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).

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Practice Duathlon

About Four O'clock this morning, I was awakened by a distant, but loud booming sound.  At first it sound like they were doing some ordinance testing at a nearby military base (something they do on occasion).  A few minutes later however, I heard the unmistakable sound of driving rain overhead.  This was quickly followed by enough flashing light and loud thunder to send our 8 year old scurrying into the bedroom.  For the next hour, the storm hit with unusual fury for an early season rainstorm.  The rumbling thunder pounded the air and the house shook and vibrated.
By the time dawn broke, I'd decided that today's practice duathlon was probably not going to happen, but when I got up to make the coffee, the rain had stopped, and it didn't look to be such a bad day after all.
Kind of chilly, but not as bad as I'd thought.
While I wasn't keen on riding on wet roads with temperatures hovering around 45 degrees, I decided that I'd go ahead and do the practice.  In addition to adding a long sleeve base layer, I decided to switch to my road bike which would give me a bit more control than the tri bike I'd planned to ride today.  Within a few minutes, I was on my way over to the campus and the start of practice.
The practice duathlon serves two purposes.  First, it gives our local tri club the chance to test out all of the timing equipment for the upcoming Ordinary Mortals Triathlon that will take place in a couple of weeks.  Second, it provides a semi-organized way for members to practice the course as well as transitions, etc.  When I arrived at the student recreation center, I was surprised to see about 15 folks there, ready to participate.  This wasn't terribly different from a year ago and I guess I'd expected to see just a half dozen or so participants given the weather.  The club had set up one row of bike racks and I quickly got my bike and the very minimal amount of gear I'd brought in place.  After a quick meeting about the route, we lined up at the end of the parking lot, and we were off.
The 5k course around the university is deceptively easy at first.  A long gradual downhill had most of our group running well under the 7:00 min/mile pace for the first quarter mile.  The course stays easy through most of the first mile and I was pleased to be running comfortably along and chatting with others, all while averaging under 7:30 min/ mile.  Just shy of a mile, the first hill on the course appears, and it's a steep one.  This made a pretty good dent in my pace, but I still felt strong.  Before long, the group had spread out, and I found myself climbing a second hill and turning back towards the transition area.  My time through the first three miles was 23:04 according to the official timing.
HR was definitely higher than my typical workout!
The bike course is an out back route of about 12.5 miles.  I made the transition onto the bike and enjoyed the downhill and the wind at my back for the first half of the trip.  My average speed through the first 6 miles was right around 23 mph.  In contrast, my average speed going uphill and into the wind on the way back was a mere 15.6 mph.  Amazing what an 18 mph wind can do for your speed in either direction!  My overall time on the bike was 42:16.  In 2012, I did the course in 40:37 (under much better conditions).  I think that with slightly different weather, and a tri bike underneath, I can improve that overall time significantly.
By the time I'd returned to transition, I was the second rider in (with no sign of the first, who was several minutes ahead).  I didn't rush myself too much, and actually had two other cyclists pull into transition, just as I was getting ready to head back out onto the run.
The transition from bike to run is a lot more of a challenge compared to the run to bike.  I immediately felt it as I moved back out onto the run course.  This time, I would only have to cover two miles of the run course, but this did include both of those hills.  Ignoring my pounding heart, I motored up the first hill and hit mile number one in 7:43 seconds.  I continued to push the pace on the second mile and made it back to the transition area at a 7:39 pace.  My overall moving time for the practice was 1 hour 21 minutes and about 10 seconds.  The official time (this included transitions was 1:23:37).
The details via Strava
Overall, I was satisfied with the outcome of this practice.  My run times were strong and lead me to believe that I can average close to seven minute miles in the upcoming triathlon in two weeks.  My ride, while not the greatest, was at least solid and not too far off previous attempts.  If I can make up a minute or two on the run, and another handful on the bike, I think I can finish the OMT in a little over an hour.  A lot will depend on the weather that day and how much wind is out there, but if the weather isn't as extreme as it was today, I'll have a good chance of that.  The other piece that I will need to do is really focus on my transition times of course.  It's been quite a while since I've raced a sprint triathlon, and so my transition times are a bit slow (1:16 and 1:37 respectively).  This is something that I'll need to practice in the coming weeks.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Early Season Brick

How nice to hop on the bike in the morning and it isn't freezing cold outside.  I'm not saying that it was excessively warm, but right around 60 degrees was a welcome change.  It seems like most Saturdays lately, I've been out in the wind, snow and rain.  Since tomorrow's duathlon practice has been postponed a couple of weeks due to the impending snow storm, I decided instead to get a brick workout done.  I hadn't done an outdoor brick since training last fall, so I was looking forward to this one.  It was also an opportunity to get out on my tri bike, something I haven't done since "the crash" last October.  And since I'd stopped my exclusive Maffetone training a couple of weeks ago, I was very curious to see what I could do running off of the bike after so many months.
About twenty minutes to seven, I backed out of the driveway and drove over to Colorado State University-Pueblo where I planned to start my ride; twelve miles out and back.  This to be followed by a four mile run around the perimeter of the campus.  Heading east, the sun was partially obscured by some feathery clouds, but you could tell these were starting to break up.  I arrived at the university, got the bike unloaded, slipped into my cycling shoes, and helmet and made sure that the car was locked up- all set to go.   It was only then that I noticed that my front tire was extremely low, something I'd neglected to check prior to getting my bike in the car last night.  Of course, I'd also not had the foresight to pack the bike pump either.  So it was back in the car and to the house to get the pump before turning right around and heading back to campus; twenty minutes wasted, oh well!
bike details
Finally on my way, I made excellent time.  The "out" part of the ride is mostly downhill and I had the wind at my back to boot.  I had no trouble cruising at around 22 mph and in fact it only took me about 32 minutes to ride the first twelve miles.  A slight headwind, coupled with a short detour to see part of the OM turnaround point, and a mostly uphill return made the return trip closer to 40 minutes however.  Still, I managed to average a touch over 20 mph for the entire course which isn't too bad for an early season ride.  I also felt very comfortable throughout the ride and didn't feel like I had maxed out.  It was a bit of a relief to get back out on the bike and not have any issues.  I wasn't really expecting a problem, but after my crash, there's always that lingering trepidation that something is going to go awry.  When I arrived back at the car a little after an hour, I was more than ready to get out on the run.    

The perimeter around CSU-P is basically an alternating series of climbs and descents.  The course is used for a number of events including the upcoming Ordinary Mortals Triathlon.  There are some who don't like the steep climbs that make up part of the course, but I've always had good luck on this run.  For every lung-busting hill, there is a subsequent downhill that gives you a chance to recover while still maintaining a solid pace.
run details
Today, I started the run near the stadium and so most of the first mile was downhill.  I hit the first split just a little over 8 minutes.  The next three miles were each about 10-20 seconds slower, but I managed to stay under an 8:30 pace for each of them.  As with the bike, I felt good the entire time, and didn't feel like I was pushing things too much.  This was a good thing, for as soon as I was finished, it was in the car and racing home to be sure we got to Lily's soccer game on time.  As I started driving home, I noticed a crowd of runners heading up the road towards the campus.  It turns out that a local prediction race was just starting.  I was glad that I was finished and not starting the day.  Still, seeing all those people out racing got me excited about the coming season.
So with this first official "brick" complete, it's about a month until the first triathlon.  I'm feeling good about where I'm at to this point, and looking forward to more progress in the coming weeks.