Thursday, June 30, 2011

Its June and its where we're at!

OK--June's totals:

swim: 29,000 yds
bike: 1010 miles
run: 101 miles
Time: 85 hours


1. Given where I was at the end of May (unable to run and coming of a 50 mile run month) this was a strong step forward this month.

2. Most important was my progress with my knee and a return to semi-normalcy run wise. Obviously, 101 miles is still 50 short of where I need to be and the quality of my runs is quite low but hey, it's a start! I was able to get two runs in at 90 minutes or so! If I can continue this momentum in July (say 130 miles and more quality I'll have a decent shot at a quality IM run build for IMAZ).

3. Very strong bike month--best of the year so far. Over 1000 miles and growing quality. Having anders to train with is a real plus. I've had solid racing results up to the disaster at Philly. Still, I see no reason why I can't build on my momentum in july.

4. a maintenance month swim-wise but good enough. I continue to rock my swim splits despite my lack of emphasis on swim training. I'll probably role the dice another month coming up here in July.

5. Racing was a disappointment in June--only two races and a very poor performance at Philly. I understand why but I have an unease about it. I'll race again next weekend and I'll really want to see a bounce back.

6. Lots of outside stress right now. Work is a killer--I'm writing this from the late night train from NYC ro Wilmington yet again--killed a couple of key workouts at least. Also, my lack of sleep, poor nutrition and basic stress are not helpful. The good news is the game really doesn't start until August.

7. I have a big personal month ahead as well with my dad's memorial service coming up at the end of the month. I'm looking forward to honoring my father but there is a lot to do and I won't tolerate doing it any less than the best I can.

Onward and upward!

Philly Sprint Tri Race Report

Philadelphia Sprint Triathlon Race Report
June 25th, 2011


Location: Philadelphia, PA
Distance: 0.5-mile swim/15.7-mile bike/3.1-mile run
2011 Triathlon Race Number: 7
Career Triathlon Race Number: 107
Conditions: 80 degrees and sunny. Little wind. 78 degrees water temperature.

After missing St. Andrews last week (family/work) I was anxious to return to racing on this beautiful Saturday morning. I stayed in Stone Harbor the night before to celebrate my 54th birthday with Judy and my two sons. I awoke at 2:30 a.m. and hit the road shortly thereafter. I arrived at the race site just as it started to get light around 4:45. I overdid it on the departure time but since this was my first time doing the race, I thought it best to be safe.

My two primary concerns pre-race were whether or not this was going to be wetsuit legal and how hilly/technical was the bike course. The water was announced as 77.5 degrees so wetsuits were legal—this was good news for me. I watched several hundred bikes rolling towards transition and saw maybe two discs. I bumped into Wes Burns and Midge Kerr and they both were without discs as well. Midge’s friend said the course had “very nasty” hills. So at the last minute, I made the decision to sacrifice some speed for safety and I changed out my 1080/disc for a pair of 404s (my training wheels). This was a decision I would come to regret.

This is a big race and in fact 959 individual triathletes would start (plus another 80 relay teams). 61 souls were entered in my AG but ultimately only 49 would wend their way into the murky waters of Schuylkill River. With Tom Dillon and Johnny King-Marino entered, I knew with the work in progress state of my run, that I was racing for a 3rd place finish at best. There were two other fellows (Fabrizio and Patterson) and perhaps some others I hadn’t heard of that I also needed to worry about. I wasn’t pre-occupied with this as I was here to do the best I could and have a high quality “brick” workout. Still, I wanted to get to the podium. My legs were a bit heavy and tired from a 5+ hour training day on Wednesday as well as the 20+ hour training week I was in the midst of. I was training right “through” the race but I’ve been able to race well when I’ve done that in the past and saw no reason why I couldn’t turn in a solid performance today.

The Swim

Tom and I were racked right next to each other so I spent much of the pre-race chatting with him. We went down to the water together and jumped in as they called our wave (the 3rd). We both (independently) chose to swim over to the right, which was on the buoy line. Our wave was pretty large (at least 150) as we were paired with the 40-44 AG. Just before the start Dan Fabrizio swam over and started talking to Tom. This was awesome because as far as I could tell, Dillon and Fabrizo were the two strongest swimmers in our AG. On the fly I decided I would start behind them and draft the two of them or pick one if they separated.

