Friday, August 31, 2012

August 2012

OK--6 weeks to Kona.

August was a pretty good month, IM-build-wise.

I just went through a very heavy, run-centric 10 day block.

I won my AG in both races this month.

However, I just spent the last three days driving for 21 hours and pulling major shuffle the kids back to their non-summer life duty....missed a bunch of workouts here in the last few days of the month (7 to be exact)....oh well....

I'm actually well positioned for Kona.  September is THE big month and there is very little on the professional/personal docket that should derail my plans.  I'll detail those shortly.

Not racing Marlton Sprint tomorrow--I really can't afford to and still do the Shoreman HIM next Saturday and then Kona/Zona in 5 week increments after that.  This is a good thing as my body really hurts from the stress and confinement of all the moving/driving of the last few days.

August totals:

swim: 36,880 yards
bike: 1106 miles
run: 132.7 miles
time: 95:38

Long/IM efforts this month included:

Swim: 4 3000 yard and 1 4000 yard---I really need to hit a bunch (4 or so) of long swims now before Kona!

Bike: 3 100+ mile rides--I'll need to do another 3 of these over the next three weeks--starting tomorrow, but my bike is very solid

Run: 3 2hour plus runs--I had my best long run of the season this week---still, I'll need three more big runs down the stretch.

I have a lot of work to do in September--this is the key month, but I'm well-positioned for it!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Last week

Last weeks totals:

swim: 10,000 yards
bike: 246 miles
run: 41.5 miles
time: 24:08

Solid week that was a little lighter than it might have been but we were graced with all the kids home so the focus was more on the homefront.

Started my latest knee-injection cycle today....this is good because it's been a bit sore as of late....

7 weeks to Kona!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

wildwood race report

Wildwood Sprint Triathlon Race Report
August 18th, 2012


Location: Wildwood, NJ
Distance: 0.5-mile swim/9.94-mile bike/3.1-mile run
2012 Triathlon Race Number: 9
Career Triathlon Race Number: 123
Conditions: Mid-60s, raining quite a bit early on but then clearing—rain was quite cold.  Breezy and from the North.  73-75 degrees water temperature—felt cold.  Strong current and very choppy.  Muddy, with huge water puddles in transition.  The bike was dangerous—what can you say!

I had very mixed feelings about doing this race.  I did it for the first time back in 2004—it’s debut—and was struck by how dangerous the bike was—putting 500-600 triathletes (many who are not skilled) into a space that is about 1-mile long is a recipe for disaster in my view.  Plus, a high tide beach run with my knee is not a good thing…. Still, Steve Delmonte is the race director and there is not a living race director that is better in my view…. So, when he sent me an e-mail asking what it would take for me to do it again, and since I was going to be in town, I agreed to sign up.

Unfortunately, race morning I awoke at 4:45 in Stone Harbor to a steady rain and scattered lightning.  The wind was whipping 15-20 from the North.  I almost went back to bed then but thought I owned it to Steve to follow through on my commitment.  I also thought it was pretty certain the swim would get cancelled with the lightning and then I could easily bail (I don’t do Du’s when I sign up for Tri’s)—Wildwood is just a few miles south of our home in NJ so no big deal…

I went through all of the pre-race hassle that comes with a tri on a very crowded NJ beach resort during high season.  The rain was pounding down and people were actually shaking and trying to find relief.  I cut my warm-up short and put my wetsuit on just to stay warm—I ended up wearing it for 45 minutes before I actually hit the water.

It was supposed to be a 7:30 sharp start but the weather delayed us for over 30 minutes.  Finally the first swim waves went off.  The swimmers were dramatically swept southward by the very strong current.  The swim, for some reason was a swim out into the ocean and then straight back again—as a result, as the swimmers were swept right (North to South) pass the turn-buoy it guaranteed that folks swimming in would have to swim through folks swimming out.

I looked on from the shore and debated bailing.  I decided that was the wimpier option.  I considered my competitive position and was pretty certain I was some 4-8 minutes faster than anyone in my AG so I thought that I could take it easy and still comfortably win.  My plan was to get up early (4am) the next day and do the LiveStrong Challenge 100 in Montgomery County, PA—some 120 miles away so I decided there to race, but to be very conservative.  Pretty close to 8:30am, it was time for us dudes, 50 and older to finally race….

