Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We Have a Swim!

Bike Day
distance- 18mi
time- 50 minutes

I'm really pretty pleased with how I laid this down. But much more excited about the below.

Swim Day
1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 200- 3:00
3 x 50- Sideline kick
5 x 100- IM
5 x 100- 1, 2, 3, Swim
1 x 500- 6:53
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 2900 yds

Ladies and gentlemen of Team Dirtbag and the Dirtbag Fitness Universe, your favorite Dirtbag is pumped. Excited. Rock and rolling. I've just registered for the Popoi'a Open Water Swim, a 1.6mi race on Sunday, June 19th.
Those of you who know me or who have been following this blog know that swimming is my forte. Of the three disciplines of triathlon, the swim is my least worry. This puts me in a strange camp among triathletes, since most of them come from cycling or running backgrounds. And it means that I get to watch everyone pass me on the bike and run. But not this time. This time its swim, swim, and only swim. And I couldn't be happier.
You may remember me having gripes during the training cycle for the Honolulu Tri about my swimming. I felt like it wasn't coming together during workouts. After today, I think I know why. I wasn't worried about the swim. My focus was on the other two events, because I know my swim will take care of itself. So when I was in the water I was working hard, but never as hard as I could have been. I was saving for the afternoon's bludgeoning.
For the next 20 days, there will be none of that. I will still be biking and running, of course. But my focus is going to be almost completely in the water. I want to do well on the 19th. Not kind of well, but really, really well. I looked at the finisher times from last year and the winner laid down a 35 something. I don't think that's a reality. But the guy who won my age group did a 40:35. That's right about where I estimate my time to be. Watch as I drop math on your heads:
The Honolulu Olympic Tri was 1640yds. 1.6 miles is 2800yds. That is an increase of 1200yds.
1640yds + 1200 = 2840
My swim time at the Honolulu Tri was 23:15. Let's assume I hold a 1:30 pace for the next 1200yds, which means I do that in about 18 minutes. That gives me a total swim time of 41:15.
23:15 + 18:00 = 41:15
BUT, this math does not take in to account the conserving I was doing during the triathlon's swim leg. I had two big sections to come so there was a lot of swimming at less that absolute capacity. And I still averaged a 1:33 pace. I know, I know, I know, I can push harder than that. Especially with people around me also pushing.
My only concern is during my last training cycle I only broke 2900 yards a few times, and not for a while. So today that distance was my goal and I felt strong the whole time. There was some stroke work in there, but I killed the IM set and the 200s. And check out that 500 time at the end. I worked that bad boy hard and put in a 6:53. Killer pace right there. The difference is there will be much more legs than normal. I save my legs for the bike and run during a triathlon, because my stroke is strong enough to get by. But no bike or run, no reason to save the kick.
So tomorrow morning I'm going to be back in the water for another big workout before my first day teaching summer school. I'm looking for at least ten good swims by the 17th, which is plenty doable. I'm really looking forward to trying to break it off during a short, intense training cycle. And I'm looking forward to going after some Masters swimmers and seeing if I've still got it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

How Was Your Weekend?

Ride Day- Saturday
distance- 50mi
time- 3:09

Run Day- Sunday
distance- 6.5mi
time- 1:00

I was going for a long weekend this weekend. Nearly made it. I turned the corner on the way back to the house Sunday, had about a mile to go, and my stomach just cramped up hard on me. Had to walk it back, I had no choice in the matter. Still, a 56.5 mile weekend isn't something to scoff at.
Travel with me, if you will, to Saturday. I set off, the weather is nice, and I've got 40 miles planned. BAM! Wind. Bad wind. Crazy wind. But I'm Dirtbag Tough and I fight through that. Head down Pineapple Hill, do my Haleiwa course, and back up Pineapple Hill. Brutal. Not the climb, though it ain't easy. The wind. The wind pushed me around like it wanted my lunch money. But then it got better. I must have found a small space of road wherein the wind could not reach me. Trees were my friend. But the trees allowed me to think, "I feel pretty good. Instead of going on base then home, I think I'll do the ride to school and back. Make it an even 50 miler today. Why not?" Stupid trees. Especially since half the thought that got me back up the mountain was, "Only 40 today." And there are no wind blocks on the last 20 miles of that ride. Slowest. Return. Ever. But I made it, I fought through. And my total time was just over three hours. Not too bad.
As for my run, you already know how it ended. It started much better than that. Felt great. Quick stride, strong. It was hot out but I'm too strong for that to have bothered me. Much. As a moral booster, I climbed a bus bench. No, really. The turn around point for my run was a bench at the TheBus stop. So I hopped on to it, struck a heroic pose for a moment for the passing cars, then hopped down and continued on my way. I must get faster on my feet. It'll come.
More on the future of Dirtbag Fitness some time this week. I have plans. Soft plans. But plans.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gluttony, Self-Control, and the End of the Year

