Triathlon Training: Nation’s Triathlon Race Report

Posted by | Filed under Triathlon | Sep 21, 2013 | No Comments


Meeting with the team, going over last minute race details.

Meeting with the team, going over last minute race details.

Mid-America Nations Triathlon Team

Mid-America Nations Triathlon Team


Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C.
United States
The Nation’s Triathlon
65F / 18C
Total Time = 2h 42m 36s
Overall Rank = 639/2860
Age Group = 3539
Age Group Rank = 101/316

Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 3:50AM in order to be out the door at 4:30. Pre race shower, bathroom, etc. Grabbed some coffee and a bagel with peanut butter and met the team in the lobby at 4:30. Road the shuttle to the race site. Bus driver got lost in D.C. after spending 20 minutes going the wrong directions. Another athlete helped her get back on track.

Bike was already racked, so pumped the tires, taped the gu’s, lubed the shoes, etc. Another trip to the jon and then hung out with the team. Jamie, Jana and Lucas arrived at this time and we just relaxed until the race start.
Event warmup:

I spent 2-3 minutes doing some jogging barefoot through the grass. Nothing more. No swim warmups were allowed.  For the most part, we relaxed and hung out with the rest of the Team-In-Training teammates.

Here's me getting "in the zone" for the swim.

Here’s me getting “in the zone” for the swim.


General Race Comments:

I chose to race without my HR monitor and my watch set to show my nothing but altitude. I wanted to race purely by “feel” but still have some data to review post race.  This is a departure for me.  I wanted to get away from thinking about the data and just race.


31m 36s 1640 yards 01m 56s / 100 yards

The day before the race, thinking about swimming in the Potomoc.

The day before the race, thinking about swimming in the Potomoc.


It was a time trial start, but swimmers were required to sit on the boat dock and jump in feet first. No diving allowed. Every 5-10 seconds a group of 8 would go. I leaned forward at the whistle and kind of dove/jumped in so I landed feet first but falling onto my belly. This put me in a good position to just start swimming and I already had forward momentum instead of being completely stopped.

Teammate Mark and I.  We started in the same wave.

Teammate Mark and I. We started in the same wave.

One of the benefits of the TT start is that there is less congestion at the start. This is helpful to me as I don’t get too freaked out like I have in the past. On the other hand, it makes drafting very hard because the faster feet are already gone and it’s tough to latch on to a new set if I get passed. I swam pretty decent and at about the 250M mark started seeing new color swim caps from the previous wave. At the 600M mark I was pasted by a new color cap and this guy was flying. This swim course is great because there is a bouey every 100M and each one is marked with the distance. This makes it easy to concentrate on “one 100 at a time”.

What would you do differently?:

Not much, just get faster.  I am a decent swimmer and I admit I have not worked very hard on getting faster.  It’s tough to focus so much on the swim when I have other glaring weaknesses.  Execution was pretty much what I was trying for. In hindsight, I always wonder if I could have pushed harder, but overall it went well.

Here's me passing a bunch of people in transition. I don't know why those guys were walking.  Race people!

Here’s me passing a bunch of people in transition. I don’t know why those guys were walking. Race people!


02m 27s


I ran out of the water and passed many people along the way. Many were walking and I was surprised by the lack of urgency on the part of many.

This was the first time to bike without socks (in a race) and the first time I’ve used rubber bands to place my shoes on the bike.

This allowed me to knock off over a minute from last year’s T1.

I was able to mount the bike but had a little more trouble that I had hoped getting my feet off the tops of my shoes into the shoes. I spent about 15 seconds wobbling around trying not to get hit by anyone as I negotiated my foot into the right shoe. I had practiced this several times the day before to make sure I could do it, so I wasn’t too concerned…but I knew the race nerves were making it a little more difficult. This slowed me down at the beginning, but even so I was off and going much faster.
What would you do differently?:

Continue to practice getting my shoes in.


1h 11m 43s24.85 miles20.79 mile/hr


I’m still shaking my head about this course. The good: being a 2 loop course, it was very good for spectators and I had underestimated the boost that I would get from seeing my family and friends. In most triathlons that I’ve done my family see me once, or twice. Usually in transition. Due to the new course, they were able to see me at least 4-5 times as they figured out when I was going to fly through. The bad: everything else. The race organizers announced the new bike course very late, only a few weeks before the actual race. I’m sure they knew there would be back lash. Each lap had two “no passing” zones that were about .25 miles each. This was very frustrating as I was forced to slow way down during this time. Also, the course itself was very rough, with lots of potholes, bumps, gaps (joints in the bridge). There was also a plywood built ramp at one of the turn-arounds that I witnessed at least one person blow a tire on. Overall, this course went from a fun, fast course to a course riddled with obstacles.

Overall, I’m pleased with my bike time. I improved nearly 2 MPH over last year and considering the change in the course, I consider this to be a huge improvement. I’m also pleased that I didn’t blow a tire or wreck considering the course.

I started to tire a bit about half way through the first lap, but I think I warmed up a bit afterward and never had that feeling of “is it almost over”.

Jamie and Lucas cheering me on.

Jamie and Lucas cheering me on.

What would you do differently?:

Not too much. As bike fitness continues to improve, my time will improve. This course was *much* slower than last year’s and my bike time was faster, so I think that means I was *much* faster.


01m 35s


My transition was pretty quick. I was at a far end away from the center row and actually went down the wrong row, but I don’t think I lost any time because of it. My shoes had Body Glide stuffed in my known hot spot and I was off.

What would you do differently?:



55m 17s 6.21 miles  08m 54s min/mile


My run time was below my goal. Last year I ran an 8:28/mile pace which was/is far and away a MUCH faster run time I’ve ever done, anywhere (Of this distance). I’ve always been suspicious of that run time. That said, I had been doing a bit of speed work and had started thinking that I may be able to approach or beat this time. That was the goal. I knew it was in jeporady as soon as I started off. My legs were just not responding. Even though I didn’t have my watch, I knew my pace was way off 8-8:30. I never found a good pacer that I could hang with and I started to get a little frustrated as I saw many in my AG pass me. I’m used to this, however, and know that this is my area to improve upon.

