"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Never, Never, Never Quit.


Countdown to B2B


Monday, October 22, 2007

Longleaf Race Report

Longleaf was the race Steelhead should have been. I'm even more convinced I went into Steelhead worn out from not tapering enough after this race.

I went into the Olympic distance race yesterday hoping to post a good bike after an average swim and then limp through the run. Breaking 3 hours was the best I could expect. I knew it was a fast course but never believed I could break my PR of 2:52:07. Especially after having a tough time at the Sharks Oly distance in May.

I get to the race early(about 6:30) to check in. The line is short and I get into transition by 7:15. I get transition setup and out by 7:35 and head to the swim start. The swim start was across a large field with weeds blocking the view from transition. As I get around the weeds, I realize it's going to be about a 1/4 mile run from the water to transition through high grass/weeds. So much for cutting time on T1. The race is supposed to begin at 8 but they decide to do a time trial start, with swimmers lining up by number and leaving every 5 seconds. There is a sprint distance race going on too and they go first so we don't even line up until 8:15. By about 8:30 I'm in the water, and by water, I mean a large retention pond!! They had the water tested early in the week and it came back clean but still....I prefer swimming in chlorine when my swim is man made. Anyway, the swim is an 2 loop square swim with the swimmers exiting and re-entering after the fist loop. I'm feeling good on the swim and since the body of water is slim, I don't got off course like I usually do. I'm hoping to break 16 minutes on the first loop, figuring I'll slow on the 2nd. I come out of the water after the 1st loop and check my watch. It's 13 minutes and change!! I've never broken 35 minutes on 1500 meter open water swim so I'm immediately thinking this course is short or I'm really going to slow down on the 2nd loop. I'm out and back in the water quickly and still feeling good. Just concentrate and swimming straight and not making the course longer than it is. When I exit the 2nd time I look at my watch and see 28:38!!!! I have crushed my PR and think the swim has to be short. But I'm not complaining as I know I've got a haul to T1 to make up for it. I was a little worried about my knee without shoes and through uneven terrain getting to T1 but it held up just fine. I get through T1 in 4:28 and off on the bike.

The wind was breezy all morning, out of the east. We knew it was going to be a fast return since the bike was a square loop heading north and then east, with the final 10 or so miles on fresh asphalt with the wind at our backs. I started out feeling really good on the bike for the 4 miles north before heading onto the Starky trail for 6.5 miles through the park. This was where I knew I needed to push the speed to give myself a chance to PR. I wanted to keep my average speed at 17.5 before heading back south and east. The wind was terrible but it was persistent at about 10-12 MPH. The trees provided some relief at times not much. I was able to push through those miles and came out of the park averaging 17.6,. Perfect. Now we were on the Suncoast trail and with the wind at our side. I pushed the pace for 4 miles adding to my average. Then we hit highway 54. They had blocked off an entire lane plus the shoulder of newly laid asphalt. The wind was still pushing 10+ MPH but now it was at my back!!! I was feeling very strong and pushing hard. The last ~10 miles flew by and I was back at T2 in record time, 1:11:58, another PR, this time by over 6 minutes. My bike computer confirmed the course was accurate, so I'm thinking ok, breaking 3 hours should be easy but still wasn't thinking a PR was at all possible.

I'm in and out of T2 in 1:55. My knee is feeling tight and a little painful but nothing bad at all. I haven't done any bricks since Steelhead so I don't know how my knee will respond after riding and riding hard. Turns out, it felt great. Actually felt better as I went along the run. The run was an out and back on an asphalt trail. Even though we've had record heat and it was still warm today(78 at start, 88 at finish), it was cloudy and didn't really get warm until last 2 miles. As I start the run I check my watch. I'm sitting at 1:52 and change!!! All I have to do is break an hour in the 10K run and I PR. Even with my lack of running the last 2 months and a bum knee, I know this is very possible. I'm feeling good and hit the first mile. 9:28. OK, I was hoping for a faster 1st mile but the 1st mile is always slower for me switching to running legs. Even still, I've put 30 seconds in the bank on the hour run for PR. Mile 2 is better at 8:55. I feel great and think I can go faster but I haven't run more than 5 miles in 2 months and I'm still leery about my knee. So I keep the pace steady and come through mile 3 in 8:58 and mile 4 in 9:25. I'm starting to feel my lack of running as my leg turnover is slowing but I'm still feeling pretty good. Mile 5 goes by in 9:26 and I know I'm going to PR. As I look at the total time, I realize I have a great chance to break 2:45. I pick up the pace(I thought) but come through mile 6 in 9:42. .2 to go, which I do in 1:02. Turns out the 6 mile marker was place long. Either way, I finish the run in 57:01. Not close to my Oly run PR of 51:57 but all things considered, very happy with it. Race time is 2:43:57!!!! Not only did I break 2:45 but I brokd 2:44.

Because of the huge swim PR, I was very skeptical of the distance. I asked 3-4 people if they thought the swim was short and each of them said no. I checked some results online and compared them to other races they did and the times was similar. The only think I can point to is the course was very easy to stay straight, which I've always found difficult in open water, ocean/bay swims.

Obviously a great way(and surprising) to end the season. Now I'll look at some long rides and the century on the 4th and getting the knee issue worked out before starting the long, big build for Ironman starting in January.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Last race of season

The Longleaf Olympic distance is this weekend, which will be the last of the year for me. I'm signed up for a century in Sarasota on Nov. 4th but no tris. After this race I'll be getting an appt for my knee. I have been able to run 4 times in 10 days without any major pain, but it's definitely there and not getting better.

The weather still hasn't cooled off. Sunday(race day) should be 78 at the start and 88 at the finish. Just looking to PR the bike and have fun. Looks like a decent course. I will report back next week how it went.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Still Hot!!

OK, so maybe the appearance of love bugs hasn't quite meant cooler weather yet. We've been setting records for heat the last week, heard on the news last night it was the hottest 1st week of October on record. Usually when it's this hot at least we can count on calm weather but the wind has really picked up lately also, which has made for some tough rides.

Still keeping the biking miles at about 150/week and continuing with 2 runs per week but I'm really losing running fitness. Ran 5 miles twice last week and struggled with each of them. My knee seems to be doing a little better with only a couple runs but still doesn't seem to be getter healed.

2 more weeks until the Longleaf Olympic distance. Right now I only have 2 goals for it.....PR the bike and finish. Looks like we might get the first cold(cool?) front of the fall this weekend so that should help.

The NC Ironman race has finally posted a website. Not much yet available but it should be filling in the coming weeks/months. www.beach2battleship.com