Friday, December 17, 2010

"I am a Barefoot Runner"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Finding Time

Run Day
time- 29 minutes
distance- approx. 3.?mi

Today I taught all day. It was the last day of school before Christmas break. I found out a student is not coming back after break at lunch. This meant that after school I had to write his report card. After school I also had to finish writing sub plans and preparing my classroom for the first week back from break, since I will still be in New Zealand. So I was at school until nearly 5:30pm when the kids (and a lot of the staff) left at two.
I had to run. I didn't yesterday because we were very busy after school and it was dark by the time we got home. I ate crap at school the past two days, as happens when people are in a festive mood and bringing in sweets. I tried to be good, and was for the most part, but some chocolate and cookies always sneak through the shields.
Anyway, I got out and ran right when I got home. This works best for me. I need to turn around and work out or I never will. If my ass finds the couch, so often all the energy drains out and any exertion beyond reaching for the remote seems to be too much. Better to get in the door, change in to shorts, and get back out the door. Worked for me today. Decent run, not blazing fast but not chugging. I think I negative split it, and I like that. It's not a big thing, and with a run only a half hour long I should negative split it because the first five or ten minutes are basically warm-up anyway. Still, feels good to come back at least as fast as I went out.
We leave tomorrow. It's very exciting. Fitness goal for the trip is to not be too worried about fitness on the trip. I'm going to find time for a few maintenance runs but I have a bad habit of feeling guilty if I don't regularly work out hard. Need to not do that, even though I'm pretty sure three weeks is the longest I've gone without a real workout in a long, long time.
Team Dirtbag's next post will either not be for three weeks or will be a mini-post from NZ. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fading Down the Backstretch

Run Day

time- 50 minutes
distance- 5.27mi

Yesterday's run started out really good. I felt smooth, my stride was nice, and my pace was great.
Yeah, that kind of fell apart at the turn around. Normally on these longer runs (this was supposed to be 45 minutes) I plan on a little fade and make my turn around a minute or so early so even with the fade I get back home inside of my planned time. Not this time. This time I ran right up to 22:30 because I was trying to get to a certain spot and it was soooooo close at my normal turn around time. Plus, I wasn't feeling the eventual fade so bad at that point.
To be clear, the fade wasn't some horrible bonk. I just got slower on the way back than I planned on or wanted to. Contributing to that was going barefoot farther than I have before. BFR slows me down, but its not about speed. It's about form and enjoying a new kind of feeling. Until I get to the end of my run when I'm on the super-stabby asphalt on the street to my house, when its all about thinking about how this is toughening up my feet and trying to maintain good form while hurting.
Gotta get that base solid. I'm worried about not getting quality runs in while in New Zealand (not really worried, but you know) and losing some of what I've built before Honolulu Tri's training starts. Tomorrow might be my last American run for three weeks. Hope its a good one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Swim at Home, Run in Texas (With a Bonus Note on Texas)

Swim Day

1 x 200- Warm-up
5 x 200 Pull- 3:15
1 x 300- 4:30
1 x 400- 6:00
1 x 500- 7:30

total yards- 2400

All I remember about this swim was I somehow got lost as far as keeping track of my times during the ladder portion (300, 400, 500). So I think I made all the times, I should have made all the times, but I was getting spacey for some reason and I'm not sure I made them. Sometimes when I'm doing longer sets my mind wanders and when I lose focus I swim slower. It wasn't even a morning workout, so its strange that I would have a harder time staying on top of myself. So that was annoying on a personal level. I should be and have been more disciplined. The five 200s pull went well though. Stroke felt long and smooth, which is the goal of these pull sets.

Run Day
time- approx. 20 minutes*
distance- approx. 2.?mi*

*I'm not sure how far this run was, and I can't remember now how long I ran for. It was just about 20 minutes but I didn't write anything down.
This was the coldest run I've ever done. When I got back to my room my phone said it was 54 degrees. Holy frozen nostrils, Batman! I know, I know, that's really not all the cold in the grand scheme of things, but you must remember I live in Hawaii. I train in Hawaii. Where the locals put on sweaters when the temperature drops to 65. 54 is freaking cold. But I came prepared. I ran in a thermal and a workout shirt, keeping my core warm. My hands, those were very cold and I ran with fists the whole time because when I relaxed my fingers the sweat hit the air and made them very cold. Cold weather people, stop laughing.
I did the first 13 minutes or so in my VFFs and then decided to go bare for the run back to the hotel. I know, I'm complaining about the cold and then I'm going to take my shoes off? Yeah. I had to try and see. I was running on clean, smooth sidewalk and if it was too cold I'd put my shoes back on. It actually felt pretty good. Running barefoot always is a unique experience and every time I do it I like it a little more. Like I've said before, it helps my form, it strengthens my feet, and it makes me mentally tougher. All good things.
I should have run again later in the weekend, but the day I was planning on running we ate a gigantic steak dinner. So instead of working out I consumed a delicious week's worth of yummy yummy calories. I was in Texas. On per diem. Duh.

Bonus Side Texas Note: I have long hair and tattoos. Texas, as a rule, does not. Wandering around the sports bar I definitely got a few long, hard looks. Much like riding the motorcycle through southern Idaho. There were a few cowboy-hatted, tight-jeaned, long-sleeve plaid shirted dudes that had a very, "Ya'll aint from 'round here," look to them. Not uncomfortable, but new. So I was sure to keep my hair out of a pony tail and down and to wear my new SAMCRO shirt when I was wandering around. You know, to make friends.
On the other hand, most of the people I met were very nice, the southern accent can be pleasant, and "ya'll" will make me giggle in my head just like a Canadian dropping the "eh"-bomb.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Building the Engine

Run Day

time- 56 minutes
distance- 6.05mi
pace- 9.6mi/min

Today's goal was setting a nice easy pace and letting my legs move. Building base miles isn't about speed as much as it is about strengthening my engine and that's what today was about. And I think I accomplished that goal. I went just as far as I wanted to, I set a strong pace for myself but didn't go anaerobic at all, and my form felt good. I actually turned around at 27:45 because I expected a few minutes of fade on the way back, and that didn't happen. I finished at 56 minutes (my run plan was an hour).
I think I actually would have negative split it even stronger, but I stopped at the start of my block where the sidewalk starts and went barefoot for the end of the run. This slows me down, of course. But its great for my form and strengthens my feet. And its fun and feels good. Can't complain.

Team Dirtbag would also like to congratulate Obi Tri Kenobi, who completed the Sunsmart Ironman Western Australia Triathlon yesterday with a time of 10:33.07! His splits were 1:12.49 for a 2.4mi swim, 5:18.27 for a 112mi bike, and 3:54.22 for a 26.2mi run. The extra time is in T1 and T2. He finished 271st overall, 26th in his division. This is faster than his goal. Way to go, Obi Tri!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gettin' Registered and Goin' Swimmin'

Swim Day

1 x 200 Warm-up
4 x 250- 3:45
1 x 100- 1:20
1 x 500- Pull
4 x 200- (100-5,7,9; 100- fingertip drag) 3:30
1 x 150 Cool down

You'll notice the 1 x 100 on the 1:20. Yeah, that was supposed to be 5 x 100 like the last two swims but I'm having training doubts about the effectiveness of short, fast sets. My initial logic, that I'll slowly increase the number of 100s on the 1:20 until it's an easy pace to hold for a long time, still feels solid. But at the same time, it seems wrong to train at such a repeat of short distances when I should be preparing my body to chug for a longer period of time. Maybe once I'm done base training and I'm getting into it a little more I'll bring that set back. Right now I think maybe I should be stretching the length of my sets out and trying to get my stroke as smooth as possible.
Other than that it was another good swim. I got up early, so it was a 5:30am workout, but I'm starting to like that (aside from the waking up at 4:45 thing). I don't have to worry about working out after school, I can relax a little more and spend time with the wife. Plus, once real training kicks in I'll be swimming in the am and having a ride in the afternoon. Might as well get used to it now.

