Rev3 Rush Richmond – Day 1

Doran | May 28th, 2014 - 2:33 pm

It’s been several months since my last post, and I have tons to share.  But I’ll make my blog comeback with a race report from my only triathlon of the season, Rev3 Rush Richmond.  As mentioned previously, I am basically taking the year off triathlon to focus on other things.  But when I saw Rev3 putting on a race with such a unique format, I had to participate.  And given my level of fitness, it’s just that, I’m participating, not RACING.  In the whole year of 2014 leading up to the race I only swam 7,000 meters, biked 101 miles, and run 60 miles.  That’s basically no training when spread out over 5 months, and the past few weeks haven’t been any different.  So yeah, I’m participating in this really cool event because I really wanted to share the experience with others in hopes the format catches on.  Rev3 Rush is a draft legal super-sprint distance race at Richmond International Raceway (think NASCAR).  They put a 15 lane, 25 meter pool in the infield of the race track and athletes swim 250 meters in the pool and bike 7 laps (5 miles) of the raceway and 2 laps (1.5 miles) of the infield on the run.  Preliminary heats are scheduled for Saturday, with Age Group Finals and Overall Finals on Sunday.  In each age group, the top 12 times from the preliminary heats advance to an Age Group Finals heat.  Then the top 8 times from the Age Group Finals advance to the Overall Finals Sunday evening.   Athletes can participate in up to 3 preliminary heats in attempt to ensure a top 12 age group placing to advance.  So if you have a bad swim, blow a tire on the bike, or just want to race again, you can.  This is a really cool concept and I give tons of credit to Rev3 for putting it on.  I imagined it would be quite a spectacle with draft packs forming on the bike while racing around the banked racetrack.  Strategy becomes a huge factor as obviously groups of cyclist can usually catch a stronger rider who might be off the front, and also a smart racer might just get towed around the course while drafting.  So when it was announced, I immediately signed up, despite my semi-disastrous experience with another first time race, Rev3 Williamsburg.  However, this time, I knew they wouldn’t be taking any of my gear hostage.

The pool & transition setup from above

The pool & transition setup from above

The pool, taken from the outside lane of the track

The pool, taken from the outside lane of the track

Raceday on Saturday morning was absolutely perfect, it was a chilly clear morning that warmed up nicely throughout the day.  Unfortunately, the turnout was less than I expected, with about 200 racers in all, and maybe 50 or more of them young kids and others in the elite race.  This left only 125 or 150 age groupers, meaning my age group (and probably all age groups) had less than 12 people, so in essence the preliminary heats weren’t really about competing to make the age group final – we’d all qualify for it.  The course setup was perfect and again had some very unique aspects in addition to the location.  When your heat was due up, you had a bin and a bike rack right next to the pool, rather than a huge transition area.  You could lay out your helmet and shoes, but had to make sure everything was placed back in your bin. It was very similar to the professional ITU Olympic-style racing and definitely a first for this age grouper.  After watching the kid’s races (from 5 yrs and older) and warming up (including 5 minutes or so in the pool), my heat was set to go off at 10:30am.

Getting in

Getting in

We did 250 meters or 10 lengths of the pool, all in our own lane.  As a former high school swimmer, this was great for me, as I have faster-than-most-triathletes flip turns and I’m used to keeping an eye on others in the pool.  My swim training has consisted of about seven 1,000 meter workouts in the past few weeks, so as with the other two sports, I am light-years away from my prime.  The swim was uneventful and I could see someone leading me by about a 1/3 of a length by the end.  I came out of the water and could hear CJ scream through the crowd “Hurry up you can be first out on the bike!”  I had my bike shoes already clipped in, so I ran down the ramp to my bike and quickly donned a helmet and sunglasses.  Just like that I was first out on the bike.

