Tuesday, December 21, 2010

XTERRA Nationals

Two weeks after the SOS triathlon, and I still hadn't had the time to get in a single workout. Even though I felt like crap, I was hoping that I'd be well rested and somewhat still acclimatized to the altitude to be able to perform somewhat decently at XTERRA Nationals (Ogden/Snow Basin, Utah). It was a quick weekend trip, and Kristin came with me to this one!!!!

The event was cool. XTERRA always puts on a good show. Nationals marks the end of the US racing season, and its by qualification only. I finished the season ranked 2nd in the Northeast Region (M 30-34) after Dave who was in first (I'll get you next year buddy). The two of us and Suzie made up our little East Coast Crew. This is us on the way to the pre race dinner/awards ceremony.
The swim started and I lasted about 2 mins before I had to float on my back. Don't know what it was, maybe a combination of altitude, tight wetsuit, cold water and over-excitement. I guess it could be summed up as a panic attack, which I cannot believe happened to me. But there you have it, I was gasping for air, floating on my back, and trying to meditate myself back to some type of normalcy. Seriously contemplated raising my hand to have the water patrol pluck me from the race. After what seemed like forever I started to get back under control and continued swimming, but was limited to about 75%t of normal effort. Anymore and I couldn't breathe enough to keep up.

Got on the bike, and same feeling... had nothing from the get go. Was limited to about 75% of what I was hoping for. Not good since the bike already plays to my biggest weakness - climbing. It was a 20 mile, almost entirely uphill ride. Felt like I was going backwards, got passed by over 100 people.
Then came the run. After my first few steps I already felt better. Trail running at altitude was a very familiar feeling thanks to the TRR experience the month before. I settled into a good pace an had a good run in the hilly/technical trails at Snowbasin.

I crossed the line in 3:29 something. Was 146th place overall, 21st in my age group. I guess that is not so bad considering that only the 350 fastest Americans were competing, and I live at sea level. But this will go down as my worst, and most disappointing performance of the year. Not planning on doing this race again anytime soon.
After the race we headed down into Ogden. There was a street fair going on with live music, all kinds of shops, food stands, bars, and a Crit race. Kristin and I hung out and had a great time all evening. Very cool place and vibe that you just don't get around here.
Here is a great recap video of the event...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Festive 500

I can't think of a better way to get my butt of the couch next week.

Survival of the Shawangunks

Referred to as "the champagne of adventure races" in the video at the bottom of this blog. This race was great. Click on the SOS triathlon banner above for more of a course description, but basically this was an 8 stage triathlon in the Shawangunk mountains: 30m bike, 4.5m run, 1.1m swim, 5.5m run, .5m swim, 8mile run, .5m swim, .7mile run/climb.

I got back from the TransRockies and was buried in work. Literally zero time to do any type of training or anything other than work. Really dissapointing as I wanted to see if I could turn an intense running block at altitude into some serious sea level speed. So anyhow after 15 days of nothing (I did manage to squeeze in one 20mile bike ride) I drove up to New Paltz with Brian (my crew) to do this race. I didn't have a chance prior to the race to figure out what I was going to do with my shoes during the swim portions. Note to others: have this one thing dialed in before the race, practice your technique until perfected, this is an important element of this race. More on this later.

Starting on the bike was interesting. I thought drafting was going to be an issue, but it spread out really quickly and wasn't at all. This photo is about 50yds into the race. Why do I look so much bigger than everyone else?
The bike leg was beautiful and pretty flat and fast for the first 25 miles... then straight up hill for the last 5 miles. I took it very easy for the whole climb, did not want to tire the legs at this point in the race..

Arrived at the transition, handed my bike of the Brian, grabbed my shoes, goggles and cap and started running. This first run was the hardest of the runs for me. For some reason I never really felt comfortable, and it was slightly up hill almost the whole way.

Got to the first lake, took my shoes of and stuffed them down the back of my tri-shorts and eased into the water to start the 1.1 mile swim. The drag of shoes in shorts was a little uncomfortable, and after about 2 mins, the shoes had floated right out. I stopped, turned around, grabbed them, and tried to tuck them in even further into the shorts. That lasted about 30 seconds before they wriggled out and went floating away again. I decided that this wasn't going to work anymore so I just put them back onto my feet and and started swimming again. Swimming with shoes on your feet is not fun, and it slows you down a lot. But thats how it was going to be for the rest of the race so I had to make the mental adjustment right there and then. Other than that, all the lakes where beautiful, crystal clear, and cold - 63 degrees, just how I like it!!!

This is a photo of me coming to the end of the second swim: Lake Minnewaska
This is about half way through the third run, deep into the race. I put a lot of what I learnt at the TransRockies to work in this race, and it was paying off as chased down may of the people that passed me earlier in the race.
After the last swim, the trail goes very steeply up to the finish at Sky Top Tower, I had my shoes on already and I felt great, so I went for it and managed the 9th fastest climb split of the race! Finishing 22nd overall, and 4th in my age group... All things considered, I was very happy. Next year I'll be back to go sub 5 hours :)
Complete Results/Splits HERE

Here is a great little TV segment on the race... See you next year.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

TransRockies Run Stage 6

Stage 6: Vail to Beaver Creek - 23.4 miles, 5,100 ft elevation gain
This was the hardest stage with 3 major climbs. The third of which came very late into the race, on a very hot day.