AND NOW....*Dirtbag Drumroll*
I'm officially registered for the Honolulu Triathlon- Olympic distance! (pause for applause) Its a 1.5K swim, a 40K bike, and a 10K run. For the Americans out there, that's a 0.9mi swim, 25mi bike, 6.2mi run. So, its about twice as long as the last two races. Which means the training will be more intense and more brutal, but I like that. It'll be fun.
And to start the first third of the training cycle off, the wife and I just registered for the Great Aloha Run. This is something that even a year ago I had no interest in doing. Get up early and run eight miles? Yeah, no. But now? Now it makes perfect sense. It'll make me a better triathlete, a stronger runner, and mentally tougher. And it might actually be fun. That thought kinda blows my mind.
So base training stays strong, trying to build my engine up. The trip to Dallas and then to New Zealand is going to cut into that, but I can run in Dallas and I'm certainly not going to complain about not training during the honeymoon. I need to get the bike all fixed up and then I'll really be able to focus on that, which will be the most important portion of the training.
Long run this weekend.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Go Run, Young Man

Run Day

time- 36 minutes
distance- 3.72mi

Today's run was a victory for two reasons. One- I didn't feel like running at all after school today. I've got the post-training, off-season lazies and I'm fighting hard through that shit. It was either going to be a run day or a swim day and my run needs more work, so that's getting the attention until I get Kratos up and rolling. Two- This is a damn good pace for me. 8.5 minute/mile. That's great. And it felt great the whole run. My plan was to stop on the way back, divest myself of VFFs, and finish the run bare, but I was feeling so good and so smooth I ran right through that. Well chosen, I would say. If I can keep this kind of run training up time will be crashing down. And I haven't even restarted my interval runs yet.
Gotta get the bike fixed. To wait for Christmas for more money, or to just do it? Decisions are hard.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gorilla Feets and Bare Foots

Run Day

time- 46 minutes
distance- eh, probably about five miles.*

my phone/gps/coffee maker/leash/web browser/text machine/illegal immigrant/SOSMS documenter's battery died.

After Thanksgiving, three airplane rides, and then an all day meeting at school, Dirtbag needed a run. Also, I just bought myself a brand spankin' new pair of Vibram FiveFingers TrekSports and my feet couldn't wait to try them out. The verdict? They are a little bit tight still, which is good and too be expected. They fit better than my other pair I think. The tops have some give and they will stretch into a perfect fit. The grippy on the bottoms will be great for all the off-roading the wife and I will be doing in New Zealand. They aren't as great for plain old road running as my KSOs, but they sure beat the hell out of a fancy pair of Nikes. I wish I'd had them during the Haleiwa Tri earlier this month. Would have been great on the trail run course. I've very happy with them and look forward to many miles.
To close out my run today I decided to continue my bare experiment. I waited until the end of the run instead of starting off bare because the side of the road I run back on has sidewalk and the side I run out on does not. So instead of spending nearly all of the ten minutes going, "Ow. Ow. Eep. Oh. Ow," and dodging pointy, evil rocks I got to run fairly smoothly for most of the eleven minutes with very little ouching. Much the better that way. Hopefully I avoided another blister too.
You'd be shocked how good it feels to run barefoot. Free is a cliche, but only because it's true. I felt like a little kid. Especially on the sidewalk or on grass. Its very neat. Without preaching, I think everyone should do two things. a) go try on a pair of FiveFingers and b) go walk around outside barefoot. Trust me, try it.
Tomorrow will either be a day off or a swim, I haven't decided yet.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Brilliant Plan, Getting My Ass Kicked, & Shopping Bonus

Super Quick Vacation Dirtbag Update

I'm in Seattle, WA visiting the wife's family for Thanksgiving, but does that prevent the Dirtbag from getting some sweat going? Hell no! First, I had a brilliant plan. That plan? To swim the morning of our flight to Seattle. You see, my friends, We flew from Hawaii Wednesday night, red-eye, to Utah. From Utah we flew to Seattle. This is because Delta thinks Salt Lake is on the way to SeaTac. So I woke up early to get a swim in, had a good swim, the details of which I am not disclosing because I don't have my sheet with me and I can't remember exactly what my set was. I do remember that it was pretty hard, about 2050yds (maybe a little more), and I felt positive about it afterwards. My thinking was that getting up early, swimming, then teaching all day would help me sleep on the overnight flight.
OR it would just make me really, really, really sleepy but still unable to sleep because I am unable to get any real sleep on planes. So that was a small fail. But the flight was good at least.
Stitches' father, my father-in-law (how long before that stops sounding strange?), had been very excited we were coming not only because it meant he got to see his daughter (and favorite son-in-law), but also because said son-in-law is athletic and is willing to play raquetball with him. He's been playing for a while, I played a few times in college. And by played I mean Dirtbag Best Friend and I would go to the courts, make up what we were pretty sure were the rules, and then smack the crap out of the ball and sometimes eachother. Experience goes to the father-in-law. So does skill. And all three games we played. But by the end I at least was kind of keeping up. And I beat my brother-in-law a bunch of times solidly. It was fun. Wish 24HR Fitness had courts. Would be a fun off day training thing. I did manage to accidently tag him with the ball twice. So there's that...
And lastly today we got to go to one of my favorite places in the world. REI! This store is the awesome. It has everything. If we had one in Hawaii I'd be so happy. I'd also be so broke. We went specifically so I could get a new pair of Vibram FiveFingers. My KSOs are fine, I want another pair. I wanted to try on the TrekSports and the Bilikas. They did not have Bilikas, but the TrekSports were in stock and in black (Dirtbag Tough Guy Happy Dance + Batman Moment "Does it come in black?"). I met a guy at my last tri wearing the TrekSports who said he loved them. They have a little grip on the bottom, different from the KSO, and would have been great for the off-road course of the Haleiwa tri's run. They will also be great for hiking in New Zealand next month. Very exciting!
As an added bonus I got lucky wandering through the clearance section of the men's athletic gear. There, sitting quietly on the rack next to marked down tri tops, was a tri suit. I've been looking at these but haven't bought because a)they are more expensive and b)its easier to pee in a two piece. But I want one because they look cool and I'm a sucker like that. The price on the tage was $120, marked down to $35!!! That's right, that gets three exclamation points! Score. Mine. Thank you.
So now I have new tri gear for the new year. Next step, fixing Kratos up. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Think About the Future, Jack!

Dual purpose blog today, sports fans. Swim Workout first, then planning the future of Dirtbag Fitness.

Swim Day

1 x 200 Warm-up
5 x 100 1:20*
3 x 200 pull 3:15
2 x 300 4:30
1 x 150 Cool down

total yards- 2050

Decent 5am swim. I marked the 100s set because the time is obviously much too fast. I did that on purpose. Right now in my training is called building my base. My swim already has a solid base. The run and the bike need a lot of miles because that's how you get better. Swimming works the same for most people, but my swim is pretty solid. Its not super-fast, but we can build on this. So instead of stacking yards on top of yards, I'll do that when the next tri cycle starts up, I'm working on dropping my base hundred time. No triathlon swim is a sprint, but the faster I can get my pace, the better the swim time. So my plan for base training is doing 100s on the 1:20 until I can make all five. Then up it to seven. Then ten. Hopefully I can get it to 15 100s on the 1:20. If I can do that I'll be a happy Dirtbag. On this particular set I made the first two (ok, and then barely), then spent the next three hitting the wall, checking the watch, and cursing under my breath as I did what amounted to an open turn. Gotta get that average down. The rest of the time standards actually felt slow comparatively though. So I've got that going for me.