A good picture that shows my extreme under-pronation.

A good picture that shows my extreme under-pronation.

At about the half way point point I saw a lady who passed me at mile 1 up ahead. She seemed to be moving at a good pace. I decided to pace off her and try to pick her off. I timed her using a cone and realized I was about 23 seconds behind her. At the next landmark I was 25 seconds behind, and then 28 seconds behind. I was going the wrong direction and not catching her.

Down the homestretch.

Down the homestretch.

At mile 5 I saw my TNT Coach. She spotted me and started cheering me on. I was on a loop portion so I saw her for a while. She ran with me for about a hundred yards and I stepped up my pace. My last mile pace was around 8:15 but as a whole I just couldn’t get moving fast enough.

What would you do differently?:

In hindsight, my improved bike time may have been at the expense of my run. I didn’t feel like I had pushed it too much, but I couldn’t get it going. Also, I may also have had too high expectatons of expecting a 1 minute per mile improvement over previous races.

I need to continue to improve my run fitness.


Warm down:

I crossed the finish line and received my medal. This is such a great event with all of the fellow TNT team members. I met up with my wife sister in law and we went down the run course to encourage other teammates. We stayed until the very end and cheered all of the other Mid-America racers.

We headed to the TNT tent and I got to talk with Dave Scott for quite a while. That was fun.

With "the Man", 6X IronMan Champion Dave Scott

With “the Man”, 6X IronMan Champion Dave Scott

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Overall, my run just need improvement. I’m making strides in every area, but this is still my weakness and my focus for improvement.

Post Race:

After the race, I grabbed my medal and met up with Jamie and Lucas.  We headed back to the run course to watch the other racers.  Suddenly, my sockless feet were very uncomfortable.  They were burning.

Never Give Up became a theme this year.

Never Give Up became a theme this year.

The most fun part of the day was cheering on each one of my teammates as they finished the run.  I had a handful of cowbells and made a ruckus whenever I saw one of them.  I even got to run alongside a few of the.  That was really a lot of fun and a great way to end the day and the entire Team In Traning Season.

Event comments:

I love this race. Two huge disappointments, however tarnished the event.

#1 was the bike course. While it was spectator freindly, it was not athlete friendly.
#2 was that they ran out of medals. Only the top 30% of finishers received them. This is inexcusable. This race has many first-timers and people who were just trying to “finish”. To run out of medals is unacceptable. I received one, and like it, but it would mean alot more to many people who had never competed in a triathlon before.

Overall, with the exception of these two issues, the event is great and fun.  Being a part of Team in Training makes this a can’t miss event and one I want to keep coming back to.

Post race, with my medal and cowbell.  Gotta have more cowbell.

Post race, with my medal and cowbell. Gotta have more cowbell.


Triathlon Training: Omaha Triathlon Race Report

Posted by | Filed under Triathlon | Aug 9, 2013 | Tags: , | No Comments

The Omaha Triathlon has come and gone. I did this race in 2012 and my performance has stuck in my craw all year long. I was determined to improve. At the end of the day, I saw a huge improvement over last year. While I may do this event again, I know longer have “the monkey” on my back about this.

Here’s my detailed race report below.


omaha RegionalChampBOUS-Para3

Omaha, Nebraska
United States
Mimran Event Management
82F / 28C
Total Time = 2h 56m 54s
Overall Rank = 82/185
Age Group = 3439
Age Group Rank = 20/32

Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4 and ate 1/2 of a potato. The family slept through this one as there was a chance of thunderstorms. I left the hotel at 4:30 and as I left the sky was flashing with lightning. I arrived at 5 and did the chip, body marking, etc.

Next, I set up my transition next to my pre-racked bike. I had plenty of room for my stuff. Since it looked like rain was coming, I stuffed an extra pair of socks in a plastic bag under my bucket. I didn’t care about anything else getting wet, but thought dry socks may be easier to pull on.

Event warmup:

To warm up, I jogged to the porta potties and took care of my business. Other than that, i did some usual stretching and then just tried to relax and calm myself.


32m 51s1640 yards02m / 100 yards


I felt much better about this swim than normal. So, I’m a bit disappointed that my time does not reflect that. I was pretty relaxed overall even though it seemed I had more contact throughout than is normal. I did not left the contact bother me and after about 300 yards I was able to relax and get my breathing under control.

I felt good for most of the swim however as we got to the back 1/3 I felt that it was taking too long. I wasn’t really fatigued, as much as it seemed I had been swimming longer than I expected. I was hoping to finish in about 28 minutes, so my intuition was correct. I was in the water than than I had hoped.
What would you do differently?:

Improve my swim training. I don’t think I am swimming hard enough in training so I’m not making significant improvements. I have heard several people report that the swim was long. That makes me feel about 1% better.
02m 42s

In looking at my transition time, I was much slower than many. I don’t practice transitions…at all. Maybe I should and look at shaving 1-2 minutes off.
What would you do differently?:

Possibly practice?
1h 21m 5s24.85 miles18.33 mile/hr

Last year this bike course killed me. It is where I learned I was not in triathlon shape. I was determined not to let that happen again.

Last year, during the bike I developed a pain in my adducter region and it got so bad that I had trouble pedalling. I was miserable. I haven’t really felt that same pain again.

This year, I was determined not to burn myself on the first long climb. I stayed seated and spun through it, surpisingly passing up many people along the way. I really noticed that many people were grinding out with a really low cadence and seemed to be doing nothing but toasting themselves.

As I neared the turn around point, my right adducter starting to really hurt. Oh no. I hadn’t felt this since last year on this same course. This time, however, we and the pain had a little talk. I successfully talked myself intoo beleiving the pain was just in my head and that I would revisit it after the run. And I did. I didn’t feel it again.

