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).

Monday, May 23, 2016

An Unexpected Race

I am a sucker for a good deal.  So when I received a club email this past week informing me about a nearby triathlon, I checked my calendar and decided to try it out.  Total cost for the race: $32.  I even added the optional t-shirt for $12.

Similar to the OMT race from a couple of weeks ago, this one is a reverse order sprint race held in the nearby town of Rocky Ford.  It's called the Melon-Man Triathlon in recognition of the town's chief export: Cantaloupe.  Situated on the Southeastern Plains it has the potential to be both hot and flat.  The race begins with an out and back 5k, some of which appears to be run on a trail.   The bike course goes down a small county road and is also an out and back route somewhere between 10 and 11.5 miles.  The culminating swim takes place at the community pool (for which the race is a fundraiser) and is just 250 yards or 5 laps.

Since this is the first time I've ever done this race, and I've only driven through Rocky Ford a handful of times, I don't really know what to expect from the course or the event.  It looks like it will be a fun little race and  I'm hoping to capitalize on my decent performance at OMT.  And unless the course is deceptively hilly,  I think that I can perhaps improve on my 5k time a bit. Combine that with slightly shorter distances on the bike and run, well . . . who knows.

At any rate, it will be interesting to do a race in a small town.  The majority of my races have been in or around Boulder and the last time I did a triathlon in a small town was for HITS Sterling 70.3 (and Sterling is still more than 3 times the size of Rocky Ford).

Sunday, May 15, 2016

OMT 2016 Race Report

Yesterday was the first triathlon of the year for me.  The Ordinary Mortals Triathlon here in my home town.  I didn't feel like I'd put the same level of training in this year, so I didn't really know what to expect when I awoke yesterday morning, but in the end, I was pleased with how the race went overall.

The weather was a bit cooler than expected on Saturday Morning.  I would guess that it was somewhere in the low 50's at the start of the race.  There was also a bit of a wind which certainly made things feel a bit cooler.  One of the nice things about this race is that it's a "reverse order" event, meaning we started with the run.  As a result, there was no need to jump on a bike while still soaking wet.

Around 9:00 a.m. the gun for the start of the race went off, and the pack cruised down the first hill.  I tried to settle into an easy pace, but knew that I was going a bit faster than I normally would.  I hit the first mile mark at 6:45 and still felt pretty good.  I did my best not to slow too much, but also didn't kill myself getting up the first steep hill.  Mile two was a 7:30 pace which seemed a bit more appropriate to me and before long, I found myself with less than a half mile to go.  A good chunk of this is uphill including a patch of stairs, and towards the top I started to feel a bit winded.  As I made the final turn back toward the finish, I found myself at roughly 22:30 give or take a few seconds (Ranks as a "Great" performance).

Heading towards the "steps" at about 2.4 miles

Transition went well as I got my shoes off and got ready for the bike portion of the race. I didn't slow down too much or pause to drink water, etc. while in T1.  As soon as I hit the mount line, I jumped onto the bike and got rolling.  Although the first part of the ride contains more downhill than up, we were battling a head wind for most of the way out.  This kept my pace a bit slower than usual for this section, but it was sure helpful to have a tail wind on the return trip.  I felt pretty good throughout the ride and did my best to pass a few of the riders in front of me along the way.  All told, I moved past about 10 to 12 people over the course of the ride (T1= "Good", Bike= "Great").  My bike time wound up being less than a minute slower than two years before.

Heading out for the bike portion of the race

Coming off of the bike at T2, I finally remembered to take my race belt off.  In year's past, I've forgotten and then had to swim while wearing it.  I toyed for a moment with trying to get my jersey top off as well so that I could swim in just my shorts, but I realized that I would be sitting there fighting with it in transition so it was better to just get moving.  My time for T2 was about 1:08 which wasn't too terrible (T2= Great).

The swim is done in the local university pool and consists of 12 lengths or 6 laps.  Basically, you swim up and back a lane, duck under the lane rope, and repeat, working your way across the pool from right to left.  It makes the swim rather unique in that you know exactly where both the person in front of you as well as the person behind you are at.  I had a pretty good lead over the person behind me, but he was coming strong.  With only about 2 lengths to go, he closed to within a few feet of me which made for an interesting finishing.  Then it was out of the pool followed by a short run to the finish line.  I managed to keep my competitor at bay and crossed the line just in front of him.  My total time for the swim (which includes probably 40 seconds of running) was 6:46 (Swim= Good/ Average, Overall= Great).

When all was said and done, my final time was 1:07:35 which was good for 6 out of 16 in my age group and 20th overall.  I think there were something like 140 folks total (77 male finishers).  It's interesting to do a comparison from each of the years I've done the race to see the difference in each performance:

I may have to consider deviating from my every other year tradition next year as I'd love to see if I can nudge my performance forward a bit.  I think there still might be a few more seconds to shave off of the run, bike, and swim and it would be great to get my time down by another minute or two.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Getting Ready

In just under two weeks, I'll have my first of three triathlons this summer.  The race is our local Ordinary Mortals Triathlon (OMT) and it is a reverse sprint triathlon (3 mile run, 12 mile ride, 300 yd pool swim).  This will be my third time in the last five years.

Back in January, with training going full blast, I'd hoped to have a phenomenal race.  At that point, I was still applying the same level of enthusiasm and effort to my training (if not the volume) that I had for the Ironman.  I quickly burned out.

In the end, that was probably a good thing.  I've been busier at work than at any point previously in my life, and since stress is stress, trying to maintain that level of intensity would have likely left me injured.  Besides, the whole point of NOT doing a longer race this year was to enjoy other endeavors and to indulge in being a bit lazier than in years past.

Even though today is cold enough to feel more like  a winter's day than the first of May, the improving weather has me more excited about the upcoming season.  I've adjusted my goals a bit for this first race, but that's okay.  No need for my "A" race to be right out of the gate.  I plan on continuing to train for the next several days, before starting to taper in the latter part of next week.

As far as goals for the race, I'll set a few.  I'm also going to get my race plan laid out here, so I have some strategy going into the race.  The logistics and strategy of triathlon is one of my favorite things about the race.  It's definitely a race that requires some thinking in order to be effective.

The plan (in order of appearance):
Run-  The three mile course for OMT is fairly challenging.  It starts with a long downhill that results in an abnormally quick first mile. However, the last two-thirds of the course include several steep climbs.  These hills can suck speed and energy quickly, causing one to burn some matches without really trying.  The trick is to take advantage of the downhill without over extending.  I'll try to put together a strong first mile, but then  back off on the first climb a bit, keeping a steady pace, and trying not to overdo it.  After another downhill, there's a second big climb back up towards T1.  If I'm having a great race, I think I can do the 5k in a touch under 24:00.

T1-  I'm hoping to practice some transitions this week.  For Ironman, I really didn't have to worry much.  If T1 or T2 took a few extra minutes, it didn't matter over the course of a long day.  Now that I'm doing the short stuff, I need to get back to a quicker transition.  My goal for this will be less than 1 minute.

Bike-  This is a fast bike course.   Mostly downhill on the way out and a gradual uphill on the return.  Two years ago, I did it in 35 minutes.  I may not be at quite the same level of fitness now as I was back then, but I'm stronger on the bike now than I'd been before.  If all goes well, I think I can go sub 36:00.

T2-  Much like T1, I'll want to move through this one.  There's a bit more running to get through this transition and up to the swimming pool, so maybe 1:30

Swim-  At 300 yards, the swim isn't much.  I've been pacing my harder efforts around 1:40-1:50 this year.  At that pace, I'll be around 5:30-5:50ish.

The Chart below lists some potential outcomes:

So, that's my plan in a nutshell.