Coming out and into T1

Coming out and into T1

Exiting pit row I slipped into my bike shoes and started to pedal around the track.  For the first two laps I was holding about 21-22mph, just pedaling with my head down trying to stay aerodynamic on a roadbike with no aerobars.  Then, I looked back and noticed two other guys drafting behind me.  So I yelled back to them, “will you pull for a lap?”  Meaning, let’s take turns leading and breaking the wind for the other two.  Together the three of us could work together and build our lead or ensure nobody catches us.  One of the guys said “We have to do 7 laps”… clearly not getting my drift.  So after another half lap I decided I needed to drop these two if they wouldn’t work with me.  So I swerved high up on the embankment and put on a surge.  I could only manage a small gap of maybe 10 yards, which the guys closed over the next half lap.  Rather than risking an implosion on the run after a tough bike, I just got on the back of the other two and drafted for the second half of the bike.  We were being led around the track by a big guy who was actually a lap down and riding at about 19-20 miles per hour, but nobody was catching us from behind.  Soon, the lead motorcycle said last lap, so about halfway through I again broke away just before we entered pit row.  I wanted to get a few seconds gap into T2.

Drafting off my new friends

Drafting off my new friends.  The guy in middle led us around for most of it

Dropped off the bike and heading into T2 with the lead

Dropped off the bike and heading into T2 with the lead

The second transition was again lighting fast and the setup was really awesome for an age grouper.  We racked our bikes just after the dismount line in a row set up only for us with bike catchers.  Then we continued back to our box by the pool and I stuck my helmet in, laced up my running shoes and I was gone again.  I heard heavy breathing behind me, and only had a few steps on the guy in 2nd.   The run was really uneventful, with me trying pretty hard but moving fairly slow.  I had a lot of thoughts going through my head, mostly that I needed to win this heat, because I’ve never really won a race, and even if it was a heat with 10 or so guys, it was still a win.  I continued to think tactically like real racers and tried to really push it around curves and get a bigger gap on 2nd place.  After 2 laps and a mile and a half I extended my lead to about 20 seconds and won my heat.   This was pretty surprising given my current level of fitness, and I was happy to “win” something.  The timing was a little messed up, but I think I split 4:07 for swim (including T1), 14:02 on bike (20.9mph according to garmin), and 8:46 on the run (actually only 1.4m so 6:21 pace according to garmin) for a total of 27:38.

Shocked at how decent my form looks based on how badly it felt

Shocked at how decent my form looks based on how badly it felt

Coming down home stretch to win the heat

Coming down home stretch to win the heat

I initially thought I had placed first in my age group, but later found out (thanks to a kind tip from a fellow racer) a few guys in a later heat beat my time.  So I knew finals on Sunday would have a more competitive dynamic, and hopefully I could use drafting and race tactics to my advantage, because I really don’t have the out-right speed to win anything these days.  Saturday night I focused on recovery by eating healthy and wearing compression clothing in the form of my favorite 110% Play Harder ice-pants.  In a few days, I’ll post the story of how Sunday’s finals unfolded.  Until then, here’s a shot of me and the wifey… no dog this time but we have a pregnant belly instead.

My biggest fan carrying our future daughter in that bump.

My biggest fan carrying our future daughter in that bump.

2013 VO2 Max Test – Part 2

Doran | January 30th, 2014 - 11:37 pm

This post picks up from where Part 1 left off, with me exhausted, dripping with sweat, sitting on top of a cycle ergometer.  The video of the last minute of the test is below.  As you can see, I was pretty gassed at the end.

The system produces a ton of data, but the key points for me was that I maxed out with a VO2 Max of 57.1 (ml/kg/min), riding at 325 watts with a heart rate of 187 beats per minute (probably my max heart rate).  Interestingly, this is similar to my 2008 test, which I had a VO2 Max of 58.6 (ml/kg/min).

2013 vs 2008 VO2 Max Tests

So what does this tell me… well, a few things.  Let’s start with the VO2 Max of 57.  This is pretty good.  In fact, it’s proven that values on the bike are usually about 5%-10% lower than running, so you could say my VO2 Max is closer to 60.  And let’s not forget that body weight is in the denominator and at the time of the test I was 155lbs (77.5 kg), after two months of off-season indulgence (about 2kg’s heavy).  So if we use my “fighting weight” of 148-150lbs, I may also have scored slightly higher.  But regardless, we have a value, so I googled different charts to see the typical range of values, I saw this particular one at a few places around the web so I’ll use it (http://www.topendsports.com).  For a male 26-35, anything over 56 ml/kg/min is “excellent”.

VO2 Max Norms

The guys at endurance corner website break it down a bit more specific to the triathlon and endurance sports community and offer the following rough outline.  This makes sense because triathletes shouldn’t really be lumped in with the normal population.  This measure puts me borderline between middle of the pack and top age grouper, which is about right – “upper-middle pack”.  A few “freakish” endurance athletes have been tested in the 80’s and even 90’s (a few listed here with some interesting discussion), these are guys like marathon and Tour de France champions.