Thinking About The Future

I am not done with the triathlon thing. I'm just getting in to it. The Haleiwa tri was the last of the year and that gives me plenty of time to prepare for my next one. I have two triathlons planned right now, one A race (races will be leveled from A-C, A being very important, B being a training race, not going for a Personal Best, C being just for fun) and one B race, as well as a C with the wife (kinda).
My big goal and my A race for the next six months is the Honolulu Triathlon on May 15th. This will be two things: first, it will be my biggest race in terms of number of participants. Second, it will be my longest race. They do a Sprint and an Olympic distance of this event and I plan on signing up for the Olympic. Where as a sprint is a 500yd swim, a 12-ish mile ride, and a 3 mile run, and Olympic is a 1500yd swim, a 20 mile ride, and a 6 mile run. So basically twice as far as what I've done so far. Training will be intense. I'm still looking for a good training plan to use and modify. Pretty sure its going to kick off right when we get back from New Zealand. Registration opens in December I think, and I'll need to be paying attention. I bet it fills up quick.
A month before the Honolulu Tri, though, will be the Lanikai Sprint Tri on April 17th. This will be a B race. I'm going to use it as a tune-up for the Honolulu race the following month. So I'll be pushing it but mostly it will be used as a measure for how training is progressing. Registration has opened for this race and I'm hoping it doesn't fill. Neither of the ones I've done so far have, so I'm not too worried, but I should sign up sooner rather than later.
And my last planned race is also the soonest. That is the Great Aloha Run, an eight mile run from Aloha Tower to Aloha Stadium on February 21st. This wasn't actually my idea. This was Stitches' suggestion. She wants to walk it and I'm all for that. But I don't want to walk eight miles. It will be better for me to run it. This is a total C race. Its going to be in the middle of the start of my training cycle, its two miles longer than my race run will be, and I'm going have fun with it. It'll be good for me. I know I can run that far, I haven't yet though. Stitches is hunting down people to walk with so I don't feel guilty not walking it with her. Should be a good time.
So that's the future of Dirtbag Fitness friends. I haven't mentioned this in a while and this seems like a good time, donations are still welcome and accepted. They will be put immediately towards registration for the Honolulu and Lanikai Tris.
I have another morning swim planned tomorrow before school and getting on a plane to Seattle for Thanksgiving. Happy Birthday Swim to me!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fixing Flats & Running Naked

*Fair Warning: This is long because we are covering two eventful workouts in one blog*

Bike Day

time- 36 minutes
distance- 11.45mi

Today I went in a new direction. You see, this was my last ride on Sandra B., the bike Obi Tri Kenobi lent me oh so many months ago. So I headed left when I normally veer right. This takes me through Wahiawa and down Kam highway. I've never gone this way before. Call it an experiment ride to see how far/long it is to the gym. If it seems easy enough then I will consider taking my talents to 24 Hour Fitness on the bike for swim days sometimes. And it seems easy enough. The gym is only five miles from home, if that, and aside from a smallish climb its an easy ride. The only thing preventing me from riding to swim days now is fear of disappearing bike.
I went straight past the gym and down where I would run early in my tri training all the way to where the road ends at a nice little cul de sac community I could never afford to live in. So I turned around came headed home thinking about how slow I felt and how I need to build a bunch of base miles before I start my next training cycle and wondering how I'm going to do that will all the traveling we have coming up.
Next thing I know the front tire is going woosha woosha wobble and I'm realizing that after many month of riding I finally got a flat. And on a day when I need to be home soon so we can head to the beach for my birthday bbq (Happy birthday to Dirtbag in three days!). So I call in the Dirtbag Pit Crew (aka Stitches aka Team Dirtbag Sexy Wife, Nutritionist, Cheer Team, and Team Photographer) to come get me. I fiddle with the tire on the sidewalk for a while but I've never done this before and I've only seen it done once so I'm not trying all that hard. Plus not only is the front flat but so is the back. WTF, road? W.T.F. Soon Sexy Wife picks me up and home we go.
Later, being of the YouTube generation, I use the internets to find some very helpful videos of people changing a tire, study them, rewatch them, take copious notes, and then fake my way through both. I had a little trouble with the first, I don't think it was seated properly, but got it on. So now I know how to change a flat in a blazing fast really slow but I could get it done. I'm glad it didn't happen during either race. That would have ruined my day.

Run Day

time- 30.40 minutes
distance- 3.31mi

This was an experimental run day. I ran naked.
Not completely naked, obviously. Society isn't ready for that. Plus I might trip myself (hahahahha, get it? hahahahahooooo...anyway).
I've been doing quite a but of reading about barefoot running and I've written about it in this space a few times. Well, being between races and training cycles and building base miles right now I decided now was a good time to give it a go. I tucked my VFFs into my shorts, flexed my bare feet, and set off.
Ouch, ouchie, ooo, ow. The road is literally covered in little sharp rocks. Its practically paved with them! And those bastards kind of hurt. So my feet got tender quickly. But I had decided before I left that I would give it an honest effort for ten minutes and then I would put on my shoes. Those ten minutes went fast, and some of the time was very pleasant. Barefoot running on grass or on a smooth piece of concrete is a new and connecting experience. Your body feeds back to you all the information you miss out on in big Nikes or even my barely there VFFs. My form tightened up and my stride became what I ask it to become when I normally run. Its impossible to over-run or over stride barefoot. Your body won't let you. It hurts too much. I spent some time running along the white line on the side of the road to keep off the sharpest of the sharp and developed an eye for planning ahead.
At the ten minute mark (ok, at 11.40, I was trying to get to the end of the road) I stopped and put on my shoes to finish the run. If there's one thing I've learned from going minimalist its everything in small steps. Do little for a while, let the body adjust and strengthen, then do a little more. Rush it and you'll get hurt. So I stuck to a short time bare.
Putting on the VFFs felt great! My form, which I loved barefoot, stayed strong. I got my cadence up to a good aerobic pace and tried to put in a solid 20 minutes, which I think I did. It took me eleven and a half minutes to get to the end of the road and when I'm running normally it takes about nine, and I made that time up over the rest of the run.
If I've learned anything from the Mythbusters beside, "If it doesn't work, add more explosives," its that one result does not equal a sample size. This will not be my last barefoot run. I think I'll do somewhere between five and ten before I make up my mind about it one way or another. Right now I'm working on a nice blister at the tip of one toe and my soles feel tenderized but those should both work themselves out as my feet get used to this new punishment. We shall see where this takes your favorite Dirtbag.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Haleiwa Sprint Tri 2010 Race Report

Two down, sports fans. Two triathlons in under a month, how does that sounds, huh? Sounds to me like going from zero to a lot pretty quick. And I'm happy I did it like that. There's no better way to learn something than to do it over and over. And now, it being November and all, the triathlon season has ended. This gives me time to start building a more solid base going into next year (and I do have plans for next year, which I will get to later).
This tri started different from the last. And I mean right away. My stomach, which was near perfect for Ko'Olina, was not happy at 4am Sunday. I'm sure it was a combination of nerves and eating a little too much of the veggie pasta the night before. Either way, it was not a happy morning for the Dirtbag tummy. This is something that sometimes must be suffered through. It always goes away once the event starts. It's the waiting that sucks.
The swim was a 400m open water mass start. I'm going to say that last part again for those of you who need things repeated. Mass start. Every single athlete competing started at the same time. All 153 of us sprinting towards that first buoy. It was a madhouse. Arms and elbows and feet and hands everywhere. Splashing, kicking, pulling and sometimes grabbing. I'm pretty sure I elbowed someone in that opening sprint. Not on purpose, they just got too close to my stroke and got to feel the power of the Tattooed Wake as a result. (That's right, my nickname has a swimming-specific nickname. What?)
The swim course was a triangle from one point on the beach, right turn around a buoy, straight to another buoy, right turn, back to the beach. A lot of people started near the exit, which didn't make sense to me because Mr. Pythagorean says that means they are swimming further. So I joined the clever people down the beach. I had a straight shot at the first buoy. This helped me be in the front third of the people making the turn. I got a little off track from buoy two to the beach and swam slightly further than I should have. Have to keep popping the head up to sight on the cones at the beach and that slows you down. But the swim was still pretty good.
As you might be able to tell from the picture, there was quite a run from the swim exit to the transition area. My T1 went alright. I could be faster. Practice practice.
I got out on the bike and got to getting. It felt better than Ko'Olina almost immediately. Factors contributing to this are the lack of swim-run-swim-run tired and experience. I set off in the front third of the cyclists and, just like last time, was promptly passed by slower swimmers but much better cyclists. This was expected. What was not expected was that I managed to hold my own in a small group that eventually formed around me.
The ride was three laps through Haleiwa town, with the roads blocked to traffic. It's not a difficult route by any means and I rode it a few times prior to the race to familiarize myself with it. I would get passed but I passed plenty of people as well. Sure, a lot of them were Cruiser division guys on their single speeds, but still. What ended up happening by lap three was a group of three or four guys, myself included gathered. We started doing the I pass you, you pass me back, we both pass a slower guy, etc...thing. It was kind of fun and I'm sure it made me faster. I've never ridden in a group before. So I'd say a race is a good time to start. Yeah?
T2 was also just ok. Slower again than I would have liked.
I set off on the run feeling like my pace was not where it should be. I just felt like my quick feet weren't all that quick. Nothing from there on out happened to change my mind. The entire run was off road and nearly the entire run was on a trail of sticks, rocks, and sand. Normally this would not be any problem. I run in Vibram Fivefinger KSOs. There is very little between me and the ground. Not that I'm complaining. I love my shoes and wouldn't trade them for anything. It's just that a few times I thought to myself, "Oh, going to remember that rock tomorrow." And I did.
The last mile of the race was on the sand coming back to the park. I'd like you to go to the beach and go for a run. I'll wait...
Back? Ok, good. Hard, innit it? Yeah, sure is. Screws with your stride, your cadence, and your head. Running in soft sand will suck your will to live if you let it. I'm happy to say I never stopped running. I criss-crossed the beach looking for more solid lines and running on rock slabs and fighting through that. This whole time I was passing one or two people and being passed by one or two (or three or maybe four) people.
Like Ko'Olina, I finished as hard as I could. I really didn't feel as muscle tired as I would have liked though. I think if the run had been on solid ground or a more traditional track I would have done better and felt it more. Not to say I didn't feel it. I just think it could have been harder. Or maybe I should have dug deeper during the run...could be it too.
I finished 71st overall, 13th in my division of 23, with better cycle and run pace times than last time. I'm not complaining about anything. I'm very happy with the outcome and can't wait to tri again. (Get it? Ha, I'm so funny!)
Tomorrow or the next day I'll post my thus far plans for next year and will continue to track my workouts. I'll probably get back on the bike some time this week, unless Obi Tri wants it back tomorrow. Then I won't ride until I get Kratos all sorted out. A run is also forthcoming.
Thanks for reading, thanks for all your support!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Haleiwa Sprint Tri- Race Results