The Swim

My Garmin 910, for some reason, had no charge so my data for the swim is limited.  Further, the posted results are full of bad splits—lots of folks doing 9-minute swims and then 9 minute T2s.  A friend in my wave who had the fastest swim split in the mid 12s said most of the faster swim splits were bogus.  All of this is to say I don’t have a lot of solid data about the swim.  I tried to isolate obviously bad swim splits (I found at least 13 of them) and I’ve adjusted the results for them…. but, it’s murky at best.
I found the swim very challenging.  The surf, while not huge, was definitely a factor.  The water was much colder than expected and the currents kept sweeping me off of my feet at the start.  Still, I could clearly see that there were just 2-3 swimmers in our wave (50+ males) that were faster I assumed (correctly) that these included Lehner and Fabrizzio—both in the 50-54 YO AG.

My goggles filled with water at one point and I had to stop and fix them.  I also stopped a couple of times just to get my bearings.  I had started a good 50-75 yards north of the turn-buoy to deal with the side-current and this seemed to work OK.  When I made the turn for home I had to swim through a gaggle of swimmers swimming in both directions.  I did not feel comfortable and the turbulence in the water made for very slow goings.  All of this obviously led to a very slow swim but while I didn’t have my Garmin, I’m pretty sure this swim was much closer to a half than a quarter mile.

I finally washed up on shore—some 100 yards South of where I started the swim feeling disoriented and a bit queasy—still, I knew I had a relatively good swim competitively.  In fact I had the 48th fastest swim out of 582 competitors (91.9 %-tile) and I had the fastest swim of the 13 guys in my AG.  My time was 13:56 and here is where we stood in my AG after the swim:

1.  Christofferson           --------
2.  Reich                        + 0:37
3.  Morey                       + 0:38
4.  Weiner                     + 2:29
5.  Beyers                      + 2:51

As an aside, Reich and Weiner had finished 2nd and 3rd the year before and were the two gentlemen (along with Beyers) whom I felt would provide the most competition.  That said, I had a vague sense of the above results as I ran up the beach and was feeling pretty confident that I could put the AG race away on my bike….

Transition One

I was quite a ways south of the starting point due to the current so I ran along the water’s edge for a bit and then finally up over the soft sand—it’s quite a trek to get across the very wide beach in North Wildwood.  I finally made it up and into transition proper.  There were deep puddles of water and lots of slippery mud to negotiate. Which I seemed to do ok with and I executed what I considered a decent T1.  My overall T1 time was 4:00.  This turned out to be 53rd OA (91.1 %-tile) and 2nd to Byers by 7 seconds in my AG—here is where we stood in the AG after T1:

1.  Christofferson           --------
2.  Morey                       + 1:10
3.  Reich                        + 1:43
4.  Beyers                      + 2:44
5.  Weiner                     + 2:44

The Bike

The bike course at Wildwood is tight and congested.  It consists of a roughly 1-mile out and back that is connected to a 1-mile stretch of Central Avenue, which has a grass median, and this forms a two-mile loop that you complete four times before heading back to transition.  The RD manages this well by creating 10 waves and sending them off in 5 minute intervals so my guess is there is never more than 60% of the race participants actually on the bike course at the same time.  The loop is also closed to traffic, which is critical as North Wildwood is very densely populated in August.  Still, the course is very crowded and since many of the competitors are novices, it can be quite dangerous.

I was mindful of this as I headed out on my bike.  I was eight weeks out from Kona and I certainly did not want to wreck my TT bike or do something major to my body by crashing in this race.  Also, the road was soaked and there was a lot of white paint on it that looked quite slippery.  I was more than prepared to back off to try to avoid trouble.

I went pretty hard right out of transition, as the first mile out to the loop was sparsely populated.  I felt pretty good and had a lot of power available despite my heavy training load coming into the race.  Once I entered the 4-lap loop I could immediately see that I was not going to be able to just lay down in my aero bars and let it rip.  The first half of the loop was downwind and I could easily hit 28-30 mph.  However, this didn’t happen much as people were riding right, left and center and many times yelling “on your left” did not have the desired impact on those ahead who were technically violating the blocking rule.  I had to sit up on many occasions and several times weave right and left to get around little groups.  My rate of closure on many riders was well over 10 mph, so there were several occasions I had to slam on my breaks to avoid a mountain biker tooling along on the left side of the road at 15 mph.

