Janesville Race Against Racism 5K

We woke up to a light rain, and thought it was going to be another crappy day for a 5K...just like the 5K in Beloit. The rain continued through registration, but stopped a few minutes before the start of the race and then the sun came out and the weather was great.

We were doing this race mainly as a training race for Cheri, because the Danskin triathlon is only a few weeks away
. Unfortunately, she's been struggling with severe knee pain the past few weeks. The guys at the Endurance House suggested she work on her form and try to strengthen her quads with leg extensions and lunges. She's been doing the exercises and making progress, but we were both very worried that she might have to walk to the finish line. I gave her a few Ibuprofen to take before the race hoping that would hold off the pain so she could get in a good run.

For 2 years she's been trying to run a sub 25 minute 5K. She's been running stronger than ever, but we both figured this wasn't the day for a PR....wrong. Not only did she PR and run a 24:33 5K (7:54 pace), she dominated the dojo and won her age group....again. She only had a little
knee pain so we think the strength training is helping (although I still want her to see the physical therapist).

My race went well. I ran a 19:22, a PR by a few seconds, and finished 2nd in my age group. Check out the trophies they handed out to the top 5 in every age group...

Pretty cool, huh?

If you're looking for a 5K to run in the Janesville area next year, be sure to put the Race Against Racism on your schedule. The course is flat, fast and certified. And the event is run by Tim Rutter, who does an excellent job running events. They're always very well organized with lots of goodies, like trophies and a ton of giveaways....and pancakes. Can't beat that.

Here are a few pictures from the Aquathon...

Me and Andy before the start.

The start.

The puppy that stole all of the attention. His name is Ambrose and he's 12 weeks old. He's a bullmastiff so he's going to be a big boy.



Fatigue: This is recovery week, and I've been trying to take it easy and recover but my legs feel really sluggish. Tomorrow is a rest day, so I'm hoping that will help and then next week is a week of base training so I think I'm going to keep the intensity down and see if that helps. It's a little frustrating because workouts that wouldn't normally make me sore are making my legs really tired and sore. I'm a little overtrained right now so I think I need to step back the intensity for a little bit.

Rockin the Rockport: Tuesday night Cheri and I swam at Rockport pool again and finally met the Wimmers, which was great. I stumbled onto their blogs a while ago and Cheri and I have been following their training and they've been doing a lot of the same events we are but we never run into them. Finally, we ran into them...it was bound to happen. Rockport is a great place to get in a good swim workout. It's kind of fun swimming in an outdoor pool, and being an Olympic size pool makes it a little tougher. I didn't realize how much of a difference that second of rest every 25 yards makes until I had to swim 50 meters before getting a breather. Good workout.

Swimfast: I'm still working with Mark at Swimfast and I can tell I'm making some progress. It gets frustrating sometimes because swimming is so much about technique and it takes a while to develop that. But Mark has been giving me a ton of great tips and I can tell that I'm starting to make progress. My left arm is mainly where I screw up my form so I need to do a lot of work on that...a lot of one-arm drills. He had me drop in on one of his open water classes so he could help me with my open water swimming, and he noticed that I tend to swing my arms out too much in open water and I'm wasting a ton of energy so he gave me some drills to work on to improve that. He's an incredible coach and I can tell he's going to help me take my swimming to the next level, and I think I might be able to hang with the lead pack one of these days. I just need some time to get the technique down.

Gun Show: Today at lunch I rode the gun show, which is part of the reason I'm so tired right now. Jordan rode with us today, and with him being one of the best cyclists in Wisconsin, the pace gets pretty fast. I was doing everything I could to hang on and stay with the group. Jordan works for Saris and they have several very fast riders, and they all work together better than we do so they can be tough to hang with. But I got in a good ride and hit my max heart rate, which I haven't done in a while. That hurt.