Just like last time, I'm tired right now and don't feel like writing a race report. That will get done some time in the next few days along with the pictures from the race getting posted. Not as many of those as last time so it might be a Double Bonus Pictures/Race Report just for you! I know, super-awesome, right?
Anyway, the race was fun, it went well, and running on the beach is hard. Results are here. That link takes you directly to the page with my time right at the top.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tri Again

Run/Gear Prep Day

time- 10 minutes

Nice easy run today. Felt good, smooth, easy. The pieces are there for a good race tomorrow. Lets hope I can put it together.
The race plan is pretty similar to last time. I have a better idea of what I'm in for, so that helps. I need to work the swim right away and create some separation from the main pack as quickly as possible. This will give me smoother, calmer water to stretch my stroke in, which in turn will help me go faster. Also, it will give me a chance to have a clear view of the buoys I should be aiming for and turning at. Last time it felt natural to hit the water racing. Guess doing it for so long helps. I expect to be able to use that to my advantage. With the swim so short, only 400m, and with the two turns making it a triangle, I'm not positive how its going to go, and how able I will be to create that gap, but I hope for good things. Just have to hit it hard.
Getting out in front some will help me going into T1 as well. I've been a bad triathlete and haven't worked my transitions at all since the last race. So they will probably be slow, but not awful. Like last time, the point is to have fun and get some more experience. I don't see myself looking at my post-race time and thinking, "Damn, if only T1 and T2 were a few seconds quicker!" That's what I'll be thinking after the ride.
A big, huge eye-opening happened last time during the ride as I watched racer after racer fly by. I knew, and still know, that I don't have the miles yet to expect much from the bike leg, but it's still hard to watch people pass. At least I know this course. It's three laps in my backyard, a road that I've ridden a couple of times. There are some spots where the highway connects to the bridge and there is a bump which hurts, and I know where those are and where to be to avoid the bump. And there's a short, but kind of steep climb at the back half of each lap. It's probably no more than a quarter mile, but it feels steep to my newbie legs. I'm going to try getting up in the saddle and stomping up this portion, which I've been working on. That is faster for sure, but it burns more energy. So we'll see how it goes. I also plan on spending the bike portion down in the drops. It feels faster, and feel goes a long way mentally for me. Three laps. 12 miles.
T2 should be quick and easy. This I have gone over during my brick workouts the last two weeks. As long as my piggies find their sockets I should be just fine. Also, I need to remember to hydrate coming in to T2 on the bike so I'm good for the run.
The run should be an adventure mostly because the last mile is along the beach. I expect this to burn. Hopefully the sand will be firmed up some by all the people who passed me during the ride. Ha, suckers! That was my plan all along. They're working for me now.
My run goal is a quick cadence, good pace. I feel more and more confident every run and I'm going to try to set off with quick feet right away. I can hold a fast pace for three miles. I am mentally tough and I have its measure physically. *insert other tough guy pump-up mind games here*
I'm looking forward to this race. It will be good for me to have two tris under my belt going in to the off season. Goal #1: Push Hard All the Way. Goal #2: Have Fun.*
Early morning tomorrow. Let's get some again.

*stated goal order may not reflect goal importance

Friday, November 12, 2010

Early Bird Brick and BIKE NEWS!!!

Brick 500yds/30min

500yds- approx 7:30

30 minutes stationary

Easy morning workout today to get the muscles moving for any length of time once more before Sunday's race. Tomorrow is a simple 10 minute run and gear check. My swim felt nice, strong and smooth. This is good because I basically got in, swam 500 yards, and got out. So the swim was the warm-up. I don't know how much warm-up time there will be Sunday morning so its good to know I can swim that far that well cold. And I was cruising, could have pushed much harder. An easy 500 averaging 1:30/100yds isn't anything to crow about, but it does make Dirtbag happy about his swim.
The bike was a get out of the pool, throw on shorts, get on a stationary bike, watch SportsCenter and try to care about college football for 30 minutes. I don't know how far I went. I tried to keep my cadence around 80-90rpm, but that's all. Easy 'nuff.
On to bigger news.
I bought a bike today! Hooray! A Felt F1x, which is technically a cyclecross bike but it'll do. All that means is the tires are a little wider than ideal (not a biggie, they work and I can always buy new tires), and it has brake levers on the tops as well as on the drops as part of the shifter (the pictures will explain, and its something I'll get fixed right away).
I've look at a lot of bikes up to this point and this was the first one my instincts didn't run from. To be clear, I don't know much about bikes and that made me nervous about buying used. But used = affordable and all I really needed are a pair of wheels. But sitting on this one, having Stitches hold up the back tire while I push the pedals around and shift through the gears, play with the bells and whistles, it all felt pretty all right. Not perfect, but good.
It has a short list of fixes before its ridable. The brake pads are worn to nothing, so those need to be replaced, which shouldn't be much. And it needs the right kind of pedals. But Cycle Dirtbag is the man and is putting a pair of his in the mail soon, along with the corresponding clips. So I should be solid there. So, when the pedals come in I'll take it to my local bike shop, have them remove the extra brake levers, retape the bars (this will need to be done after removing the brake levers), put the new pedals on, and get me all sized up and fitted to it. If money comes in for Christmas and/or birthday I'll also buy myself a pair of clip-on aerobars that Island Tri & Bike can attach as well. This sounds like a lot but its really not and its all easy stuff.
I think I did well. I hope I did. Here are some pictures:

See what I mean about the extra brake levers in the center? Those will go bye-bye.

Cyclecross pedals are no good to me. Go Cycle Dirtbag!

Mmmm, comfy.

Yeah, that's a tail light. That'll go.

