Monday, June 25, 2012

Cohasset Tri 2012

We combined a family visit with a race this past weekend. My son and I flew to Boston Thursday and took the ferry to Hull where my sister picked us up. My daughter and mother flew out Friday to meet us. It was really nice to catch up with my sister, BIL, niece and nephews. We spent a lot of time at a beautiful local beach, playing games, and just hanging out. We also spent a lot of time around the tri. Further proof triathlon is a selfish sport.

View of Boston from the ferry
In preparation for the tri, my sis and I ran the run course Friday morning, then drove the bike course a couple times. Later in the day, my BIL took me to the Bike Barn in Whitman MA to borrow a test bike that happened to be nicer than my normal bike. They let me test ride a Specialized Allez. The guys at the shop were super nice and spent time helping me get it set up properly. I brought my saddle and pedals and the bike guy (John I think) put it on the trainer and got things dialed in for me. The bike was fabulous and I never once thought about racing on a bike I had only ridden once. Thanks guys, you rock! If you are in the Boston area, go check out the Bike Barn, these guys know what they are doing.

Start of the run course

Saturday morning I met up with a friend from BT, his swimming instructor and her friend to ride the bike course. It was a beautiful morning and beautiful course. Mid morning, my sis and I went to packet pick up and got my race numbers applied. The woman applying the numbers mentioned I had nice muscular hairless upper arms, so the tats went on easy :-).

Packet pick up


Saturday afternoon was more beach time for the family while I went for a practice swim. The kids thought the wetsuit was pretty funny (which it was), then we went back to my sisters place for a cookout. During the cookout, a big storm blew in and knocked out power. We ate, then everyone played Apples To Apples but me. I get a little edgy the night before a race so I said I was on a team, then proceeded to finish reading Chrissie Wellington's book before going to bed really early. I was starting to worry I wouldn't have hot coffee in the morning, but power came back on about 11 pm. I tried something new for this race. I woke up at 4 am and ate, did my business and went back to bed. The idea was to digest breakfast before leaving for the race site to avoid 4-5 trips to the nasty Porto potties. Woke back up at 5:30, did some more business, then my sis drove me to the race site at 6 so she could drop me off, then get my cheering section up and moving. It worked! I only had to hit the portable potties once.


Beach time


Once at the race site, I got my timing chip, set up my transition area, then chatted with Mike_D from BT and a few other athletes. Despite this being my first ocean swim in a tri, racing on a borrowed bike, and knowing going all out hurts, I was pretty calm. I went for a warm up jog then swim and just hung out until my HUGE (for me) cheering section arrived. The kids got busy making signs and I just chilled with them. It was awesome.

My bike still had a price tag and said testbike

My transition area

My peeps making signs


My kids before they colored in the sign

Me and my sis (not a chobani commercial :-))

Me and my mom

Chillin with my nephew

I felt like a rock star!

Just about game time

I was in the third wave with 92 of my closest friends. I lined up near the back since I'm a slow swimmer and really don't like lots of contact. Once the horn went off, we ran down the beach and into the water. The water wasn't as calm as it was Saturday. I swallowed three or four full mouth fulls of water. I didn't panic or even stop and tread water, I just kept swimming. I think this was the first swim I didn't stop and tread water during the swim (except when rounding the buoys), I felt strong and just kept going. Once we got out of the water, we had to run several hundred yards up to the transition area. This time was added to the swim time.


Once in T1, it was wetsuit off, socks, shoes, glasses, and helmet on, then run out. No trouble at all.

Once out on the course, my goal was to keep breathing hard the entire ride. I had no hr, cadence, or speed sensor, so it was all by feel. I'm a relatively slow swimmer, which gave me plenty of people to pass on the bike. I passed a bunch of people and played leap frog with a couple guys in my age group. We joked around as we passed each other which was kind of fun. The course was rolling and beautiful with some fun turns.