Want to know what the hardest part about the end of the school year is for me? It's not the report cards or the last minute paperwork, though that all sucks. It's not cleaning the room, moving the desks, and then realizing there was a massive mess under the mess that just got cleaned. And its not dealing with 29 fourth-graders who can smell summer break like pie cooling on a nearby windowsill.
It's all the food.
And trying to be fit-minded in the face of it.
This is not something unique to Hawaii, though I have found that when Hawaiian's do meetings and get-togethers they do food big. There are no small snacks and little luncheons. If grinds are being provided you had better not have eaten dinner the night before. And administration and teachers love bringing food to the last staff meeting of the year. All teachers everywhere celebrate the year's close and the student's departure with a bacchanalia of foodstuffs.
On top of that, students love bringing food to the last day and benevolent dictators such as myself, who have been preaching the values of fitness and healthy living for nine months, let down our guards and allow whatever junk their parents want to send into our sanctuaries. I then spend the next eight hours amazed at a ten year-old's capacity for putting it away.
If you have never had the chance to be around children and grub, know this:
They will do anything for food.
They will eat like they have never been fed, have never seen such delights, like they are Augustus Gloop in Mr. Wonka's factory, if you provide yummies.
Today was the last day of school. I had kids bringing in cupcakes, chips, brownies, more chips, cookies, and goodie bags. Sure, I could have been a more responsible teacher and assigned snacks and students and divided the class up by the Christmas party and the End of the Year party. I could have done that. But I'm normally too busy teaching to remember those kinds of details. So on the last day my room turns into Buffet From Heaven. And they eat and snack. Then they go to lunch and pick. Then they come back and ask if I can hand out the cupcakes mocking them from the back table.
And they always bring enough for their favorite teacher.
Yesterday, some parents provided lunch. Take out from a local food joint. Much the tasty goodness. And I, like an idiot, got seconds. Because it was good and I'm no better than my students. And wanted to sleep through the last forty-five minutes of teaching. Then we had the Aloha staff meeting. And the staff brought food and snacky-snack-snacks. Well, I can't be rude, can I? Because I'm actually worse than my students.
I was so full yesterday after the meeting and lunch my stomach was still distended when we went to bed. I was going to work out after school yesterday. I could barely sit up on the couch. Today I was smarter. I knew I wouldn't be able to fend off all the children plying me with goodies. So I got up early and did 2100yds in the pool. Ha ha! Showed them.
Until...stupid cupcakes.
Normally, I'm pretty good about what I eat. I'll snack and have the occasional chocolaty dessert. But I'm also swimming 45 minutes, riding at least an hour thirty, and/or running an hour. I've earned those M&Ms. (Dark chocolate, please!) I fight the good fight against the Demon Temptation. But the last two days I've ended up prone on the classroom floor at 2:10, staring at the ceiling fan, and wondering how I was dumb enough to do that to myself AGAIN.
But now the year is over. Scrumptious temptations won't be so ubiquitous. Salad will be the word of the day. And dark chocolate M&Ms will be a treat after a long day on the bike. It's hard not to feel guilty about over-indulging until I waddle. But it's not a habit, and that excuse helps me justify my foolishness. Over the last ten months I've earned a few minutes lying on my carpet, watching the ceiling fan, and listening to students celebrate their freedom from the oppression of their educational overlords. Today I digest and relax.
But tomorrow, it's on and the pain will remind me I'm alive and striving for stronger.
This is Dirtbag Fitness and there is work to be done.
Today though, there is probably nap to be done. And Pepto.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm Back, Baby! (and a short BIkila review)

Ride Day
distance- 30.4mi
time- 1:32

Run Day
distance- 6.1mi
time- 57min

First workouts back after my week of sitting on the couch watching TV and playing video games. And I gotta say, I'm pleased with one and not terribly shocked by the other.
After throughly checking the bike over and determining that aside from an out of whack aerobar and bottle cage, both easily fixed, everything was hunky-dorey I hit the road for a ride down in to town. I've done this ride a few times now and I really like it. The first third is downhill, but not in a huge WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE kind of way. Just enough that I get a small false sense of ability. Then it mostly levels out and there are a few climbs and dips before a straight shot to the finish. Its a good time. And I feel I laid down a good time doing it. Check it out, thats about a 20mph pace. Right off my race pace. Can't complain. And I need to get used to bigger distances so this is a good place to start. There are big future bike plans for Dirtbag Fitness so stay tuned.
As for my run...meh. It was slower than race pace, which frustrates me. But I know exactly why it was slower. This is the last week of school. Lots going on. I have a hard time staying inside my head normally for an hour. So focus was not working out today. My plan for running is to find a track, I think there is one on base, so I can work on getting my Fast going. And to make six miles feel like the short distance. I don't plan on doing any runs less than six if I can help it. This will begin to prepare me for whatever the future of Dirtbag Fitness holds.
Today was also my first run in the Bikilas and so far I like them just fine. There is slightly more underfoot than the KSOs, but that's the point of these shoes since they are the running-specific VFF. And that "slightly more" is only noticeable because of how much time I spent wearing and running in my KSOs. It still is pretty much as minimal as you can get without taking them off completely (or rocking some huraches, which I haven't done yet but am interested in). Right now the toe shoes feel a little tight, but I bought them that way. VFFs tend to stretch slightly and I've found it's better to err on the side of tight. I wish I had them last Sunday during my race.
Distances will build, strength will come, and pain will pass into power. Dirtbag Fitness is on a goal-seeking mission.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Buying All The Things!

