Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).


2014 Harvest Moon Triathlon Race Plan

In October of 2013, I was cruising along the bike course of Ironman 70.3 Austin.  With around 8 miles to go, I was feeling great and was about to dial back my speed a tad so that I would have something left for the run.  At that moment, a large orange cone appeared on the road straight in front of me.  There was no time to brake or maneuver around it, so I clobbered it at a little over 20 mph, hoping my momentum might help me to stay upright.  It didn't, and instead of finishing the race, I wound up in the emergency room with a broken collarbone, cracked rib, and a pretty fair amount of road rash.  I would spend the next two months recovering.
Not so great ending to Austin 70.3

It's now 10 months later, and I'm gearing up for the Harvest Moon Triathlon.  This is a half-distance as well, albeit a local, non-WTC one.  It's my last triathlon of the season, and most likely my last until Ironman Boulder next year. For 2014, the Harvest is my "A" race and I'm excited to get after it.
That said, I've had to adjust my goals a bit this time.  Last weekend I went out for a ride and a run, and while I didn't feel terrible, I can also tell that I'm not at optimum fitness.  I don't have any doubts about finishing, but I also recognize that I haven't put in the time and effort into training to put together a sub 5:30 performance.  There have been a number of reasons for this but the main one has been that work has been unusually busy this month.  Not only do 55-65 hour work weeks reduce the amount of time available to train, but they also do a decent job of zapping the energy to go out and train.  I don't have any doubt that I can finish the race, and I still feel like a sub 6 hour race is feasible, but I will need to be feeling 100% and I will need to race smart.  So with that, here's my race plan!

Taper Week:
With students reporting back to school next week, it will be an ideal time to taper, as I'll still be quite busy.  My plan is to do a ride this weekend, and get a short swim and run in during the coming week.  That's it. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be full rest days for me.  I want to be "itching" to go at the start on Sunday morning.  After last weekend's difficult workout, I've also been paying better attention to my nutrition.  I've laid off the beer (sigh) and recognized that a steady diet of breakfast burritos, pizza, and onion rings is probably not helping any.  I mean, Jesus!  I ate donuts at least twice the week before last.  And when I say "ate donuts twice," I don't mean that I ate two donuts.  Consider half-dozen to a dozen to be a better unit of measurement for how said donuts were consumed. All of that is behind me now, and with two weeks of healthy living, I should be doing much better come race time.

You just can't do that!
Race Day Plans:
The extended forecast for Aurora looks to be pretty decent.  Afternoon T-storms are likely, but at this point, it doesn't look like it will be scorching hot or freezing cold.  That said, you can never be certain what you will get with the weather.  I've done a lot of training in hot weather this summer, so I'm used to it, but I would prefer temperatures in the 50's and 60's come race day.
I like a simple transition area, so I will try to keep things to a minimum.  If the weather is rainy and/ or cold, I may have to add a few items, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Extended forecast for Aurora next weekend
I've been giving some thought to nutrition as it has been quite some time since I've done a race of this length.  While I don't plan on doing a lot of "experimenting" on race day, I do plan to take in a bit more nutrition than in the past.  I've had a few "bonking" moments throughout the summer that I believe are due in part to a lack of sufficient nutrition along the way.  I will probably put a couple of solid power bar items into my kit for the bike as I find these are less upsetting to my stomach.

The Swim:
The swim remains my biggest limiter.  I've worked more on swimming this year than ever before, but that hasn't really translated to getting much faster.  The lack of opportunities to do some OWS also doesn't help, and so I am not the greatest at sighting.  That said, I do feel more comfortable in the water and I'm not nearly as exhausted from workouts.  I've added more structure to my workouts and really concentrated on better form.   My goal for this race will be to swim comfortably and to try not expend too much energy, saving it for the bike and run.  I believe that a swim of 38-42 minutes is reasonable for this race.

Transition 1: Coming out of the swim, I will try to hustle out onto the bike course.  T1 is an easy place to lose 2-3 minutes if you aren't careful.  I believe that a simpler transition area helps with this as it reduces the time you need to get going (2-3 minutes).  I will skip the socks at this point.

The Bike:
I've felt pretty good on my longer rides this month.  A few weeks back, I knocked out a 62 miler and kept a pretty steady pace the whole time.  However, since my fitness isn't as strong this year, I think the bike is where I need to be careful.  It would be easy to put in a really strong ride, only to wind up struggling through the run.  From what I understand the bike course isn't difficult, but it does have a number of rolling hills and false flats on it which means it will be difficult to keep a steady pace throughout.  Barring weather issues, I think I can ride this anywhere from 2:48 on the high end, to 3:05 on the slower end of things.  That said, I would really prefer to be somewhere in the middle of these two numbers.
Transition 2:  After a long bike ride, this is an easy area to lose some time.  I will throw on my socks and shoes here, and put on my visor.  I've been running with a visor and without sunglasses which has made for one less thing to worry about (2-3 minutes).

