Monday, July 30, 2012

HITS Olympic Distance Race

I thought it would be fun to camp with the family and race in the HITS Olympic Triathlon.  I was half right.  The race was supposed to occur in Fort Collins but was moved to Sterling Colorado due to the wildfires that took place in June.

We took off work early on Friday and made the two and a half hour trek east on Interstate 76 to Sterling, CO and then North to the North Sterling State Park.  Once at the park my wife and I again tested our marital commitment to each other by trying to put up a tent.  A sudden wind and rain storm made this an even more difficult exercise in patience.

Our campsite in Sterling State Park

The storm passed quickly and my daughter and I went down to the transition area to attend the athlete meeting.  We were told of rolling hills and a bike course that was suitable for a mid season PR. We were also informed by the race director that the run course was on hard pack trails and that it was a bit bumpy the first quarter of a mile or so. And, if the call of nature were to hit us out on the run that we were not supposed to go in the long grass on the side of the trails. Apparently rattlesnakes were abundant in the area. Lastly, the 200 meters of gravel at the start and end of the bike course were not that big of a deal.  WTH?  Did I sign up for an Xterra?  Being that the the race was moved with less than 30 days notice I decided that HITS should get a pass on most of these things.  My daughter and I went back to the campsite..which was only about a 5 minute walk to the transition area..and went to bed.  I think I may have slept about an hour all night..not due to nerves but due to sleeping on a cot with the wind rustling the tent and being startled awake every time I moved my foot the wrong way. (How long does this gout crap last?)

I got out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to an overcast sky and some of our camp neighbors getting their gear ready to race.  The sprint was to start at 7 a.m. while the Olympic was 7:40 a.m.  Thus I screwed around for a while..walked my bike and gear down to the transition area and arranged everything.  One nice thing about Hits is that they have your area numbered, allow you plenty of space for everything and even provide a stool for you to sit on. woo hoo.

My family came down and I put my wetsuit on by the water's edge.  Now, I was feeling good about myself since on race day I was down to 218 lbs, but then I put the wetsuit on.  WTH? I instantly gained 30 lbs or so. 

Umm..yeah Dad..sure you look good. 

I lined up with the rest of the male olympic distance athletes, the horn sounded and off we went....walking through the muck for the first 20 yards or so until it made sense to actually swim.  Yuck.  By the way, the water temp was 78 degrees.  I thought I was going to sweat off 10 pounds in the first of the two laps we had to do.  The water was also murky so you could not see anything more than a foot away.  To make matters worse I had to actually sight for myself during the race since I couldn't find anyone to follow.  I think I probably added 200 meters to my swim by going off course so many times.  Now I usually like the swim..but with the warmth, the mukiness and having to sight I was working harder during the swim than I have ever done before.  So at least I thought I would have a decent time. I reached the first lap and had to stand up and walk in the muck to the shore and then out to start the swim which time this dumbass actually twisted his foot in the mud. 

All Right..time to walk around the buoys one more time  

I wonder if I can walk the whole swim course?

When I finally exited the swim we had to run up a sand beach to the transition area. Ok..we didn't have to run..and I think I may have jogged a few feet to the wetsuit strippers.  My time in the water was 33 minutes..I was not overly happy but hey I made it.

I sat on my stool during transition and put my bike gear on.  I had decided to wear my abekatANARCHY shirt since it was nice and loose.  Although the XL fit me fine it was a little tight on my shoulders so I put on the 2xl.  Now I do watch What Not To Wear.  So I know that one of the worst things for a big guy to do is wear even bigger I ended up looking huge in my shirt. (Hey it's all about the look people).  I got on the bike and hit the gravel road.  I thought I had flatted since the bike was so squirrely and then almost went down. Luckily I kept myself upright and was off to the bike course made for a "midseason PR".  That race director was a lying son of a bitch. Although there was not that much elevation gain..maybe 900 feet..the hills killed me.  The hills and the heat.  It was up and then down..up and then down.  I had two bottles of grape EFS with me along with 50 ounces of water.  I was trying to get all my calories in liquid form. I drank about 40 ounces of the EFS and 15 ounces of water and felt bloated.  The bike was uneventful except for the guy who crashed right in front of me cracking his head open and getting road rash. I would usually stop in these instances but he luckily crashed right in front of two police officers and some volunteers so I kept going.  Also on the way back there was a large dog that came out of a field and started to attack the cyclists.  It would go right for your ankles.  Lucky for me I saw the dog coming and was able to pass another cyclist putting him between the dog and myself.. Yeah that was probably pretty shitty for me to do..

My cheering section on the way back from the bike.

I was hoping for about 1:20 on the bike but figured I was out a lot longer than that. The bike computer read 1:36. So I was not happy but I hoped that I had at least kept hydrated. I had manged to keep my heart rate fairly low at an average of 136 bpm.

I then dismounted and changed into my running gear. My coach and I had decided that I should run with my nathan hydration vest so that I had water with me at all times. Considering the heat of the day I thought it was a good idea.

Heading out on run

I found out two things almost immediately on the run. First, the hard packed surface was actually a fairly deep sand surface. Enough that I actually sank into it.  Second, my heart rate skyrocketed the second I began to run at any speed. A sure sign I was behind on hydration.  I drank from my vest and switched walking and running to keep my heart rate low. Unfortuantely the low was about 140 and the second I ran it went to 150 and higher.  At the 2 mile aid station I decided to try the sports drink that they had...HEED.  I wretched immediately upon taking two big gulps.  Who the hell would be handing out warm urine to drink? Worst tasting stuff ever.  Needless to say with the heat, no shade and my heart rate topping out every thirty seconds the 6 mile run was not any fun at all.  The only thing  that kept me going was the fact that if I passed out no one would find me for days..that and the fact I wanted to wring the race director's neck for his promise of a hard pack trail.

On the way back
I did not hit any of my goal times for the race. I also failed to keep my hydration issues in check.  It did turn out that it was incredibly hot.  After the race the family and I went to a movie and when we got out the outdoor temp was 111 degrees.  I also have not run consistently for about six weeks due to the whole gout issue..but when I was running it was at an 11:30 mile pace for 5 miles or so with a very low heart rate.  I was hoping that this would translate into a 1:10 10k with little effort on my part. Boy was I wrong. 

I need to get fit faster and that is proving difficult with the foot issues.  Further I need to drop a lot more weight.  My next race is in 4 weeks in Maine. I am debating about just doing the half aqua bike which would be a 1.2 mile swim and 56 mile bike with no run or switching to the Olympic distance.  I also need to get the hydration nailed down.

It was a fun weekend anyhow and I learned a lot from the race. 

Team abekatANARCHY's official cheerleader

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dude..are you racing this year or what?

It has been three weeks since I last blogged and you had to hear about my gout issue.  Well I think it is finally going away.  The severe pain was probably gone about 2 weeks ago but the constant throbbing and "OMG" pain whenever I hit the foot wrong have basically kept me from running since..well maybe the last week in June.  Which obviously is a problem. However coach Sonja has kept me swimming and biking and hopefully things will come around.

As far as the swim is concerned I am happy.  I did 1.2 miles at the gravel pond in about 38:00. That is roughly 1:55 per 100 yards.  My best times in the pool for that distance are about 45-46 minutes. So obviously the wetsuit and the straight line swimming help me quite a bit.

The gravel pond at Chattfield park is one of the only places to OWS in the Denver area.  It is cool in that everyone shows up on Saturday mornings to get their long swim for the week in..thus you can talk to a lot of familiar people.  The out and back in the gravel pond is about 1900 meters ..or pretty close to 1.2 miles..the half ironman distance.  The bad thing about the gravel pond is its limited hours and that you must belong to Colorado Masters Swimming or one of the multisport clubs to use it.  I belong to Colorado Masters and actually the price is not too bad. Actually there are two really bad things about the gravel pond.  The first is guys in speedos.  Yeah..whether they are 100 lbs overweight or 4% body fat..the plum smugglers just scare me.  And the worst thing is that they are damn proud of their speedos and thus strut around in them. No one needs to see that..especially at 7:30 a.m.  The second really bad thing is watching people get in their wetsuits.  Some mornings you can actually hear the wetsuits screaming as their seams are stretched and flesh is stuffed into them much like sausage into a casing.  And again no one looks good..especially as they are doing their little dance to get into the wetsuits.

The biking is also coming along..I think.  I have a new tri bike the year.  The QR Lucero that I picked up from Kompetitive Edge. This was before my wife banned me from the store.  I had Scott Geffre of Fit and Tri take my measurements before buying my bike and basically with my girth, lack of flexibility and weird ass measurements, the only bike we researched that had a tall enough headtube was the QR Lucero.  The bad thing is that the Lucero is no where near as cool a looking bike as the CD0.1 and Illicito.  The good thing is that it is one of the cheaper QR - tri bikes.

I can honestly say I truly hate the bike.  Anyone who says they love their tri bike is either the size and weight of a jockey or a liar.  Except for Evil Jen.  I think she truly loves her tri bike..but she is also insane.   I love my Giant OCR 1.  It is comfortable..has a triple chain ring and I can ride all day on it. The tri bike is twitchy, uncomfortable..and I look like a tri geek wannabe.  However, the truth is that I am probably about 2 mph faster on the Lucero..and for me that is huge. I had Ryan at KE put a compact crank on the bike as well as change the rear cassette to add a granny gear. So I have basically changed the Porsche into a Buick..and I am perfectly fine with that..I love my Buicks.