Your favorite Dirtbag is making purchases like I have money! Which I only kind of do!
The first purchase made was a shiny new pair of running shoes. After much talking about it I finally got paid and went to the best running store on the island, Runners HI, and picked out a pair of Vibram's running-focused shoe, the Bikila. I've been meaning to get my toes on these babies for a while now (even before my KSOs decided to prepare for the faux-Rapture) and was quite excited by them. I haven't actually gone for a run wearing my new kicks yet, having been on a one week Sit On The Couch And Not Workout post-training training plan*. So next week, when a run does actually happen, I'll be sure to give a full run-down (get it? Get it!?).
To go along with the merriment of spending money on triathlon stuff, I also bought Kratos a new seat! Why, you ask. That is a good question. Especially if you look back through my many many many posts and notice that not once have I even mentioned needing or wanting a new seat. Well, dear reader, what happened is this: As I was putting my bike up on the rack the day before the Honolulu Tri I noticed a small tear in the seam of the seat. Not a large or even a large-ish tear. Just a small one. But in the sun/rain/sun weather we have here who knows how long it will take that small tear to becoming Epic Seat Fail. So to be on the safe side I started searching and researching new seats. I really like the one that is on the bike now but couldn't find it for a decent price. So google google google, text Cycle Dirtbag, google google, open seventeen tabs on my browser for comparison purposes, aaaaand paypal! I went with a Specialized Romin Expert Saddle, found on ebay. Why ebay? The seller advertised free shipping! Free shipping to The Rock (my Rock, not the Nic Cage movie, which was pretty awesome**) practically means I have to buy it. Why that particular saddle? It's got excellent reviews all around and looks to be similar in shape to the one currently on the bike. I'm also excited about the anatomical groove down the center which is supposed to ease pressure on the, to quote the always eloquent Jeremy Clarkson, "gentleman's sausage" and surrounding areas. Hopefully it gets here and I'm as happy with it as I think I will be.
Bonus best part of the saddle purchase is how I paid for it. I didn't! You did. Thanks to your wonderful donations during the Guess My Time 50/50 Challenge I was able to completely pay for my newest piece of cycling equipment using only my paypal account balance. This is the bomb-diggity, as the kids don't say anymore. And be assured that as soon as it comes in there will be pictures of the Dirtbag Derriere perched atop it. I know, you can't wait.

*SOTCANW training plan designed by Dirtbag Fitness. For more information please donate $500 and send me an email requesting all my tips and tricks

**I would like to point out I could have gone with a wrestling joke right there but didn't. You would have expected that. So instead I went with a movie that the millions...AND MILLIONS of The Rock's fans have seen and enjoyed. Especially the part when Sean Connery takes his boot, shines it up real nice, AND SHOVES IT RIGHT UP ED HARRIS' CANDY ASS!!! *People's Eyebrow*

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Honolulu Olympic Tri Race Report

**Warning: Long Race = Long Race Report. If you want to read a short report on my race you haven't been paying attention to my blatant disregard for word count.**

Honolulu Olympic Tri
Swim 1500yds- 23:15 (Pace-1:33/100yd)
T1- 2:10
Bike 25mi- 1:12:04 (Pace- 20.8mph)
T2- 1:51
Run 6.1mi- 52:02 (Pace- 8:24/mi)
Total time- 2:31:21