Moments later the horn sounded and we were off. Tom and Dan went at it aggressively right from the start. Tom was to the right and wanted to drift left while Dan seemed to want to hug the buoy line. They crashed into each other 5-6 times and I was just swimming easily behind them waiting for them to sort things out. Soon they crossed as Dan fell a bit behind Tom. I was on Dan’s feet and now I had a tough decision to make and I needed to make it quickly. Do I try to go after Tom who I think is the best swimmer or stay with Dan, who is a bit bigger and seemed to be taking the more direct line? I decide to stay with Fabrizio, ultimately because I didn’t think I had a chance of beating Tom overall today and if I can just stay close to Dan, I’ll be in very good shape. (When I beat Dan at Genesis two weeks prior he had outswam me by 27 seconds).

I was able to stay right up on his feet—in fact I probably hit him 10-15 times—which I’m sure was annoying. The water was very murky and I was trying to just feel for the bubbles. There were lots of other swimmers on the buoy line and as we picked our way through the back-end of the wave in front of us Dan would have to change course and speed and that’s when I would hit him.

I felt very relaxed and like I was really taking it easy. Every now and then a slight gap would open up as we wove through traffic but I was going so easy a short burst to close the gap was never a problem. A couple of times, my brain tried to convince me that I should be going harder and I should swim by him. I tried to resist the urge but one time I had swim off to the side a bit and then I realized how hard Dan was actually going—I quickly got back on his feet.

I stayed on his feet for the whole swim! First time I’ve ever done that. I resisted the urge to swim past him at the end as it didn’t seem quite right—given he had done most of the work on this swim. (When we climbed up on the shore, he was moving a little slower than I and I wanted to go by but I held back and directed him in front of me as we reached the timing mat. It did not seem like good karma for me to snake him at the end like that! As soon as we crossed the mat I did run past him).

I didn’t know where Tom was (although my guess was that he was already out of the water) and I didn’t know how any of the other guys in my AG did but I knew I had just completed a fantastic swim. Fabrizio is a great swimmer and a direct competitive threat and to be right with him was very good news indeed.

I hit the shore with an elapsed time of 15:42 and an average HR of 151 bpm. The course had looked longer than a half mile and it obviously was with this time. However the most important take away from this data was my HR. I had averaged 158 bpm at Genesis when Dan had beaten me by 27 seconds. The difference between 151 and 158 is huge. 152 is my IM target HR and 158 is just about the max that I can handle on the swim. I know this is no real insight, but the light has finally gone off in my head about drafting on the swim. If I could do this at IMAZ in November it would be a huge advantage—might be worth as much as 5 minutes and/or much less stress on my body. If I were able to find a similar situation there then this race would have been a huge benefit for me.

Competitively, a fellow named Evans actually outswam everyone in the AG—albeit by just a few seconds. As it turns out, Dan was second and I third. We were actually able to put a nice gap on Tom and a sizeable one on the rest of the field. Here is where we stood after the swim:

1. Evans --------
2. Fabrizio + 0:05
3. Christofferson + 0:06
4. Dillon + 0:21
5. Patterson + 2:02

I was 96.0 %-tile in the AG and OA I was 62nd (93.6 %-tile).

Transition One

I climbed up the steep “sandy” landing area and after crossing the mat I sprinted into the large transition area. My rack was at the far end, near the bike in/out. I was very surprised to see Tom’s bike next to mine (and no Tom). I figured there was a good chance that I was leading the AG. I busied myself with my transition and Tom came running up several seconds later. He yelled at me to take my hands off his bike (I was lightly leaning on his seat as I did my stuff).

Tom soon finished his transition activities and was off. I yelled to him to be safe but he did not respond—I guess you don’t have time for small talk when you are so fast in transitions. It was very humbling watching Tom do his transition—he was a full 37 seconds faster than I. However, I actually did a pretty good job, as I was the 2nd fastest in our AG! I finished my transition in 2:22 with an average HR of 151 bpm.