  • Elite: 65-75
  • Top AG: 60-70
  • Middle of Pack: 50-60
  • Back of Pack: 40-50
  • Untrained: 30-40

However, raw VO2 Max doesn’t tell the whole story, another important component to this is your lactate or anaerobic threshold – the point at which lactate begins to accumulate in the blood.  Under this rate you are relying on your aerobic system, which can sustain effort for a long period of time.  Additionally, any byproducts of anaerobic metabolism are cleared from the muscle and from the blood which also negates the accumulation of lactate.  It should be noted that even though we only refer to lactate when speaking of anaerobic metabolism, we should also keep in mind that anaerobic metabolism really results in the production of lactic acid.  Lactic acid quickly dissociates into the lactate ion and the hydrogen ion.  As such, our working muscle as well as our blood becomes more acidic.  This has negative effects within the muscle, and on the nerve that activates the muscle.  This results in ‘fatigue’ and thus, you can’t sustain that pace for very long.  Using the data provided by the VO2 Max test, a fitness professional can also find where your lactate threshold is, in terms of percent of VO2 Max, hearth rate, and pace or power.   This value determines what athletes will target for various race distances – most of us go by power or heart rate for long distance triathlons.  For instance, having a high VO2 Max is great, but if your lactate threshold (LT) is only 50% of that VO2 Max, you can’t take full advantage of the body’s ability to utilize oxygen.  Typical LT values range between 50% and 80% of VO2 Max with less fit individuals having an LT of approximately 50% to 60% of VO2 Max whereas moderately trained individuals are typically between 60 to 70% of VO2 Max.  The good news is that this can be improved through training, and my 2008 test indicated that I could sustain 77% of my VO2 Max.  The more recent test was less conclusive in the estimate of my LT but indicated a value of 70%… still pretty good.  The most accurate way to test this would be to take blood samples during the exercise. However a VO2 Max test also does the trick by measuring the determining the relationship between the volume of expired air (VE) and workload.  Basically VE increases in a linear relation to an increase in workload.  However, there is a point that this relationship becomes exponential.  This point, the ‘ventilatory threshold’ (VT) has been shown to occur at approximately the same workload as the LT.  Using this method one can also determine the heart rate at which the athlete is at lactate threshold, and for me this was around 160 beats per minute (bpm).  Again, heart rate at lactate threshold is slightly higher when running than riding a bike.

DSC_2655

So how does all this make someone better as an athlete?   The information obtained from a VO2 Max test is useful both in terms of racing and training.  Let’s start with training, because you can’t race fast without building the fitness in training.  Once you know the bike power or running pace and heart rate associated with your lactate threshold, you can work to raise it.  Any aerobic training helps (all my ironman training in 2008), but the most effective way to do this is through interval training, with the intervals aimed within 5% of your LT.  A bike workout with 3 x 10 minutes at (or just above) LT with 5 or 10 minute rest interval or even just a warm up then riding 20 minutes at LT are examples.  Over time, this will allow you to sustain a higher work rate during a race, without necessarily raising your VO2 Max.  These are the types of workouts helpful to endurance athletes, where top end work rate isn’t as important as the rate you can sustain for a 2-15 hour race.  However, if you are looking to run a fast mile or 5k, improving VO2 Max through higher intensity intervals (less than 5 minutes) is likely an important training goal.  As research seems to indicate with most athletic traits, VO2 Max is partially pre-determined by genetics, but can be improved through specific training.

In terms of racing, knowing these values can help set heart rate or power zones to hold during a race.  This often helps athletes better pace themselves and avoid the tendency to start the swim, bike, or run too fast.  If your lactate threshold heart rate is 160 bpm, then you know you shouldn’t be at 175 when you start the bike leg of a half ironman (which is tough as people are flying by you… but the longer the race the better chance you’ll see them again if you are pacing correctly).  Below is a chart of my heart rate during each stage of the test… which was very consistent when compared with 2008.

