt better this morning, but still a little sore. I came off the bike and started running and it felt amazingly good. I could feel the groin, but it did not hurt enough to effect my running - at least I don't think it did. The other issue I thought I might have in the run was dead legs from pushing the bike so hard - the legs felt great! I'm looking forward to seeing the splits. I don't think it was a particularly fast run, but I think I may have beat last year's run time which I did not plan to do because of the groin and pushing the bike.

My overall placing was 25th vs. 51st last year. That suggests that I squashed last year's bike split. My overall time was 1:09. The following are last year's and this year's splits

2008 2009
Swim 10:09 N/A
Sprint to t1 N/A :53
T1 2:00 :43
Bike 43:41 41:20
T2 :51 :48
Run 26:45 25:23

The math has my bike average speed at around 21.72 mph; however, my computer had it closer to 23 mph. I would like to believe the bike computer. The running pace calculates to 8:11. It shouldn't be much longer before I'm running under 8's which is my goal for this summer. I'm not sure how far I can go with this, but I'm fairly certain I am still on the improvement curve.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Good news, good news, good news, bad news

Thurday I pulled my groin muscle on the right side. O.k., sounds like I'm starting with the bad news, but I'm really not. Yesterday it hurt pretty bad and I could not stand on my right leg to put my left sock on.

First set of good news - feels a little better today - still had to support myself putting sock on, but it did not hurt as much as yesterday.

Second set of good news - I am fairly sure that it will not affect my swimming.

Third set of good news - went for a bike ride this morning and although I could feel the soreness, it did not effect my riding at all. As a matter of fact, standing was quite comfortable. Ride today was one hour aerobic ride with five sets of three minutes standing and one minute sitting. Like I said standing was quite comfortable. Average speed was 18.4, total ride time 1:02, max HR 162 (I refused to shift to small chain ring on one hill), average HR 139.

Bad news - skipped run today to let groin recover. I am fairly certain that the pull will effect my running; however, I am still going to race Greenfield tomorrow (I already paid and I'm weird about that). I will take it easy on the run, but plan to push the swim and bike and hopefully destroy my splits from last year. If it hurts too much I will either walk or pull out - not worth aggavating the injury. I have bigger fish to fry this summer and into the fall.

All in all, it seems like a minor pull and will probably heal in a week. I learned a lesson about doing speed work in the morning (I usually do my speed work early evening). When done in the morning, additional warm-up and stretching is a must.