Anyway I enjoy biking, my coach Sonja knows this, and being the person she is she tries to make my workouts as crappy as possible.  Hmm. Scott is heavy and spins at a 90 cadence..I think he should probably do hills at a low cadence for his long days...How about Deer Creek Canyon.  I hate Deer Creek Canyon. It is about 1800 feet of elevation gain in 8 miles. I want a flat road..or preferably a downhill for three hours..but it never happens.

Since I haven't been running I have been doing more walking and hiking. Luckily for me and my family we live in Colorado with plenty of places to hike including Rocky Mountain National Park which offers tons of  options.  We are trying to hit at least one new trail every week this year.

On the Cub Lake trail in Rocky Mountain National Park
 However, I did run today for an extended time and was actually quite surprised.  Although still very foot held up for 5.5 miles on the treadmill.  Also, my heart rate was downright low.  Even at 10:00 miles (which is fast for me) I was only at about 142 bpm.  Oh..a bonus today. I ran with my cadence tape and sung out loud.  Yep..I had people moving away from me within a minute. The video below contains some of the cadence I listen to.  It really helps me stay focused and just run.

Lastly for all of those who were wondering, I am actually gong to race this year. Saturday I am signed up to do the HITS Olympic distance in Sterling Colorado.  I was going to do the My Way or the Tri Way sprint in Aurora.  I wanted to do a short race because I am very worried about my running. However, my coach quilted me into signing up for the longer distance.  She is a smart lady and knows what she is doing..thus it is probably good that I listen to her at least some of the time.  I just looked at the forecast for Saturday..100 degrees..and there is no shade on the course.  Should be fun.

Oh..and the one good thing about the gout..I am eating less sugar, fat and meat and finally dropping the pounds.
I think my head is getting thinner..which is a good thing.

Monday, July 2, 2012

You have gout to be kidding me!!

Less than a week after Jen from milesmusclesmommyhood (hereinafter referred to as "Evil Jen" but really aren't all Jen's evil? Except maybe Crayola Jen.) convinced me that it it was some how a really cool idea to travel across the country to have my butt handed to me at a race on her home field, I come down with another case of gout.  Yes gout.  Really?  What is next, scurvy? (Actually with my amazing ability to avoid fruit at every turn scurvy may not be too far fact my nickname as member of the merry band of attorneys at Waste Management back in the day was "scurvy boy"). 

For those of you who know nothing about gout just suffice it to say it freakin hurts..a lot.  It usually attacks your big toe joint and does not let you sleep at night or do much of anything else.  As my doctor put it..just imagine taking the fluid out from between your joints and replacing it with sand.  And to top it off, I found out that dehydration is a major factor in bringing on these attacks..good thing I don't have to worry about that.  Diet can also play a role. Certain foods bring up the uric acid level which is the culprit.  I have already manged to cut spinach and asparagus out of my diet for the last 40 years..the tough ones are going to be beef, turkey, pretty much any tasty animal..except for chicken.  Really chicken? Why are you so good for me and yet refuse to be tasty like pig or cow?  I have not only missed 5 days of training but yet another one of my scheduled triathlons. The Lookout Mountain Triathlon sponsored by Kompetitive Edge came and went without my participation on June 30, 2012.  However, I was able to go pick up my shirt and also kick the cord out of the timing mat so that the athletes that were competing did not have their splits.  Serves them right..them non-gout afflicted people.  Shout out to my friend Denise who took 2nd or 3rd in the Athena category. (For some reason they had issues with the splits and timing).  Great Job.  Also, congrats to Doreen who came in first in her age group in the Mountain Tropic Tri half iron distance.  From the sounds of it the bike portion of the race was more NASCAR than triathlon. 

So it is Monday, I think I can possibly ride today so I will.  I will also stay away from the taunts of Evil Jen.  Vegas had opened the over/under for Evil Jen's victory margin as 1:15:00.  This quickly went to 2:00:00 when the bookmakers actually read my blog.  With the latest gout outbreak the odds were taken off the board and were substituted with my race day weight which the over/under now sits at 235. Needless to say I am a bigger long shot than Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter winning best picture.  I know what you are saying..but Scott..if all was right in the world Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter would win best picture and thus by extrapolation you should beat Evil Jen.  And I would agree. I've also heard Evil Jen sacrifices chickens on her long rides to give her strength..seriously..I think she actually has pictures on her blog.