Monday, August 27, 2007

Chicago Race Report


Donna and I arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon and spent the night with Donna’s sister’s family. I took off in the early afternoon to meet John and Mira at the Race Expo and Packet Pickup. The packet pickup was painless and I headed back out to the Diltz’s for dinner and some Wii Golf. I am not much of a video game person, but that game just rocks.

Saturday afternoon we headed back to the race hotel where we had a room and Donna with all her travel status got us checked in early, a room with a great view and we did not have to pay for parking. A dinner at Due with some great Chicago pizza, a pedal cab ride back to the hotel and then off to bed.

I was up at 3:50 after having some bad dreams. I do not usually have dreams about race day, but since transition opened at 4:15 and closed at 5:45, I was nervous. I met John and Mira at the hotel entrance and we did the 1.5-mile walk with our bikes to transition, racked them in the mud, and came back to the hotel for some coffee and food.


Mira was in wave 30, and John and I were in wave 34 which went off at 8:33. The announced water temperature was 68 degrees. When we jumped in it took my breath away even in a full wetsuit. As an aside, I met a guy at the Chicago airport who told me it was a complete swag at the water temp. They did not have a thermometer and everyone wanted to know the temperature so they just guess.

The swim started and it was not too physical. This is the first race where I was the one actually swimming over people. The lake was incredible clear and you could see fish and all the underwater flora. Once I warmed up the swim went very well. There were a lot of slow people and lots of back-strokers in this race due to the large size. I was helped out of the water, climbed the ladder and headed off for ¼ mile run to transition. My final swim time was 36:53, but at least 3 minutes of that was the run to transition.

I took a while in transition to get undressed in the mud and then run my bike up the muddy hill and on to the course.


Chicago’s bike course is along Lake Shore Drive which is very flat with lots of potholes. The biggest hill was the ramp out of transition and on the main course. The course is the left two lanes of the 4 lane road, so you ride to the left and pass on the right, which was confusing at times. I got my speed up and looked down at my bike computer and saw I was doing 24 mph. Since I had just replaced the battery and I had to make sure I was not registering in kph, because I did not feel like I was working that hard. I hit the first turn around and started back into town. I was picking off lots of riders and feeling really good. At the second turn around, I had to slow way down due to the right turn and congestion. I continued to pick off riders and was only passed by the really fast guys on their $3000 bikes. LOL. I finished the bike in 1:15:39 with an average speed of 20.1 mph. I am very happy with my bike.


Out of T2 and one the run. My shoes were muddy and somewhat wet so I was concerned about blisters. The first mile of the run was along the water front and it was great to have all the energy from the fans. My left calf was cramping some, which it had done in the swim so I stopped at pole and stretched it out. I felt better after I started running again. I was drinking Gatorade at the aide stations and dumping water on my head to help me cool off. I saw Mira at about mile 2.5 and she was heading back in. She looked really strong and it did not appear she was sweating at all. I ran into John about mile 3.5 at an aide station. I almost did not see him, but he yelled out my name. Its always good to see your friends on the course. About mile 4 I started to feel really good and picked up my pace. I was hurting, but my legs felt much, much better. The course lead us back around Soldier Field and under a tunnel the finish line. I saw Donna right before the finish line, gave her a high-five and I was off to the finish line. The announcer called out my name (which is always a thrill) and I was done.

I was awarded my finisher’s medal and got my free beer. Damn did it taste good.

All in all it was a good race. The swim was about what I expected, I was very pleased with the bike, and I still have to work on my run. But I have at least one more race this year and the Nation’s Triathlon course is flat also. I still have the chance to break 3 hours.

Now its off to St Thomas for some diving, eating and fruity drinks!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

That toddlin' town

My bags are packed and the plane leaves in 3 hours. I did not get to bed as early last night as I wished. I was taking the PADI Enriched Air Scuba Course and I did not get home until after 10pm. I finished up some work stuff that I needed to have submitted (its great that I will not be back at work until after Labor Day). After I laid in bed, I started wondering if my GU and sunblock needed to be in a one quart clear plastic bag? I am hand carrying all my racing gear. My GU, sunblock and anti-fog stuff are now happy in a clear plastic bag that I can easy show TSA.

I talked with Mira and John yesterday. The bikes had just entered Ohio on the top of their car and the trip was going well with the exception of John forgetting his phone. But then John is a rocket scientist--no really he is.