The Run:
Looking at run times for my age group from 2013, it looks like most finishers in the top half ran between a 1:40 to a 2:20.  Since running is still my strongest area, I feel like I can put in a decent run.  Earlier this year, I would have hoped to do it sub 1:50, but I think that this is probably out of reach.  If it's at all hot, this could be another factor.  Therefore, I'm going to shoot for something between a 1:55-2:05.  What I would like to do is run the first half at about 15-30 seconds slower per mile than the second half.  If I feel good at 10 miles, then I can put the hammer down and finish strong.

The "Chart":
As always, I like to chart out the possibilities for the race.  Here are some possible scenarios:

Barring any major disasters, I honestly believe that I have a shot at finishing somewhere around the 5hr 45 min mark.  The truth is, if the weather is decent, I will be satisfied with anything under 6 hours.  That would be a good starting point going into the off-season before gearing up for IM Boulder.


Ironman Boulder 2014

This isn't a race report.  If you're looking for a first hand account of the race from swim to bike to run, you won't find it here.  I was at the Ironman on Sunday, and I was at the finish line well before the first athlete arrived.  This year I volunteered at the race which was absolutely awesome.  Along with my brother, we were stationed at the finish line.  It was really cool to see all of the athletes make their way in to the finish and celebrate that moment of accomplishment.  Originally we were signed up to pass out medals and t-shirts, but after a while we wound up being the ones to pass out water bottles (People seemed very thirsty when they finished?).  The finish line was a very inspiring place to be.  Some folks screamed and yelled and jumped around as they finished.  Others were more subdued.  There were a few tears, a few wheelchairs, and plenty of tired faces.  I was busy, and so I did not take many photos, but here's a few to enjoy.

There isn't a better view than the finish line.  Here's a photo of everyone waiting as Justin Daerr, the overall winner, makes his way down the finisher's chute.

There were a few other SoCoT2 members volunteering (along with many racing) and thanks to Kim for snapping this photo of my brother and I getting ready to hand out medals.

One of the jobs of the volunteers it to be a finish line "catcher."  They help to ensure that the athletes make it from the finish line to the exit area without any mishaps.  When Laura Bennett, a professional triathlete from Boulder finished, she had a special "guest catcher."  I was a little slow on the picture taking, but she was assisted by none other than Mirinda Carfrae and her husband Tim O'Donnell.  Pretty cool when the current Ironman World Champ shows up at the finish line!

This was the third event that I've volunteered for this summer and it has been a really cool to see the races from a different perspective.  Alas, I won't be back to volunteer at Ironman next year . . . The photo below explains why!

Yup, here goes!  Next year will be my 6th year in triathlon and it's time to take the plunge.  My brother (who is also going to race) and I got up early on Monday morning and made our way to Boulder High School where we were able to "priority register" for next year's event.  After witnessing last Sunday's race first hand, I'm very excited to be signed up for 2015.  I know that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears stands between me and the finish line, but in the end, it will all be worth it!


Manitou Incline

Yesterday, Melisa and I took a trip up to Manitou Springs to do the "Incline."  For the uninitiated, the Manitou Incline is an abandoned rail line that runs up the side of a mountain just west of Colorado Springs.  For several years, it became an unofficial trail (it was actually trespassing) that has lured hikers, endurance athletes, and just about anyone else who wants a challenge.  It is a little over a mile long and gains 2,000 feet.  The average grade on the incline is 40%.  You can read all of the nitty, gritty details here.
I found this graphic which demonstrates nicely the height of the Incline relative to some other tall locales.

We got a late start and didn't wind up getting onto the trail until mid-morning.  By this point it was fairly hot which added to the challenge of the climb.  Fortunately, as we gained altitude, we were greeted by a refreshing breeze which helped a great deal.  Still, an early morning or a cooler day would be preferable.  As you climb, you will see all kinds of folks on the incline.  Some are running, others are hiking, and plenty are just plain sucking wind.  

A couple of climbers making their way up the last few steps.
The trick to the incline (in my opinion) has to do with pacing.  It's important to find a steady climbing rate that allows you to keep moving forward without pushing the cardiovascular system to the brink.  If you go too fast, you will be forced to stop every 20 feet just to catch your breath.  This will add a great deal of time to your climb.  If you move at a steady pace however, you may not rocket to the top, but you also need fewer breaks.  Even pausing for 10 seconds usually does the trick if you are gong slow enough.  Here's a very short video of what the climb looks like (this is about 1/2 way up).


For our trip, we took our time and stopped along the climb.  It took us well over an hour to make it to the top, but we weren't in any rush either.  Instead of climbing back down the incline, we took the Barr Trail.  The trail is about 2.9 miles (the sign says different) but involves more switchbacks and fewer steep descents.

All Smiles after reaching the top!
We are planning at least one more trip this summer up the incline.  I'd like to try to see how fast I can get to the top the next time we go (the record is 16:42, but I'd be happy with a sub 40:00 minute time).  If you have the opportunity to make this trip, and you're up for a challenge, I highly recommend it! (Note: The incline will be closed for repairs later in August.  They are anticipating a four month closure).
Looking back down the trail from the top