Aquathon: After work I ran the aquathon (swim/run). My goal was to improve on my swim, even if that meant I would have a bad run. I'm happy with my swim time, but I'm a little disappointed that I didn't do a good job getting into a group so I could get a good draft. I swam the whole thing alone. I started to the side of the main pack, and when people started to settle into a comfortable pace I ended up in a gap behind the lead pack and in front of the middle pack. The lead pack was too fast for me, so I just pushed as hard as I could and tried to make sure I held a good line so I didn't add unnecessary distance. My swim time was 14:38, almost 30 seconds faster than last time. It's an improvement, but I thought I could take more time off since I struggled a bit last time with the cold water. The run was brutal. My heartrate was really high from the swim and my legs were tired. I ran faster than I expected, but it was a struggle. My run time was 20:54, about 30 seconds slower than last time. My final time was 36:04 for 13th overall. I don't care about the run, but I really want to get my swim times down. I'm shooting for a sub 14 minute swim next time. Cheri came out and watched and took pictures. I'll post them later, although most of the pictures she took were of a puppy. I can't compete with the puppies.

Cheri's Knee: Cheri has been having a lot of knee pain when running lately, and one of the sponsors of the aquathon is a physical therapist so Cheri talked with him for a while. It turns out he's in Janesville twice a week so she's going to make an appointment and see if he can help her get over the pain so she can focus on her running again. I'm really glad she came out to watch because I've been trying to help her with her knee pain, and I have no clue what I'm doing. And I learned with my knee injury that self-diagnosis doesn't work.


Race Report: Verona Triterium

Whew. Three triathlons in 3 weeks, and I'm exhausted. As much as I love racing, I'm ready for a break to focus on the Spirit of Racine Half Ironman and Ironman Wisconsin. These triathlons were a lot of fun and were great training, but now I need to focus on volume. I still have some races coming up, but they're really just training events such as the Aquathons, a 5K in Janesville Saturday, and I think I might do the Open Water Challenge in Pleasant Prairie on the 28th. Otherwise it's all about the Spirit of Racine right now, and then my focus will switch to the Ironman for the rest of the summer.

Yesterday I ran the Verona Triterium Olympic Triathlon at Fireman's Park in Verona - only 5 minutes from my house. It was raining in the morning with a chance of th
understorms all day so I thought it was going to be a crappy day for racing, but a little while before the race started the skies cleared up and the sun came out for the rest of the day. It turned out to be a good day, except the transition area was pretty muddy from the rain last week. But considering the weather we've been having, I can't complain.

The Swim: Mark wanted me to attack the swim and focus solely on the swim since this was a "C" race for me and I was going into it tired and really just using it for training. The quarry at Fireman's Park is pretty small so the Olympic swim is a 3 lap swim - a little different, but kind of fun.

I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, but I definitely approached the swim
a little different and it went much better so I made progress. In most triathlons, I just try to get back to the beach so I can get on the bike. This time I focused on the swim and tried to vary my pace throughout the race rather swim one pace the whole time. I tried to be more aware of what was going on in the water - who was where, who was fast, who was slow, who was fading... I searched for feet to draft off and drafted a lot more than usual - although I don't know how much it helped since I kept picking guys that couldn't hold a line.

I was hoping for a better time, so I'm a little disappointed but I'm also happy th
at I swam faster than last week (by about 2 minutes) and felt like I raced the swim more than survived it. Rather than focus on not setting as fast a time as I would've liked, I'm going to look at this as a step in the right direction, a confidence builder. I raced the swim for the first time and it felt good. Thursday is the second aquathon (assuming they open the beaches by then) and I'm going to attack the swim with everything I have, even if that means I'm so friggin tired I have to walk the run. I think that will be good training for the Spirit of Racine.

Lap 1...

Lap 2...

Coming out of the water...I didn't try to trap my goggles in the sleeve of my wetsuit this time. I've had enough of that trick.

Speaking of wetsuits, I called QR and found out why mine is tearing...it's me. I've been putting it on by pulling on the outside of the suit rather than the inside and I've been tearing it. I patched it and took it easy when I put it on Sunday and no tears. So if you have a wetsuit, learn from my mistake. Pull from the inside and take your time putting it on.