The rest of the bike went pretty well. I spent more time in the smaller ring than I had planned to. I hammered the descents as hard as I could. I had several battles with other competitors.
What would you do differently?:

While there is still much room for improvement, I was pretty satisfied with how the bike went. This course is tough for me because I think the climbs take a larger toll on bigger guys like me.
01m 47s

T2 went Ok. I took a Lava Salt at this point. Put on the running shoes and belt and was on my way.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, unless I actually want to practice.
58m 28s6.21 miles09m 30s min/mile

The run went relatively well. A person that I was battling on the bike got out of T2 faster than me. She was ahead of me for the first mile and I eventually caught her and passed her. About mile 3, I was running up one of the big hills and was nearly knocked over by a huge cramp in my left hamstring…just like Topeka. I couldn’t move it for a few seconds and had to walk. After a minute or so of walking and massaging it, I worked it out and it didn’t bother me.

At this point, the lady that I had passed caught me. She stuck with me for almost the rest of the run. With about 1 mile to go, I increased my pace to try to lose her and another guy. As I was crossing the dam, my hamstring started to tighten again…I fought it for a bit, but could feel the cramp coming on and had to back off. Both of them passed me and for a moment I sulked. As we approached the final downhill slope, I kicked it and I was able to finish ahead of both of these competitors.
What would you do differently?:

No much. More run training and conditioning is what I need.


Warm down:

After the race, I chatted with Jesse and the packed my stuff up.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

More training.

Event comments:

I was eager for my rematch at this race. After finishing it, I am a bit mixed on my review. Last year, I thought the organizers were on the ball. This year, there seemed to be more confusion. Several little things bothered me:
- the price of this event was about $35 higher than similar events, just there were some missteps along the way.
- they ran out of size L shirts. Seriously…how does this happen? Unacceptable as far as I am concerned. The shirts are nice, but I can’t wear it so it’s a waste. Small thing, but annoying.
- At the finish line, there was water, but all the Gatorade was gone. Fortunately, I found a volunteer who scavenged one for me. Again, how does this happen? I finished middle of the pack…they should not have run out yet.
- I appreciate the main sponser providing snacks after the race…but for some reason tortilla chips and a tiny cup of pica wasn’t very appealing.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my race. I feel like I vindicated myself a bit over last year’s race. While my time was not what I had hoped for, I admittedly had a very hard time setting a goal time. Since each course is so different, with its own challenges, I think I’m learning to be able to evaluate each race on its own. For this event, when I toss the time aside and just evaluate my effort, I’m pleased. I probably raced to my fitness level. I know how I felt during the event last year compared to this year, and this year was much better.

Triathlon Training: Shawnee Mission Triathlon Team Race Report

Posted by | Filed under Triathlon | Jul 16, 2013 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments

I think that each race, or event, has it’s own story-line–or narrative. The Shawnee Mission Park Triathlon was no different.

I live only minutes from the park, however I’ve never wanted to do this event. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the funny distance (it’s not a traditional Olympic or Sprint distance). Maybe it’s that the bike course is repeat laps of the same loop. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t seem like such an “event” for me, as most of my triathlon’s have been farther from home. Whatever my preconceived notions were, I’m glad I did this.

I was asked to participate in a relay team. Considering my triathlon budget is pretty well spent, and the fact that I could always use some open water swim time, I readily agreed. Besides, I was told that there is rarely much competition in the team divisions and maybe we could take home some hardware. I don’t come anywhere close to sniffing contention on my own, so I thought that maybe this could be an opportunity to road someone else’s coattails (particularly, Josh’s) to contention.

Preparing for the race was so simple. Almost too simple. Typically I have a long list of “to do’s” and checklists to go over. Since, really, all I needed was my jammers, goggles and swim cap there wasn’t much prep. I couldn’t help myself though, and went ahead and grabbed one of my gym bags with an extra set of goggles, some tools, tire tubes, etc. Better safe than sorry, just in case our cyclist forgot something.

After arriving at the race site, I just kind of lingered around. I looked for the competition. I visited with one fellow at the open water swim practice three days before who was also swimming for a team. He looked long and lean, like a swimmer. I also noticed a cyclist with a Raging Bull jersey.

The Raging Bulls are a prominent triathlon team in the KC-area. They are competitive all over the country. With their prominent bright green jerseys, snorting Bull logo, and bright red target on the back of the jersey, they can be an intimidating presence. The general opinion is that these guys are fast.

I noticed that all of the teams had low bib numbers. We were number 10, and I didn’t see any team bibs with numbers above 12. I made a mental note to check out the “low” bib numbers.

This was an important swim for me. While I am a decent swimmer, my swim times have been a disappointment during triathlon. I tend to panic. I tend to exhaust myself. I tend to think dark thoughts. I lose my form. I rush my breathing. While my pool time tells me I should be a 1:35-1:40/100 swimmer (which would put me toward the back half of the front of the pack in most races) my actual race times have been about 2:00/100 (usually squarely in the middle of the pack).

I looked at this as an opportunity to focus myself on nothing other than having a good strong swim. I knew if I performed well, this race would not be lost in the swim. With Josh’s speed, I knew we had a chance, no matter what.

I made my way down to the beach area to do some light warm up swims and mentally prepare. I took note of a Raging Bull swimmer doing a few short bursts in the water. He looked pretty fast, but how much can you really tell in a short warm up? His low number on his cap told me he was one of my relay competitors.

I had looked at previous year’s relay times and I knew that if I just came in under 1:50/100, or so, we’d be very much in contention. No big deal. Just focus.

As my wave was called, I made my way to the line. It was a time trial start. Every 5 seconds, two competitors would enter the water. I noticed Raging Bull guy was first in line. Typically, the faster swimmers move to the front to try to avoid the congestion of passing slower swimmers. I took my place in the middle. I have made the mistake of overestimating my speed in the past. Plus, I also wanted to consciously start deliberately in order to stay relaxed.

“keep the race under control and let Josh seal it on the run”.

When it was my turn, I ran, then dove in and could immediately tell that the swimmer to my left would not stay with me. I tried to remain calm, not swim “hard” and get into a groove. I quickly started passing swimmers and doing the usual bumps that are normal in any triathlon swim. About 300 meters in I notice a green bull jersey to my right. I take a breath and notice the single digit number on his cap. He was struggling.

“Out of the way jack, this express train is coming through”.

