Tuesday, May 29, 2012

being patient

Life is quite demanding now so I am letting the whole fitness/Tri thing take a back seat.

Raced on Saturday and I was caught in the last 30 yards and so finished 2nd.  A bit of an improvement over Devilman and from one perpective, I SBR'ed well enough to win but gave up 42 seconds in transition so I guess I can take this as a mild positive.

Lots of life-conflicts (one is that I am leaving the company I have been chairman of for the past 10 years--more on that later) so limited training time.  Here are the totals:

Swim: 7362 yards
Bike: 149.6 miles
Run: 25.2 miles
Time: 14:22

It was nice to be at the beach this weekend and reconnect with lots of old (I mean for the most part, OLD) friends.  I blasted out a near 50-miler with Anders and we had a great swim at Wes' lagoon and a horrible 6-mile run from my place.  I let myself get severely dehydrated and even today I am still not topped-off.  I wasn't prepared for the heat and I, for one, suffer terribly when I'm not way ahead of my hydration curve.  It's a msiake I've made many times before but the high heat and humidity, so early this year, caught me by surprise....

This week is getting ready for Alex's graduation and trying to squeeze in a bit more training.  I'm not in very good shape but I'm still motivated and I believe in my strategy so I'm trying to be patient.

I'll post a rece report from Hammonton in a few days....

best, rc

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last week

Last week was focused on Jenny's and Kara's graduations.  Up in NYC for 3 days so training suffered a bit.  I did get out and ride the Wilmington Gran Fondo--a total ride of 72+ miles.  Very, very challenging with tons of climbing.  I tried to ride in the front but I was absolutely smoked when we hit the first climb.  I tried to catch back up but the front group was just way too good for me.  I drifted back and ultimately ended up about 1/4 of the way back.  I seemed to get stronger as the ride went on.  It was a major effort.  Jumping up from long rides of 40ish miles to 72 miles with high intensity was an eye-opener.  I have a lot of endurance work ahead of me!

Last week's totals:

swim: 3000 yards
bike: 207 miles
run: 31.5 miles
time: 18:03

Sunday, May 13, 2012

week stats

Life is busy!  Triathlon still in the back seat.  Bummer to miss the annapolis race.  Missed a lot of training as well.  Here are the stats:

Swim: 7200 yards
Bike: 174 miles
Run: 25.5 miles
Time: 16:49

Half of these totals were over the last two days after coming back from Jamaica....

Enduring and getting the itch to go for it again....

Friday, May 11, 2012

no race tomorrow

Just returned from Jamaica and heard from the Tri-Rock folks that I can not pick up my number on race morning.  Bummer....

Life is fun but definitely not supporting my tirahtlon ambitions right now.

We'll just have to carry on!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Devilman 2012 Race Report

2012 Devilman Sprint Triathlon Race Report
May 5th, 2012


Location: Cedarville, NJ
Distance: 0.47-mile swim/20.9-mile bike/4.23-mile run
2012 Triathlon Race Number: 3
Career Triathlon Race Number: 117
Conditions: Overcast.  Mid 60s to low 70s.  Humid.  Light breeze.  68-degree water.

I awoke at 4 a.m. and drove the 52 miles to Cedarville for my 6th Devilman race.  This was to be the 4th year in a row that I competed in the Sprint after earlier doing a Half-IM at this race site twice.  This was my 3rd race of the 2012 campaign and I was coming off two narrow AG wins down in Virginia.

234 triathletes were racing as individuals with 15 in my AG.  Typically, this race is very competitive and indeed in my 5 prior attempts, I had only achieved 1 AG win.  Looking at the roster of guys in the M55-59 YO AG there were some pretty strong triathletes but my sense was, at least on paper, that I was probably the favorite.

I had a 27+ hour training week the week prior and the days before the race I felt quite sluggish, which I attributed to my body absorbing the training load.  What I didn’t know, that I now do know, is that I had most likely caught the bug that had been plaguing my son for the prior week and my wife for the past three days.  I didn’t know this on race morning, and my expectation as awoke long before dawn was to “kill it”.

The Swim

The swim at Devilman is in a rather disgusting, smallish and very shallow lake.  The water temp was 68 degrees, which was a bit of a surprise given how chilly the last couple of weeks prior to the race had been.  The swim is a simple counter-clockwise rectangle, which sets up nice for me given my left-hand breathing preference.  The swim was advertised as 0.4-miles but it varies widely from year-to-year.  To my eyes, it looked a little bit longer than I remembered it and I thought it was probably closer to a half-mile.