I have to admit to loving the color scheme. It's pretty badass looking. I think I may name it Kratos. Why? Because he's the God of War. Kratos will strike fear into the hearts of the other triathletes (in my head):
No one is angrier than Kratos.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Shall Call It...Mini Brick

Brick Day 35/25

time- 35 minutes
distance- 9.6mi

time- 25 minutes
distance- 2.45

time- 1 hour
distance- 12.05mi

Nice and easy brick today. The race is this week so this is a stretch it out, work on kinks brick. It felt good. I didn't work too hard, heart rate never got very high. The run was a super cruise, but having a super cruise run and still covering two and a half miles is happy Dirtbag.
Now, on a super-serious personal note, the Team Dirtbag family would like to send our thoughts across the ocean to Dirtbag Best Friend's Dirtbag Wife (obviously she needs a new nickname) and her family. We're all here for you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wherein I Almost Get Hit By a Car

Swim Day

1 x 150 Warm-up
5 x 100 50-5,7,9; 50- fingertip drag- 1:45
4 x 200 - 3:00
1 x 150 Cool down

Total yards- 1600

My swim felt strong today, which is nice going into the week of the race. I made all the sets solid and even got faster as the 200 set went on. Body position felt right for the most part, pull felt strong.
Course, that could be from the adrenaline shooting through my system because some douche nearly killed me in the gym parking lot. I was crossing the street in the crosswalk, which has a stop sign. I was watching this guy ripping through the parking lot way faster than he should have been. But I'm the the crosswalk, behind a stop sign. It'll be fine.
I keep an eye on him as he fast approaches. Dude is not even thinking about his brakes. He flies flies FLIES through the stop and the crosswalk. The only reason he didn't hit me was because I realized at the last minute, "Nope, he ain't stopping or swerving," and jumped out of the way. Literally. I literally had to leap from where I was walking to the curb, spinning a quarter turn in the air. If I had not leapt he would have hit me. If I hadn't spun he would have still clipped me. Guy on the sidewalk saw the whole thing and was yelling at the driver/attempted killer while I was still in the air. Dude never slowed down, didn't turn around, nothing. Probably has no idea what he almost did today.
So, while my swim was good, I'm kinda just happy I was able to swim today. Almost hit by a car on a SWIM DAY. What kinda shit is that?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Transition Day Deep Thought

I'm not really writing anything today. Instead I'm going to hand it over to the amazing Malcolm Gladwell and quote a discussion he had with Bill Simmons (The Sports Guy from's Page 2) back in March of '06. I read this portion of their chat and it really affected me. I think its a point that can be carried through every facet of life as it explains thoughts that float through the head during an especially difficult workout (or any trying time) and felt the urge to share.

Gladwell: This is actually a question I'm obsessed with: Why don't people work hard when it's in their best interest to do so? Why does Eddy Curry come to camp every year overweight?

The (short) answer is that it's really risky to work hard, because then if you fail you can no longer say that you failed because you didn't work hard. It's a form of self-protection. I swear that's why Mickelson has that almost absurdly calm demeanor. If he loses, he can always say: Well, I could have practiced more, and maybe next year I will and I'll win then. When Tiger loses, what does he tell himself? He worked as hard as he possibly could. He prepared like no one else in the game and he still lost. That has to be devastating, and dealing with that kind of conclusion takes a very special and rare kind of resilience. Most of the psychological research on this is focused on why some kids don't study for tests -- which is a much more serious version of the same problem. If you get drunk the night before an exam instead of studying and you fail, then the problem is that you got drunk. If you do study and you fail, the problem is that you're stupid -- and stupid, for a student, is a death sentence. The point is that it is far more psychologically dangerous and difficult to prepare for a task than not to prepare. People think that Tiger is tougher than Mickelson because he works harder. Wrong: Tiger is tougher than Mickelson and because of that he works harder.

To me, this is what Peyton Manning's problem is. He has the work habits and dedication and obsessiveness of Jordan and Tiger Woods. But he can't deal with the accompanying preparation anxiety. The Manning face is the look of someone who has just faced up to a sobering fact: I am in complete control of this offense. I prepare for games like no other quarterback in the NFL. I am in the best shape of my life. I have done everything I can to succeed -- and I'm losing. Ohmigod. I'm not that good. (Under the same circumstances, Ben Roethlisberger is thinking: maybe next time I stop after five beers). I don't know if I've ever felt sorrier for someone than I did for Manning at the end of that Pittsburgh playoff game.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

You Call That a Sprint?

Run Day

Time- 45 minutes
Distance- 4.79mi
Intervals- 5min run, 5min sprint, 5min jog

Not a great run today. Not awful, but not great. My first cycle of intervals always feels good, and then it gets harder and harder to get the speed up for the next run and sprint, and then the third cycle feels so much slower than the first. Sprinting is hard. Its also hugely in my head, I know. There's a barrier there for me. I think part of it is still being run shy. I hurt my foot trying to run too fast. It doesn't hurt at all now, but I know in my head I'm thinking about how I might hurt it again. And I'm running much better than I was then. My stride is smoother, cleaner. So it was an ok run.
Also, this was the last really challenging workout of my abbreviated training cycle. Next week starts the taper and seven days from this moment I'll have completed my second triathlon. Yay!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Very Muddy Dirtbag

Ride Day

time- 1hr 41mi
distance- 26.48mi

So it stopped raining for long enough for me to set out this morning, but it had been raining hard since last night. We all know what that means, right campers? That's right, MUD! Road bikes have no fenders so all that spray goes right up my front and back. I didn't realize how much so until I stopped at a red light and pulled my handkerchief out (I get sniffly when I'm riding sometimes and its a choice between having a handkerchief or sniffing for 90 minutes. I choose nose rag. Moving on.) and blow my nose. When I take the rag away its got mud on it. Which means either a) GAAAA! I'M BLEEDING MUD FROM MY NOSE!! or b) I'm covered in mud spatter. Going with b.
I felt strong for the first three fourths of today's ride. Pretty good cadence, nice speed, all that jazz. Before I started back up Pineapple Hill (I just realized a few days ago that's what cyclists call the road from Dole Plantation to Haleiwa. Makes sense. It's also a pretty famous climb on Oahu. Right in my backyard. Go figure.) I took the route through Haleiwa that I think is how the race goes next Sunday. It's three laps and should be ok. There are some short climbs which might hurt some in a race setting, but its no biggie. I'm trying to be positive here. If you look on the jogtracker map above the race course is that narrow oval that shoots north.
Climbing Pineapple Hill kinda always sucks, and today was no exception. I went away in my head a little bit, which doesn't help the speed, but made it up ok. That climb, for me, is a mental workout as much as it is physical. I also know that when I have time for a real training cycle I'll be trying to get two and three scoops of Pineapple Hill in on one ride. These thoughts do not help during a climb.
Like I said at the beginning, it poured on the way home. I hoped this would wash some of the mud off the bike but so such luck. Mega-wipe down under cover of carport. Run tomorrow, then I'm back into the pre-race taper week.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cap Fail

Swim Day

1 x 150 Warm-up
3 x 200 Pull 3:15
4 x 300 4:30
1 x 150 Cool down

Cap fail at 5am today. I went to pull my cap on next to the pool and riiip. Damn. Damn damn. I threw a micro-tantrum (3-5 seconds, soundless, kicking the air and stomping my foot) then checked my ponytail in its double rubber bands and got in the water anyway. I used to pack a spare in my bag but stopped bringing it a few weeks ago. Guess I won't be doing that again. The hair really wasn't a problem. There was no swim, breathe, choke on hair, drown. It was more that I had to tighten my goggles to fit better and that's pretty much it. Dirtbag encounters minor controversy and perseveres!
The swim actually felt good this morning. Made all the times with very little trouble, was able to push at a decent level, felt strong. My stroke still isn't great. I'm not finishing past my hip like I should be, but it's kind of late to fix that before the race. Its something I'm making a note of, trying to stay on it, and will focus more on later.
Feeling good. The foot didn't hurt at all during the run, didn't hurt during my rest day...and now its sore. D'oh! Guess that's what I get for not icing post-run. Looking forward to my next race and starting to look ahead. And wishing a bike would show up on craigslist.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mud Brick

Brick Day- 65/30

time- 65 minutes
distance- 18.17mi*

time- 30.23 minutes
distance- 3.44mi

time- 1:35.23
distance- 21.61

*I'm guessing this is right. I rode the same course as the last time I did this brick, so it should be right. I just didn't check the jogtracker at the transition today.