Suddenly, my confidence grew. I knew the bulls were a major point of competition and I was confident this dude wouldn’t catch me. I settled in and worked on remaining focused. While I still was not as relaxed as I had wanted (and needed) to be, it was improved over my last few races.

As I turned the buoy and headed back to the swim finish I found sighting to be a problem. I was looking straight into the sun. I used “the force” and guided myself along the floaties on my right. Soon, I was at the swim exit and I sprinted to the transition area. I gave the timing chip to our cyclist and my day was essentially done. He headed to the bike course and I headed to the free pancakes!

Soon, I made my way to the run-exit to watch for our team rider. He clocked his first lap at 12 minutes. He was hoping for an under-50:00 ride which would have been faster than last year’s winning time. Right on track.

At some point, I thought it odd that I hadn’t noticed team raging bull come out of the transition area. I didn’t think too much of it. I dropped that guy and figured that unless our cyclist wrecked, Josh would easily run us to a win. No one catches Josh on the run.

Glory! Honor! Victory!

For some reason, on the rider’s final lap, I suddenly got worried. I never saw team raging bull. I headed over to transition and waited for Josh to take the timing chip. Still no sign of them. Josh and I joked and clowned in the transition area as he waited. Soon, he took the timing chip and bolted out of transition and hit the run course.

Before I knew it, he comes sprinting up the final hill to the finish…looking as fresh as ever. It honestly makes me sick to see someone handle a rough course with ease like that, clocking 6 minute miles the entire way.

After collecting our finishers medals our team relaxed and started waiting for results.

Many results were posted, but no team results. Soon, I saw the Raging Bulls team. They seemed awfully interested in the results. Not sure why.

We waited. And waited. At this point, we had no idea why the team results were not posted. So we waited until the award ceremony. I had a strange feeling. No longer was I confident we had won. In fact, I had the opposite feeling. I had a feeling we had lost, but wanted to see the times.

Eventually, the awards were handed out. Raging Bulls won. We finally stole a glance at the times. It was not close. We got crushed.

Hmmm. How did it happen?

For starters, the swimmer that I spotted warming up and starting out first at the swim start was our guy. He just happens to be one of the fastest swimmers and triathletes in the entire region. He posted the 3rd fastest swim time of the entire day. His swim time was about 1:03/100. I never saw him in the water.

The guy that I passed and felt so good about beating was another raging bull swimmer. I don’t know why he had a low numbered swim cap, but he was NOT their relay swimmer. He was not involved in the relay at all.

The Raging Bull cyclist averaged about 23MPH, about 3MPH faster than our cyclist. Our cyclist did a very good job, but raging bull guy turned in the 7th fast bike split of the entire day.

By the time Josh got the timing chip, we were sunk. He carved 5 minutes out of their lead in only a 4.5 mile run, but it was too late.

Am I disappointed? Only slightly. I have no reservations about my swim: I did my best and accomplished my goals for that day. I had a great time and a great experience. That said, my fastest swim ever is nowhere close to 1:03/100. I may have felt bad if I had only been 10 seconds back, but that simply wasn’t the case.

So the narrative of the day is that sometimes you “win”, even if you didn’t finish with the best overall time.

The last bit of irony is that I think the Raging Bulls team gets a bit of a bad rap. They win alot and some people do not like that. As it turns out, the swimmer for their team is a local triathlete that I met a few weeks prior to the race. He generously donated a price to my Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraiser. He didn’t know me and didn’t have to do that. It’s funny that he turned out to be the one who smoked the swim.

Triathlon Training: Saint Louis 5150 Race Report

Posted by | Filed under Triathlon | Jul 9, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments


Innsbrook, Missouri
United States
Ultramax Sports
72F / 22C
Total Time = 2h 54m 19s
Overall Rank = 211/509
Age Group = 3539
Age Group Rank = 32/56

Pre-race routine:

I stayed in Wentzville, MO. Other than my questionable choice of hotel, this worked out well. The family and I loaded up and left the questionable hotel at 5:45AM. I arrived at the race site about 6:15.

I racked the bike, and checked and re-checked everything. I had a large blister on my achilles that I covered with a hunk of duct tape…hoping it would hold.
Event warmup:

Did about 75 yards of light swimming until I spotted my friend’s yellow tri jersey in the water so I sped up to catch him. I probably did about 150 yards of swimming to warm up. The water felt great.

At some point, i felt something sharp on the beach but didn’t pay too much attention. I noticed after the race that I had about a 1.5″ slice across the bottom of my big toe, and relatively deep. Fortunately, it had no affect on my race at all. During the pro wave, I noticed my duct tape was already peeling so I reapplied a new piece.
32m 55s1500 meters02m 11s / 100 meters


Wow, did this go awful. I started out with Josh right by me. I got about hip deep in the water and dove in. I immediately struggled. I need to re-assess my mental approach to racing. Within the first 200M I was physically exhausted. My breathing was extremely choppy and every stroke. When I sprint, I will frequently breath every stroke, but I was not sprinting now. I really struggled with finding my pace and rhythm. I lost sight of Josh and was pretty sure he was gone. It wasn’t until I passed the halfway point that I felt myself relaxing enough to get into form. Even so, the first half of the swim I was just out of sorts. As I approached the last buoy I ran into quite a bit of traffic. I don’t know if this was sprint course guys or just a school or slow fish. I, once again, ran into some guy leisurely doing the back stroke.

I’m pretty confused by this. On Thursday I swam 2100yd @ 1:40. I understand that open water is a different animal, but I felt that it should be well under 2:00/100

What would you do differently?:

In thinking back, I can remember a few times thinking about tucking my chin, but I don’t remember focusing on my high elbow catch or really gaining traction in the water.

I need to change my mental approach and settle down and into my stroke. Everyone says you should start out slow and build, but I am wondering if I instead need to sprint at the start to try to create more space and then settle into my stroke.

01m 13s

The transition area was a pretty long run up a grassy hill filled with ruts. I expected this to gas me, but I handled it pretty well and was able to pass many walkers.

I was able to get into the bike relatively quickly.
What would you do differently?:

Until I get momentum in the Swim/Bike/Run I see no need to focus too much attention to trying to shave 10-15 seconds off of transition.