The day started like any other race day. Early. Way early. 3:15am early. Even the roosters near our house were like, "Hey man, it's freaking early. Go back to bed." Prerace prep was done the night before, because I'm a responsible Dirtbag. So all we had to do was hit the head, grab some Cliff Bars and a banana, throw my bag and my new foot washing basin (aka Rubbermade bin) in to the truck and we were off.
Saturday at check-in I had also bought a parking pass for ten bucks, which guaranteed me a parking spot in Magic Island's lot. I figured this was worth the money because the last thing I wanted to do at 4am was drive around looking for somewhere to park. And I knew the last thing I'd want to do before I left was walk however far back to that parking spot. So parking was easy. One less aggravation.
This morning was not only an Olympic distance triathlon, oh no! That is too small and simple. This was the Honolulu Festival of Sport. It featured both an Olympic and Sprint distance Tri, a 5k and 10k run, a Youth tri, a Sprint Dualthon (2.5k run/20k bike/5k run), AND a 3.8k open water swim (which happens to be the distance of an Ironman Triathlon swim). There were 1200 people on the start list. 705 of those people were with me, doing the Oly. That is a lot of people wandering around a beach park in the pre-dawn trying to get loose and find an open Port-a-Potty. *Side note: Would it be so hard to equip those things with a small light? We can't do that, Port-a-Potty People?* My race and the two foot races were scheduled to begin at 6am. Off with the sunrise. I assume our races start so early because it gets hot quickly here and we don't want to be out in the midday sun. Also because we were using a main road for the bike course and Hawaii drivers do not take kindly to someone using their traffic area. And by traffic area I mean the place where they plan on stopping for no reason and causing massive traffic.
Because of the size of the start list, the swim went off in waves broken by gender and age group. My group, men age 35 and under, when first. Suits me right down to the ground. I'm jittery enough before a start. I don't want to watch others go first. Plus, that's less people to swim around (because I'm the Tattooed Wake, remember?). So I was in the start corral first with probably 120 other guys or so. I positioned myself behind the obvious fast starters but ahead of the nervous-looking fellas. They trust us to self-seed in these mass starts so you look around and try to gauge who will be swimming over you and who you'll be swimming over and place yourself accordingly. I'm fast in the water, but not elite fast. I'm in the front of the first chase group. Easy to find.
Countdown over the loudspeaker. "Ninety seconds, gentlemen!" Jitter. Wave arms. "Sixty seconds!" Jitter. Flex toes. Roll shoulders. "Thirty seconds!" One last jitter. Shake the magic to the tips of my fingers. Press goggles into eye sockets one last time. Dig toes in to sand for the run to the water...
No one told me we were using a mini-cannon today. We've never used a cannon before. It's always been a BEEEP or some dude going, "Go!" So I might have been startled and said, "Shit!" And we were off! An auspiciously Dirtbag start.
I seeded myself well and the mass start mosh pit broke up pretty quickly. The biggest early decision is how far do I high step in to the water before diving and swimming. Too far and you slow yourself down. Too early and you get stepped on by the guys going too far. Bodies bump, feet kick, hands thrash, and then I'm in the clear. As expected the elites are off, never to be seen again expect as they pass me on turn-arounds later. And I'm holding a strong position and my stroke feels great. Smooth, quick, long. Every few yards I poke my head up to check my direction using the big yellow guide buoys. I also pick some feet in front of me to follow. Hope he's not lost. The swim is the only place during a triathlon I make regular passes. It's the only place I get to feel stronger than the other racers. And I feel strong. The feet in front of me seem to be maintaining a decent pace so I decide to hang with them. As the swim progresses I sometimes pull even with the owner of the feet and sometimes am right on his six. We make the 750yd turn and head back to shore.
At this point there are other waves heading the direction I just came from so I made a note to stay well to my side of the buoys. I don't know if I drifted too far in or if someone was way outside where they should have been but I went head on with someone. Clonk! We both only stopped for a moment and then were back to it. A preview of what was to come.
Around this time I decide to get some draft going. It's illegal on the bike but easy to do in the water, especially with this guy so close. So I latch on and let him do the pulling, swimming in his wake and feeling clever. Haha, I think, sucks to be you. Thanks! And I feel smug for a while, until fingertips brush my toes. What the hell! Some jerk is drafting off me?
We make landfall around the same time and jog/run to the transition area. My bike is near the bike exit side, which means I have a longer run to the bike, but then a short run from my bike to the mount line. Using my new wash basin, which Sexy Wife had filled with water earlier, I dip my feet and pull on my shoes and helmet. Not the fastest T1, but not awful. It needs work.
I felt good getting out on the bike. I had left it in the correct gear when I put it up so I was able to get on and get a good cadence going right away. I also immediately noticed a problem. You see, dear reader, we were all given numbers to put on our bikes. Most people, myself included, stuck this flag-like sticker around the top bar of the frame, which connects the seat post to the front-end. I didn't think too much about whether to stick the numbers close to the seat or closer to the bars and it ended up more to the former. Lesson learned. Next time I'll put that damned thing as far forward as I can get it. Why? Because when the wind catches it, and it does if the bike is moving, it makes that number flag wave. And that number flag is juuuuust long enough to touch the inside of my thigh. So every single pedal stroke than damn thing scratched against my left inner thigh. Not enough to hurt hurt or even make a mark, but enough to annoying hurt. And bending, creasing, or crunching it didn't help in the least. For 3/4 of the ride it was amazingly annoying.
Like I said, and I've said this before in other race reports, coming out of the water early, and I was 42nd out of the water out of all 706 finishers, only means that I get to watch the stronger cyclists and then runners pass me for the rest of the race. But for maybe five minutes I didn't see but one or two other people. The road was mine. Then one dude would flash by, then nothing but quite road, then another would come zipping by. Kind of cool. I bared down and got to work. Because here, unlike the water, I have to focus to make the Go Fast go. And focusing was getting difficult with that damned scrape scrape scrape on my thigh.
The course was mostly flat with a few very shallow climbs and descents. Nothing too painful or slowing. I was mentally ready. For almost all of it. I knew the basic layout of the course and I'd even ridden it that Monday. But I had never gone out the short out-and-back they had to add to get the distance up to 40k. And that screwed up my head. At the turn around right outside the Arizona Memorial I was still feeling strong. I even made my only attack of the ride, passing a guy while climbing. I felt pretty badass when I did that and it got me through a couple of miles. I started thinking too far ahead. And then we turned on to Lagoon Drive and I mentally wiped out. For some reason it felt much longer than the five miles or so it probably was. I mean, it was flat, it was straight, ninety degree right turn, straight, U-turn, and back but I had such a hard time keeping my pace up. It's parts like that which are why I don't race with my bike computer. Because as good as it would feel to see those numbers hanging in the 20s it would be incredibly demoralizing to see them drop in to the mid-teens. And I know I was in there for two or three miles. I was fighting it. But I knew that as soon as I made the right back on to Nimitz and the main road I'd be fine because the end really would be in sight.