Great brick today. Rode the same course as the last time I had it, it felt ok, not super fast but not too slow. I got up Kolekole in 15 minutes, which is a minute slower than the last time. Pretty good considering I haven't done it in a while. Like Monday, I tried to spend a bunch of time down on the drops. Its less comfortable, but should be some tenths of a second faster. But when I sit up on the top of the bars I feel bigger and slower. So I guess I'll be spending more time trying to be low, and that will be my race position. We'll see how that works out.
Also, it was kind of rainy today but it never rain- rained. Just enough to cool me off and get the road kind of muddy. I finished with mud up my front and up my back. I'm a dirty, dirty triathlete. Oh no.
And the run felt great! That's right, in italics! Nice and smooth, good cadence, never really felt too tired, and I picked it up a little at the end. Check my distance against the last time I did this brick. It's actually a little over a tenth of a mile further. Not much, I grant you, but some. SOme is good. Especially since I haven't run since the race and haven't run really hard for a week prior to the race.
This was a good brick. I feel pretty strong. I'm fairly sure I'm going to have a good swim, get lit up on the ride, and have a good-for-me run. And that works. My time is going to kind of screwy to compare to the first one because the last mile of this run is on the sand, and the swim and ride portions are shorter, but we'll be able to look at my splits and pacing and see how I did in comparison.
Dirtbag tired now. Sushi was a yummy dinner.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trying to Get IT Back

Swim Day

1 x 150 Warm-up
4 x 150 Pull- 2:30
1 x 200 3:00
1 x 300 4:30
1 x 400 6:00
1 x 300 4:30
1 x 200 3:00
1 x 150 Cool down

Total yardage- 2150

Not a great swim today. Didn't have any feelings of swimming downhill, when the body position feels right and the stroke feels fast and effortless. I also barely made my time standards. I was hitting the wall, checking my watch, and going again. This is annoying because I was lighting up sets like this a few weeks ago. Guess that super-light week followed by a week off knocked me down some.
I also think something else is at play here. Post-race comedown. I'm not as amped about this next one as I was about the first. That makes sense, I spent three months getting ready to race. Now I'm trying to turn it around in two weeks. Probably not going to happen like it just did. And thats ok. I signed up for the next one to get another rep under my belt, and to have fun. It should be fun.
AND my ego is a little messed up as far as the swim goes. I was 10th overall in that race, 6th in my wave getting out of the water. That's pretty kick ass. It draws a line where on one side I want to get better and increase my advantage coming out of the water and on the other I feel too good and it makes it hard to focus on that discipline when there is so much I need to improve in my bike and run.
I have to get my eye back. But its only two days in to my new training cycle, as abbreviated as it will be. No time to panic. But I do need to get pumping.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Bike Day

Time- 1hr 20min
Distance- 21.05mi

Back on the bike again today after school. Down to Haleiwa, around town, then back up the hill. I had to get back on the bike. Why? you ask. Simple, my curious reader: I have registered for another tri. And this one is in two weeks. That's right, I had so much fun at my last one I decided to get one more in before the season ends. I'll be doing the Haleiwa Triathlon on Nov. 14th. It is overall a shorter race than the last one, with a 400m swim, a 12mi ride, and a 3.1mi run. So not much shorter, but shorter. I decided to buy another $80 shirt because I want to get as much experience as I can doing these. That way I can get better faster. I'm already in shape from the last race, I took a full week off afterwards to be sick, recover, and spend time with the family that was on island. And now I'm back at it for an abbreviated training cycle. Pretty much, not counting today, I'll be rewinding my training plan two weeks and going from there. Today was supposed to be T2 according to the plan, but I thought I would be better served getting out and getting some miles back on my legs. This was a good idea.
The first workout back after any kind of break is always the toughest and even though it was a short break I'm still not 100% over the cold I let overtake me Monday. So the ride was kind of rough. It felt ok, not fantastic, but not all that fast either. I actually think I pulled pretty well up the hill. I'm trying to get comfortable down on the drops rather than up on the top of the bars. That makes me a little more aerodynamic and puts me in more of a race position. Nearly everyone who passed me Sunday was down on aerobars. I don't have those, so I'm making due. But getting used to riding on the drops will, I think, help me make the transition to aerobars when I find my own bike.
Funny story, on the way up the hill today I passed a guy on another bicycle. He pulled up on my wheel and we got to talking. My first on-bike conversation. Check. He called up to me, "Hey, you borrow that bike?"
"Uhh, yeah."
"From a guy named Obi Tri Kenobi?"
"Holy crap, yeah. How'd you know?"
"I borrowed that bike from him back in August for a century. Thought it looked familiar."
Dude turned out to be a sailor from Florida who knew Obi Tri through friends. He was back on island doing a lap on a rental. Part of our conversation was, "Man, I hate this hill after 86 miles." And I thought, "Dude, I'm not a fan of this hill after 12 miles." He told me he's ridden a century (that's 100 miles straight through, one day) once a month since '07. And sometimes its hard for him because he has to use leave time to do it. Another crazy person! Nice guy though. He dropped back after a mile or so to conserve energy and I surged ahead. My first pass! Check.
So I'm back at it for another two weeks. After this I'm looking at a tri in April for number three unless something shows up on the calendar later. I may sign up for a 10k or a cycle race or a swim to get some more racing under my belt between now and then. Almost forgot how much I love racing. Also need to find myself a ride. Craigslist is less than helpful, but a huge tease. This tri should be fun though. If you check out the course description you'll see that the final mile of the run is on the beach. Ohhh, sand running after a 400m swim, a 12mi ride, and 2mi of running! Yay! This might feel like burning. But in a good way.
I'm worried I'm hooked on this whole triathlon thing. Here we go again.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ko'Olina Tri 2010 Race Report (OR Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About My Triathlon But Were Afraid to Ask)