1h 18m 50s24.85 miles19.04 mile/hr

I actually felt pretty strong on the bike and was quite surprised to see my final bike time. I was rarely passed. I think I set myself so far behind on the swim that I really didn’t catch too many people, but also didn’t get passed by too many either.

In analyzing the date, the bike was really a tale of two halves.
Halfway through the bike there was one major hill. I did not hammer down the decent as I should have (I can’t remember if there was a car, a corner or what, but there was some reason that I did not attack it was much as I should have).

My speed for that 1.5M section was only around 28mph and when I started the climb I could tell I had not attacked it well.

The 12 miles prior to the hill I averaged 21.66mph The 12 miles after the hill (not including the climb up the hill) I averaged only 19.57. That is a pretty significant drop off.

As I re-entered the resort, I think I just go too cautious. I knew there were a few descents with speed bumps on them and since I thought we were near the end I became a little tight and just coasted in. The problem is that there were probably 2-3 miles inside the result that I was not hammering on.
What would you do differently?:

Throw caution to the wind! Actively identify others in my age group and chase them.
01m 36s

T2 went well. There was a bit of a logjam at the dismount line and so I ended up coming to a complete stop before dismounting.
What would you do differently?:

Not much, see comments above.

59m 47s6.21 miles09m 40s min/mile


Hills. What else can I say? I thought I had done an adequate job of running hills. This is a picture of the elevation of my “hills” training route (the crazy red line is my heart rate as I run said hills).
My Training hills

Unfortunately, this is what the run course looked like:
HR and Geo

The run started with a trek through the grass and some small hills. When I actually felt like I was on the run course, I hit a decent size hill. Still gathering myself, I walked for a few moments. This is when I saw another BT’er Randy yell out to me. Shortly I started moving. The course was hilly, but the temperature was great, the course was mostly shaded and there was a nice breeze. Although the terrain was tougher, this run was nothing like my run in Topeka two weeks ago. Although the times are not much different.

I kept plugging along and walked some of the steeper hills. My approach was basically to keep running on every hill unless I saw that I was not gaining any ground on the walkers in front of me. At that point, I walked them.
What would you do differently?:

Two things: drop weight and get more miles in.

Running is still not natural for me and I feel I’m carrying about 15-20 pounds of extra weight that is slowing me down.

Also, when I do this event again, I will train more hill repeats. I have a hills route that I train on, but it involves 3-4 very long and steep hills, rather than a numerous smaller hills.


Warm down:

After the finish I grabbed a bottle of water and just relaxed. I was tired, but not comotose like I was 2 weeks ago. I hit the food tent and ate a few bites of a hotdog and a few bites of a cookie.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

As I’ve stated before, I’m still getting the same results, even though I feel I’m training harder.

Two things: my mental approach is off. My friend Josh (finished top 5) has got this part figured out. I can beat him like a drum in the water every day, but he’s beaten me twice on race day. He doesn’t have a problem with his mind playing games with him.

Also, I need to lose weight. If I was 15 pounds lighter, I have to believe every phase was improve.

The challenge is there and I’m serious. I am setting a goal now to race Omaha in 3 weeks at 185 pounds. This gives me 3 weeks to lose 9 pounds. That’s aggressive, but I think doable.

Event comments:

What a great venue! The course is beautiful. The road was awesome (minus the speed-bumps). The run was beautiful as well. I can see how this would be awful when it’s extremely hot, however this year it was great.

Also, UltraMax really does a nice job with being organized and on-time.Every question is answered. I’m a little bummed that the t-shirt seems a little cheap, but that is a minor gripe.

The venue also worked great with my family. My kids loved playing on the beach during the race and and I enjoyed a dip in the water with them to cool off afterward.


Last updated: 2013-04-29 12:00 AM
00:32:55 | 1500 meters | 02m 11s / 100meters
Age Group: 30/56
Overall: 0/509
Performance: Bad
Suit: LLS Team In Training top and bottom
Course: Rectangle
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 82F / 28C Current: Low
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 01:13
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off: Yes
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
01:18:50 | 24.85 miles | 19.04 mile/hr
Age Group: 28/56
Overall: 0/509
Performance: Average
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: The bike started and ended inside the resort. The resort has some rolling hills and also two types of speed bumps. The course was not closed and had some cars. The asphalt for almost all new, flat, with very few obstacles.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:36
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:59:47 | 06.21 miles | 09m 40s min/mile
Age Group: 38/56
Overall: 0/509
Performance: Average
Course: A mix of gravel and pavement, hilly and shaded course.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

Triathlon Training: 2013 Topeka Tinman Race Report

Posted by | Filed under Team In Traning, Triathlon | Jun 25, 2013 | Tags: , , , | No Comments

My last post had something to do with unanswered questions. Welp. The Topeka Tinman certainly answered some questions. I think info graph sums it up pretty well:


With that introduction, here’s my race report for the 2013 Topeka Tinman. It wasn’t the race I wanted, but it was the race I got.


Topeka, Kansas
United States
Ultramax Events
84F / 29C (Humidty: awful)
Total Time = 2h 39m 9s
Overall Rank = 89/214
Age Group = 3539
Age Group Rank = 17/21

Pre-race routine:

I aimed to go to bed at 9 o’clock the night before, but that didn’t work out. I finally hit the sack at about 1040. Alarm went off at 430. I ate a couple slices of toast withe peanut butter and a little coffe. We decided to drive to Topeka in the morning. Last year, we stayed in a hotel overnight, but this way we saved a few bucks and didn’t really costs too much time.

We hit the road at 5:30 and arrive right at 6:30. I was a little bit more rushed in transition then I would have liked.
Event warmup:

I did not get a warm up swim in.

19m 28s1094 yards01m 47s / 100 yards

The Tinman long course just had two large waves of men. Its a mass start this makes the entire first quarter of the swim very crowded. It was also somewhat odd because the course immediately went to the right, so running into the water was at an angle, almost parallel to the beach.