Not quite.
I spent the whole ride down on my aerobars, proper racing position. This puts me far away from my brakes. That's ok because in a race why would you need to brake? Well, one reason you should brake is because you're coming up to a sharp right and you might be going a leeeettle bit too fast. You might do that. If you were bright. I did not. I stayed down on my aerobars, leaned in to that right, felt really good about how well I'd managed the corner, noticed I had taken it too far without straightening back out, had not enough control down on the aerobars, clipped one of the cones lining the course with me right pedal, had time to look up and see the next cone right in front of me and think, "Awww fuck," then I hit it full on, which shot the bike to the right directly in to the curb. The bike stopped but, thanks to Sir Newton, I did not, flying off to the side, landing and partially rolling on my back. To my credit, and I do like to give myself credit, I got right back up and right back to the bike. My biggest concern at that point was not, "I hope I'm not hurt!" It was, "I hope my bike isn't hurt!" Because I can finish the race with scrapes and bruises. I was five or six miles from the transition area. I can't finish the race with a flat or a bent or broken bike. Quick check, tires inflated, everything spins true, water bottle cages slightly ganked, one aerobar slightly lower, good enough. And (I swear I did this) with a barbarian bellow I was back on the bike and cranking. I honestly think the crash helped me finish the ride. Nothing says Adrenaline Rush like a high-speed crash.
I knew I was scraped and muddy but had no idea how bad. I'd been getting passed for over an hour now by individuals and groups and that didn't change at the end, but I did feel focused again. It was time for my least favorite leg. The run.
I trotted in to the transition area and had a slow slow T2. Sexy Wife called to me asking if I was ok and I nodded that I was fine and blew her a kiss. But I was a little shaky. Fatigue and a crash, you know how it is. And I'm sure she was worried. I ride away fine and ride back muddy and scraped. This race also marks the last time I go without a race top. Had I been wearing a top the damage would have been much less. Obi Tri Kenobi was there watching some of the racers he's coaching for the Honu Half Ironman compete and talked to me about my race afterwards. One of the things he said was, "Yeah, saw you got pretty scratched up. You weren't wearing a top, were you?" It was said in a gentle, conversational way but I know coaches. He really said, "You should have worn a top, dope. Don't do it again." I speak Coach, I get it. And I will from now on. Dirtbag likes racing without and it is more comfortable, but protecting my fragile (sexy) skin is more important. (Even though scars are cool.)
Here's the thing with the run: I have had some good runs over the last 18 weeks. But none of them were what actual runners would consider "Fast". I did. But I'm still not a runner runner. I'm learning. And my training was seriously lacking in brick workouts. I should have been bike/run-ing once a week for nearly all of it and I didn't and I totally felt that during the six miles on my feet. And if that wasn't enough, I was running in my VFF TrekSports after deciding that the hole in my KSOs was just too much and it wasn't going to work to tape them. Let's just say I could have been more prepared than I was.
I felt slow. I kept thinking, Ok I need to pick it up, come one lets get that cadence going but it never really got there. A lot of that is that I don't run six miles fast on a regular basis yet. So there was fear and caution and a mental block to really reaching deep. I did my best. But I never really ran for it. On the run course they put out mile markers. So you run for a while and then you pass a sign, "1 Mi". These are both good and bad. It helps you pace yourself and know how far you have, hard hard you should be pushing, when to stop conserving and just go. But, for me at least, it also meant that I'd pass the one mile marker, run for what felt to me like a while and I'd start to think, "I'm sure I've gone another mile. Maybe they aren't putting those out every mile. Maybe it's like one, three, and five. Because I'm sure I've gone at least two miles now." And then I would pass the two mile marker. "Damn." Messes with your head. I promised myself I'd push after three, but I couldn't find it. I did have the energy to crack a joke with one of the volunteers. To motivate (?) us there was a DJ at about the halfway point spinning 80s and 90s hit. And I called out, "Hey, we need some SLAYER!!!" The volunteer nodded and smiled and pointed the direction I was supposed to run. I don't think she understood. But if I ever organize a race there will be metal all over the place. Slayer makes for fast running.
I promised myself with one mile left I'd push. Really push. And...I had a hard time finding anything to push with. I did manage to break through the last 100 yards and sprint-ish to the finish, passing three people staggering in but getting passed by a little girl, maybe ten or eleven years old who was finishing her youth tri. Yeah, a small child beat me to the finish. So I gave her three pages of homework and detention. No, she's not in my class. But teachers have that kind of power. Don't tell anyone I told.
Overall, I'm very happy with my performance. I think its obvious the race didn't go exactly to plan, but I can't complain. I told Sexy Wife a few days prior that I would be happy with anything around 2:30, shocked if it was faster, and bummed if it was slower. I hit the nail right on the head. I also correctly predicted my swim and bike pace pretty well. How can I complain about averaging nearly 21mph over a 25 mile ride, especially knowing I crashed both mentally and physically during it and knowing I was conserving for the run? My run, as Obi Tri would tell me later in Coach-speak, "needs work." But I know that and it gives me something to focus on. I need to go out and find run drills and workouts tailored to speed over distance. I'll get it.
One last funny thing about the race: Half of Japan was there. There was a massive Japanese contingent. Which meant that they needed a translator. This woman, this tiny little Japanese woman, had the most stereotypical Japanese voice AND the most stereotypical Japanese-to-Engrish accent you have ever heard. Like, if you put someone who sounded exactly like her on a TV show you would get massive amounts of "I'm so offended by this offensive display of offending offense!" letters. She was awesome.
Anyway, I'm taking this week off completely. No running, no bike, no swim. I'll start planning my future races in a few days. There are no local Olympic distances coming up that I can find so it'll be Sprints and I think I'm going to do some open water swim races. I should find run-only and ride-only races too. That would help.
Your friendly, long-winded Dirtbag is proud of himself and I'm ready to find more challenges. I would also like to thank everyone who participated in the 50/50 Contest and everyone who helped and encouraged me during my training. Team Dirtbag Rocks!

Monday, May 16, 2011


And now, the blog seven of you have been waiting for...THE DIRTBAG FITNESS 50/50 GUESS MY TIME CHALLENGE AWARD BLOG SHOW THING!!!!
First of all, my actual time according to pseresults.com is 2:31:21.
Now, let's take a look at the closest guesses each player made and its difference from the actual time. We aren't Price Is Right-ing this thing so there will be no "closest without going over" nonsense. The winner will be the person who is purely closest to the actual time.

Closest Guesses +/- actual time
Andrew- 2:19:00...-12min 21sec
Mike- 2:35:30...+4min 9sec
Dad- 2:27:30...-3min 51 sec
Matt- 2:35:15...+3min 54sec
Summer- 2:34:15...+2min 54sec
Pharris- 2:33:15...+1min 54sec

And the winner of the First Ever Dirtbag Fitness 50/50 Guess My Time Contest And Fundraiser is...
Amelia- 2:32:15...+54sec

Amelia, I will contact you via email to set up all the stuff and things. Much thanks to everyone who played for your donations and for supporting Dirtbag Fitness!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Honolulu Olympic Tri Photo Blog of Magnificence

A race report and Official Announcement of the Winner of the Dirtbag Fitness 50/50 Guess My Time Contest is forthcoming. For now you may bask in the glow of the Photo Blog:

The wife was amused by being able to see my hair through my cap. I am an important part of this relationship.

Mass of athletes preparing for the staggered swim start. Men 35 and younger go first.

I'm the guy in the orange cap. See me?

That guy had been drafting off me for 300 yards. Jerk.
(This will be funnier when the race report comes up)

Never too tired to throw a kiss to the Sexy Wife

Its a good thing I'm putting my helmet on.

All right, Dirtbag, let's get some.

Mounting up...

...And getting gone

...And coming back

Yeah, thats mud and road rash. I forgot to keep the rubber side down. Stupid cones.

I'm scraped but I'm Dirtbag Hardcore.

Have to throw the wife another kiss.

Chugging away.

Finish hard, and with a solid time

Road rash close-ups. This wasn't too bad on my leg, mostly just dirt

And I killed a bug with my throat. You don't try to impede the Dirtbag.

Scrapes right after the race.

Tagged my elbow pretty good too.

One more goal achieved. Time to go find more.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Honolulu Tri Prerace Photo Blog Extravaganza!!!

Race Time: T-minus a coupla hours or so
Rather than do a pre-race packet pick-up-hyphen-filled write-up I thought that I would share the pictures that came out of this morning's preparation activities. So that's what you get instead. So there.

The morning's first activity was inspired by high school swimming and helping me get my head on right.


I have sexy legs. I can't not say that.

Once at Magic Island I had to wait in line to get my packet. My line is the slowest line. I choose not to see this as an omen.

Kratos ready for blood. *kiss* Have a good night!

Nifty neato at this race, we got stamped instead of Sharpied. Body marking took place today to speed up tomorrow. Good call. True story: When she was stamping me she asked if I wanted the stamp on the tattoo or below. I told her, "Below. If no one can see the tattoo how will them know I'm a tough guy?" She laughed at me. Why do they always laugh?

A nice, neat stamp on my freshly shorn calf...

Which I immediately smear with my shorts.

Dirtbag 77. I saw a woman who got 666. I want 666! That would be the most metal race ever!

I bought a new hat for the race. Then I tried taking a picture of it and walking at the same time.

The most reliable pre-race dinner: tofu tacos. Light, full of protein, and super healthy. My stomach is always happy in the early morning with these.

Yay for Super Sexy Wife!

What they gave me (minus the hat)

So tomorrow morning at 6:03am I'll be the guy with the bright orange swim cap...in the middle of all the other bright orange swim caps.

So that's it. Time to hit the sack, I've got an early morning ahead. I'm ready. I'm strong. Let's get some.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Ride Day

distance- 10mi

My taper has nearly ended. Tomorrow I will jog for ten minutes to keep my legs loose. Then I will go in to town, drop off my bike, kiss it, get body marked, start to walk back to the truck, go check on Kratos one more time, then go home and relax.
At this point there is nothing I can physically do to be faster and stronger aside from conserving energy. It's kind of a hard week. I never worked out very hard and I found myself thinking, "Just a little harder. One more run can't hurt. I ate a little too much last night, I should go work some off." And I couldn't. Conserve, rest, wait, repeat.
What I can do, and what I've been trying to do, is build trust in my training. I spent 18 weeks working as hard as I've ever worked, including when I was swimming in high school and college. This has been a focused stretch of go go go recover go go go recover and I need to get it in my head that it all paid off.
Two weeks ago I was shredded, as thin as I've been in I don't know how long. Post weekend workout, when I was dehydrated and hungry, I was floating off the scale at 164. That's an artificial weight, I realize that, but it's still freaking low. By the time I was fed and hydrated again I was up three or four pounds. And right now I'm hanging out around 169. I think if I had controlled my snacking better I'd be lighter. And lighter is faster...to a point. But there is no danger of me developing an eating problem. My wife cooks too well.
I've had a few breakthrough workouts this training cycle. Some of my runs have felt incredible, and I've finished 40 miles rides feeling fresh and strong. My swims never really felt like they peaked, but I'm coming from a different place with that skill and I'm trying not to let that bother me. Out of the three, I know for sure that my stroke will come when I hit the water and get some clear space in front of me.
So now it's down to believing in what I've been doing on land. Knowing that all that effort has cumulated inside me and prepared me for Sunday. This should be a fun race. You can't beat swimming in our version of the Pacific and the odds of perfect weather are high. There will be over 2000 athletes there, from elite crazy people throwing down 1:59s to guys and gals straining for a 3:30. And I'll be in the middle of all of it, trying to have fun, trying to keep my game face on, trying to stay focused for 25 miles of riding and six miles of running. Trying to trust my training and really make it hurt because I know that even through it hurts, I've earned that hurt and I have its measure.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Taper Interrupted By Weather

Swim Day
1 x 150- Warm-up
2 x 200
3 x 100- 1:30
1 x 650

Cruised the swim today. Stretched it out, relaxed it, tried to find that good stroke, good catch, good finish.
Was supposed to ride today but it was raining at home and, frankly, I'm tired of riding in the rain. I was at school late today working on stuff for next year, its my taper week, and I decided to sit out getting soaked today. I'm kind of grumpy because I'm tired and because I feel guilty for not wanting to get wet. But the race is Sunday, I'm active enough to keep the muscles loose. Tomorrow is a complete day off and we're going to see a UH Baseball game, then Friday and Saturday are mega-short keep loose workouts.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Two Days of Taper