2008v2013 HR v Watts

Not everyone has the opportunity to take a VO2 Max test.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of luck.  There are several methods to approximate your VO2 Max.  Famous running coach Jack Daniels developed what he calls the VDOT calculator.  Using your running time, you can use his calculations to get a VDOT value, which he describes as a VO2 Max that incorporates running economy, efficiency, and mental toughness.  Basically, using what you can actually do in a race to better predict other race distance times and also set training paces (rather than using lab data).  Entering a conservative estimate of my best open 5k time (18:45), I got a VDOT of 54, fairly close to my VO2 Max.  This makes sense, because I really have never fully trained as a runner, the VDOT may not fully reflect my full aerobic capacity because I’m limited by (relatively) poor running economy.

For non-runners out there, the Uth—Sørensen—Overgaard—Pedersen equation is here.  Researchers at the Department of Sport Science at the University of Aarhus, Katrinebjergvej came up with an equation that estimates VO2 MAX using the ratio between ones maximum heart rate and hear rate at rest (here is the abstract on Pubmed). The Uth—Sørensen—Overgaard—Pedersen equation is: VO2 Max = 15 x (Max HR / HR at Rest).  Checking this on myself, I get 15x (187/42) = 67.  A little high maybe, but in the ballpark, given my recent test could be a little higher if I was running or at race weight.

So that’s about it for VO2 Max Testing.  We got a little technical there with the help of Dr. Frank Bosso.   If there are any questions for Dr. B, or if you want to compare VO2 Max, let me know.  I would be interested to see what people get through VDOT or USOP equation.

 

2013 VO2 Max Test – Part 1

Doran | January 27th, 2014 - 2:31 am

I’m really lucky to have a father who teaches exercise science and physiology at the college level.  I’ve never had a triathlon coach, but growing up with my dad, I have a decent foundation in exercise physiology and training concepts.  Over the years, I’ve further built upon this through reading the books, blogs, and tweets of the best in the business (notably Joe Friel and Gordo Byrne among many others).  Anyway, in addition to imparting his knowledge, my dad also has access to some cool equipment, which he utilizes in his classes.  As an age grouper, I’ve had the rare opportunity to have a VO2 Max Test performed… twice!  The first was in 2008, just four weeks after my first Ironman.  The second time was this past November, but about 2 months into the off-season.

My dad, the quintessential professor, setting up the equipment for the test.

My dad, the quintessential professor, setting up the equipment for the test.

But before we get into the test itself, I’ll take a minute to describe what VO2 Max tests measure and a bit about how they work.  Most coaches and exercise scientists will agree that for an endurance athlete to progress, there are really three components to improve, aerobic capacity, lactate threshold, and economy (or efficiency).  Also referred to as VO2 Max, aerobic capacity is a measure of your ability to use oxygen to produce the energy needed to pedal your bicycle or continue swimming/running at a certain pace.  In triathlons, the fastest athletes in the race tend to have the highest VO2 Max and this is generally the best predictor of speed (better than lactate threshold and efficiency – although over longer time and distance, efficiency can have a significant impact).  The name VO2 Max comes from the main components of the test, V – volume per minute, O2 – oxygen, Max – maximum.  It is also called maximal oxygen consumption or maximal aerobic capacity.  It tests the maximum rate of oxygen consumption as measured during exercise in which the intensity is progressively increased, usually on a treadmill or cycle ergometer (a fancy exercise bike). VO2 max is expressed either as an absolute rate, usually liters of oxygen per minute (L/min) or as a relative rate, such as milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body mass per minute (ml/kg/min).  In my case we’ll perform the test on a cycle ergometer and express measurements in (ml/kg/min,) which takes body weight into account. Expressing oxygen consumption in absolute terms has some advantages.  For instance, if one is interested in caloric expenditure, one can easily utilize the relationship, 1 liter of O2 consumed ≈ 5 Kcal expended.  And, if significant weight change is expected, using the absolute term avoids the misconception that oxygen consumption changed when in fact only body weight changed.  Expressing oxygen consumption in relative terms, i.e., relative to one’s body weight, has the advantage of being able to compare one’s results with those of others regardless of their body weight.  And thus, ‘norms’ may be used to judge one’s fitness level.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, my brother and I were home to visit our parents.  We went with my dad to work and after he taught his morning classes, we set up in the lab.  I began warming up on the bike while my dad calibrated the equipment and Evan assisted with setup and took some pictures.  We devised the test protocol based on my anticipated fitness level.  As mentioned earlier, the test becomes incrementally more difficult, so you have to choose how quickly to raise the pace (treadmill) or power output (cycle ergometer) in terms of interval duration and increase in power output.  For me, we decided to do 2 minutes at each stage, initially increasing by 35 watt (w) increments until I reached 175 watts; then we increase by 25 watts for the remainder of the test – until I fail to maintain the required power output.  This is the point at which you can’t pedal anymore and quit from exhaustion, sounds fun huh?