My swim was below expectations. I just never found a groove, and never found a good set of feet to draft off of. I’m struggling to figure out why I am a 1:30 swimmer at the pool consistently but I clocked in at more like 1:55 in this event and several others before. I guess what it means is that Open water just isn’t the pool, and I need to get this idea that I’m a strong swimmer out of my head and work harder in the open water.
What would you do differently?:

I need to focus on doing more open water swims.
02m 47s

Transition one went pretty well I got my wetsuit off fairly quickly. I was somewhat concerned about this as this was my first wetsuit swim. Since Transitions is something that I literally never practice, I thought it went ok.
What would you do differently?:

Actually practice
58m 27s19 miles19.33 mile/hr

Overall, the bike went pretty good. In hindsight I don’t think I pushed myself quite enough. I think I enjoyed passing people a little too much and settled in and got a little too comfortable. Looking at my download of the race, I see my heart rate was pretty high at the start before I started to relax. I took one goo about 5 miles in. I should have done it sooner. I had 2 taped to my bike and never took the 2nd one. I think this was a mistake that hurt me later. Toward the end of the bike I got past by a couple of guys who were moving pretty good. I heard a set of zips behind me and when he passed me, I thought “I can’t have that” and decided that I could not let them get away. I stayed on their tail for the next 8 miles or so. That tells me I should have been faster for the whole ride. I think I was comfortable passing weaker riders and didn’t chase the stronger riders. I was really hoping to finish over 20 MPH, which would be a good improvement for me, but I finished at 19.5.
What would you do differently?:

Push harder throughout. I never felt like I was in trouble. I think I was too accepting of allowing “fast” people pass me at the very beginning. I think I need to pick a rabbit and just chase.
01m 11s

Transition number 2 also went fairly well there’s not much that I would change.

At this point, I started to feel a little like this:

exhausted from

1h 17m 19s7.8 miles09m 55s min/mile

This is where things got rough and pretty dark. For some reason I just didn’t seem to have gas in the tank. I felt it right away. The first mile or so, I actually was on pace (I peeked at my watch and was running a little of 8min/mi pace). On the run, there is a small hill by the ball fields and I walked up. Even though I was on pace, I knew I was in trouble. As I rounded the ball field I felt the sun. As I was crossing the damn I got a huge cramp my hamstring. It felt like my muscle turned into a softball. Its kinda freaked me out because I’ve never had that happen before in my hamstring. I’ve had lots of cramps in my calves but never in the hamstring. I thought this would finish me. Severe calf cramps have lingered with me for days and made me walk with a limp.

I started walking and massaging it out after a minute or two some guy came up behind me and told me “Come on”. I don’t know why but I did. I ran alongside him for about the next 4 miles. I really feel like, he carried me. Had he not told me to “come on” my day would have been even darker. During the run he also picked up two more runners that were struggling, so there were 4 of us for a while. I don’t know who he was. His name is Steve and he is a coach from Wichita. He is 59 and I believe won his age group.

At about mile six I lost Steve. He kept going at the start of a large hill at the end and I had to walk it.

I’m really not exactly sure what happened in the race I expected/hoped to come in between 8 and 8.5 minutes per mile. I was almost two minutes slower than that today. I didn’t think those expectations were not unrealistic. I did 8:28 last September to end the season. I think it was a mistake to assume that my best race last season would be right where I pick up this season.
What would you do differently?:

More preparation for the heat. I cooked out there.

Seeing that I finished 17/21 in my age group is embarrassing to me, but it is what it is. This *seems* like failure to me. I know, it’s really not, though. I’ve never thought about being in contention. I’m too new in this sport and do not come from a background in any of the three sports. My fitness is still “new”. Also, I read somewhere recently that the sport of triathlon is just pretty competitive. It’s an involved sport and expensive to venture into….most people that do it are pretty serious and also “pretty good”. But still, I’m doing this “for my health”, but not “only” for my health.

Thinking back, one thing that is disappointing to me is that I did not execute the mental part of the gameplan well at all. I recently read an article by Macca called “Embrace the Suck”. Basically, he reviewed how to approach the race when things get tough. I read that article. I enjoyed it. But in thinking back, I didn’t apply a single one of his suggestions. This is where I need to improve. I’m not a fast runner, but if I’m smart and execute, I know I can do better.
Warm down:

After the race I took in water, a generic cola and a few bites of some pizza. It took about 15 minutes for me to feel like doing much more than this.

Steve met me at the finish line and congratulated me. He introduced me to the race winner who I noticed seemed to be looking quite clean and fresh already. ha!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I thought I was better prepared for the run, but I wasn’t. It cooked me today!

Event comments:

I noticed a few new things this year…it seems like they cut some costs. The t-shirt is was just a plain tee. Not a nicer quality tech tee like last year. Also, post race there was no sports drinks: only cans of cola and diet cola and a bunch of pizza. Last year they gave each participant an ice cold sponge as they crossed the finish line. Boy did I miss that!

I can’t complain too much, all of those things are minor. Just luxuries. The announcer is annoying, but informative. The race is very organized and the bike course folks and the aid stations all seemed to have things under control.

This one is going to stick with me for a while and motivate me to improve.

One last thing…why is this course always advertised as 7 miles, when it’s actually closer to 7.6-8 miles?

Ultimately, I was able to cross the finish line while faking a smile for the cameras.

A New Season Begins – Triathlon Season 2013

Posted by | Filed under Triathlon | May 22, 2013 | Tags: , | No Comments

The race season has officially started.  (kind of…more on that in a moment).   While there are triathlon events going on year round, in our area late-May marks the semi-official start of the season.  The last few years, the Kansas City Triathlon has been the first major event of the season.  This year, however, the race had competition from another major event slated for the same day just 60 miles down the road in Lawrence, KS: The Kansas 5i50 Triathlon.

While I’m not privy to all of the behind the scenes activity in Kansas City, there seems to be a fair amount of discussion surrounding the organization of both races and the brewing competition.  While the Kansas City Triathlon seems to have a very good reputation in the triathlon community, The Kansas 5i50 Triathlon is part of the race series owned by World Triathlon Corporation (aka WTC…owners of the well known Ironman brand).  In this sport, the Ironman name rules and therefore the 5i50 series brings with it many big names and qualifying spots of the championship in Des Moines, IA later this year.