Prior to the race, as we were setting up, we were literally besieged by hordes of tiny gnats that flew into and onto every part of your body and generally spent the time biting away at us.  Despite the temp, I wore a hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants and even then, I was continually under attack.  It was so bad, I actually contemplated bailing on the race.  I hoped that the wind would pick-up and blow some of the bugs away but sadly this did not happen.

I retreated to my car for a while and just prior to the start made my way down and joined the other triathletes.  I was surprised to see Mickey Syrop, who evidently had been a late addition to the race.  I’ve probably raced Mickey 25 times through the years, more so than any other competitor.  He is a great old-school triathlete, rapidly approaching his 200th triathlon.  Twice he has finished 3rd in the world at the ITU Aquathon (Swim/Run) Championship.  I’ve probably beaten Mickey 2/3rds of the time we have raced, but for the last 3 years and last 3-4 races, he has had no problem beating me.  I thought it was likely that I would be looking over my shoulder for him on the run.

Men 40 and over were in the second wave and soon we were off.  I started more towards the right, away from the buoy line, even though I expected to be one of the strongest swimmers in the wave.  This was a small sacrifice in distance but allowed me to gauge where to “slot-in” tactically as we approached the first turn.  This worked quite well and I felt very good right from the start.  There were just 4 guys in front of me and I would eventually learn that they were all in younger AGs.  After the first turn, I settled right in to a smooth, long and what felt like a powerful stroke.  I weaved through the slower traffic from wave one without mishap and was able to draft a bit, here and there as well.

I felt like I was having a very solid swim and soon found myself at the steps to the dock.  My elapsed time for the swim was 10:41.  As I mentioned, the actual swim distance is quite variable from year-to-year but here is how my swim times have varied over the last 4 years:

2009: 8:20
2010: 11:55
2011: 9:31
2012: 10:41

Percentile-wise, over-all, here is what those times translate into:

2009: 61.6 %
2010: 83.6
2011: 74.3
2012: 86.3

I should make a comment on these numbers is they are probably misleading.  The official swim times at Devilman are actually taken at the interest to the baseball diamond, and not at the swim exit.  Since, I was finally able to successfully work my new Garmin, I now know that the distance from swim exit to the timing mat is 0.17-miles (which I covered in 1:22—an 8:02/mile pace).  Since (as we’ll see, I’m a much worse runner than swimmer), this run being included in the swim artificially reduces my swim %-tile finish (as it does on the bike here as well).  Also, the shorter the actual swim is, the bigger the relative impact of the run and you can see above that the shorter swims in ’09 and ’11 led to lower %-tile finishes.  This effect exists at some other races as well, but due to the extreme distance from swim exit to transition entrance it is more pronounced here.

In any event, I probably had my best swim at Devilman this year.  Even though the swim was shorter this year than in 2010, I still was able to post my best %-tile finish this year.  My Garmin measured the swim at 0.47 miles.  I took 395 strokes, so I averaged 2.09 yards per stroke.  My average swim pace was 22:58/mile (1:17/100 yards).  This yielded an SGolf score of 61.5 (38.5 seconds + 23 strokes), which, for me, is excellent!

I finished first in my AG.  Interestingly, last year’s 50-54 YO AG winner, John Dawson had out swum me by 1:29 last year and this year, I was 21 seconds faster!  Mickey was almost two minutes behind me—and we have historically been pretty equal swimmers.  Some of this difference was certainly due to the run from t dock to transition.  I learned after the race, that Mick was racing on a bum left foot so this undoubtedly docked his swim time more than mine.  Here is where we stood in my AG after the swim:

1.  Christofferson --------
2.  McGuire + 0:15
3.  Sherry + 1:23
4.  Lyle + 1:27
5.  Rittenhouse + 1:46

Transition One

I did my transition stuff pretty effectively and my Garmin would latter tell me that I only took 22 seconds to actually morph from swimmer to biker  (this is the time in transition where I wasn’t moving).  The rest of my 4:02 T1 was actually spent running from the water to my bike and from my bike all the way out to the service road to where we were finally able to mount our bikes.  There is another 0.17 miles from the entrance of T1 to where you mount your bike so the total transition distance is 0.34 miles.  I had the 51st fastest T1 overall (78.6 %-tile).  My prior year T1s have been: 3:52, 4:01, 4:01; so pretty consistent.  I had the 3rd fastest in my AG (86.7 %-tile) and here is where we stood after T1:

1.  Christofferson --------
2.  McGuire + 0:47
3.  Sherry + 1:45
4.  Syrop + 1:47
5.  Lyle + 1:51

The Bike

I trudged up the hill, through the fence and cross the crushed shell road and finally hit the mount line.  I felt I was off to a great start and if I had know of the time gaps exiting T1, I would have been very confident at this point.  The bike course at DM is relatively long at just under 21 miles and as such presented a great opportunity for me to open up a big gap coming prior to the run.  I mounted quickly and was off.

There was only modest wind, which I don’t like, but which of-course leads to fast biking.   This light wind was in our face for the most part for the first half and helped us on the way home.  It became clear to me very soon into the ride that I didn’t have it today.  I had trouble getting my power out of the 220s (it’s in the 240s when I’m having a bad day).  I expected to hit 250-260 watts today so this was both a big surprise and very disconcerting.  I kept trying everything in my power to get my output up but there simply was nothing in the tank.  By the end of the ride, I had the lowest power output I’ve ever recorded in a sprint triathlon.  I’ll spare you the commentary and just present the data (speed/HR/Cadence/Average Power/Normalized Power):

Mile 1: 20.3 mph/164bpm/80rpm/238 watts/243 watts
2: 22.7/164/81/223/223
3: 23.5/163/85/225/229
4: 23.5/163/86/224/224
5: 23.1/164/84/239/239

1-5 Average: 22.6/164/83/230/232

6: 22.4/162/83/226/228
7: 22.1/161/85/221/223
8: 22.5/163/84/230/231
9: 21.6/162/83/225/225
10: 21.8/162/85/223/223

6-10 Average: 22.1/162/84/225/226

11: 22.1/162/83/227/229
12: 23.4/160/83/218/218
13: 24.1/161/83/227/227
14: 23.7/162/82/228/231
15: 24.6/163/84/234/234

11-15 Average: 23.6/162/83/227/228

16: 24.3/158/82/221/223
17: 24.6/158/81/212/212
18: 22.4/159/78/221/225
19: 22.8/160/81/224/225
20: 24.1/159/79/219/221
20+: 21.7/162/71/230/230

16-End Average: 23.3/159/80/221/223

Bike Average: 22.9/162/82/226/228

Comparatively, each of the last four years I’ve averaged 162 bpm for my HR, and for the last three years, I’ve been at an average cadence of 82 rpm.  However, my average watts have been: 244/244/and an estimate of 245 watts last year.  Clearly, a dramatic fall-off in power this year.  In fact, I generated more power over 66 miles, last September at SkipJack!

Time wise, I did relatively OK but I think this was due to the relative lack of wind this year:

2009: 55:19
2010: 55:14
2011: 54:19
2012: 54:41

The confirmation of my poor showing is in the OA %-tile numbers:

2009: 88.4 %-tile
2010: 95.6
2011: 93.8
2012: 87.2

I did manage the top bike split in my AG, but not by as much as I would have expected given the length of the bike.  Here is where stood after the bike:

1.  Christofferson --------
2.  Rittenhouse + 3:18
3.  Sherry + 3:25
4.  Syrop + 3:56
5.  McGuire + 4:13

Transition Two

I dismounted and tried to push the 0.1+ mile run down to the entrance of T2.  My legs were a wreck!  They felt way worse then they should after a 20-mile ride, particularly one with such limited power output.  I did the best I could to get through T2 and recorded the 53rd OA T2 (77.8 %-tile) and the 2nd best in my AG (93.3 %-tile).  My total T2 was 2:00 and during T2 I covered 0.17 miles.  My HR averaged 162 bpm during this time.  Here is where we stood after T2:

1.  Christofferson --------
2.  Rittenhouse + 3:27
3.  Sherry + 3:35
4.  McGuire + 4:17
5.  Mariner + 5:02

The Run

I left T2 with decidedly mixed feelings.  The old person’s zone where my bike was racked was completely devoid of bikes so I knew I was in the lead.  I knew I had out-split Mick on the swim so I figured I was well ahead of the person whom I viewed as my strongest competitor.  Still, barring a power meter malfunction, numbers don’t lie and 226 watts doesn’t cut it for me.  At a minimum, I should have been at 245 watts and this 8.4% shortfall in power translated into a 2.7% reduction in average speed and a corresponding increase of my bike spilt of 1:28.  Given the state of my run, I’m do not have the luxury of leaving a minute and a half on the bike course.

Be that as it may, that was behind me and I had a lead to defend on my run this morning.  I tried to push hard knowing that I wanted as big a lead at the turnaround as I could muster as the run is basically an out and back.  When whoever was chasing me sees me out near the turnaround, I’d like them to think that they are too far behind to catch me.

It soon became apparent that malady that undermined my bike ride was also in place for my run as well.  DEAD legs!  I soldiered on, noticing how humid it was and finally my Garmin announced that I had trudged through an 8:19 first mile (163 bpm).  Ugh!  Last year at this race, I averaged 7:34/mile.  I did this with a real bad knee that severely limited my training prior to the race.  I knew I was in trouble and had this confirmed when the 2nd mile was also passed in 8:19 (165bpm).

A little ways up the road I made the turnaround and just about 15 seconds later I saw an obviously significantly superior runner in my AG (Rittenhouse) just 30 seconds or so behind me.  I knew then, what I know now—I was going to get passed!  It didn’t take long as Peter streamed past me and I began looking up the road for Mickey whom I also assumed would run me down given how poorly I was doing.  However, when I finally saw him, it was evident that his bum foot had slowed his run to even a slower pace than my pathetic effort!

My 3rd mile clocked in at 8:21 (167 bpm)—I was bad but at least I was consistent in my mediocrity!  I hit the 4th mile in 8:38 (167 bpm)—so much for consistency!  I looked over my shoulder to see if any other guys in my AG might be poised to pounce on my slogging.  I saw a young looking guy with a full, bushy head of dark hair rapidly closing the gap.  I thought it was unlikely that he was in my AG but the hair on the back of my neck was standing up and I thought I better kick myself into gear just in case.  I did the final 0.23 miles in 1:44 (a 7:38/mile pace) and my HR jumped to 170.  Good thing because a few seconds after I crossed the line I saw Nicholson who had a big “55” on his calf.  I ended up holding onto 2nd by a mere 3 seconds.

My run was horrible as the following data illustrates.  First, my time compared to prior years:

2009: 33:43
2010: 35:03
2011: 33:23
2012: 35:21

From an OA %-tile perspective:

2009: 59.0
2010: 72.6
2011: 67.6
2012: 51.7

I was 9th in my AG (46.7 %-tile) and here is how we finished:

1.  Rittenhouse --------
2.  Christofferson + 2:43
3.  Nicholson + 2:46
4.  Sherry + 3:56
5.  Byers + 5:07

My final time of 1:46:49 was only good enough for 53rd OA (77.8 %-tile).  This is how I fared in that dimension in past years:

2009: 82.1 %
2010: 91.6
2011: 87.5
2012: 77.8

Final Thoughts

Probably the worst sprint race of my career.  It is what it is.  With the passage of a few days I can now see that a virus of some type probably affected me.  Still, I have a nagging feeling that I’m not in as good shape as I really should be in May.  Time will tell as I have a couple of more sprints on the docket in May.  If I am indeed behind the fitness curve, then I’ll up my planned training effort in June to get back on track so I can start my Kona build on July 1 in the right place….

Monday, May 7, 2012

Last week/race

So, I've been feeling very run down and today have quite an upset stomach.  Alex has been sick for the past week and Judy caught it three days ago so perhaps my lack of power on Saturday is explained by that....Hard to say, but I still feel the need to get on it training wise.  That said, we are off to Jamaica for our friend's 50th so not much training going on this week.  I'm reminding myself to just be patient.  I'll be killing it soon enough....

Last week was very light:

Swim: 6780 yards
Bike: 128 miles
Run: 29 miles
Time: 14:20

Be patient, RC!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

rough day in the office

first off, Union Rags was completely shut off....major bummer!

secondly, I did not do well at the Devilman sprint.

I had an excellent swim followed by a very distressing bike and an even worse run.  Will be spending a few days evaluating the data to determine why and what I should do about it.  Like all tri data I suspect there are ins and outs but my guess is that I'll need to make a mid course adjustment between now and when I flip the switch on 7/1 for my Kona prep.  Maybe, I'm getting older and now a lot slower or maybe is was a blip and I'll be right back on it.  As to the latter, after 117 triathlons I suspect not.  My guess is that I'm not nearly good enough right now--even considering my holding back training wise.  Could be old age but my guess is that I've taken the "holding-back" thing too far....

Race report shortly as my life gets very complicated going forward.  Jamaica next week--my wife's best friend's 50th.  Annapolis sprint next Saturday.  Two graduations the week after....yikes...Eagleman and RAAM right around the corner.  MY initial thought is to bail on Eagleman, especially given my domestic duties before and after the race when Judy and the girls go to Europe and I'm with the the two dogs (after Alex goes to his post-grad beach house)....It's really difficult to even find the time to train hard given my schedule....

I want to be thoughtful about this but I may need a call to arms....

I'm not freaking and I did finish 2nd in my AG against a strong field but I'm experienced enough to know that I may have a major fitness issue.  I'm surprised given the week prior training as I would have guessed that I would have killed it this weekend.

Live and learn!

more shortly!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

30,000 page views

Went through 30,000 page views...thank-you all.

10,000 on 3/10/11

20,000 on 9/27/11

30,000 on 5/1/12

Averaging around 50 per day!