Once off the bike, I ran into T2. Racked the bike, helmet off, shoes off, run shoes on, visor, number belt and I was out of there. To quote my nephew, it was time to "embrace the pain" :-). The course was hilly (for me) and absolutely beautiful. The crowd was great and there were kids spraying runners with hoses which was nice since the temp was moving into the 80's (I think, I never really looked). I was happy with the run given I'm not very use to hills. The rest of the run was uneventful. I was able to chat with some other runners, so I think my cardio is currently outpacing my leg strength/speed.

After the race, I had a couple bottles of water then waited around to pack up. After a big lunch and a big nap, I was pretty much back to normal. We all went out for an early nice seafood dinner then back to play Apples to Apples. I played this time and we all had fun. Seeing that it was supposed to storm all day Monday starting early and I had a 2 hour run scheduled for this weekend, I went to bed early again and got up early again (what kind of vacation is this?) Checked the hour by hour weather at 3:30 am to see if I needed to leave at 4, 5, or 6 am. I was happy to see the storm wasn't coming as early as expected and went back to bed until 5:30. Then at six, I ran the bike route from the race and felt pretty good. If things go well tomorrow, I'll get my long ride in when we get home.

Overall it was a great weekend visiting with family. If my sister and/BIL sign up next year, we might just have to come back :-).

The numbers

Overall rank 220/801

Age group rank 30/92

1/4 mile Swim - 10:34 (352/801)

T1 - 1:44

12 mile ride - 35:35 (167/801 20.2 mph)

T2 - 1:11

3.2 mile run - 27:20 (319/801 8:33 min/mile)

Total - 1:16:21


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nutrition Testing

I started doing some testing with maltodextrin this weekend at the suggestion of fellow blogger Mike. Maltodextrin is a common food additive containing easily digestible carbohydrates, yet is cheaper than sports powders. It can be purchased online or at your local brewing supply store, since it is a common ingredient used to brew beer. My local brewing supply store is 40 minutes away, so I ordered a pound online so I could experiment. There was no calorie label on the package but doing a little googling, it looks like a cup contains about 360 calories.

I had a long brick work out scheduled for Saturday for which I planned on mixing a one hour bottle and a long ride Sunday for which I planned mixing a four hour bottle. My first attempt was one cup of maltodextrin, one scoop of Gatorade powder and one tablespoon of salt. I mixed that up, took a sip and promptly poured it out :-). The Gatorade flavor was way too strong as was the salt taste. My second attempt was one cup of maltodextrin, one Succeed S!CAP for electrolytes and a little lemonade flavored Crystal Light for flavoring. The taste was pretty good so I went with it for my first test.

On the plan for Saturday was a brick workout consisting of an hour swim, an hour ride, and an hour run. Unfortunately, lap swim didn't start until noon and the temperature was forecast to be in the mid 90's with the heat index being over 100. If nothing else, it would be a good nutrition test. If you can take in calories in the heat and keep it down, it should work in just about all conditions, right? The workout went fine, nutrition seemed to taste good and sit well but I did cut the run short due to the heat (5k instead of a 10k). Cutting it short had nothing to do with nutrition. I didn't want to hurt myself and risk missing the long ride Sunday.

With that success, I decided to make a four hour bottle for Sunday. I mixed three cups of maltodextrin, three S!CAPS, and lemonade flavored Crystal Light again. Maltodextrin is easier to mix hot, so i mixed the bottle Saturday night and put it in the fridge. Sunday was a little cooler than Saturday, but not much. I set off on a four and a half hour ride with ~1100 calories in one bottle and a second bottle of water only. My plan was to take a sip of calories every 15 minutes and drink water to thirst. This plan seemed to work ok. A couple times I skipped a calorie drink because I was feeling a little bloated. This worked out so I finished the bottle four hours in. I think finishing it in three hours would have been a little soon. I did notice a slight after taste a few times, but nothing stomach turning.

The last half hour of the ride wasn't pretty. I was exhausted and over heated and stopped at every water fountain to pour water over my head. Afterward I think I hopped in the shower too quick because when I got out, I started sweating, got the cold shakes, nausea, and really light headed. Let me tell you, its tough to shave when you are about to pass out (and probably not a good idea). I laid down for a while and felt better. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since I weighed seven pounds less than when I started. I don't think it had anything to do with nutrition, I think it had to do with heat exhaustion. I guess when I do a full IM, I need to find a cool one.