“Qualifying” is not in the realm of realistic goals for me, so the 5i50 name did not bring much extra appeal.  Considering the Kansas City Triathlon was less then 25 minutes from my home, I signed up for the hometown race.

My training for this race star was decent.  I went into the event prepared, but I didn’t expect to break a personal record.  The race organizers seemed to do a fine job: packet pickup was smooth, the race seemed well attended (reportedly over 1,000 athletes), and everything seemed fine right up until race time.

Then it fell apart.

I entered the water for a short warm up swim before the race was to start.  Only seconds after hitting the water, all athletes were evacuated from the water.  A huge bolt of lightning ripped across the sky.  Immediately, the race was postponed and all athletes were instructed to wait approximately 30 minutes for further information.  At minute 29, another huge bolt lit up the sky and I knew this race was doomed.  Less than 1 hour after the event was supposed to start, it was cancelled.  I packed up my stuff and went home.

There’s a certain amount of adrenaline that comes with preparing for an event like this.  For me, it’s a combination of fear, anxiety, excitement and anticipation.  While I am competing only with myself, it’s impossible not to check out the athletes: are they fast? can they swim?  how much did that bike cost?  the bike looks good, but how about the motor?

All of these are are questions that I ask myself.  I’m sure every other athlete does the same.  As the race start gets closer, I tend to get more and more calm.  I contemplate the pain that I’m getting ready to jump into.  As weird as it sounds, I start to look forward to getting the questions answered.

Unfortunately, no questions were answered at the Kansas City Triathlon. The race was cancelled. No refunds. The money has been spent. But I do have a decent t-shirt for my efforts.

As it stands, I will have to wait until the Topeka Tinman to get my answers.



The Offseason: Winter Doldrums

Posted by | Filed under Triathlon, workouts | Feb 16, 2013 | No Comments

I read recently that February was one of the worst months of the year for triathlon training.

I believe it. Most of the New Year’s resolution excitement has worn off by this time, and the racing season is still a ways off.

Training has been non-existent for me this month. On February 1st I had a medical procedure that has taken me out of any swimming, biking and running for the past 2 weeks. Today, I swore I would get back into the groove with a long run, however there is now about 4 inches of snow on the ground and the temperature is about 15 degrees: not a great recipe for getting back in the groove.

This winter has not been a total loss, however. I’ve spent many hours on the bike with my bike trainer.  I’ve started using a training program called Trainer Road in tandem with some intense workout videos from The Sufferfest.  This has made indoor biking a whole new experience that is painful, challenging and (dare I say) fun.

For anyone looking to keep working hard while the weather is not great outdoors, I would highly recommend both of these programs.  Last year (my first season of trying this triathlon thing), I didn’t get only a bike until May.  I really expect to be far ahead in my conditioning this season.

Now it’s time to get serious.  The next step is to define some tangible goals and kick-start the training program. The race schedule is already set (I have 3 races committed and plan for a few more) and I only have 92 days to get into race fitness.


The Post Season

Posted by | Filed under Uncategorized | Oct 27, 2012 | No Comments

After taking a few weeks off from training, I am now in “post season” mode.  Having spent a whole lot of money on triathlon this summer (I’m afraid to add it up), this “hobby” is going to be around for a while so that I can justify the investment in such things as a bicycle, lots of spandex clothing, and weird “food” called GU.

So, I plan to swim, bike and run over the Fall and Winter and come back next year with the goal of vastly improving my times in triathlons.  I’ll keep posting some updates about training.  Also, I am working on a post that reveals my super-secret Winter training program.  I’m hesitant to put it out here though, in fear that all of my competition will find out my training secrets (ha, as if I have any competition).

Seriously, the great thing about triathlon training is that my competition is really myself.  Whether its the personal challenge of getting up in the morning or figuring out how to make my body go faster (or less slow)…the challenge to improve is what has kept me going thus far.

Triathlon Training: The Nation’s Triathlon Race Report

The Nation’s Triathlon is in the books.  My first season of triathlon has also come to a close.  The off season training program has started.  But, before we get to all that, here’s a recap of the Nation’s Triathlon.

I’ve been preparing for this race for months.  The other events that I competed in were really preparation for Nation’s.  This event carried with it quite a bit of pressure and attention.  I did things to prepare for this event that I normally never would have done otherwise: raised over $3500 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, told all of my family and friends, opened a Facebook account,….

With that said, here is the race report:

Here’s my race jersey with the names of many people who have been impacted by cancer. I wrote these names on my jersey to honor each of these people, some of whom did not survive their battle with cancer.

The Nation’s Triathlon
Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C.
United States
The Nation’s Triathlon
72F / 22C
Triathlon - Olympic
Total Time = 2h 46m 36s
Overall Rank = 818/3138
Age Group = 3539
Age Group Rank = 124/336

Pre-race routine:

I set my alarm for 4:30am. As usual, I did not sleep well. I tossed and turned most of the night, so it wasn’t really hard to get up. I immediately start drinking water. I have a tendency to cramp so the last few days have included lots of hydration. I did my usual morning stuff and pulled on my Team in Training uniform. I loaded up all my stuff in a 5-gallon bucket and my wetsuit in a small back pack and headed to the streets of D.C. I had about a 2 block walk to meet the rest of the team and catch the shuttle. I had planned to stop at one of several bakeries/delis on the way to buy a bagel. None were open. I settled for a banana and bummed a granola bar from a teammate. I’m never really hungry before a race, but I know I need some calories for energy.After meeting the team and a few photos, we stood in line and rode the shuttle to the race site. This was much better than driving as D.C. is not a good city for driving, plus many of the roads we closed.  Here’s a team photo:

Dave W. (Coach), Erin T., Molly R. (Mentor), me

Event warmup:
Arrived at the race site at about 5:45. I had plenty of time to set up my stuff exactly how I wanted it. It rained pretty hard the day before and I didn’t bother to cover my bike. My grips and seat were all wet but this doesn’t bother me a bit. I then had to make the dreaded trip to the Porta-potty. This is a family friendly report, so I’ll spare the details: let’s just say that triathlon porta-potties are NASTY. Every porta-potty is gross, but keep in mind…for some reason nearly every triathlete uses the bathroom (#2) before a race. It’s gross…but it has to be done and this is one of the least appealing parts of the triathlon.After that, I did some basic stretches: quads, calves, hamstrings, lats, groin, adductors and basically just tried to relax.


The race start was great. This was my first “time trial” swim start and it is by far my favorite. Each wave lined up in the corrall and approached the dock. Every 7 seconds, the next 6 racers would line up and jump in at the sound of the whistle.I got off the dock fast and I think I hit the water before the other 5 in my start. I left the other 5 in my wake. I don’t know if I was a faster swimmer or just off the dock faster, but I “felt” like I was gone. I was in a full-on sprint to start off with. I noticed that within 20 yards I was already passing people and within 400 yards I was passing swimmers with different colored caps(different age group/wave). I had very little contact with other swimmers. At the turnaround point, I started hitting other swimmers as it became a bit more congested as everyone moved closer to the bouys. The first half of the swim was up-river and I expected the second half of the swim to be a little faster as I was now swimming with the current. I think this was a bit of a mistake as I started to relax and probably did not maximize my speed. At this point, I got passed by a few stronger swimmers.

What would you do differently?:

Keep pushing the entire swim. I relaxed because I was passing alot of swimmers. I don’t need to hold back on my swim because I really don’t feel the affects of the swim on my bike and run. But it’s easy to get lazy while swimming. Once again, I was disappointed in my time as I thought I was faster. I need to get faster in the water and stop relying on my natural swimming ability and get better and more efficient with my stroke.I am quite disappointed in my time, however after reading many other race reports, it sounds like slow swim times were prevalent across the board…everyone was slow. This makes me feel a little bit better.

T1 Comments:

I just don’t do flying mounts. I also don’t rubber band my shoes to the bike. I’m still running with my cycling shoes. There’s alot of other things to work on before I bother with refining this step.

Bike Comments:

I felt much better on the bike this race than in Omaha. I felt like I was racing. I was passing lots of people and only getting passed by a few (those real expensive rigs and aero helmets). The time trial swim start spaced everyone out nice and evenly, allowing for a nice “seek and destroy” approach to the bike (I could spot, chase down and bury people one or two at a time).At the turn around point on the bike, I hit a sunken manhole cover pretty hard and it actually knocked my aero bars down. Instead of being level with the ground, they were actually pointed downward changing my position on the bike. I tried to jerk them back up, but it wouldn’t work. I was afraid that I blew my front tire, but it seemed to hold just fine. This didn’t really impact my race at all, but it was a bit of a scare.

What would you do differently?:

Continue to improve bike fitness. The extra saddle time I spent over the past month really paid off today as I was much stronger today than in Omaha. It was an easier course, though. I was much stronger today and feel that with a strong off season I can be toward the front of the pack on the bike. I was never passed by any Team in Training members. I was still fatigued after getting off the bike, but some fatigue is to be expected.

T2 Comments:

Used a 5 gallon buck to sit on in transition. This was good for me.I tried to run with the bike and was uncomfortable so it was more of a hobble/trot.

What would you do differently?:

Not much.

Run Comments:

My run felt decent. I was actually VERY surprised at my time. My GPS watch was not working so during the race I had no idea what my pace was. In hindsight, this may have helped me.  8:28 per mile, after a long swim and bike is better than I thought I could do.  I’m generally a slow 9 minute mile guy, so this was very good for me.As the beginning was paced next to another runner who chatted with me a bit. He was a former KCMO police officer and is now in the FBI. He dropped me. Next, I spotted a Coast Guard officer running and I decided to keep pace with her. She was one of the few women running and must have been part of a team (most of the women were farther back in a later wave). I hung with her and eventually dropped her. I got passed by quite a few people, but this does not bother me too much. I know the run is not my strong suit and just tried to keep pushing myself. I was passing some people so I felt pretty good. At one point, about the 3 mile mark, I lied and convinced myself that I felt fresh and I was going to overtake people. I really tried to increase my pace and felt my last 2 miles was pretty strong. I could see that it was getting close to 10am and my goal was to finish in under 3 hours. Since the first wave started at 7am I knew I needed to push to beat my goal. I passed FBI guy as he had slowed way down because of cramps.

What would you do differently?:

Keep working on the run and get faster. I don’t think I could have done much differently today. Overall, my pace turned out to be almost 1 minute per mile faster than what I expected. I was extremely pleased with this run.

Post Race Warm down:

I was watching for my family as I entered the finish area. I didn’t see them (they missed the finished because I finished faster than expected and they were caught in the D.C. Metro boondoggle). I received my medal, water and gatorade and wandered around. I was able to see two of my TNT teammates cross the finish line and cheer many others on.

What limited your ability to perform faster?:

Not a fast runner!

Event comments:

This was just an awesome experience. I tried to really take everything in on the run: the monuments, the sites, the fans. I participated as part of Team in Training and it was great to give and receive encouragement from so many team members and the support team. The course is unique. It’s a little bit weird to run and simultaneously have so many different emotions: pride in country, pain in the race, compassion for those who I had raised money for.My goal was to finish in under 3 hours and I beat that goal. I finally felt like I was “racing” a bit, and not just trying to finish. This is likely my final race of the season and it is a great way to finish. This race gives me confidence that I can build on and go into next season with expectations of being competitive in my age group. I won’t be winning any races, but I am shooting for higher finishes going forward.



Rained Out!

Posted by | Filed under Team In Traning, Triathlon | Sep 1, 2012 | No Comments


I was scheduled to compete in the Lake Quivira sprint triathlon on Saturday.  The drought here in Kansas City was finally broken with about 6 inches of rain and the event was rained out.  While it is disappointing to see the race cancelled, I am a bit relieved.  The bike course was quite technical (that means lots of sharp turns) and it was open (that means there was potential cars on the road!).  Given the wet conditions and the uncertainty of the course, I was really torn on how to race it.  I had decided to take my old mountain bike to prevent me from racing too hard and potentially wrecking myself.

That rain out resolve the problem.   But, on the bright side, I got a cool t-shirt!

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