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).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015 By The Numbers

147,300: Yards swam in 2015

39,822: Overall Place in the 2015 Bolder Boulder

3,773.46: Approximate number of miles swam, biked and run.

2,000: Conservative estimate on the amount of $ spent for Ironman Boulder

1,339.77: Additional miles ridden in 2015 compared to 2014 (3,249 this year)

543: Overall Place in 2015 Ironman Boulder

One Hundred Fifty Six: Estimated types of beer sampled this year (average of 3 per week)

108: Bike Rides during 2015 (Both Indoor and Outdoor)

Ninety: Average temperature (Degrees Fahrenheit) during June/ July (Peak training months)

Seventy-Nine: Fewer miles run in 2015 compared to 2014 (440.65 this year)

78: Water temperature at IM Boulder on Race morning (making it a wetsuit optional swim)

Seventy Three: Number of Swims in 2015

Seventy: Approximate # of runs during 2015

Twenty-Seven: Times I've run the Bolder Boulder

Twenty-Five: Laps around Royal Catalonia Tulum resort to complete long run during vacation.

Twenty: Number of years married to my lovely wife Melisa Maes-Johnson!

Fourteen & Nine: Ages of my Daughters

7: Days Spent in Mexico sitting on the beach

6.8: Percent ABV of Modus Mandarina IPA, My favorite beer of 2015

Five: Long runs (more than 12 miles) prior to Ironman

4.25: Miles swam in one day as part of the Steve Feldman Challenge

Four: Number of rides over 100 miles.

Three:  # of trips to the East Coast of the United States (NYC=2, NJ=1)

Two: Beer festivals attended (Breckenridge Oktoberfest & Big Bear Brew Fest)

One: Times I wore my wetsuit in 2015

12 hours, 24 minutes, 42 seconds: Time to Complete Ironman Boulder 2015

6 minutes, 55 seconds: Fastest mile split recorded in 2015 (part of a brick workout)

Zero: Number of Ironman Races planned for next year!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

2015 Rock Canyon Half Marathon Race Report

A little over three weeks ago, I was sitting at the computer one morning when I happened across a club email for the Rock Canyon Half Marathon.  Although I'd originally ruled it out, in a moment of weakness, I decided to register anyway.  I like having goals to work toward, and the half marathon gave me something that I could accomplish with a little bit of effort.  This was the 5th time I've run the RCHM, easily making it the half marathon that I've done the most over the years (nearly half of the 11 stand alone half marathons).  Here's a list of those Rock Canyon Races:

Pace per mile

 I had originally planned to run somewhere around the 1:55:00 mark, but that morning, I decided I'd to go for it and see how I fared.  In the few weeks leading up to the race, I'd done a few longer runs, some of them at a more aggressive pace.  However, my overall run training was fairly limited (only about 10 miles/ week).  In addition,  the course this year was slightly different than in the past due to some trail construction.  As a result it included a few more hills than usual.  The one thing that was for the most part favorable, was the weather.  Unlike some years, it was comfortably in the 40's.  There was a bit of a wind at some points, and that had an impact during different parts of the race, especially at the turnaround (more on that later).  Here's how the race went down:

Trail Construction led to a few changes in the course this year.
Mile 1:  The first mile of the race circles City Park.  For a town of 100,000, Pueblo has a City Park that rivals many larger cities.  It's big and has long winding roads throughout.  It even has a zoo housed within its grounds.  I set off at a fairly aggressive clip with the idea that I wouldn't get trapped in a pack of people.  This seemed to be a decent strategy and I found myself running at about a 7:20 pace.  This was way faster than I'd anticipated for the first mile.

Mile 2-3: The next two miles remained quick.  I knew that I was probably pushing the pace more than I should, but I was feeling strong.  I hadn't given much thought to a race strategy but it seemed possible that I might be in pretty decent condition.  Maybe a race around 1:40 was within reach.

Mile 4-5:   During these sections, I could feel my pace start to drop quite a bit.  We were now down into the actual "Rock Canyon" part of the course that leads west towards the Pueblo Reservoir.   I was now a good 15-30 seconds slower each mile, but I wasn't feeling bad. However, slowing down a bit was a good indication of my fitness level.  And then right as I finished mile number five,  the first course change came into play.

Mile 6-8:  Instead of turning left and following the normal path along the river, the course instead went straight ahead and up a steep hill just behind the rifle range (which was closed today).  This was a fairly steep hill and while I ran up it, I could feel any sense of "speed" evaporate.  I dropped from a 7:30-7:45 minute pace all the way to about 8:30, which was close to a minute difference.  I was still running plenty hard, but I knew I needed to adjust my goal a bit.  If I continued to feel alright, a race somewhere between 1:40 and 1:45 overall seemed likely.

Mile 9-10:  This is where things started to come undone more.  I launched into mile 9 feeling pretty good after a nice downhill stretch, but just before the turnaround, there was a very moderate climb which unfortunately, was coupled with a pretty good headwind.  As I made my way up the hill, I felt my energy draining away.  The hill was just steep enough, and the wind  just strong enough, that my speed dropped significantly.  Turning around, I managed to catch some speed going downhill with the wind at my back, but as I reached the last half of mile 10, it was time to climb again.  I did alright going uphill, but by the time I reached the top, I was pretty much cooked.

Mile 10-12:  The next two miles were simply done to hold on.  I felt like I was running around eight minutes, but they were closer to 8:30/8:45.  I dropped in behind another runner who had a pretty decent pace, and just tried to maintain contact.  Running along, I was passed by several runners who had clearly saved something more than I in the early part  of the race.

Mile 13:  With just under a mile to go, I was passed by a trio of runners who were moving along at a decent clip.  Rather than letting them go, I dug deep and jumped onto their heels.  I tucked in and followed them for as long as I could.  I had no illusions that I would outrun them, but I set a goal to stick with them as far as the last final (and steep) hill that loomed ahead.  It took everything I had, but I managed to hang on for that long.  I figured that it was a good opportunity to practice some mental toughness and to keep pushing when my body didn't want to go anymore.  That final hill took any drop of energy I had left and  I just about walked as I don't think I was moving much faster by running.  Once I hit the top, I was able to pick the pace up again, but as I closed on the final tenth of a mile, I was already at 1:45.  I kept a steady pace through the rest of the run, and crossed the line at 1:46:03.

Usually the space between 3-5 miles is relatively flat!
A couple of notes about this year's race:

  • The tech shirts this year are some of the coolest that I've seen.  Rather than a single color shirt with a monochromatic logo, they are reminiscent of a long sleeve bike jersey.  They'll be great for training and racing this winter.  
  • While the race may return to the original course format, I wouldn't be completely shocked if they kept the course layout the same again next year or included some version of it.  I think most everyone liked the change (even if it did make for a tougher course).
  • Racing underground was responsible for the timing this year and they had something new that I'd not seen before.  After the race there was a tent with three computer screens and key pads set up.  You could enter your bib # and a "receipt" would print your time, rank, etc. This was much more convenient than standing around watching a computer screen or waiting for someone to tape a piece of paper with the results on the board.

Don't forget your receipt!
In the end, I ran a strong, if not a strategic race.  I was faster than my anticipated finish time.  My 88th place finish put me in the top 1/4th of all finishers.  In my age group, I was 9th out of 28 runners, or about the top third.  For me Rock Canyon marks the end of my 2015 season (A year in review post will be out sometime this month).  With the start of the new year, I'll begin to focus on the shorter sprint triathlons that will make up the bulk of my racing in 2016.  I feel like I'm in a good position to start that work.

Tech Shirt, Finishers Medal, and Bib