Here is where we stood after T1:

1. Dillon --------
2. Christofferson + 0:22
3. Fabrizio + 0:30
4. Evans + 2:19
5. King-Marino + 3:17

The Bike

I ran out of T1 intent on running Tom down as quickly as I could. Frankly, I didn’t harbor any illusions about holding him off on the run but I knew I needed to open up a gap on the folks behind me if I was to sneak into the top 3. After mounting up and settling in, I glanced down and noticed that my SRM was not registering. Gee whiz—this is the 3rd race in a row I’ve had a PM problem. I had tested it before the race and it worked fine. I hit one of the buttons and it started registering my power and HR, as well as elapsed time but no speed. So somehow, my speed sensor wasn’t picking up a signal. I knew from experience that this also meant whenever I stopped putting power through the BB (when I was coasting) that my timer would stop. Given the descents on this course and my unfamiliarity with it, I knew my average power was likely to be overstated. (As an aside, I have an upgrade project underway, which among other things will address my continuing PM problems).

The first part of the bike course is a very flat out and back of about 1.5 miles. As I neared the turn-around I saw Tom and was able to calculate that I was losing ground to him. Oh-oh. I checked my average power and it showed 255 watts, which was probably a reasonable number since I hadn’t been coasting. The problem was it felt like 290 watts and probably should have been at least 280 watts (the last time I raced Tom I averaged 271 watts for 12 miles). I was worried about losing some time due to my wheel choice, but now I had a new worry.

I made my way (relatively conservatively) around the first lap and came to the conclusion that the technical difficulty of the course was way overblown—there were a couple of tricky parts but my training rides in DE are way more demanding than this bike course—I had blown the wheel decision. I rolled through the first lap near 22 minutes (vs. the expected split of 20:30—this based on prior year performances) and I also saw that Tom had opened up a further gap. I was now very aware that I was not getting it done on the bike.

I plugged along and finally hit the end of the 15.7-mile course with a time of 44:07 and an average HR of 156 bpm. This translates into an average speed of 21.4 mph. This is the speed I ride IM bikes at! Obviously, the speed was affected by the climbs and turns but it is very evident that I had one of my worse bike splits of my career. At 156 bpm, I was a good 7-10 bpm off where I should have been—my legs were just too fried to push my CV system hard enough. This poor showing was very evident when I look at how I did competitively. I was 2:34 slower than Tom (I believe this is the first time he has out-rode me in a triathlon, which is ironic as today was also the first time I had outswam him!). I was only 6th in my AG (a very disheartening 89.8 %-tile) and I was 56th OA (94.3 %-tile). More importantly, I lost valuable time to Marino and Patterson behind me and missed an opportunity to put Fabrizio away. Here is where we stood after the bike:

1. Dillon --------
2. Christofferson + 2:56
3. King-Marino + 3:22
4. Patterson + 3:27
5. Fabrizio + 5:12

Show what happened? One possible explanation is that Tom had a phenomenal ride. Clearly, he had an awesome ride and the analysis below is not intended to deflect from that fact—Tom won this race on the strength of a great bike ride. However, when I look at how my time compares to some other riders, it’s also clear that my poor performance was a major contributor to the above results. Basically, I believe there are two primary drivers: my low power production and my lack of aero wheels. Below is an attempt to quantify those two components.

At Bassman, I was 0:24 faster than Tom. Philly is longer (15.7 vs. 11.8 miles) so all things being equal, I should have been 0:32 faster than Tom today. Tom was 2:34 faster so there is a total gap of 3:06 to explain.

As it turns out, Wes also did not ride with his disc today but did when we raced at Genesis (I used my race wheels there as well). Therefore, I can hypothesize that the difference in my performance today vs. Genesis (as compared to Wes) is solely due to my lack of power. At Genesis, I was 1:08 faster than Wes and today, Wes was 1:16 faster than I. Since these two races are essentially the same length, my performance shortfall was 2:24.

If this is true, then I can hypothesize that I lost about 0:42 due to my wheel choice—which strikes me as a reasonable estimate. Now my average power was recorded as 254 watts. As I noted above this is an inflated number given my SRM issues. I can use the cubic relationship between power deltas and speed deltas to estimate what my implied power today was. My performance shortfall is 5.7% compared to Tom’s time. This implies an 18% power shortfall from the 271 watts I had at Bassman. This translates into an estimated power today for me of 230 watts—which again seems reasonable.

Of course, the broader question was why did I have such a poor bike split—one of my worst of all time, especially given how strong my bike splits have been this year? I did have a very heavy training week including a 5+ hour training day on Wednesday and a long ride and long run mid week. But I’ve raced well on heavy training volume before—it’s part of my “C” race strategy. No, today was just a very bad ride for me—maybe I was a little sick but for sure I was a lot slow.