I am enjoying my cup of coffee and I am finally starting to get nervous (or is it excited). I have never done a race that had this many people in it. My age group has over 700 signed up. My last race only had 300. There will be over 9000 people participating this weekend. That makes for some crowded streets. The weather looks perfect with a low of 65 and high of about 80. Lets just hope for low humidy.

I will soon be playing with my neice and nephew. Those two balls of fire will keep any aprehension at bay. I will not have time to think about the race. LOL

I hope to have a race report posted on Monday.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Why I tri? Growing up it was baseball, football and basketball (I did wrestle when I did not make the basketball team). We did not even have soccer in school until I was out in the real world. So I was a team sport guy and never really thought much about the individual endeavors, even though I ran the occasional 5 or 10K. I remember watching Julie Moss struggle across and the finish line in 1982 and I thought that was pretty cool. What a challenge that Ironman thing is!!!

In the summer of 1989 or 1990 I did my first triathlon at Fort Yargo State Park. I happened to be in charge of the lifeguards there and thought I could swim. When I heard about it, I looked at the distances 750m swim, 12 mile bike, and 3 mile run, and decided with the courage of a teenager—I can do that. Well I did it and I added “triathlon” to the list of things I had done and did not think much about it. It was time to get back to school where a triathlon meant—beer, women, and sun. Classes were approached more as transitions. You want to do well in them, but the other three disciplines are more important.

After graduation and some years in the army I grew to hate running. The army just ran the fun out of the sport. I moved to DC permanently in December 2004, and after a year overseas, I sat on my butt and did nothing but eat for the first 3 months. I tried joining a running club but they were not the most inviting people. So that did not stick.

At the pool one day, my mind went back to that triathlon years before and the inspiration I gleaned from watching Julie Moss. I bought a book or two to get myself motivated, bought a bike and here I am.

That’s how I got here, but why do I do it. I do it for challenge of pushing your body and mind. After spending many years in the military doing cool stuff, it was hard to just sit around and play golf. I missed the physical and mental challenges of pushing your body further than I thought I could. And to be honest I also missed the adrenaline of such endeavors.

I tri because I like the feeling of getting up in the morning and working up a good sweat. It makes me more productive at work and a happier person. I enjoy the looks on the faces of coworkers when you tell them you swam 3000yds before work and you still beat them to work.

I tri because I want to be a better swimmer, cyclist and runner and at the same time maintaining some level of fitness. I don’t want to grow old!!!

I tri because of the people in the club. With the exception of the people I have met in the military, this is the best group of individuals I have met. The camaraderie, support, and friendship have just been invaluable to making DC home.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Crossing the River to get to the Car

I love sleeping while it rains (not in the rain—I have done that more times than I care to think about and it is not fun) hearing it hit the roof, blow through the trees and just lull me to sleep. Ah, shit!! It’s 0440 and time to get up; I don’t get to sleep while it rains.

It is pouring as I try to get everything to the car. I am not concerned about me—I am going swimming, but I have a nice wool blend suit. Not good for it to get wet. I do get everything to car with out messing up my suit, but stepping off the curb and onto the road I have to traverse a raging torrent of water that comes up over my ankle. We need the rain, but not all at once.

This is my taper week for Chicago. I planned on a 1200-1300 yard swim to loosen up the body and myself edge sharp (yeah right). It was good to have our swim coach back in the saddle today. It’s a shame I am tampering because it was a good hard work out. I did a 500 warm up and did a variation of her work out (I did it sans shirt) 4x200.

I also signed up for a dive trip for next Wednesday. I hope the weather cooperates and I have a picturesque two tank dive with the St. Thomas Dive Club.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday, Easy Sunday

This past weekend was just great all the way around. The weather on Saturday was fantastic for the Training Tri. I will have more on that when the results are posted.

Sunday it was somewhat overcast and spitting rain from time to time. Donna and I headed into DC for brunch at The Old Ebbitt Grill. This is probably our favorite restaurant in DC. Being brunch I had to have a mimosa, but I had their new BBQ ribs—which really does not go with a mimosa. But who cares. The sauce was very good.

Donna had her old stand bye—Petite filets.