Swim Day
1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 100- 1, 2, 3, Swim
3 x 200- 100- 5, 7, 9/100- stroke count
3 x 50- Sideline kick
1 x 100- Cool down

Ride Day
time- 1:41
distance- 30mi

Run Day
time- 44 minutes

It was strange to get up early Monday morning and think about it being almost the last time this training cycle I'll have to get up at 4:45am. I'm not going to lie, it helped drag me out of bed. At this point everything is tweak and rest, so there was nothing dramatic about my swim. I pumped a few of the 200s and that's all.
My ride yesterday was fun. I cruised from home in Wahiawa down into Honolulu, a 30 mile ride. But it is mostly downhill the whole way. It has to be, Wahiawa is the highest point on the island and Honolulu is literally at sea level. It took me an hour forty to do it and I know I could have shaved at least fifteen minutes off that had I been working it. Maybe 20. The best part about the ride was the final ten miles was on the roads I'll be riding Sunday. I went from the Arizona Memorial, under Nimitz Highway, and in to town, stopping just short of where the transition area will be. So I got to see where the road will be smooth, where there is a slight downgrade that will help me build speed, and what kind of gearing I can be using for the most effective power/cadence ratio. I don't know if this actually helps, but it makes my brain feel better.

The city has put up these signs warning people about the road closure for the race Sunday. I got a kick out of seeing the sign on my ride. Ha, suck it people in cars on this stretch of road from 4am-10am on Sunday!

And today's run was smooth, easy, and a little damp. I waited until the current downpour passed before setting out and only got sprinkled on while I was running. For the most part I cruised nice and easy, stepping it up for a half mile or so just so my legs would remember what a good pace feels like. I also tried fixing the hole in my VFFs with duct tape. This seems like a good idea. Until its wet outside and the tape flop flop flops right off after a mile. Might just be running with a hole in my shoes. That's freaking Dirtbag style anyway!

Don't forget about the Dirtbag Fitness 50/50 Fundraiser! We now have an entrant and if no one else plays he's going to win by default. You're just going to let that happen?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It Looks Like the Rain Stopped...No, No It Didn't

Ride Day
time- 1:44
distance- approx. 30mi

It poured all morning today and I thought I was going to have to suffer through a session on the stationary bike at the gym. But the weather started to clear around 1:30 so I decided to go for it. It wasn't that bad. Better than going to the gym and wanting to kill myself for ninety minutes.
I didn't much very much in to this ride. I went down to Haleiwa, around, then back up Pineapple Hill. It must be a good thing that I can now get up PH without too much exertion. Sure, I have to work, but if I'm not trying to speed demon it up I now have a climbing cruise. I did get up out of the saddle a few times on the climb to take some of the strain off. That felt good and while I can't stand and pound for an entire climb it is a good tool to have in my slowly growing arsenal. It rained on and off for most of the ride. Not massive soaking downpour, but enough that I was wet the whole time. Still better than the gym.
I also took another step towards being fully ready for the Honolulu Tri this evening. Because the start list is so huge (2,000+ registered) they had a few in-person race briefings but they also emailed out a PowerPoint race briefing. I clicked through that. Nothing fancy, nothing I didn't already know for the most part. But it was good to see. Packet pick-up is Saturday, along with body marking and bike drop-off. Its coming close. Here's a link to the briefing if you'd like to see the secret things race organizers tell triathletes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Long Run In Blessed Shoes

Run Day
time- 60 minutes
distance- approx. 6mi

The last long run of this training cycle almost didn't happen. Its been pouring here all morning and while I'm ok with running in the rain, I'm not ok with drowning during it. Luckily the rain eased up and I was able to get out and get on the road with only slight sprinkles. I felt good, went easy, and didn't push. Can't say too much about that.
Once I got home and checked my KSOs I realized that Fail has been brewing and I'm running out of time to prevent it. You may remember my posting a while ago that I had holes in my KSOs. So I ordered new ones. Those came and gave me serious blisters when I tried to run sockless in them. So I have gone back to my old KSOs and I'll be replacing the new ones as soon as I can get to an REI. I thought I would have plenty of time and I wouldn't have to mail them. Not so sure anymore.
Above is how the holes looked when I first discovered them. The two on the toes are the most obvious but there is a teeny tiny one by my thumb that is hard to see.
See it now? Holy holey shoes, Batman! When the hell did that get there?I'm not sure if its been building over time or if I stepped on a sharp rock in exactly the right place and did it all at once but...damn. Also, check this out:
A hole in my sock? Really? Really? I wore a hole in my sock. Gaaaa...
Now, I'll still be wearing these next Sunday. They are my favorite shoes to run in and its not a good idea to switch gear right before a race. But I'm going to have to say goodbye after Honolulu. Sad Dirtbag. Until I get new ones that fit better. Happy Future Dirtbag.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blaming Children and Finding Fuel

Swim Day
1 x 1000- Swim
total- 1000yds...duh

Run Day
time- 45 minutes
effort- hard

This is Teacher Appreciation Week. Today at my school, this meant it was Dessert Day. Oh...good. Children bringing me brownies. Cookies and chocolate in the lunch room. Great. It's a good thing that when confronted with such spoils I exhibit strong self-control. Meaning that I only ate two brownies and a couple of cookies (They had M&Ms on them! Unfair!) This is not helpful during taper time.