I took all of this in stride, as my sole objective was to complete the bike loop safely.  Also, early on I could see Dan Fabrizzio not too far ahead of me and I could see that I would soon pass him.  I knew that Dan was considerably faster than all of my 55-59 YO competitors last year so I felt it was safe to assume that if I entered T2 ahead of him that I would have a very comfortable lead heading into the run.  I managed to avoid trouble for the most part and completed my bike leg in 26:51. 

I clocked the course at 9.94 miles so I averaged just 22.2 mph.  My power averaged 243 watts, which was surprising given how much I had to back off.  My NP was 246 watts and my HR was only 155 bpm—a good 10 bpm below a normal sprint effort, so clearly I had the potential to put up a big power number today.  My cadence averaged 87 rpm, which is very good given the course and the crowding.  Here is how each mile looked:

1:  20.5mph/155bpm/82rpm/263 watts AP/263 watts NP
2:  23.2/154/89/235/235
3:  21.9/155/86/248/251
4:  23.5/154/84/231/239
5:  21.6/154/84/251/253
6:  24.7/155/92/235/243
7:  21.6/155/86/243/245
8:  23.7/154/90/238/238
9:  21.1/157/88/253/256
10: 20.7/152/91/227/229

Competitively, I was surprised to post the 8th fastest split OA (98.8 %-tile) and quite a bit faster than all of my AG competitors.  Here is where we were in the AG after the bike:

1.  Christofferson           --------
2.  Weiner                     + 3:50
3.  Morey                      + 3:55
4.  Beyers                     + 4:59
5.  Reich                       + 7:50

Transition Two

I made short work of T2 and completed my transition tasks in 2:00—it was quite a long way to the T2 timing mat.  This was a disappointing 126th OA (78.5 %-tile) but easily the best in my AG—here is where we stood after T2:

1.  Christofferson           --------
2.  Weiner                     + 4:46
3.  Morey                       + 4:48
4.  Beyers                      + 5:11
5.  Reich                        + 8:02

There was a great race going on behind me in my AG but I was blissfully, and thankfully unaware or concerned about it.

The Run

The run here is about 1.4 miles on the beach—and in this case due to the high tide, all soft sand--followed by a convoluted 1.7 miles or so through three of the pier-based amusement parks that dominate Wildwood’s shoreline.  Yuck!  I actually don’t know how far the course was, as my 910 had no charge and I didn’t use it.

I figured I was way ahead in my AG and decided to just jog the run.  I knew I had to get up at 4 the next morning to drive to Montgomery county—NW of Philly to ride 100+ miles at the Livestrong Challenge 100 and that I needed to nail the next 10 days with very heavy training—especially focused on my run.  I decided to jog easy until Fabrizzio caught up to me and then I’d cruise it on in—I was pretty certain this would easily yield an AG victory for me.  So that is what I did:

The run on the beach was very frustrating as the uneven surface created constant stress on my bad knee—even though I was running very slowly I was in a ton of pain.  This is why I avoid running in soft sand.  I hit the first mile in 10:12 (My Garmin 910 wasn’t working so I’m relying on the RD’s measurements here).

Dan passed me around 1.3-1.4 miles so I started to run a bit more aggressively—especially when we finally made it up on the boardwalk.  My second mile was 8:01, which with the soft sand running struck me as too aggressive so I backed off and just cruised all the way home.  My 3rd mile was 8:46 and I finished the run in 26:59.   Competitively, this was, of-course, quite poor.  I had the 222nd fastest run OA (62.0 %-tile) and I had the 7th fastest time in my AG.  Overall, I finished in 1:14:34, which was the 42nd best time (93.0 %-tile) and here is how my AG ended up:

1.  Christofferson           --------
2.  Beyers                     + 2:19
3.  Weiner                     + 3:02
4.  Reich                        + 4:20
5.  Morey                       + 4:46

Not much to conclude from this race beyond I did what I needed to do to win my AG and I was too tired and conservative to really race today.  Still, I’m happy with the race and my effort during it—I think I did it just right on this difficult morning.

Now, time to focus on Kona! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

8 weeks to Kona

I did the Wildwood, NJ sprint tri yesterday.  Conditions were very challenging and I felt the bike course was quite dangerous.  I elected to play it safe--especially with all of the training in my legs.   I did manage to pick up my 2nd AG win in 6 days and my 4th this year, which I'll be satisfied with, even though I put in a "C" effort--at best.

I did the Livestrong Challenge 100-miler today, my second 100+ miler of the week.  I had a bike-centric week.  With no race for the next 2-3 weeks, I plan to focus on my run over the next 10 days.  Here are the past week training totals:

swim: 8080 yards
bike: 321.4 miles
run: 21.2 miles
time: 24:44

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tuckahoe Race Report

2012 Tuckahoe Sprint Triathlon Race Report
August 12th, 2012


Location: Beesley’s Point, New Jersey
Distance: 0.28-mile swim/12.2-mile bike/2.1-mile run
2012 Triathlon Race Number: 8
Career Triathlon Race Number: 122
Conditions: Mild for July in NJ.  Mid 70s.  Cloudy, very humid and little wind.  78-degree water temperature.  Lots of mosquitos.

Four weeks since my last tri and only 7 triathlons done and it’s mid-August—soooo--I felt I needed to get a few race experiences in before Kona.  Of course, this year has been a bit strange with RAAM and RAMROD, but I was feeling the racing itch.  Alex and I had just gone to Minnesota to visit my Mom, Bro and a bunch of my cousins—and my Uncle and Aunt so things were all mixed up with the two 10-hour travel days.  I was in week 6 of my Kona IM build and did a brick with a 15.5 mile run on Thursday so I was definitely coming into the race a bit unready to race but here we go!

Funky little race, which has, as it’s main attraction a very short 2.1-mile run.  I didn’t know much about my 8 competitors in my AG, which I assumed was good news from a competitive standpoint.  Overall, 205 souls lined up to do the individual triathlon this morning.  This marked a continuing decline in participation in the race over the last four years: 335/258/222/205.  It also marked my fourth straight year in the race.  I had finished 2nd in each of the prior three years in my AG—to different gentlemen each time.  I had hopes of finally breaking through.  Lastly, the course was changed yet again and so while I’ve done the race four years in a row, in reality, none of the times are consistently comparable.  That said, we had over 200 folks showing up to lay it down—let’s get it on!

The Swim

This was the second year that the swim was to the west of the old route 9 bridge.  I went out before the race and swam the course and noted that the current was pretty solid and against the 2nd of the 3 legs of the swim course.  My guess is that it added some 5-15 seconds to the swim.

The old guys went off in the 3rd leg after all the chickies and I started way to the right as the buoy structure was such that it made sense and I could also benefit from looking at everyone on my natural left-hand breathing side.  My swim was very pleasant and uneventful.  There were a handful of folks in front of me and I was content to cruise along up near the front.  I had felt very queasy before the race so I was intent on just being solid on this swim.

Bottom line I had a respectable swim.  My elapsed swim time was 6:22.  The competition in this race seemed a bit swim heavy but if I am to believe my Garmin data, I did pretty well on this swim—especially given the current.  Here are my wetsuit/open-water swims this year:

         Race                Min/Mile      Stroke/Min      Yds/Stroke

Rumpass                      23:27            37              2.02
Devilman                      22:58            37              2.09
Hammonton                  21:56            36              2.23
Tri-It                            24:24            37              1.94
Lake Lenape                  24:13            37              1.97
Tuckahoe                        23:05                37              2.09

From a competitive perspective, I had the 23rd fastest swim (89.3 %-tile), which surprisingly was my least effective (competitively) showing of my 4 Tuckahoe triathlons.  However, I enjoyed a substantial advantage vs. my AG competitors:

1.  Christofferson                    ---------
2.  Leisure                             + 0:45
3.  Venella                             + 1:59
4.  Delaney                            + 2:57
5.  Graham                            + 3:21

Transition One

The transition set-up at this race is awkward and you basically run a little more than a quarter mile (0.28 miles) to the transition area.  I labored through that run passing a lot of the slower women but getting passed by several of the younger men.  My total elapsed T1 time was 3:27, which was 32nd OA (84.9 %-tile) but was substantially better than any of my AG competitors.  Here is where we stood after T1:

1.  Christofferson                    --------
2.  Leisure                             + 1:49
3.  Venella                             + 2:28
4.  Reilly                                + 4:19
5.  Delaney                            + 4:21

The Bike

For the fourth straight year, the bike course was different so it’s not valid to compare my times from year to year.   I was a month removed from my fastest OA bike split at Lenape and I secretly harbored the thought of making it two in a row, but that hope was quickly dashed as Brian Duffy came blasting by me on his way to an overall victory.

I settled in and felt pretty good.  I was spinning real well and I was able to get my HR up reasonably well.  However, I noted that my power just wasn’t quite there—I seemed to be missing about 10 or 15 watts.

The ride was uneventful and I spent it passing quite a few of the women who went in the first two waves.  I completed my bike split in 31:00, and I clocked a total distance of 12.22 miles, which works out to a 23.7 mph average.  This is pretty descent given the first and last part of the course has a 0.2-mile section where you are slowed down by having to ride single file.

Overall, I averaged a disappointing 246 watts (vs. 261 in 2011 and 258 back in 2009).  My normalized power was 250 watts.  My HR averaged 164 bpm and my average cadence was 89 rpm.  Competitively, I had the 6th fastest bike split, which is at the 97.6 %-tile (vs. 95.6 in 2011, 99.6 in 2010, and 97.6 in 2009).  I was much faster than anybody in my AG and here is where we stood after the bike:

1.  Christofferson                    --------
2.  Venella                             + 5:36
3.  Reilly                                + 8:31
4.  Leisure                             + 8:53
5.  Delaney                            +15:03

Finally, here is the data from each mile of the bike:

1: 21.5mph/163bpm/86rpm/277wattsAP/289wattsNP
2: 24.0/166/90/232/236
3: 24.7/164/91/242/242
4: 24.8/165/90/234/239
5: 25.0/163/89/241/241
6: 23.7/162/88/230/236
7: 22.8/163/87/267/267
8: 23.1/165/89/251/252
9: 23.7/164/89/238/238
10: 23.8/165/92/242/248
11: 23.5/164/89/244/244
12: 24.7/163/92/244/246
.2: 19.9/166/70/270/276

Transition Two

I had an uneventful transition and completed the bike to run transformation in 51 seconds.  This was 51st OA (75.6 %-tile) and once again, substantially better than my AG competitors:

1.  Christofferson                    --------
2.  Venella                             + 5:48
3.  Reilly                                + 9:23
4.  Leisure                             + 9:42
5.  Delaney                            +15:24

The Run

I felt very sluggish on the run right from the start.  My guess is that I still had the long run from Thursday still in them.  I could also tell early in the run that I had a big AG lead.  As a result, I never really got rolling on the run and just chugged along.  My total run time was 16:59 for the 2.1-mile run course.  This is a very poor 8:05/mile.  This turned out to be the 64th fastest run OA (69.3 %-tile) and surprisingly, it was the 2nd fastest in my AG (88.9 %-tile).  I ended up finishing the race in 58:39, which was good enough for 15th OA (93.2 %-tile).  Here are the final standings in my AG:

1.  Christofferson                    --------
2.  Venella                             + 5:52
3.  Reilly                                +11:05
4.  Leisure                              +11:58
5.  Delaney                             +13:42

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Last week

As I mentioned in a prior post I had to make some trade-offs last week.  Alex and I were in Minnesota and had a pretty full travel day back east on Wednesday.  I also wanted to slip a race in this weekend.  So, I missed a few workouts and skipped my long ride last week.  i was able to get a 15.5-mile run in on Thursday so that was helpful.  Anyways, last week's totals:

swim: 5700 yards
bike: 194 miles
run: 24.3 miles
time: 16:14

I'm racing again on Saturday so this week will again be a bit lighter than I'd like but I only plan on racing 2-3 times before Kona (which is 8 weeks away) so I'll have plenty of time to get my final training push in.  Without the travel this week will be closer to "normal".  On Monday I tried to do my long run but was just to fried (post race plus the heat) to do it so I called it a day at 7 miles.  Yesterday I did a 103-mile bike ride and today did a 4,200 yard swim so this week's totals will be stronger.

Onward and upward!

Monday, August 13, 2012

quick update

I'll post the week totals and my race report from Tuckahoe shortly but I'll give you the headlines.  I managed to end my 5 race drought (4 seconds and a fourth) by winning rather easily yesterday.  I didn't have my "A" game--I felt a little queasy before the race but I managed to turn in a workman like effort and gut out the win.  Its not lost on me that I can still win some of these with just my "C" game so I'll certainly take it.

More later!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

mid week 6 Kona build update

alex and I had a real nice visit to my family's lake cabin in northern Minnesota from sunday through Wednesday.  Lots of fun but not very conducive to IM worries nor regrets here!

Anyways, with the travel and family time I needed to make a call on what to sacrifice.  I decided to cut back time-wise and skip my long bike (I'm real solid bike-wise right now) and to keep my long run and to race this weekend.  I did a 70 minute spin/15.5 mile run brick today in 90 degree heat--did pretty well but a bit spent tonight--hard to stay hydrated.

Still, run was a little encouraging.....positive trend....we'll see how bad it hurts my racing this weekend...

all good!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week 5 of my Kona Build

Pretty good week this past week.  Was limited a little bit by the 9 hours of travel yesterday as I now find myself in northern Minnesota at my family's lake cabin--very nice to be here!  I had a fantastic 35-mile nike this morning on deserted country roads with my "Yes" mix blasting!

Anyways, last week's totals:

swim: 9000 yards
bike: 271.3 miles
run: 42.2 miles
time: 24:36

Onward and upward!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A typical (IM build) day

I'm often asked what a typical day looks like--my response is usually, they are all different...because they are....but today was as about as typical as an IM build day could be.  I'm coming off two days where I had my long run and my long ride.  I have my long swim tomorrow.  Here is what my typical day looked like:

42 miles on the bike in 2:23 (17.6 mph)...several tempo sections....mostly respecting the mileage of yesterday (101 miles)

jumped off the bike into a 60 minute/7-mile brick run--negartive split and felt better continuously as the run progressed

3000 yards in 47:23 at the end of the day--I was focusing on a couple of technique cues from my friend Bill--lots of extension and a greater rigidity in my core to better link up my upper and lower body

a bit more than 4 hours....nothing 4 of a 10-day block....on-ward and upward!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Training Stats

Last week--which was an "easy" week, as I employ a 3 hard/1 easy approach--looked like this:

swim: 7,000 yds
bike: 257 miles
run: 19.5 miles
time: 20:52

Of course, this week's numbers were driven by my RAMROD ride (9+ hours, 153 miles) and the following three days of indulgence at Bohemian Grove.

For July, this is how it tallied:

swim: 38,880 yards
bike: 1166 miles
run: 130.5 miles
time: 99:02

For comparison, last July looked like this:

swim: 29,188 yards
bike: 1124 miles
run: 127.3 miles
time: 92:40

So this July, at first glance, looks better.  However, last year, July was really a transition month as I was targeting IMAZ in November.  Perhaps a better benchmark is last August--my first IM build month in 2011:

swim: 35,036 yards
bike: 1212 miles
run: 146.8 miles
time: 100:57

So, pretty close--a little lighter this year on the bike/run--a lot of that is due to the mini-vacation I took at Bohemian Grove.  No worries.  Last year at the end of September (my 2nd build month), I was very fit so the July comparison is probably pretty good--I'm certainly doing the work necessary for a good IM--at least at this point.

I had thought about adding the Brigantine Triathlon to my racing calendar this weekend but I have decided that the best thing is probably for me to try to bring down a big 10-day training block and then race the weekend after this one.  I did a 14.8 mile/2:15 run yesterday and a 101.2 mile ride this morning--I had to race a nasty storm home so my last hour was pretty much all in the 220+ watts zone--well above my IM target output.  So all good--although I was too fried to swim today....but with no race this weekend I have the luxury of waiting to make sure my workouts are all as high a quality as I can muster.

For week 5 of my IM build everything is looking great!