This is Brian and I pre start. I just noticed that Amber Monforte is behind us to the right. She broke her arm an cut open her knee on stage 2, and still continued the race!!! Unbelievable! Two month after this photo she went on win the Ultraman World Championship by setting a new women's course record (Ultraman = Double Ironman or 281.2 miles). Tough Chick.
Climbing up and out of Vail thru the Aspen trees
I think this was just after the 2nd summit, the beginning of a long downhill through waist high grass and so tight you couldn't see your feet or where you were stepping.
Mission accomplished! 6 Days, 6 Stages 120Miles. Two happy dudes.
Stage Place: 10th (Men's Open Category)
Stage Time: 4:16:51
Overall Place: 10th (Men's Open Category)
Overall Time: 23:39:07

Transrockies Run Stage 5

Stage 5: Red Cliff to Vail: 23.6 miles, 4,200 feet elevation gain.
I think this video pretty much sums up the awesome that was this day...

Check out this dude's blisters!!! Thankfully for my Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra Shoes, not a single foot problem for me the whole race.
Stage Place: 10th (Men's Open category)
Stage Time: 4:36:18
Overall Place: 10th
Overall Time: 19:22

Transrockies Run Stage 4

Stage 4: Camp Hale to Nova Guides 14.2 miles...

This about sums up how we were feeling before the start. We're only half way through the event, but looking forward to a slightly easier stage today.

I love this photo.
Fun stage, especially the whole running through ice cold water thing, feet went numb for a while, and that was a good thing!!!
Tired campers...
Stage Place: 10th
Stage Time: 2:52:10
Overall Place 10th
Overall Time 14:45:57

TransRockies Run Stage 3

Stage 3: 24.2 miles
A nice little warm up coming out of the town of Leadville, then steep climbing. Then a long downhill singletrack section from about the midpoint on.

This is Brian and I about half way up the first of two climbs.About half way up the second climb we caught up to Dean Karnazes, whom was running the event with a different partner each day.
His partner was similar pace to us, so we ran together for a little while, took pictures, had some laughs. Then for the last several miles a group of about 5 of us followed his lead through the single track. We were flying, its amazing what running with someone like that will do for you. A definite highlight of the trip.
Camp Hale: tent village
Stage Results: 10th Place (Men's Open Division)
Stage Time: 4:42:51
Overall Results: 10th Place
Overall Time: 11:53

TransRockies Run Stage 2

Stage 2: Only 13.5 miles this day, but it started out with a 3 mile, 3000ft climb. That was steep!!!! and pretty much kept us at a power-walking pace. When we got close to the top, we really felt the lack of oxygen, but when we remembered to look around the views where well worth it. I didn't recover well from the first days run, and I don't think I ate enough either, so I had a nice bonk with a few miles to go in this stage. I did learn that running downhill is an artform that I had never been exposed to before. I was putting way too much effort into braking and staying undercontrol, and we were getting passed left an right by people who had it figured out. It's just basically a controlled fall, that looks like your completely out of control. I got better at it as the event went on, but my ankle, only 3 weeks of a bad sprain would only let me get a way with so much before yelling at me.

Here is the profile
This was our home for the night.
Start of the stage in Vicksburg, CO
Brian going up and up and up... shortly after this photo I gave him my pack to carry. He was doing better than I this day
after the stage ice bath. This felt fantastic, really help clear the toxins from my lower half
Then straight to the massage tent
Video from out way up, and then the top.

Stage 2 Results.
Stage Place: 11th (Men's Open Category)
Stage Time: 3:21
Overall Place: 10th (Men's OPen Category)
Overall Time 7:10

TransRockies Run Stage 1

Been a little busy lately, but that has changed, and its time get get this blog back on track!!!

The TransRockies run was an adventure of a life time. Brian talked me into being his teammate for this crazyness, and I'm glad I agreed to do it. The event held in the Colorado Rockies is 6 Days, 120 miles, with 20,000 feet of elevation gain. Never having competed or completed any run longer than a marathon prior to this, I had no idea how this was going to go...

Here is the overall stage map and elevation profile.
Here is the profile for Day 1: 20.6 miles This was the flattest and lowest altitude stage, and it got very hot out there for the last half
A few minutes prior to the 9am start...
About 15 miles in, Brian took this one of me. We where trying to pace of the Salomon women's team there ahead of me... the left us in the dust at about mile 17
This is a video with just a few miles left. I was pretty cooked at this point, the heat really got to me. I was thinking that there was no way I could do this for 2 days in a row, let alone 6!!!
Stage Place: 9th (Men's Open Category)
Stage Time: 3:49:33

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Little Cross-Training Today...

Run in Buena Vista, bike in Salida, 4X4 from St. Elmo over Tin Cup Pass to Taylor Park, then back over Cottonwood Pass. Need a rest day from this rest day! Tomorrow is race check-in!