My dad, the quintessential professor, setting up the equipment for the test.

My dad, the quintessential professor, setting up the equipment for the test.

How many Bossos does it take to get the seat height right?

How many Bossos does it take to get the seat height right?

There is quite a bit of equipment to calibrate beforehand

There is quite a bit of equipment to calibrate beforehand

 

The test is a measure of oxygen consumption, so you must track the volume and composition air inhaled and exhaled during the test.  As you can see in the photos, the subject must have a mask strapped to their face to ensure all airflow is measured accurately.  It’s not exactly awesome to be turning yourself inside out on a bicycle with a mask on your face… but there are worse things in life.  Meanwhile, the equipment is capturing heart rate, power output, volume and composition of expired air (ventilation) and more.

Evan "helped" me get set up

Evan “helped” me get set up

We can never be too serious

We can never be too serious

So basically my dad controls the cycle ergometer, which adjusts resistance to maintain the selected power level in watts (w).  We started at 35w and I relatively easily moved from 35w to 70w to 105w.  At each interval we were measuring my heart rate and the system was capturing my oxygen consumption and a few other metrics (most notably, volume of expired air – also called ventilation). At 140w and eight minutes into the test, things start to get interesting and the move to 175w felt a little more difficult than I expected.  In the middle of triathlon season, I was averaging about 200 watts for over an hour during the bike leg of a triathlon.  But in this case, I really hadn’t been doing any serious training for two months.  Anyway, the test had to go on, now escalating in 25w increments.  I powered through 200w, 225w, and 250w with some discomfort, then started really suffering at 275w and 300w before failing as we increased the resistance to 325w.  See the video below for an idea how this all looks in practice.

Progressing through the stages with the Professor working the protocol.

Progressing through the stages with the Professor working the protocol.

Since this has already been quite a long and technical post, we’ll stop there.  Part 2 will reveal my VO2 Max and discuss how this test helps us become better athletes.

Doran’s 2013 Season Wrap-Up & Reflections

Doran | January 5th, 2014 - 7:44 pm

2013 is over (wow, it flew by) and January is when everyone takes stock of things.  I like to do a review of finances, fitness, and generally just take the time to check in on where things stand.  Here of course, I’ll stick to triathlon.

One of the main drivers (in terms of time and stress) in my life is work, so it’s important to understand how that went before analyzing any fitness goals.  This year was definitely the most steady and consistent in this regard.  I had very little work travel and rarely worked crazy long hours.  I’d say I generally averaged 45-50 hours, which means I have absolutely no excuses for work holding me back in my training.  My hours are really flexible, we have a small gym at my office, and I have a short commute.  All of these things are extremely helpful in planning training around your work commitments, and I definitely had the best work situation (in terms of training) in years.  One highlight of 2013 was purchasing our first home in March, and the months of painting (done mostly by CJ, I must admit), furniture shopping, and settling in that follow.  It was definitely a successful year in that regard.  We love our new house, neighborhood, and with the garage gym complete, we are fully furnished and done with any big purchases.   But again, this change didn’t really affect my training and if anything, had a net positive effect (having a garage for bikes, room for trainer, garage gym, short commute, etc, etc).   So let’s get to the data, first in training…

Below is a graph of training volume by sport over the last seven years (2007 to 2013 from left to right).  In 2013 I swam 147,000 meters (91 miles), biked 2,206 miles and ran 397 miles.  If you add it up, I swam, biked, and ran a distance equivalent of New York City to Los Angeles this year.  While not the highest volume year I’ve had, it’s kind of cool when you think of it that way.  My swimming and biking volume totals were the highest since my Ironman years in 2008-2009, and biking in particular was pretty high.  I also can say that my biking intensity was much, much higher than in 2008/2009, and overall I was probably in the best shape of my life, biking wise.  However, it came at a cost… and that was run volume.  Again, I know I did a fair amount of intensity.  My weekday morning brick session (usually on Wednesday) usually included race pace (or harder) bike interval work, after which I would run a sub-20 minute 5k.  That’s some really intense training.  But again, the biking and run intensity did mean less volume, and my run miles were the lowest since I’ve been serious in triathlon.