With four and a half weeks until my 70.3, I'm running out of time to experiment. I did run to my local brewing supply store and buy some more maltodextrin and plan to try mixing some powdered Gatorade instead of Crystal Light for my next long session. Speaking of which, my next long ride is scheduled for Sunday, but I'll be in Cohasset, MA for a family visit and a little racing. The race should be challenging as it will be a cold ocean swim and ill be riding a borrowed bike. I'll try to fit in a long run while I'm there and a long ride when I return.

The goods :-)


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Anti-training in Northern Wisconsin

This weekend was my annual guys fishing trip. I think this was the seventh year so far and while I'm not a good big fisherman, I love being outdoors and hanging out with the guys talking trash. I didn't bring any training gear so i wouldnt feel guilty not working out and my only goals were to unwind and get bass thumb. Bass thumb is a term I coined when you lip enough large mouth bass with your thumb, while removing the hook, that your thumb gets all rough from the sand paper like bass teeth :-).

The guys I fish with are very competitive (as I am myself), so we had to have a fishing tournament even though it usually ends in arguments. The entry money was low, but bragging rights huge! Knowing what was at stake, I figured we needed a secret weapon. I brought one a couple years ago and it worked brilliantly, knocking out one of our competitors for a full day. This year it also knocked out one of our competitors, but at the high cost of a pretty serious brawl and some ill will :-(. Next year the secret weapon might be some aroma therapy or mediation books :-).


When we arrived Wednesday evening, we went straight out on the lake. The first four casts yielded 4 hits and 2 fish. Great start to the trip! The lake was beautiful as was the weather.

Beautiful Lake Placid
Lake Placid in Hayward, Wisconsin

Turtles getting some sun

Turtles sunning themselves

So the fishing tournament was our boat vs. my buddies brothers boat. It really wasn't fair because they had three fishermen in their boat and we only had two, but we took the challenge anyway :-). Day one we ended up winning. Day two we also won. Day three they requested we go double or nothing and we agreed. They are actually better fishermen than us so the likelihood of us winning three days in a row was slim. We fished hard all day and with an hour to go in the tourney, we were one fish behind. Our competition was getting tired of fishing and went in giving us an hour to pull out a victory. The next thirty minutes didn't even yield a hit so we went back to the method that worked the first night. Rubber worms, drug slowly across the bottom. The fish were sluggish so when they hit, you had to be patient. In years past, when the fish hit, you would count to two, set the hook and that we pretty much that. This year when they hit, you had to wait until the second hit, give the line a little slack, wait for the third hit, put slight pressure on the line then on the fourth hit, set the hook and reel like hell.

One of many large mouth bass

With 20 minutes to go, I caught the tying fish using that method. Then with 10 minutes to go, I caught the winning fish. I was removing the hook thinking of a funny blog pic to take kissing the fish or something, when the fish flapped hard enough that I lost my grip and ended up with one of the other hooks in my ring finger just below the fingernail. Pain and panic ensued as I had a flopping fish hanging from my finger. I managed to grab some pliers and hold the lure while my buddy dropped the anchor, then cut the fish away from me. Then I cut the lure away from my finger and inspected the damage. The nail was in tact but the hook was lodged in there pretty good. I tried to shove the barb through, but it hurt too bad so we went to the ER. They were backed up so they checked me in and suggested we go out to dinner and come back. We went out for pizza and beer with the hook still in my finger. It didn't hurt except for when I would brush it against things.


This fish was hooked in the middle hook, my finger on the top hook

Picture on the way to ER

In the ER, the doc gave me a lidocaine shot right in the tip of my finger. It hurt like hell for about three seconds then it was numb. He shoved the barb through, cut the hook and that as it. As a bonus, my tetanus shot is now up to date :-) All is well now and I have a good fishing story to boot.