Transition Two

My heart wasn’t fully into it as I went through my T2. I knew I was in trouble given my bike. My legs felt like lead. I certainly wasn’t giving up but I knew I was very vulnerable. My total T2 was 1:42 with an average HR of 157. This turned out to be the 8th best T2 (85.7 %-tile). I didn’t hurt myself as most of the folks chasing me weren’t much faster and here is where we stood after T2:

1. Dillon --------
2. Christofferson + 3:15
3. King-Marino + 3:39
4. Patterson + 4:03
5. Fabrizio + 5:30

The Run

I put on my brave face and tried to make a go of it. However, right away my legs felt very heavy, tired and sore. I had no zip whatsoever. Oh oh! I’ve seen this movie before. I was trying to do my best but I knew it was probably only a matter of time before I was passed.

Sure enough, not far up the road (well under a mile) Marino came speeding by in a desperate (and almost successful) attempt to make up over 3 and a-half minutes on Dillon. I was now third and the only thing I could do was hope that no one else was close. However, right near mile 1, Patterson streamed by and I was off the podium. My first mile was 8:00 with an average HR of 161bpm.

At the turn, I saw that I had about 1:15 on Fabrizio and figured even with my legs being as they were, that I was likely to hold him off. My second mile was 8:08/163bpm. I checked in the rear-view mirror several times but as I neared the finish line I could tell I would hold on to 4th. My third mile was an 8:07/165bpm and I crossed the finish line with a very disappointing 25:02. Certainly one of my slowest 5ks of all time.

My run was 14th best in my AG (73.5 %-tile) and 262nd OA (72.8 %-tile). I was 4th in my AG (93.9 %-tile) and 65th OA (93.3 %-tile).


Great race for Tom—congrats! Very poor race for me—clearly the worse of the season and one of my all time poorest showings. On the plus side, I gutted it out and finished safely. I tried pretty much as hard as I could—I just didn’t have it. I also had probably the best tactical swim I’ve ever had and I think I learned a very important lesson about the swim for IMAZ. I’ll take that plus, get back to training and hope to bounce back in a couple of weeks when I race again.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekly update

Finished up a pretty good week, training wise. here are the stats:

Swim: 6400 yards
Bike: 256 miles
Run: 23 miles
Time: 20:13

I hit a coiuple of key workouts which were encouraging: a 90 minute run and a pretty hard 70+ miler on the bike. I also had a 5+ hour training day this week. Would have liked a bit more swimming and running but I raced in Philly this weekend and my legs were pretty shredded for much of this week.

My race was disappointing (although the swim was awesome). My legs were very sore this morning and my body is pretty achey. A bit of an upset stomach as well so maybe I have a low-grade virus of some type. anders also felt a little sick this morning on our ride. In any event, no race this weekend so I'll try to focus on some quality training over the next 10 days and hope my body bounces back pretty quickly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A "perfect" day

Well, it obviously wasn't--I mean, who would even ever want that behind then as oppossed to in the days ahead?

Still...pretty darn good today when viewed with a triathlon eyeglass.....

Early morning rise,,,,35 miles with anders before he went back to DE to get ready for his KJ cimb. then I tacked another 36 onto that--all pushing, pushing, pushing....much 200-250 watts.

Back home hanging with the fam. Roddick triumphs....Out on the beach for a very strong 5 miles all to an One Republic sound track. Coming after the ride and the 9 mile run yesterday this strikes me as a very good sign.

Then off with my lovely bride for a 1.5+ mile open water swim--she on the SUP.

Yes--a major day for sure. I know more will come when I flip into IM mode but today was sweet.

Need to back down the next two days as I plan to rumble in Philly on Saturday morning....

NJ Shore Training Life--the best!

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Rest" week

A heavy work week afforded the opportunity to dial back the training load a bit last week. My prior two weeks were 23 and 20 hours respectively. This week I backed off the cycling for most of the week, did a maintenance week in the swim but did continue to focus on rebuilding my run training. I was able to have a "normal" run week for the first time in 7 weeks. My knee seems to be stable and my intention is to run 30-50 miles/week out through the end of July when I'll start my ironman build. Stats for the week:

swim: 6300 yards
bike: 170 miles
run: 32 miles
time: 16:45

Saturday, June 18, 2011

new normal

So, I will not be racing tomorrow. Family (Jenny visiting for the weekend--up from Baltimore--to help celebrate Father's day), work (spent the week in NYC and just came to NJ yesterday), and my recent run problems made it seem like a bad call all the way around to leave NJ tonight and travel to DE to race at St. A tomorrow morning. I'm not without regrets as I love that race and have done it the last 7 years in a row (a father's day tradition) but this was the better call.

From a tri perspective, I really need to run a lot. My knee is getting a lot better so I'm starting to do my normal thing running wise--should be up over 30 this week. From a cycling perspective really getting psyched to ride regularly with anders. today we did a 51 miler and we were alternating 1 minute pulls--my pulls were in the 260-320 watt range and we were over 22 miles in the first hour. This is awesome training for me. Planning to do a lot more of it in the days ahead....

Jersey Genesis Race Report

2011 Jersey Genesis Sprint Triathlon Race Report
June 11th, 2011


Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Distance: 0.5-mile swim/15.5-mile bike/4.25-mile run
2011 Triathlon Race Number: 6
Career Triathlon Race Number: 106
Conditions: Hazy and humid. Mid 70s. Modest breeze. 78-80 degree water.

I returned to racing after a three-week hiatus at this venerable Jersey Shore triathlon. I had to take a racing break due to an exceptionally bad flare-up of pain in my left knee. Even with another cycle of Syn-Visc shots the pain caused me to suffer through three weeks of limited run training followed by a nine day complete break from running. Beginning June 1st I started running again every other day. The pain was still quite noticeable but it seemed to be manageable and I decided it was time to race again and hopefully in the weeks ahead return to a more normal training status.

This was the 4th time for me racing at Genesis. I did it twice (2002, 2003) back when it featured a 20-mile bike and I also raced here last year with the shorter bike leg. I won my AG last year but had two guys who aged up as well as a competitor I’ve raced in prior years (Mercer Craft)—all of whom were definitely able to outrace me on this morning. One fellow, Ray Campeau beat me by 3:42 last year and the other, Dan Fabrizio, I finished just 36 seconds ahead of. I knew I was unlikely to win my AG today and frankly was worried about just getting on the podium. In total there were 28 in my AG and 247 individual triathletes overall. This was an unusually large and deep M50-54 AG field.

During my pre-race activities I discovered two things that were not helpful. First, my SRM died. I had charged it the night before so I’m not certain what the issue is. Secondly, I noted that they had changed the run course and had added a 0.28-mile (I clocked it before the SRM died) loop at the front end of the run. Given my run problems, the latter was not welcome news at all. Still, I was in great spirits and just happy to be racing again.

The Swim

In the days preceding this race it had been very warm—close to 100 degrees and so I wasn’t surprised to find the water felt close to 80 degrees. It probably should not have been wetsuit legal but they were allowed none-the-less. Last year, the water was also warm here and I overheated in my full wetsuit so this year I decided to go with my sleeveless wetsuit—I knew it would be a little slower but I thought I would be in better shape post swim by staying cooler.

I was in the 2nd wave and lined up way to the right. I was near my buddy, Wes Burns, whom is very similar in swim capabilities to me so I thought he would give me a good way to gauge my progress as the swim unfolded. The course is basically a big box with 4 turns. It looked to my eye to be similar to the year before and fairly accurately measured.

At the gun I went very hard to try to gain some separation. This was not as effective a tactic as it has been for me in recent swims. There was a fairly large group that seemed to have relatively little problems matching my pace. I felt pretty good although it seemed like I was having trouble breathing—perhaps due to the very humid air. The water was indeed quite warm and I was thankful for my wetsuit decision. My HR seemed high so I tried to manage it by slowing down and lengthening my strokes. I focused on relaxing and this seemed to help quite a bit.
The swim was basically uneventful. There was quite a bit of contact since I seemed to be mired in a group throughout the swim. I also saw Wes the whole way so I knew I was probably having a decent enough swim. Finally, I exited the swim with a time of 12:31 and an average HR of 155 bpm. This was 16 seconds faster than last year. As I stood up on the beach I noted Campeau directly in front of me. This was quite a surprise since he had outswam me by 1:21 the year before. I really didn’t know what to make of this development but I was certainly encouraged. Further, there were three people who were faster than I (overall) in both 2010 and 2011 (Lovett, Otto, and Campeau) and they were on average 22 seconds slower in the swim this year. From this perspective, I had a strong swim this morning.

However, what I didn’t know was that Fabrizio was 27 seconds ahead of me, whereas last year I had outswam him by 8 seconds. (I’ve raced Dan 8 times and he has swum faster 7 of those times so maybe last year was a fluke). Had I known this, I would have been very concerned as pre-race, I had really focused more on Fabrizio than Campeau (I didn’t think I could make up almost 4 minutes on Ray). Also, as fate would have it, just 4 seconds behind me was Craft. The race was on!

Here is a comparison between 2010 and 2011:

2010 2011

Time 12:47 12:31
Heart Rate 158 bpm 155 bpm

AG place 2 5
AG %-tile 95 86

OA place 22 46
OA %-tile 89 82

What became very evident to me as the race unfolded and as I analyze the data, is that the 2011 field was much stronger and deeper than 2010 and the %-tile comparisons above are probably a misleading indicator of my relative performance—2010 vs. 2011.

In any event, here is where we stood in the AG after the swim:

1. Fabrizio --------
2. Baker + 0:07
3. Grout + 0:15
4. Campeau + 0:23
5. Christofferson + 0:27

On balance, it seems to me that this was an “almost there” swim for me. Perhaps a “B+” performance. I was faster than last year. I worked hard and I was well positioned competitively, but perhaps on another day, with my current fitness I might have been 20-30 seconds faster.

Transition One

I sprint into T1 on Campeau’s heels. I’m intent on having a fast transition and in fact I have an outstanding one. I have the fastest transition in my AG (and 23rd OA—91.1 %-tile). Just before I finish up I see Fabrizio run by and I realize he outswam me this year. Oh-oh, time to get moving! (Relative to 2010, I’ve lost 35 seconds on the swim to Fabrizio and last year I beat him by just 36 seconds).

I finish T1 with a sparkling 1:37 and an average HR of 165 bpm. This is 17 seconds faster than last year. I put 26 seconds on Campeau, 17 on Fabrizio, and 48 seconds on Craft. This transition has been hugely important to me competitively and I’ve now moved into 3rd place in the AG:

1. Fabrizio --------
2. Grout + 0:03
3. Christofferson + 0:10
4. Baker + 0:18
5. Campeau + 0:32

As I run out the transition exit I can see both Fabrizio and Grout just ahead of me—game on!!!

The Bike

I immediately crank up the effort. I have no data coming from my SRM so all of my reporting data will be subjective. I feel very strong on the bike and in relatively short order (less than a mile) I pass both Grout and Fabrizio. My working assumption is that I’m now in 2nd place with Campeau somewhere up ahead of me but in reality I have taken over the lead of my AG.

I feel fantastic. I’m passing a lot of younger riders and it seems to me like I’m putting out a lot of power. We have a tail wind on this outbound section and I can tell that I’m riding well over 25 mph. I’m very energized and desperate to open up a gap on Fabrizio—I figure I’ll need perhaps as much as 3 minutes given my recent run training (or lack therein).

As I near the end of the outbound leg, I am surprised to have Campeau come by me. It frankly takes me a while to process this. I wasn’t even looking for him among the guys coming back after the turnaround—I’ve been focused on trying to gap Fabrizio. Right after he passes me we reach the turnaround and I glance at my watch so I can get an estimate of my lead on Fabrizio. I note that I am on a sub 39 minute pace and since I did 40:10 last year, this is very encouraging to me.

After the turn, Campeau decides to hydrate so I re-pass him and then I see Fabrizio on the other side—my lead is only 60 seconds, not the 80-90 that I was looking for. At this point in the race, I’ve put 70 seconds into Fabrizio and Campeau has put 24 seconds on me.

In short order, Campeau re-passes me. I sit-up and hydrate and then when the gap reaches about 25 yards I decide that I’ll try to pace off of him for a while. (BTW, I love that my dad is looking down and seeing how respectful I am of the drafting rules!). Campeau is a machine on the bike. It is very difficult for me to hold the pace. I glance at my watch and note my HR is 168 bpm. Not a disaster but pretty close to punching over the edge for me. I have a decision to make. Do I try to hold onto Campeau and risk blowing up on the run and getting passed by the guys behind me or do I focus on Fabrizio (and the others) and ride in a way that conserves more for the run.