2007-2013 Training Volume

Also, I really shut down my training after mid-September, so using full year volume is a bit deceptive when comparing to the years of Ironman Florida when that race was in early November, so training continued through the fall.  The chart below tracks cumulative training volume by month shows this well.  It’s too busy with all the years in it so I selected 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013. The blue lines are swimming volume, green is running volume, and red is biking volume.  2013 is highlighted with the big fat squares at each data point.  As you can see, my 2013 biking volume was put in very early on in the year, so it had a bigger effect on my performance (higher training load) than in 2008/2009 in which I achieved higher volume, but it took 11 months to get there.  In fact, you can see that before August, my 2013 biking was higher than ever.  This confirms my thought that in July/August this year I was very strong on the bike.  The chart also confirms run mileage being very low and swimming somewhere below an Ironman year but generally about average.

Training Volume by Month

So what did all this training data mean in terms of results?  Well, they were generally the best of my career in terms of consistently placing fairly well at races. But I definitely failed to achieve my goal of 2:10 Olympic Triathlon, despite having some pretty good races.  Overall, I’d say I put in a ton of work and commitment this year and really only achieved marginal gains.  I think I am about as close to my potential (given constraints of job/life/etc) as I will ever be.  With my athletic priorities likely shifting in 2014, I have likely achieved all I will ever achieve in the sport of triathlon in terms of high performance.  So let’s take a look…

–          Smithfield Sprint Triathlon (April) – 24th of 450ish Overall – I was more prepared this year than last year, but there was some stiff competition at this race.

–          Richmond Sprint Triathlon (April) – 10th of 500ish Overall – Felt really good at this race.  The bike work was paying off, and my GPS had my 5k at 19:01 on a hilly, technical course that definitely slowed me down.

–          Running Races – 10k (39:28) in May and 8k (32:01) in June – 10k was on a cold windy morning, but is my fastest ever.

–          Rev3 Williamsburg (June) – 2:13 & 15th of 477 Overall – My fastest Olympic length race ever, even with a very long run up to T1 and hilly run course.  According to USA Triathlon’s ranking system, this was probably the best triathlon of my life, when compared to my peers.

–          Tidewater Triathlon (July) – 7th of 368 Overall – A top 10 in a good sized race, at which I only placed 30th the year before.  Again, I was on really good form in July.

–          Cleveland Triathlon (August) – 2:08 & 10th of 93 Overall – I wish I could have this one back.  Pushed way too hard on swim and bike and suffered on the run.  It also shook my confidence and really mentally my season was done at this point.

–          Patriot Sprint (September) – 2:19 & 32nd of 600ish Overall – Really enjoyed the race, though I could tell my bike fitness just wasn’t where it was in July and August.

–          Sandman Triathlon (September) – 6th of 431 – One of my favorite races.  Even in much calmer wind conditions this year (meaning easier swim and hopefully faster bike) I had a similar bike split and just missed a sub-19 5k, going 19:04.

–          Riverfront 5k & Franklin Templeton 5k (Nov & Dec) – 19:02 & 19:18 – Two 5k’s without much serious training just for fun.  Despite being much heavier than triathlon season and on very little running (10 miles TOTAL in all of October and only 36 in November), I really enjoy revving it up for a 5k.  I did manage to go about 30 seconds faster than last year at the Franklin Templeton 5k and we all know next year I will be “in it to win it” at the Riverfront 5k after coasting into 2nd place this year.

Can you find Waldo at the Franklin Templeton 5k in Naples, FL?

Can you find Waldo at the Franklin Templeton 5k in Naples, FL?

So what can I say about 2013?  This year I made the biggest commitment to the sport of triathlon in terms of time, money, and effort since Ironman in 2009. I did a lot of racing, seven triathlons and four running races.  What did I get for my efforts?  I reduced my Olympic Triathlon PR by four minutes from 2:17 (on a course with a slightly short bike distance) to 2:13 (on a course with a quarter mile run up to transition and hilly run).  I also had 4 top 10 finishes, all in races of significant size (with the exception of Cleveland Triathlon).  I made some new triathlon friends in both Virginia Beach and Suffolk, and now have guys I can ride with on pretty much any Saturday morning.  Overall, I’d say I’m a little disappointed, but I had placed unreasonable expectations on the Cleveland Triathlon and that “failure” negatively affected the second half of my race season.  However, I am really lucky to have my health (and fitness), a supportive wife, and the ability to train as much or as little as I’d like.  Onwards and upwards in 2014.