The race started for me at 3:30am. That's what time the wonderful wife and I got up and got ready to go. I grabbed a Cliff Bar and a banana and we were on our way. I'd packed and prepared the night before so all we had to do was throw all the gear in the truck and drive into the predawn dark.
Parking at the site was well organized and easy. In fact, considering how disorganized the events of Friday and Saturday were, the race day went off without a hitch. I guess if something is going to go well, that should be it.
I found my bike a spot, got my little transition area all ready like I'd been shown at the clinic the day before, and wandered off to warm-up in the water. We were told Lagoon 4 would be open for warm-ups. But its very dark and there is no lights in or around the water. So warming-up was a little tricky. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was the only person to get into the water there, and I only went halfway across the lagoon and back. At least the water was warm.
I got back to my transition area to double check it only to find someone else had made space for their bike and my stuff had been shoved to the side a little. Jerk. But whatever, I fixed and was good to go.
I also was body marked (some guy writing on my arms with a Sharpie) and chipped. The chip is a small, well, chip attached to a velcro strap you strap around your ankle and, "Don't touch! Do. Not. Touch. Noooo touchie!" (I may have made that last one up.) The chip is cool because it electronically tracks your times and entries and extis from the transition area. The chip is why my times are so exact on the results page.
We had the pre-race briefing, which I paced and jittered through and then the Parade of Athletes to Lagoon 1. Basically, that was a whole bunch of people in swim suits walking and talking from one end of the lagoons to the other making jokes like, "Where are the marching bands and horses for our parade?" I may have been one of the jokers. I talk when I'm nervy and around a group like that.
At Lagoon 1 everyone jumped in for a real warm-up which lasted a few minutes. The sun was rising and it was looking to be a beautiful day. The muscles felt good, the stomach was settled (kind of surprising for me), and I felt ready.
Once we all gathered to start the non-military men entered the Starting Box ( I don't know that that was it's name, but it sounds very official dontcha think?) for the first wave. After a blessing from a Hawaiian priestess-lady, they have an official name which escapes me at the moment, the race organizer asked us to kind of seed ourselves by ability in the water to avoid too much pile up. Faster people in front. I didn't know where I belonged but erred on the side of ego and was in the back of the front third. Looking around, he might as well have asked up to sort by body fat percentage. Super-ripped guys in front, fat guys in the back. Whatever.
There is no Ready, Set, Go to start a race, at least not my race. It was instead, "OK! We're starting in one minute!" Jitter, stretch, wiggle. "Thirty seconds!" Jitter, wiggle, shake. "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, well, you get the idea. At one and "GO!" we sprinted for the water. I hit the water about in the same position I was waiting in and started chugging.
My plan had always been to get in and get some separation from the flailers. Get out away from swinging arms and thrashing feet and get my stroke working. Lagoon 1 was close, but not for long. The plan came off just as I wanted. After an initial jockeying for position the field stretched out nicely and I got my own little space of water to swim in.
It was a swim-run-swim remember, so I had to poke my head up to sight on the orange flags at the other end to keep going straight. Getting out at the first lagoon I felt strong and set a good pace across the grass carpet to the next. I saw a few people in front of my but not many. I was confused, where is everyone else? Turns out that I was the sixth guy out of the water after the final lagoon, having been passed only once and that was during a run portion, not the swim. Not too shabby, eh!
I huffed and puffed into the transition area to find my bike. I admit, I may have walked a few steps once I got in there. I shouldn't have, but I did. Weak sauce, I know. The transition felt good, especially since I'd never done it wet or full-on before. My feet were sandy but on the way in to T1 there were water tubs to step in and out of, which I made use of. I hadn't planned to because I figured there were be a ton of people waiting to use, but I was way ahead of the pack at this point and there was no traffic at all yet.
I jogged the bike out passed the Mount Here mark and struggled to get on. That morning I'd forgotten to be sure the pedals were in easy starting position so it took a second and I kind of wobbled off, nearly clipping a more efficient competitor. Not an auspicious start, but appropriate.
My bike was, lets just say, not all that fast. Remember all those people I smoked in the water? Yeah, it wasn't long before they were zipping by me. It wasn't that I was super-tired, though I was feeling it, its more that I have no fast on the bike yet. I felt like I was working hard, pedaling hard, keeping my head down and getting it done. And still I watched others fly by me. I admit, every time someone did pass me I thought to myself, "Kicked your ass in the swim." Not bitter, just keeping myself up. It's hard to continue to race, to continue to push, when you repeatedly watch people you know started minutes behind you scoot by like its nothing. So attitude became a focus during the bike portion of the race. Staying positive, not getting frustrated, trying to have fun. And not feeling like I was going super-slow.
My post-race assessment of my ride is much more positive. According to the results page, I averaged 15mph during the ride, which is pretty much dead-on my training average. This tells me I need to find other people to train with who are faster than I am so I can teach myself to get faster.
My second transition went fairly smoothly, except one of the guys on my rack who'd gotten back before me had racked his bike over my area, so my toe shoes were practically beneath his front tire. Rather than just bending down, grabbing them, and slipping them on I had to kneel, reeeeach, and get on it. It's a small thing, but in a race its an annoying thing. Even a newbie like me knows that's poor etiquette. Also, I grabbed a squirt of water from one of my spare bottles before setting out because I'd forgotten to hydrate at the very end of the ride. Slow, but that's ok. I'm new.
Right outside of the transition area there was the first aid station, which I hadn't planned on hitting at all. I should have been hydrating on the bike and shouldn't need at the very start of the run. I did grab a cup as I ran by though for a cool off splash. Honestly, I felt kind of cool grabbing a cup from a volunteer on the run, dumping the ice water over my head, and crumpling and tossing it into the waiting trash can as I ran by. That's right, I used the trash instead of just dropping the cup when I was done with it. Give a hoot. (And I made up for it at the second aid station when there was no near-by can and I just crumpled and dropped. Less hooting a mile and a half in.)
To be completely honest, I felt great during the run. I thought I was setting a good pace for myself, I came out of T2 with a good heart rate and controlled respiration. I had been passed by an older guy who works at Island Tri and Bike in the last mile of the ride and went right by him at the start of the run. Ha, that'll teach you to be nearly 60 and pass me on the bike...jerk. My stride was good, I had quick feet and strong body position. I passed a few people, got passed a few times, and ran fast for me. Looking at my pace on the results page, I had a really good run for me. Just over nine minute miles. And I was able to dig deep at the very end to finish strong through the finish. I probably could have burned that energy going slightly faster over the whole course but I don't have the discipline or training for that yet.
To keep it light and keep Have Fun in my mind I high-fived many of the volunteers placed along the course, pointing us in the correct direction. I developed a small stitch under my ribs about halfway through the run, I think because the water for the second aid station was so cold. You'd think ice water would be really nice and refreshing, but that much cold all at once kinda hurts. The stitch was forgotten around the final lagoon, when I could see the finish. That's a sweet sight. Right after I crossed someone was there to take my chip and put the finisher medal around my neck. Mom was there for a five and Angela was there for a sweaty kiss. That's a nice way to finish a race.
Post race was nice, walking around, trying to hydrate, taking pictures, catching my breath, and remembering to stretch. The athletes were all very nice, that I saw, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. They handed out awards, posted unofficial times, and had plenty of fruit and drinks for us.
I am very pleased with how the race went. I had fun, I did well, I pushed myself, and, as someone working at Ko'Olina said to me as we left, I was "more alive than I was that morning." I like that. I'm already planing to buy a bike, looking at one tonight, and think that I'm going to register for the Haleiwa Tri on Nov. 14th. That's really soon but I figure I'm in shape so I'll just cycle my training back three weeks and start from there. It will be good for me to get right back on for another race. After that the next tri I see is in April. Maybe there will be an open water swim, a bike race, a run, or a duathlon I can do in between.
Thanks again for all the support and encouragement over the last three months. I know what I'm going to do better next time, and know what to work on. I'll update here when I buy a bike, and when I start working on the next race.
Go Team Dirtbag!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ko'Olina Tri- Photo Blog

I'm still pretty tired and don't feel like writing a race report quite yet. So instead, this will be the photo blog portion of the report.

The Gear:

Race Morning:

The Race:

Post Race:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Finish Line- Ko'Olina Triathlon 2010

Race Day

Time- 1:35.42

I'll post a race report and a ton of pictures tomorrow or Weds, when I have a little more time.
The results page is here and you can search for me by name or in the Sprint Tri category M25-29. I came in 15th in my age group and 68th overall. Great swim, slow bike, surprising run. All in all I'm a happy triathlete.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Fun

Run Day/Prep Day

Time- 10 minutes

Easy run today. Not much to say about that.
Went out and picked up my race packet today. There was supposed to be a Fitness Expo there too that I was excited to check out but for some reason it did not happen. We were also supposed to be able to leave our bikes overnight at the venue to make things easier tomorrow, but it turns out there is no on-site security so the bike came home. So instead I just picked up my packet and we left. Came back at three for a new athlete triathlon clinic by the race coordinator and all around knowledgeable guy, JJ.
The clinic was very helpful and I'm glad I went back for it. He explained the course and how everything is going to go tomorrow, which I'll hear again in the morning but now I already know it. I'm ahead already! He also took us through the transition area and went over how he suggests we rack our bikes and set up our space to be as fast and efficient as possible.
I learned a lot and it got me excited for the race. Made it feel more real. Like holding my bright yellow t-shirt made it feel more real. One thing he said that I really liked was that people, when they talk about the course, love it all, except the swim-run-swim. "Swimmers," he said, "want to get in and swim and then when you're done swimming you're done. Runners don't like swimming and don't want to keep getting back in the water. No one really likes this swim-run-swim course. You'll see." Well I, gentle reader, already saw. If you remember, and I'm sure you do, my training took me to the lagoon for two run-throughs. I've swum-ran-swum the course already and know how better to deal with it. I'm mentally prepared for that leg of the race. And, from what I can tell, triathletes don't like swimming so much. Its just the first part they have to do so that they can get to the fun parts. I, on the other hand, love swimming and and looking forward to that leg the most. I think I can make some time there and get, not a lead, but at least some distance that will make people pass me during the bike and run.
I asked Obi Tri Kenobi for race advice a few days ago. His advice? Go have fun. Those, I think, are some words of wisdom. I tend to get very competitive, very geeked up for races and full on tension. I need to remember to have fun. That this should be a good time. Otherwise I paid $80 to be unhappy and in pain for an hour and a half. I want to be happy and in pain for that time.
With that in mind I will be making small gear modifications. My swim cap (I'll be wearing my own because somehow they ran out. How they ran out, I'm not sure. I knew how many people signed up. Don't they have access to their website?) is flat gray. So when I finish this I'll be attacking it with a Sharpie, decorating it with the Dirtbag Fitness logo on one side and Team Dirtbag on the other. I'll be putting a TD and a DF on my cycling shoes and VFFs with Sharpie as well, which should make me smile when I slide them on. This should be fun. I want to be fast, but I want to have fun.
After the clinic I went for a ride (motorcycle) to see the bike course. I think I went the right way the whole time. Tomorrow there will be cones and race marshals and cops blocking intersections so I shouldn't get lost, but its a small concern. I'll just follow the guy in front of me and hope he's not lost.
Speaking of having fun, I was thinking someone needs to make a shirt that has Master Yoda swim/bike/run-ing and underneath it, "TRI there is". I think that would be funny and I'd buy one.
Tomorrow I plan on being very tired when I get home so don't expect a huge long write-up. I'll do a race report, but probably on Monday or Tuesday after I've had time to digest it. Tomorrow I'll probably just post a picture or two and my times.
Many thanks to everyone who wished me luck, supported me with comments and donations, and sent positive vibes my way. Team Dirtbag is stronger for its support team.
Get some.

