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, August 28, 2016

Boulder Sunset RR & End of 2016 Season

Unlike a year ago,  my triathlon season officially ended not with an epic accomplishment, but with an easy outing that lasted just over an hour and a half.  The last triathlon I'd done  took place a little over 2 months ago at the Boulder Sunrise Triathlon.  I'd planned to do another race in between, but unfortunately it was canceled the week prior.  That, coupled with a return to full time work, pretty much sapped any extra motivation that I've had to train with any intensity.  I've continued to work out, but not with any real direction or sense of purpose.  This is just really a long way of saying that I rolled up to the Sunset version of the race yesterday with nothing more than the intention to participate and finish without feeling completely destroyed.  And that's what I did.

Like the June race, my daughter went with me and we spent the night prior with my parents.  Unlike the Sunrise however, the Sunset race starts a bit later in the morning, meaning that we didn't have to be out at the Boulder Reservoir until about 9:30 in the morning.  When we arrived, I also discovered that there were probably 3 times the number of participants, creating a rather long line of cars waiting to get into the reservoir and park.

Once we were parked, we made the long walk to the packet pick up and began cuing up in several lines to get my race materials and to register Maya for the 5 kilometer stand alone race.  It was fairly hectic as folks were picking things up and I heard the PA system announcing the start of the Olympic Triathlon.  By the time I had all of my things, I had maybe 10 minutes to get into transition and get set up.  Since we'd been stuck in traffic, the transition area was packed to the gills and it took me a fair amount of time to find the right numbered section for my bike.  Fortunately, the rack wasn't too crowded and I was able to get everything set up fairly quickly.  I met up with my daughter and made it down to the swim start with about 5 minutes to go.

My swim went better this time than I did for the Sunrise race.  Although my time was about the same, I felt much stronger during the swim and managed to avoid going way off course.  When I came out of the water, I didn't feel too tired. Time: 16:39 (includes the run up to T1).

I hadn't really bothered to look where I'd parked my bike when I left transition prior to the swim, but fortunately I guessed right with the numbers and turned up into the correct row.  My T1 time says 1:40 and I would guess that' s about right.  Not nearly as fast as a sprint should be, but that's okay.

Coming into this race, I was most concerned about the bike.  I just haven't been riding much.  In fact, yesterday's race was only about my third time on a bike this month.  I decided that I would take it a bit easier on the bike, and that proved to be a good, safe choice.  As I mentioned there were many more participants in the race, and that was quite noticeable on the bike.   Turning onto Hwy 36, I heard a couple of sirens coming up from behind.  I pulled off to the far side and waited for a fire truck and an ambulance to go rolling past.  A few other riders just kept going, but I wound up passing them a short while later.  I never did hear what the ambulance was for, but I spotted it again a little further up the road (pulling over again as it made a left turn in front of me).

Unlike a few weeks ago during IM Boulder (where an athlete died when she moved into traffic), there were no cones along the course and we were riding along the shoulder directly next to cars along the way.  It quickly became clear that if you were going to pass, you needed to look over your shoulder to be certain that there weren't other riders or vehicles coming from behind.  After a minute or two on Hwy 36, I just decided to slow down and took it easy.  It didn't seem wise to do too much passing, and since I knew I wasn't going for a PR, what was the point?  For the remainder of the ride, I focused mostly on keeping a consistent pace without pushing too hard at any given point.  Time: 53:24.

Unlike T1, I did not make a good guess in selecting the correct row to rack my bike.  I jogged down a different row before for seeing my transition area one row over.  Finding a gap, I ducked under the rack and quickly switched into my running gear.  As I came out of T2 (2:00), I felt strong starting the run (much better than I had a the Sunrise triathlon where I struggled to catch my breath) and quickly fell into a steady pace. The first part of the run is a slight uphill, and I quickly passed a number of athletes before cresting the hill and beginning the long out and back stretch along the reservoir dam.

My run was slower than typical for a sprint, but that was okay given my race philosophy for the day.  I slowed by about 10 seconds after each mile running 8:03, 8:09, and 8:19 over the course of the out and back run.  Time: 25:48.

Crossing the finish line, I was glad to be done as the temperature was starting to heat up. My total time for the race was 1:39:34.8 which was good enough for 15th in my age group (out of 33 participants) and 89th overall (out of 520 finishers).  Certainly not my best outing, I feel good about how it all went down.  Afterward, my daughter and I celebrated by heading into Boulder for some t/ acos and a stop for her first pair of cross-country racers.  Kudos to the folks at the Boulder Running Company!  They were friendly, helpful and made for a nice buying experience for my daughter and I.

End of the season: For the first time since last December, I'm not registered for any upcoming races.  I have a few ideas about the coming year, but there's still a lot of time to relax and think.  Spending this past season doing shorter races was certainly a departure from what I've typically done and I think that's been a good thing.  I've gotten to spend the summer trying new things like paddle boarding and yoga, and I've definitely gotten a lot more down time when it comes to training.  There was definitely something wonderful about weekends that weren't filled with 5+ hour training blocks.

And that's been fine.  But . . . I didn't get the same level of satisfaction or stress relief from this season as I have in year's past.  I'm not saying that I need to do another Ironman next year, but I do believe that the longer, slower stuff is more suited to my nature. I enjoy the contemplative time that "going long" provides, and I think it helps me to feel more balanced and relaxed.  And so, as the summer turns into fall, and then rolls into winter, I'll keep these things in mind when planning my 2017 season.  You can expect a few longer events, perhaps a spring marathon, maybe a century ride or two, and when it comes to triathlon, probably something in the 70.3 range.