Swim Time: 27:07

T1: 1:41

Bike: The bike course followed a little bit of the Ironman route and then did a loop I used as Horribly Hilly training last year, except the triathlon did the loop the opposite way so it was a little easier but still plenty hilly. I felt like I ran out of gas a little on the run last week so I mixed up some perpeteum (which Cheri says tastes like waffle mix) for the bike so I could get some calories in before the run.

There were some spectators on the bike route this time which was great. It helps a lot when there are a few small groups of people in the corners cheering you on. Plus the dude playing the bagpipes on the top of Observatory was cool.

Bike Time: 1:16:24

Coming into T2...

T2: 0:43

The run: The run was a 3 lap route that came back by the transition area each lap. I wasn't sure if I would like doing laps, but it was great. It gives spectators a chance to se
e the racers more, and it's definitely encouraging to see Cheri cheering me on a few times during the run. I'd like to see more triathlons go to a format like that. You could do the same for the bike so family members could see how you're doing in the middle of the bike.

The run wasn't as painful as it was last week and I think drinking the perpeteum on the bike helped a lot, although there was a short, steep hill at the beginning of each loop that was brutal. Overall I feel pretty good about the run. I wish I could have had the energy to attack the course more rather than just hold on, but that will come with more run training. It takes a long time to become a good runner.

Lap 1...

Lap 2...

The finish....

Run Time: 44;54

Overall: 2:30:48 (23rd overall, 5th age group)

Here's a picture of a friend of our's. He finished in 2:55 and took 2nd in the 55-59 age group. Bob's an animal.

Here's another picture of a friend of ours, Jason. This was only his second triathlon, and he opted for the Olympic distance rather than the sprint. He did really well and finished in 3:17. He's doing another Olympic tri in 2 weeks...that's a tough start to a tri career, but I'm confident he'll do well.

Luckily, this is a recovery week so I get to take it easy and relax a bit before getting in a few weeks of tough training for the Spirit of Racine Half Ironman.


Pie Ride

Finally, some decent weather....and it picked a good day to clear up because today was the Pie Ride! That's ride, you ride for pie.

I wanted to do the 50K instead of the 100K to save my legs for the Verona Olympic Triathlon tomorrow (only 5 minutes from my apartment - now that's convenient) so this makes two 50K pie rides for me - 3 for Cheri. I missed last year's because I did the Horribly Hilly Hundreds; the pie ride is a lot more fun than the HHH.

Dennis - one of my co-workers - came down for the ride and we ran into one of Cheri's co-workers and a friend of hers so we had a small group to ride with. I wanted to take it easy and have fun, which we did....for the most part. We probably pushed the pace a little too much and now my legs are tired. I didn't expect them to get this tired from a 35 mile ride, but I think it's cumulative fatigue from weeks of hard training (luckily next week is a recovery week) so I'm not feeling very confident about tomorrow's race. But you never know what a good night's sleep will do for you. And it's a "C" race so it doesn't really matter how I do. It's just training.

I don't know why I like the pie ride so much. The route goes out past my parent's house so the roads are nothing new to me, and I don't like pie. After the ride, I drop off the pie at my parent's house for my dad - I'm sure he likes the pie ride too. But charity rides can be fun and there's something fun about riding for pie. It's kind of goofy.

Today was really fun...and they had cookies at the rest stops like all charity rides should. So the Pie Ride remains near the top of my list of favorite charity rides. And I think it was a good Danskin training ride for Cheri.

Later in the afternoon Cheri and I headed to Rockport pool to do some lap swimming. We got in about 3 laps before the storms hit and they had to close the pool. I haven't been to Rockport in about 20 years, and I was a little surprised. It was nicer than I expected and it's Olympic distance which is nice for laps. And lap swimming is only $1. Hard to beat that.

Tomorrow's forecast...more rain.


The Land of Precipitation

I was hoping to go for a run after work, but I'm stuck inside waiting for the storms to clear up. I don't typically let the weather stop me from working out, but when the tornado sirens are going off and the radar is really ugly, it's time to play it safe.

I've always hated the weather in Wisconsin and I've often thought about moving. But I haven't thought about leaving Wisconsin as much since moving to Madison because I really like living in Madison... but th
is year has me wondering how much longer I can deal with our crappy weather. It's getting ridiculous.

We set record snowfalls this winter, and now we're setting a record for rainfall in June - and it's only the 12th. Everything is flooded and there's no end in sight. Check out this announcement..

"All roads in Portage are impassible due to high water, according to Columbia County Emergency Management."

Really? All roads? That's crazy.

Here's the forecast for Boulder, CO. Looks good to me...


Race Report: Capital View Triathlon

Today was the Capital View Triathlon, my first olympic distance tri. It was a 1500 meter swim (about .9 miles), 24.8 mile bike, 10K run (6.2 miles). The weather was great. Hot and humid, the way I like it. The high was 87.

It was also windy, really windy, which made t
he bike tough...again, the way I like it.

When I put my wetsuit on, I noticed it has 3 more tears in it. I figured the original one was probably from my fingernail when I put it on, but there's no way these are from my fingernails (I don't even have fingernails). I don't know what's going on with that thing and why it's falling apart, but I'm starting to get really frustrated with it. I've worn it less than 10 times. I bought it for the Ironman and now I'm not sure it's going to last that long. It's always something.

I ran into an ex co-worker while I was getting warmed up and waiting for my wave to go. In the background you can see one of the sprint tri waves finishing up. The water was so shallow some of them walked the majority of the swim.

The Swim:

(note to race director: orange swim caps don't work well with orange buoys)

I was pretty nervous for the swim. This was my longest swim (in competition) and I ran into my swim coach before the race. It's not like he expected me to dominate the swim after one lesson, but I didn't want to post a really slow swim time either.

You can't tell from that picture, but the water was really choppy. It was fine on the way out to the first buoy, but after that it was rough and choppy and I had a really hard time spotting the buoys. I ended up way off course a few times, and it wouldn't surprise me if I swam 2000 meters. But I felt pretty good, and I even incorporated some of the changes Mark made in my swimming stroke about 50% of the time. Not too bad.

I tried trapping my goggles and swim cap in the sleeve of my wetsuit again, and like last week they fell out. I wasn't lucky enough to find them this week, so Cheri and I headed to Endurance House after the race to pick up another pair - by the way, I've been really impressed with Endurance House lately. Those guys are great.

Swim Time: 28:58 (rank 64/296)

T1: 1:32 (rank 29/296)

The choppy water made me a little dizzy. Not real bad, but enough that I had to hang on to my bike while I put my shoes on.

The Bike: The bike went well. It was really windy - mainly a cross wind - and kind of hilly. It was a pretty tough course, mainly due to the wind. I tried to keep my power a little on the low side so I would have plenty left for the run. In retrospect, I probably should have hammered the bike and gone all out. I don't think it would have mattered much.

Bike Time: 1:10:27 (rank 18/296 21.3 mph average)

T2: 0:41 (rank 14/296 - not bad since I took time to give Cheri a smooch before heading out for the run)

The Run: What a horrible run course. It was a trail run, and the worst kind. Hilly and boring. Most of it was in an open field and there were a ton of switchbacks. If you're going to make us run trails, at least give us something interesting. Running in an open field sucks.

And the hills were a killer. I don't think I've ever suffered this much on a run. I didn't want to do it, but I had to walk through the second aid station. I had a terrible side ache and I needed to get my heartrate down (I talked to the guy who posted the 5th fastest run time and he had to walk too...wow, tough course).

I didn't think the run would ever end. The course was terrible, confusing, muddy, and they didn't mark the miles. You never knew where you were, where you needed to go or how much distance you had left. And with no mile markers, I had no idea what my pace was, not that it mattered that much. The hills took their toll and I don't think I could've picked up my pace if I wanted to.

Run Time: 51:22 (rank 44/296 - 8:15 pace)

Overall Time: 2:32:56 24/296 (3rd in age group)

I was really surprised I did as well as I did in the standings. I felt like I was out on the run forever. It was never ending, and I didn't enjoy any aspect of it, which was really disappointing because I typically enjoy running. But trail running isn't my thing, and now I have to wash my Zoots... again. And I got a few nasty blisters so my feet were hurting for the last 3 miles or so.

After finding out I had an award coming, we decided to wait for the awards ceremony that never came. We waited....and waited...and waited...and they finally announced they would have to mail the awards because they couldn't figure out the results. Come on. I'm willing to cut them a little slack since this was their first year, but I expected more being a USAT sanctioned events. You can screw up a few things, but you can't screw up the results. And with chip timing I would think you could get the final results posted in a reasonable time.

(note to self: take sunblock next week)



I spent a little time looking at the results of my two recent races, the Aquathon and the Lake Mills Triathlon and one thing stood out: I need help on the swim. I've come a long way, but I'm giving up way too much time on the swim and I can't do it all on my own.

Here are the Aquathon results. I out ran places 5-8, but couldn't catch them because I gave them too much time on the swim.

Again at Lake Mills, I gave up too much time in the water.

So tonight I started working with Mark at SWIMfast Madison. I'm skeptical of paying for coaching because I always think I can figure it out myself and that I'm going to pay a coach a lot of money and get little in return. That's not the case with Mark. Not at all.

Right now I'm doing 4 private swim lessons and I had my first one tonight. It was a 30 minute class and he gave me tons of good stuff to work on. I'm really glad I finally decided to start working with a coach on my swimming. I learned a ton. Here are some of my good points...

- I have good rotation
- I have a swimmer's body - tall, lean, long arms
- My right arm has a good catch/pull

Now for the stuff I need to work on...

- My left arm - I tend to pull in toward my body instead of out and then back in (like the number 9)
- My head is too low (when I started it was too high so I over-corrected) - I need to look forward slightly - I'm dropping my head and creating drag
- I start breathing too late in the stroke
- I breathe too often - every other stroke - it works against me
- I look back when I breathe - I should look to the side or slightly ahead
- I need to angle my palms slightly out
- I need to work on the timing of my stroke (front quadrant swimming) - I need to glide more
- I'm using my legs too much - wasting energy (maybe this is why my power was a little low on the bike)

And that's just lesson 1 (notice which list was longer?). Mark is going to send me some workouts, and I'll be doing a lot of one arm drills so I can fix the problems with my left arm - and this should fix the shoulder pain I've been having. I'm really pumped about this lesson. I've got some good stuff to work on and I think it's going to help get me to the next level with my swimming. Mark was great (and one of his clients was the first one out of the water at Lake Mills and he's worked with the overall winner - not too shabby). I can tell he's really into the local triathlon scene and he was really cool. I really enjoyed working with him.

So if you're struggling with your swimming, suck it up and pay a coach - I recommend Mark. You can only do so much on your own.

Cheri's working on getting her cycling legs back for the Danskin triathlon in July, so I took her out for a hard 20 mile ride last night. It was really windy, but luckily the route we had planned was an out and back that had us biking into the wind for the first 10 miles. It was tough, and kind of slow, but the way back was fast and really fun. For 19 miles Cheri hung on my wheel, and then I flicked my elbow and told her to take over and give it everything she has....and holy smokes....we averaged 24.2 mph for that last mile. Wow. Overall, we averaged 19.3 mph for the ride, which I wasn't sure she could do right now since she doesn't have that many miles in this year. I am thoroughly impressed. A few more hard rides and I think she's going to have a great bike leg at the Danskin. I gave her my old aerobars so those should help too.

Fixie update: Toby/Mark - you guys will be happy to know my Madison is still a fixie and I'm starting to like it. It's a great workout. But now I need to customize the Madison a bit. I'm thinking I'm going to flip my handlebars upside down and cut them off so they're bullhorns. Then I'll lose the rear brake and go with a front one only. Maybe some white bar wrap...chrome bottle cage...I'll post pictures...

Note to Charter: the bill came so I have a deal for you. Fix my Internet, and I'll pay my bill. Until then....


Race Report: Lake Mills Triathlon

What a beautiful day for the first triathlon of the year. Blue skies, little to no wind and highs in the upper 70s.

The race started at 7, so I set the alarm clock for 4 but woke up at 3 ready to go. I think I was a little nervous for this one. It's the first tri of the year, so I wanted to do well and show that all the hard work is paying off. Plus, Lake Mills gets a good turn out and plenty of tough competition. I have to give Cheri a lot of credit here. I told her I wanted to leave at 4:30 (not exactly the time she likes to get up on Sundays), and she was ready to go at exactly 4:30. I was ready at 4:32.

After signing in and going through body marking, I set up my transition area and headed out for a short bike warm up. Then it was time to get out the wetsuit and get in the water.

(Looks like someone needs to get some sun.)

I stayed in the water as long as I could to get used to the temp before heading over for the start - wave 4, men's 25-35.

The Swim: I started up front hoping to get a good draft off someone faster who could pull me to the finish. The plan worked great for the first 50 feet, and then I lost the draft and couldn't get back in line so I spent the whole time on the outside swimming on my own. It was a pretty good swim for me, and I came out of the water around the 6:40 mark I think. There's a long run from the lake to transition so my official swim time is...

Swim Time: 7:20

Swim Highlights: The wetsuit repair worked. The goggles are awesome (Aqua Sphere if you're wondering which brand). No panic attack. I wore earplugs to try and avoid vertigo and it worked. I was going to stuff the ear plugs in my pocket after the swim, but when I went to take them out I noticed one fell out when I took my cap off so I pulled the other one out and threw it...right at someone...sorry.

T1: 1:20

The Bike: The bike went really well, although they started my wave after the novices so I had a ton of bikes to pass...mountain bikes, comforts, you name it... Before the race I was afraid that might affect my bike time trying to pass a lot of riders but I don't think it did. Had I known they had an elite wave I would've signed up for that so I would've been in the first wave, but it all worked out in the end. I'm happy with my time and speed, but once again my power was lower than I thought it would be. I averaged 276 watts for an hour at the TT 2 weeks ago, but today I could only muster a 260 average. Not bad, but I would like to see a bigger number. Either way, I averaged 23.6 mph and set the 12th fastest bike time. I'm happy with it.

Bike Time: 38:07

T2: :41

Here I am giving Cheri a thumbs up as I come out of transition and start the run. "Thumbs up" for "I'm in a lot of pain, but I didn't die in the water."

Run: The run hurt, as it should. I felt like I was running slow until the first mile marker when I saw I ran a 6:20. At that point, I was hoping to hold that pace because I knew it would be a sub 20 5K, which was my goal.

Run Time: 19:43 (a 6:20 pace...how's that for consistent?)

Total Time: 1:07:09

Overall: 19/648
Age Group: 3/42

After the race I went back to transition to grab some of my stuff and discovered that my swim cap and new goggles fell out of the sleeve of my wetsuit when I was running from the water to transition. $20 on goggles for one swim. Such a waste. I really liked those goggles, easily the best ones I've ever owned.

After that, we checked the results, saw I had an award coming and then wandered over to the food table. On the way, guess what we saw...

What a great day! Great weather. Great race. I got my goggles back. I didn't die on the swim. I got a award. And to top it all off, Cheri and I are heading out for a bike ride in a few minutes. It doesn't get much better than this (although winning the lottery would easily top all that...maybe I should buy a ticket today).