Friday, October 22, 2010

One More Early Morning (And The Non-Party Party Update DLC)

Brick Day Swim/Bike

Distance- 500yds
Time- 7:49


Got up early this morning for my final swim and bike. Nothing was challenging and, in fact, I didn't even actually ride the bike. I was in the pool at the gym by 5:30am, did my 500 yards to stretch the muscles out and get the feel for swimming that early, and then got out and got on a stationary bike. I didn't ride mine because I would have had to tote it to the gym, lock it somewhere, run through the gym wet, ride in the dark, lock it again, shower, change, then go to school. Easier just to leave it home and use the gym's equipment. I am paying for it, after all. Boring 30 minutes on the gym bike, then I was outta there.
For those of you just tuning in, I am doing my first triathlon this Sunday. I've been kicking my ass for three months to prepare for it and I think I'm ready. I know this will be a very mental event. I have to believe and know that I'm fit enough, strong enough, and prepared enough to not only finish (I have no doubt I can finish), but finish strongly and do well. "Well" is a relative term, of course. I have no baseline for what "well" is. This is all experimental at this point. I'm also excited to get it done so I have a frame of reference for next time. I already know training changes I would make for next time. I also need to find myself a bicycle, since the one I'm using is a borrowed ride. This whole cycle has been a great learning experience for me and I'm looking forward to putting those lessons to use next time.
I'm pretty positive there will be a next time. Unless there is some unforeseen tragic event this Sunday, some reason I realize I'm not liking this at all, there will be a next time. And I just don't see something like the happening (hence it being "unforeseen").
Team Dirtbag's Official Parental Booster Club (TDOPBC) hit island today specifically to watch the race, which is really nice. Hawaii is a long way away and it ain't cheap. Takes some of the cheering at 6:30am duties off Stitches, which I'm sure she appreciates.
Tonight is some kind of athlete welcome party thing out at the venue and we'll be hitting that in a few hours. If there's anything exciting I'll update this post.
****Added 9:25pm***
The Non-Party Party Update DLC
The website for the triathlon says that tonight out at the resort there will be an "Athletes Welcome Party". Well...not so much. Turns out what that really means is "If you're an athlete competing in our event you are more than welcome to hang out at the bar/lounge in the hotel, which will not be marked in any way, nor will the people who work at the hotel be notified you might be stopping by so they will be really confused when you ask where the Athlete Welcome Party is, and they will try to help you but really they'll just be sending you out to wander around the hotel area trying to find this fictional 'party' which doesn't exist because we were not specific about this particular portion of the event." So, what that means is we got there, couldn't find where we were supposed to go, Sarah at the restaurant was very helpful twice and got us all the way straightened out, and we ended up at the lounge we started in. Turns out the event organizer just meant that athletes could meet and hang out in the bar/lounge if they felt like it, but they weren't going to actually do anything that night. Could have been much clearer. We did, however, find out where tomorrow's stuff will be, so that hopefully saved some time. This is the glitch for the weekend.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another Brick In The Wall

Brick Day- 35/25

Time- 35.28 minutes
Distance- 10.18mi

Time- 26.05 minutes
Distance- 2.68mi

Total Distance- 12.86mi

This was the final brick in this wall. Like my swim, I cruised it. I didn't work too hard, my heart rate never really rose, my breathing was never labored. It's purpose was to get the muscles moving and prepare them for Sunday.
I'm actually pretty happy with both parts of today's brick, especially considering the above paragraph. 10 miles in 35 minutes when I'm not working isn't too shabby. That means when I'm pushing race-style I should be making good time. And the run felt great. If you look at the time/distance correlation its right around 10min/mile. And I was cruising slow. That is encouraging. There was lots of speed not being used during today's run, no heavy breathing or leg strain at all. I think I'll be able to pump the run on Sunday. Looking forward to it.
I feel strong and I feel as ready as I could be. Rest day tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Night Swimming

Swim Day

1 x 150 Warm-up
3 x 100 Pull- 2:00
3 x 200 Swim- 3:00
3 x 100 50-5,7,9; 50- fingertip drag- 2:00
1 x 150 Cool down

total yardage- 1500

Not too much of a swim today. I didn't do much in the way of really pushing it, more focusing on long strokes and good rotation in my shoulders, which is something I think I have been neglecting a little. Not completely forgetting, just not thinking about as much as I should. Shoulder to chin. Shoulder to chin. Finish past the hip. Got it.
I pumped the 200s at about 85%, but the rest of the swim wasn't all that exciting. This whole week is more maintenance and clean up. Tomorrow's brick is pretty short. Trying to focus, trying to visualize, trying to get my head in the game, but not take it too serious. This supposed to be fun, remember? Let's have some fun.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Practicing Putting on Shoes, Then Changing Them (Then I Talk About Shoes)

T1 & T2 Day

Today I worked on both T1 and T2. So I grabbed my gear and went outside. I set the bike up and arranged my helmet and glasses on the handlebars, with both pairs of shoes opened as wide as they will go near a small towel laid out on the ground.
Then all I had to do was go. I jogged up to my makeshift transition area, pretended to wipe sand off my feet, slipped said pretend-sandless feet into cycling shoes, popped on my glasses then my helmet, and grabbed the bike and jogged off. Once I was a few feet away I climbed on and clipped my left foot in.I didn't clip in right away because, as I learned after doing a little research on transitions, there is a special transition area at triathlons and those are a No Ride zone. Keeps everything safer and more organized.
Then I turned around, unclipped, and jogged the bike back to my transition area for T2. This, I think, is going to be a more important transition for me. The key is not to rush it, but to use it as recovery time. I've already said that I plan to dial it back some the last half mile of the ride to get my heart rate down, and keeping the transition slowish and unpanicked will also help with that. I put the bike up, took my helmet off and hung it back on the bars, and slipped out of my cycling shoes and into my Vibrams. The toes aren't going to be too much of an issue I don't think. It seems more that I'm trapping the heel of the shoe under my own foot and I have to dig it out, so I need to be aware of that. Like I said though, I'm not going to panic or stress during this transition. I practiced breathing deep and slow and calming myself down so that I'll be ready to take off on the run.
I'm thinking after this race I might experiment with full-on barefoot running. I've been doing a lot of reading on it and the running world is very divided on the issue, as you can imagine. But it seems like a small step to go from FiveFingers to nothing at all. I read a running blog where the guy loves his VFFs but is not a fan of going completely without and I've been on some forums where the people swear by going unshod. The general consensus is, "Just try it. Go on a short run and just see." So I think I might. I have no idea how I'll like it, if at all, and I don't expect it to be a regular thing. But maybe barefoot every few runs will be something I really enjoy. Assuming I keep up with the triathloning (pretty sure I just created a verb there), going without shoes on the run will severely cut down my T2 time. Not like I'll be qualifying for pro races by doing that, but a PR (Personal Record) is a PR. At the very least it'll make other racers look funny at me, and we all know how much I enjoy that. Or I won't like it and stick with the VFFs, which I still love and want another pair or two of. The foot is still a little sore after runs, but it's not nearly as bad as it was and I don't feel it while I'm running. I think I'm a full on convert to the minimalist trend.
We are inside a week now. *starts humming Eye of the Tiger*