Anyway, I did a nice easy grand in the water this morning. My only goal was to stretch it out and maintain a nice stroke. Didn't even bring my watch.
My run today was the intense run for the week and I nailed it. I didn't think I was going to have the power. We've been practicing for a May Day performance at school tomorrow and I spent a ton of time out in the sun with my kids. Burned me out. But I nailed the run. Not sure of the distance because rain was threatening/falling and I didn't want to soak my Dirtbag Distance Determining Device.
I think I found some fuel to use when my resolve starts to slip. I had the haka in my head during the run today and I think it helped. The Haka is the dance Maori warriors did before going in to battle to geek themselves up and to scare the crap out of the other side. It works. Now the NZ All Blacks do it prior to every game. It still works. I'm going to have this saved in my head so when I start to feel weak and need that boost, I'll be playing this clip. Hell yeah.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Get Intense But Tapered

Ride Day

time- 1:21
distance- 24mi

Worked hard today, just like my plan was. It felt good to get out on the bike and try to maintain a good, quick cadence and good aero positioning. Honestly, I'm not convinced I have my bike set up quite correctly and I think I might take it to IT&B this weekend for a pre-race fitting. You know, because that might make the difference between the podium and not...Actually, comfort is important and feeling like I've done everything I can to be ready includes some TLC for my gear.
It rained some today, but that's alright. Wasn't too heavy and I was feeling kind of hot anyway. Tomorrow I have an easy swim and an intense run. I'm hoping the weather cooperates.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Taper Intensity

Swim Day
1 x 150- Warm-up
2 x 250- 4:00
1 x 500- 7:30
2 x 300- 4:30
1 x 200- 3:00
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 2050yds

Run day
time- 30 minutes

Ok, so I lied yesterday. I said that Tuesday (today) would be the intense run day and Thursday would be the intense swim day. Then I looked at the plan for those days and decided to switch it up. So today I cranked my swim and cruised the run.
And you know what? I'm happier with this swim than I have been in a while. I made all my time standards, my stroke felt strong, and it was pretty good. I'm mentally focusing on the finish on the stroke, getting my shoulder to my chin, and getting that elbow high for a good grab.
I got an artificial boost early in the workout when I was nailing the 250 and getting tons of rest. "Hell yeah," I thought, "I'm killin' it." OR I had given myself more time that normal. if you guess the latter you would be correct. Never the less, by the time I realized that I was well in to the 500 and shrugged it off. I'm trying to prepare mentally for surviving the mosh pit start and finding some clear water to get my stroke working. The key to my swim will be not getting bogged down early and being right behind the lead group. I won't be with them, but I should be able to be in the front of the first chase group. Then sticking to my stroke cadence and length, and bringing a good finishing kick to the last quarter.
I decided to run without my Dirtbag Distance Determining Device today for two reasons. One, this is taper week and I was on high cruise, so I don't care. Two, it was pouring right before I left on my run and strapping my phone to my arm in the rain seems stupid. The Weather Gods did smile upon me however. I had gotten my shorts and toe shoes on and was ready to rock when the skies opened and a torrent of rain poured forth. Damn, its going to be a wet one today. Then the wife came home so I walked her inside and she gave me a space pen that writes upside down and underwater for Teacher Appreciation Day (Week? I should know this.). Very cool. And by the time I was done playing astronaut the clouds had either rained themselves out or moved on to soak someone else's run. Off I trotted. Big run happy for today was it was perfectly split. I turned around at 15:00 and arrived back at my house at 30:23. Can't get much closer than that. There was no heavy breathing or pain involved, this is not my hard run for the week, yet this still pleases the Dirtbag.
Tomorrow will be the high intensity ride for the week. I hope the rain stays away.

Monday, May 2, 2011

So Begins the Taper

Swim Day
1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 100- 1, 2, 3, Swim
3 x 50- Sideline kick
3 x 200- 100- 5, 7, 9/100- Stroke count
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 1500 yds

Bike Day
time- 1:24
distance- 24.5

The taper has begun. I've done some reading up on the proper ways to taper and the general consensus is volume should drop, intensity should drop slightly except for certain workouts at race pace for the first week. The second week, the week of the race, volume drops more and intensity drops except for short bursts at race pace to maintain feel. The goal is to conserve and store as much energy as possible. The challenge is finding the happy medium between high-zone workouts and being lazy during them. Also, I can't miss workouts, that's not tapering.
So my plan is to have one high intensity workout in each discipline this week, with the other two at 70-85%, and closely follow the training plan I laid out in the beginning. Which is why the swim this morning was so short. The plan called for 1500 yards and that's what I did. Nothing too heavy duty, just stroke work. At this point I'm not going to get any stronger for the race but I might be able to fix my stroke finish a little more. Fine fine tuning.
The other thing to keep an eye on, according to most articles and books, is diet. I've been hungry a lot because I'm burning so many calories during workouts. But as volume drops I need to be sure my calorie intake does too.
Bike was pretty good today. I've decided my higher intensity days will go Tuesday-Run, Wednesday- Ride, Thursday- Swim. Which meant that while I did some pushing today, I didn't do a lot. Narrowly avoided the rain though, which is nice.
And on a I'm Kinda a Dumbass Sometimes Note- the ride during my upcoming race is 25 miles, not 20 like I've been thinking. It's 40k and dumbass American did a lazy conversion once and that figure stuck in my head. So the ride is five miles further than I had be thinking. This isn't that far, but will add some time. Adjust your predictions for the 50/50 Contest accordingly.