I’ll always wonder if I made the right decision but I tell myself that Campeau is going to outrun me (I mistakenly recall his run advantage from last year as 1-2 minutes—it was 34 seconds) anyways so why put 2nd place in real jeopardy. I basically convince myself that Campeau will beat me. I watch Campeau slowly edge away and with the haze I soon lose sight of him.

The return segment is into the wind so I know it’s slower. I also sense that I’m putting out a little less power. I’m still passing people but it just seems a little bit off from the out-bound leg. I finally hit transition with an elapsed time of 39:03 and an average HR of 162. Objectively, this is a solid ride for me. Last year, I did 40:10 with an average power of 236 watts (161 average HR). So a rough estimate of my power this year would be 257 watts. It was definitely windier this year so probably my actual wattage was a bit higher. If you believe the advertised 16 miles, this works out to an average speed of 24.6 mph. However, I clocked it at 15.5 miles last year so I’ll use that distance as the correct measure and this translates into 23.8 mph. Again I have to conclude this was an almost there ride. Given my HR I believe I had more to give on this ride.

Competitively, I end up losing 63 seconds to Campeau—so I lost 24 seconds on the outbound leg and 39 seconds coming back. On the plus side, I lost 1:44 to him last year. Versus, Fabrizio, I gained 70 seconds in the first half and another 1:41 on the way back. Last year I beat him by 2:51 and this year by 2:41. What I didn’t know was that Craft had passed Fabrizio and now was just 2 minutes behind me.

Relative to the field, the top three guys were on average 19 seconds slower than last year but the depth of the field lowered my %-tile comparisons:

2010 2011

Time 40:10 39:03
Heart Rate 161 bpm 162 bpm

AG place 1 2
AG %-tile 100 96

OA place 12 23
OA %-tile 94 91

Here is where we stood after the bike in my AG:

1. Campeau --------
2. Christofferson + 0:41
3. Craft + 1:48
4. Grout + 2:26
5. Fabrizio + 2:31

Transition Two

If I had known the above competitive situation, I probably would have reacted a bit differently when I entered T2. Campeau was out of sight, out of mind. He executed an AG best T2 and was already gone when I entered the transition zone. I was so worried about the folks behind me that I didn’t even look for him.

I thought I had an excellent T2 and I completed it with a time of 51 seconds and an average HR of 161. This was an 18 second improvement over last year, even though we had to run further to reach the transition exit this year. This was the second best in our AG and 51st OA. Unfortunately, I lost 12 seconds to Campeau but gained 13 on Craft and 29 on Fabrizio. Here is where we stood after T2:

1. Campeau --------
2. Christofferson + 0:53
3. Craft + 2:01
4. Grout + 2:52
5. Fabrizio + 3:00

The Run

As I exit transition I try to keep an eye out for Fabrizio. I run the new part of the run course and when I get to the end of the extra portion I hit my timer and see 1:55. This will allow me to compare my time this year to last. It also tells me, I’m running about a 7:40/mile pace. Right at this time I also see Fabrizio running into transition. I do the math and estimate that I have about a 2:35-2:40 lead on him after the bike (actually 2:31) and that news makes me more nervous. He put 2:04 on me last year and with the way my knee has been it was easy for me to believe he would do better than that this year.

As I left the park I actually felt pretty good running. My HR was settled in at 165, which is very sustainable for me in a run of this distance. I felt like I had a good cadence to my run—I was surprised by how good I felt given my lack of recent training. During the first mile I only had one or two folks pass me so I seemed to be holding my own. My first “mile” passed in 7:51 and my HR was 164. (These mile splits should be taken with a grain of salt given the course change).

Mile 2 passed by at 7:51 with a heart rate of 165. I felt very in control and was running comfortably. Every now and then a younger runner would pass me by. Up ahead I noticed I was running about the same pace as a small group of guys. One of these guys was probably Campeau although this never registered with me.

Mile 3 came (7:43, 167 bpm) right before the bridge and I used that occasion to turn and see if I had anyone from my AG on my tail. I was pleased to see that there was no one that was that close that I had an immediate worry. This gave me some tactical flexibility as I knew I had another gear that I could hammer the last ½-1 mile but I sensed I should just hold that in reserve.

I hit the final straight away and looked back again and I knew that no one would catch me. I cruised home (final mile: 7:43 and 169 bpm) and recorded a total run time of 31:08, which is 14 seconds faster than last year. If you subtract out the extra 1:55 tacked on this year, my time would have been 29:13—a full 2:09 faster than last year. I was thrilled with that result. Here is how I stacked up against the rest of the field:

2010 2011

Time 31:22 31:08
Heart Rate 163 bpm 166 bpm
Avg Pace 7:51/mile 7:20/mile

AG place 8 11
AG %-tile 68 64

OA place 75 96
OA %-tile 62 62

The top 3 guys were on average 2 seconds slower. I ended up losing just 9 seconds to Campeau (vs. 34 last year) and 1:41 to Fabrizio (vs. 2:04 last year). My final over all time was 1:25:12, which was 2:13 faster than last year and good enough for 42nd OA (83rd %-tile). Here is where we stood at the finish in my AG:

1. Campeau --------
2. Christofferson + 1:02
3. Craft + 2:03
4. Fabrizio + 2:20
5. Flourney + 2:22

Final Observations

On balance a very positive race for me. I was faster in all five components of the race as compared to last year. Relative to my competition that raced last year, I did a great deal better this year than last. That said, I finished 2nd in a race that I can visualize myself winning. I wonder what would have happened if I had swum 20-30 seconds faster and if I had stayed with Campeau a little longer and perhaps rode 20 seconds or so faster. If I had, I would have left T2 right with Ray and that would have led to a real fun run for sure. Oh well. Sometimes you don’t get what you want—but I’ll settle for getting what I need!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

On the comeback trail!

So continued my running "comeback" this week--logged just over 20 miles. So will now begin again a more rigorous running component to my training. The near-term goal remains to get myself ready to be able to clock a 2+ hour run each week beginning August 1st. Totals for the week:

Swim: 8100 yards
Bike: 242 miles
Run: 20.8 miles
Time: 19:43

Two further positive developments. First and foremost, Anders has returned home for the summer and in addition to the general all around goodness of having him back home, I have regained my training partner! We have already logged 3-4 tough bike sessions and a couple trips to the pool. The last time I was able to train with him for a whole summer was 2008 and I'm hoping that his return will allow me to regain some of that timeframe's fitness.

I also raced at Jersey Genesis. Jumped into this race due to family logistics and a much more competitive field than the Try-It beginner's triathlon. I had a very positive race and ended up finishing 2nd out of 28 in my AG. i'll file a race report shortly.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

this weekend

Going to have a go at a short sprint this weekend. Run is still in early stages of rebuild but what the heck--it'll be a good training brick.

On paper I'll be lucky to get third and with Dawson there victory is out of the questions so I'll train straight through the race and treat it as a training activity....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Devilman Finish Pic

Here is a pic from my finish sprint at Devilman:

It was all about the bike

Ran 6 again today and the knee felt much better--I think I may have dodged this bullet...could be back to normal run training in a week!

Stats for the week:

swim: 6000 yds
bike: 301 miles
run: 15.3 miles
time: 23:05

Obviously, the focus this week was the bike--given the initial comeback on the run. I was looking to jump up my bike fitness a bit. I'll need it for a tough race this I have shaping up for this weekend....we'll see if it worked!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Training to get fit enough to train

Ran 6 miles yesterday. The knee is still not "normal" but seems to be fairly stable. Will keep to the every other day approach for another week and go from there.

My main focus over the next two months will be sure that my training is sufficient so that beginning Aug 1st I can do the work necessary for my IMAZ build. During that 16 week build there will be 30-40 key IM workouts that I need to hit. These are swims greater than 4000 yards, bikes of 5-8 hours, and runs of 2+ hours. I have some work to do on the swim but it will come naturally when I shift over to open water swim training in another week or so (down at the shore). I'm pretty much ready right now for the bike (I rode 4.5 hours this morning). The run of-course, with my injury, is where I have to make the greatest progress--and I need to do so with no more injury setbacks.

Race-wise, I'm skipping the sprint I had scheduled for tomorrow but am hopeful to return to racing nexgt weekend...

we'll see