We then headed to the National Portrait Gallery. I had never been there. We did not tour the entire gallery, but focused on the presidential portraits. We tagged along with a tour and listened to the history of two of the George Washington paintings and a life mask that had been made of him and a little about Andrew Jackson. He was very informative and expressive but there was no way I could listen to him talk about another 41 presidents. So we just cruised around the rest of the Presidential Portrait area. The Jimmy Carter portrait looked like it was a bad 1970s photograph and not just the color of his suit and tie. The palette used by the artist had to have been 1970s special. YUCK!!! The large Bill Clinton painting was also terrible. If I was ever the President (and you know that will not happen) I would make sure the artist got a good likeness of me. Poor guy actually looked like an alcoholic. He had a smaller portrait that was a very good likeness of him.

Then we went home and I cleaned up the man-pit. It is easier for me to work, when my office area is clean.

Now to start getting ready for Chicago.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Easy Run

Not much to talk about today. This morning was merely an easy 30 min run to loosen up the legs and wake up the body. Tomorrow is the DC Tri Club Training Triathlon. This should be a good work out. The race is not long, 400m swim, 16.5 mile bike, and 3.2K run. However, it is good to push the body with other competitors.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Time in the Water

I have not been SCUBA diving since September 2001. Where did the time go? I had planned on going last year when Donna and I were on a cruise, but I could not find my C-Card. Guess where it was? In my wallet!!! I had it all along. Damn it!!!

Donna and I are heading to St Thomas in a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to a couple of dives. In preparation for the trip, I signed up for a SCUBA refresher course with Splash Dive Center in Alexandria. I have nothing but great things to say about the instructors and dive masters. Along with me, there was a young boy learning to dive in the pool and then a full Open Water Class that was also being taught. Everyone appeared to be getting the attention they needed and were learning.

All the major tasks came back pretty quickly. But after a 6 year hiatus and only about 30 total dives, I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.

This morning was a swimming work out. It was not overly taxing but there was some anaerobic work. The longest set was 250 yds (2 of those) and the rest were either 100 or 200 yds. Our coach is still not back. I am not sure what to think.

We are at the 10 day mark for the Chicago Triathlon. More on that later

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pound Cake

Not the yummy dessert, but the Van Halen (Van Hagar) song. I did not get in a work out yesterday due to combination of poor planning on my part and a date with Donna. So I was up early this morning (man it was hard to get out of bed) and hit road. My planned workout today was a 70 min run with some pickups and hard effort. How does all this tie with Pound Cake?

After my 15 min warmup, my ipod full of fun 80s songs started with Pound Cake:

"And homegrown and down-home, that makes oneCookin' up that old time, long lost recipe for me. Woo!It's gettin' hard to findGuess it ain't hip enough nowYou take an average guy, he can't identify, uhAnd there's a short supply of her fine, fine stuffLemme get on, lemme get on, lemme get on some o' thatShake it up, bake it up nice, uh!Lemme get on, lemme get on, lemme get on all thatI so love my baby's poundcake"

This morning those lyrics put me in the zone and I was "cooking". I must have played that 4 times on my run. I ended my run having covered 8.1 miles in 1 hour 7 mins and ?? seconds. That works out to about an 8:20 m/m pace for 8 miles. I am more than happy with that!!!

This was my last really hard, long run prior to Chicago. I will use the last DC Tri Club Training Tri was my final hard prep for Chicago.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A pretty good week of training

I swam easy on Thursday and just did not run on Friday. The heat and humidity in DC have caused the air quality here to be AWFUL. Joe and I ran hills on Wednesday and did not stay out for more than 40 minutes. When I returned I checked the temp and it was 82 and felt like 90 at 6 am. Thats just not healthy.

Saturday was much cooler and I participated in a DC Tri Club ride. The ride was moderate hilly and was a scheduled no drop ride. I did the 32 mile loop and attacked the hills pretty hard and did an all out sprint the last 5 flat miles. I felt that would be a good workout in preparation for Chicago in two weeks.

I was suppose to run a 20K today out in Leesburg, VA. However my stomach decided that was not a good idea about 1 am. I did not sleep much from 1 am to about 6. I finally got back to sleep and slept in until 8ish. I was feeling better and decided to get in a shorter run before it got too hot.

I ended up doing about 5.5 miles in 55:20. I felt weak and sluggish in the beginning but I was able to get my legs going after about 3 miles. I took my camera with me on the run and I found lost DC Tri Club Water bottle that had been washed up on Four Mile Run.

I did throw it away after I snapped the picture. I ran on the Mt Vernon Trail and passed Potomac Landing and had a great shot of the sail boats.

I finished up the run and felt ok. There is no way that my stomach would have let me run 20K today. Some days you just have to listen to your body.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Just Hot and Humid

It is hot and humid today. When I went out this morning at 515 it was stifling. I may hit the bike trail this evening for a short 45-60min ride. However, it is still as stifling as it is now, that may not be a good idea.

Today was a day at the pool. Our coach was MIA again. We are not sure if she is on vacation of having problems at home. We want her back—and the rest of the class. The last couple of weeks the turn out has been low.

Today’s workout was a good Tuesday effort.

500 Free kick with shirt
300 pull with shirt
300 kick—sprint every other 50m
500 free with fins and paddles.
Total 2100

Not real hard. The next two weeks I really will have to push myself—final stride before Chicago.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Army Weekend

This weekend I was off at my other job—Army guy. Saturday’s training had the potential to really challenging. We were scheduled to do water survival training at an outdoor pool on Fort Meade, MD. Things changed when we arrived and the training had been changed to the main indoor pool at the Fitness Center.

We started off with a 75 meter swim in full uniform to include boots. There are a couple of other triathletes and cyclists in the company, but I felt I could hold off all the swimmers and win this short swim. By the time I hit the 12 meter mark, my uniform was soaked and heavy. I looked to my left and right and saw the people that had started off hard were starting to drop back. All but ONE. To my immediate left was our chaplain and he was passing me. I decided I would hang on his back feet and then sprint the end. As he pulled in front of me I noticed he was not wearing boots. He was in his soak feet. At that point, I decided to let him go. There was not way I could beat a decent swimmer who was NOT wearing boots.

The other four stations were basic water survival stuff for the army—get out of your equipment as fast as possible so that you can keep your head above water. Other than swimming with your boots on, it was not very difficult.

I was also able to get about an hour on the bike. I mapped about a 4.? mile loop and did four loops over the period of a very humid hour. The route was not completely flat and it was not hilly. But here were some short climbs that I powered up to build leg strength and endurance.

I was unable to get in any work outs on Sunday. Just death by power point. But this week will be a strong training week. I will cap it off with the Leesburg 20K run on Sunday.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Olympic Hopeful -- Not me

Man was it humid this morning. Janelle and I ran about 4.5 miles this morning and when I got home even my shorts were soaked. You have to love DC in the summer time. It felt good to get out run after almost a week off. Even if I had a couple of beers last night.

Last evening the DC Tri Club sponsored a Town Hall meeting with some of the Mid-Atlantic USAT Board Members. The biggest news other than the Key Note Speaker was that the Mid-Atlantic USAT and the DC Tri-Club had sponsored a Triathlon Camp for DC Kids and today was the big race. What I found really cool about this is how effective it has been at motivating some of these inner city kids and that USAT is using this as pilot program and wants to expand it over the next few years.

The Key Note Speaker was Margie Shapiro a local who is an aspiring Olympian. I think most of found it very motivational that she and her husband own a running store, she races A LOT of races during the course of the year and has two small children at home. She has worked her butt off over the last couple of years to get enough points in ITU competition to be ranked somewhere in the top 125 in the world. She is currently ranked in the top 50 and will be attempting to make the US Olympic Tri Team racing the 2008 Olympic Course in Beijing.

Good Luck Margie

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Back to the Pool

Today was my first day back in the pool since the race on Sunday. It was good to get back in the pool and swim. However, our coach was on vacation today and apparently almost everyone else. I think we had five swimmers.

I kept the work out short and fairly easy. The session today called for 3000 yards. I cut that back to about 2100 in an effort to continue recovering. Today’s work out was as follows

500 w/u (mixed stroke)
100 side fly drill
500 back kick (really stretches out my lower back and legs)
500 Pull with paddles
250 Fly kick with board
250 Free with paddles and fins.

Today we have a DC Tri Club Town Hall meeting. The purpose is discuss the up coming issues on the USAT ballots, hear Margie Shaprio (Olympic Hopeful), and most importantly have a beer.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Today was my first workout since the C'ville race. I was back on the bike for about an hour. My legs felt much stronger than I expected them to feel. I was able to easily hold 17.5 mph on the flats without too much effort. I think the hills pushed me and made me much stronger. I have a solid three weeks to get ready for Chicago.

On the issue limiting my food intake. I weighed myself this morning and I weighted at 175lbs. So we will see how much I can lose prior to Chicago. If I can drop 8-10lbs in the next month, I think that my bike and run will be substantially faster.