Bonus: Did you know that over a half million people competed in USAT sanctioned triathlons in 2013?  If you’re interested in the numbers behind triathlon in the US in 2013, check out this article with some fun facts from USA Triathlon.

How Do You Track Your Training and Results?

Doran | December 21st, 2013 - 10:53 pm

So many of us triathletes and endurance athletes are extremely obsessed with performance and results.  If you’re anything like me, you keep track of your training and results one way or another.  Due to a couple huge improvements in websites I use a lot, I thought it might be a good time to share some easy resources to track results and training.

Since I started training for triathlons in 2006, I have kept a spreadsheet with every single training session and race result.  And I’m talking details in terms of length, speed, duration, heart rate, etc.  I track lifting, cross training, travel, sickness and injuries… everything.  CJ calls it my diary.  It is the comprehensive history of my last 7 years and if I ever do anything worthy of a biography, this is where the author would start.  I note vacations, life events (weddings, work events/travel/milestones, etc).  Anything that effects my life or training is in there.  Beleive it or not, my first date with CJ is in there.  At the time, I must have somehow known that this was a momentous occasion, because I normally don’t go to that detail.  Anyway, I digress.  A detailed color coded spreadsheet is one way, but there are some great websites I use for tracking training and racing, and all three of them have recently been updated.

Trainingpeaks.com

If you are training and racing with a GPS device or powermeter, this is the site for you.  I plan at some point to write much more on how this has improved my training over the past year.  For some reason (MY BELOVED SPREADSHEET), I was slow to adopt this site.  But since I got a powermeter for my bike in Spring 2013, I have logged everything in here.  You can upload straight from your GPS/Power device or manually enter training data.  It’s already formatted for different sports and makes it really easy to enter training information.  They have an app as well, which allows you to immediately upload workouts via smartphone rather than wait until you get to a computer. Further, the pre-programmed charts, graphs, and analysis is really neat.  A powermeter takes this to a whole new level, as you can start tracking even more data.  This is also how most coaches work with their athletes, it has all the information a coach needs to analyse performance.  Just the Performance Management Chart alone completely changed the way I am able to manage and understand my fitness level, training stress, and taper.  You can sign up for a free account, which has the basics.  I opted for the premium version but you can choose the best for you.  There is also have the functionality to create your own annual training plan, but I haven’t used that yet.  I could go on and on about TrainingPeaks, but I’ll save it for another post.

Screen shot of the old style calendar, they are beta testing a more sleek version

Screen shot of the old style calendar, they are beta testing a sleeker version

Performance Management Chart.... I havent kept it up to date lately

Performance Management Chart….  incredible insight into your fitness level

 

Athlinks.com

This is a fantastic site.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, if you’re an endurance athlete you have to know that this site tracks results from hundreds of thousands of races across the country.  There are literally over 100 million results on the site.  Once you sign up and create a profile you can “claim” your results.  Then you have all your results in one place, rather than searching all of the various race websites for your results.  Athlinks recently completely redesign the look and feel of the site, which also results in much quicker page loading times.  My one beef with it over the years is how slow it has been, but that is now resolved.  It also has some cool tools, like ranking you against all Athlinks member or giving you a percentile score for your age group.  In terms of overall athlinks members, the site ranks me in the top 10% for Olympic Distance triathlons and 6% for 5k races.  So if and when you are signed up, list me as a “rival” and we’ll see how we compare!

Screen shot of my athlinks page

Screen shot of my athlinks page

 

USATriathlon.org 

If you do more than two or three triathlons a year, there is a good chance you are a USA Triathlon member.  USAT tracks race results and uses a grading system to score race results and age group rank athletes (described here).  For instance, in the past 4-5 years I’ve been in the 400-550 range for my Age Group at the end of year rankings.  Until recently their website was pretty clunky.  It was difficult to search for athletes, results, and rankings.  Normally I would only go about once a year to see where I finished the season.  The new Rankings Page makes it easy to search by Event, Athlete, or the National Rankings by Year, