Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2013 Race Schedule

The season only ended a few months ago and it’s still several more to go before the new one start. But it’s not too early to start planning races. I’m ready for a big year and an ambitious racing schedule. After two seasons of this, I’ve come to the conclusion that I like to race. With that in mind, here’s what I’m looking at for 2013:

Ordinary Mortals Triathlon – April 14

My tri season will start earlier this year with this reverse order event. Run and bike are outdoors but the swim is at the CSU-Pueblo pool indoors. Time to work on my flip turns!

Horsetooth Half Marathon – April 21

I got beat up pretty good by the steep hills at the beginning of the race. Still, it ought to be good prep ahead of my 26.2 event. This is a fairly well run race and I’m hoping to improve on last year’s finish.

The Colorado Marathon – May 5

I’m going to take on the challenge of a full 26.2 mile race. I really have no idea how this one is going to go, but I’m guessing it will be good prep for a couple of 70.3 races. For more on this, see this post.

The Summer Open Sprint – May 18

Your first is always your most special and this was the first time I did a multisport event. I also have been impressed with how they do a race.
Here’s hoping that it isn’t plagued by bad water (2011) or nasty weather (2012). They’re due for some ideal racing conditions!

The BolderBoulder – May 27

Hands down, the best 10K race in the world. A scenic and challenging course through several Boulder neighborhoods and a finish into Folsom Stadium as if you were an Olympian. Rain or shine (and it’s often rain) I love being here on Memorial Day.

5430 Sprint Triathlon – June 16

The first of the three-race Boulder Tri Series. There’s no real format to a Sprint and this one is longer than others in terms of the bike which is 17.2 miles. But that’s okay. I’d rather have that distance longer as I move through the season.
One of the reasons for doing the series is the $350 early entry fee for all three races. It’s a little bit like getting the sprint for free when you pay full price for the Oly and 70.3.  

Lake to Lake Triathlon – June 22

Two races in successive weeks may seem a little excessive, but considering one is a sprint, I think I can handle it. I was at this one last year as a spectator and I think it looks like a fun race to do. It will also get me into the Olympic distance a little earlier in the season and like that as well.
They already have their maps up on the website and it appears that they've done some tweaking to improve the course. I've got to say, I’m pretty excited about this one.

Boulder Peak/5150 Triathlon – July 14

This turned out to be a really good race for me. I turned in a solid bike and had a great run over the fast, flat course. It was the first time I did a WTC-branded event and though I still have a few qualms with them, the production of this race was top-notch. It’s the second on the Boulder Tri Series that culminates in the IronMan 70.3 event in August.  

Ironman 70.3 Boulder – August 4

I thought this was going to be my first 70.3 race last year, but decided to do the HITS race instead. Since this is part of the series however, this one is on the calendar now.
If the quality of the 70.3 events is anything like 5150 events, I think this should be a good one.

Rattlesnake Olympic Triathlon – August 17

I was really impressed with this one last year. Aurora Reservoir is a great venue and the race was put together in top-notch fashion. What’s more, it also features a flat run which always favors me!
In addition to all of this, it’s on a Saturday which is always my preference and not offered very often.

TriRock San Diego Olympic – September 8

Yes, I’m going back after a year off. In 2012, the bike course was changed to go north along the harbor rather than south through more industrial areas. Being familiar with the area, I think this will make for a great ride. The run and swim were already good.Getting to race in the birth place of the sport is always a treat. With family in the area, I have a place to stay as well. Competitor seems to learn from past experiences and get better each year. I think that will be the case here as well.  

Ironman 70.3 Austin – October 27

Doing this race means my full season will be six months long. It also means a 7 week hiatus between TriRock and this one. Definitely new territory for me, but I think it will work. I actually think that some extra time before another big race is a good idea. I’ve mentioned multiple times about doing a 140.6 in the future. Having a six month season is another way to see if that is for me.

So there it is. Nine triathlons, a half marathon, a full marathon and a 10K. There may also be various and sundry “fun run” races depending on what’s available and what I feel like doing.

There are some races from last year that did not make it on this year’s list, for a variety of reasons.

I would actually love to go back and do the Greeley Triathlon, but I expect to be traveling abroad at that time (I have a 20 year wedding anniversary coming up). I’ll probably be back in 2014 for that one if I can swing it.

Sadly, it appears that HITS is also not going to be part of my 2013 Schedule. I’d like to do it, but as of this writing (mid November) no details about their Colorado race are available. I’m sure there is more going on than I’m aware of, but it’s a shame they don’t have things more clearly communicated. With the only date listed as TBD, I have to consider the real possibility that the race will not be coming back to my home state this year.

The Rock & Roll half marathon has become a race of which I’m fond, but it is a moving target. In 2011, it was an October race, then this year they moved it up three weeks to September. Now, they have October 20 as the date. That really won’t work if I’m tapering in preparation for Austin.

I would not be at all surprised to see changes between now and January when I start registering. If that’s the case, I will, of course, do an update.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A2A Indoor Triathlon Race Summary

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Pueblo to join my brother in the Addicts-to-Athletes benefit triathlon. The entire event was staged indoors at the Pueblo Athletic Club. That’s right, all inside. It is November, after all!

I mentioned Addicts-to-Athletes back in July when I did my HITS race report. I ran the last few miles of that one with Rob Archuleta. His is a great organization doing fantastic work and a benefit for them was an easy decision to make.

Since you can’t have dozens of athletes in a club all at the same time, we were broken into groups of four to six for each event.

Another novel feature about this race was that it was in reverse order so instead hitting the water first, we went to the upper level of the club and got on treadmills. All events were time, rather than distance based so that meant 20 on the treadmill. Your result was the distance you covered.

Despite having run slowly for the last several weeks, I still managed an 8:30 pace without difficulty and the 20 minute leg went by quickly.

After leaving the treadmills behind, it was back down to the lower level of the club where a group of spin bikes stood ready for the second stage. They were geared very low so I was truly spinning and with almost no resistance. As a result, I ended up going 16.8 miles for the 30 minute ride. No question, on the road or even on my trainer, the distance would have been much less.

Finally, the third and final leg was a 10 minute swim in the 20 yard pool. This was an enjoyable experience. Unlike the chlorine that is prevalent in just about any pool, the lanes at PAC actually use saline. As a result, was not as harsh and I also enjoyed greater buoyancy. My Garmin 910 assumed I was swimming in a 25 yard pool, but once I manually corrected, I found I swam 560 yards.

None of this felt like much of a race, but I was actually happy with that. At this time of year, there is definitely more benefit in doing a good workout without going out and killing it like I might in a race.

Since this was such a different event, I don’t have a review per se. However, everything went smoothly. Transitions were fixed at 2 minutes and the schedule was adhered to closely. I even got a cool orange t-shirt for my trouble!

If you ever are looking for a fun way to get a little extra training in during the off-season, I’d recommend this.

Thanks for reading.

Final Numbers

20 Minute Run: 2.36
30 Minute Bike: 16.8
10 Minute Swim: 560 yards

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Improved Sleeping - Update

This seems like a good time to talk about my efforts to get more sleep—both from a quantity and quality standpoint.

After purchasing a Zeo clock and registering at their website, you’re given the opportunity to go through a 7 step coaching process. It’s not what I would call an intensive program, but it does make you stop and reconsider some of your assumptions about your lifestyle and how it affects your sleep.

Steps in the plan include evaluations of diet, pre-bedtime activity, bedroom environment and interaction with your housemates (pets, kids, spouse, etc).

With that all in mind, here’s how my scores look:

As you can see, the trends indicate that I've been more or less steady with an average “ZQ” score of 92. That score is based on several factors, but mostly on restorative sleep (Deep and REM).

What are not captured in any of the data are the techniques I've learned for getting to sleep sooner. I've managed to unlock a couple of the keys to getting to sleep sooner—which for me has been the major obstacle to getting quality sleep.

First, I've come to understand that I need about an hour to power down and be ready to fall asleep. For me, that means the TV, computer, etc, all need to be shut off by about 9:30.

Second, the human body produces melatonin in response to darkness. Likewise, bright light tends to stifle melatonin production. So during that last hour, the bright lights stay off. Most significantly, I don’t brush my teeth with the vanity lights on over the mirror. Light in the rooms around my bathroom sink are adequate enough. It seems like a small thing, but it’s making a difference.

None of this is to say that there still aren't improvements to be made. Eliminating all caffeine after 3:30 in the afternoon (as Zeo suggests) seems difficult for me. Also, since the weather has cooled, my younger dog has decided that I make a good hot water bottle and likes to hop into bed with us in the middle of the night. That’s not always a problem, but then again, it’s hard to pull the covers out from under a 65 pound Labrador!

At the sign in page for their website, Zeo says “The more you know, the better you sleep.” That resonates with me. Knowing not only how much, but also the quality of sleep I’m getting will be a key factor in a successful season next year. With plans to do two 70.3 races, sleep is an essential component of recovery.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be ramping up the intensity of my training slightly as I prepare for the Rock Canyon Half Marathon on December 1. My hypothesis is that I’ll see increased times for deep sleep as my body demands more physically restorative sleep. Likewise, I think I’ll see an increase as my long runs start to exceed 15 miles early next year as I get ready for the Colorado Marathon which is (gulp) less than six months away.

I’ll continue the periodic updates on my sleep improvement and we’ll see how these hypotheses hold up to objective testing.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I am (or maybe should be) committed. I registered for two races this morning. The first is the local Turkey Trot in Parker. Having confirmed that I will be in town for Thanksgiving, I decided to give this one a shot. I’ve lived in Parker for about 13 years but ironically have never done a race in town. This one will be pretty easy just a 5K out and back along the Cherry Creek trail which I know well. It ought to be nice not to have to drive down to Castle Rock or north all the way to Washington Park.

I did register for another, slightly longer race as well. On May 5 of next year, it’s my intention to run the Colorado Marathon

Yes, I did say marathon, not half marathon. This will be my second attempt at the distance, the first being the Rock & Roll Marathon in San Diego in 2006. That one was not bad considering it was the first time. I finished at 5:01:07 after struggling mightily during the last 10K. The course was fairly flat, especially in the second half and while the weather was a bit warmer and more humid than I expected, I managed it okay.

There were other factors that slowed me up that year including plantar fasciitis and a nagging case of IT Band Syndrome. I have no regrets about the race. Running 26.2 miles is no mean feat for anyone. But despite coming out of the race thinking I would do another, I never did. Training proved to be too grueling and time consuming and I just lost my passion for it. That didn’t really change until I discovered triathlon.

That brings up the question of what has changed to make me want to do this again. There are multiple answers.

First: Last year I saw my brother have a lot of success in our 70.3 mile triathlon, HITS after having done a full marathon in the early season. That’s not to say he had an easy time of it (he assures me he did not) but while most of us had slowed to a walk, he ran it in. I doubt I’ll be as fast as he was in my next half iron event, but anything that would shave several minutes off my 2:46 time would be good. Imitating the success of others is always a good strategy!

Second: I meant it when I said that I had no regrets about that first race. However, that does not mean that improving upon the time has not been bothering me. Nothing drastic, just the ability to put a 4 at the front of the time would be nice. I have a much better training plan now. I’m also more disciplined in my training. Furthermore, I’ll be about 14 pounds lighter on race day than I was back in 2006. All bode well for a PR.

Third: Last weekend, I caught the highlight show from this year’s Ironman Championship in Kona. Let’s face it; it’s a lot easier to watch people out there suffering than to do it myself. Nevertheless, I felt a desire to be one of them. Not a competitor at Kona (that would be nice but it’s unlikely) but to be able to call myself an Ironman. Most folks who read a triathlon blog understand. For anyone else, if I have to explain, you wouldn’t get it.  Running a marathon as a stand-alone event is hard. Running it after swimming 2.4 miles (over an hour) and riding 112 miles (over six hours) is almost surreal. If I decide I’m going to commit to 140.6, then I need to know I can run the distance. That’s still a very big if, but I am still willing to explore it.

So now what? Cast aside the biking and swimming so I can prepare for a run event? Hardly! If I learned anything from my experiences several years ago it’s that cross-training can help me reach the cardio needs of such a race and help prevent injuries. I’ve been able to work out six days a week because I vary what I do.

This is a big step. Deciding you are going to run 26.2 miles always is. However, I feel like I’m going in the right direction on my path as an endurance athlete. If that path does not lead me to a full Ironman event, so be it. If it does, well, very few people can call themselves an Ironman. I would be honored to be one.

More to come on this one including training progress, deets about the race and how my 43 year old body holds up.

Thanks for reading!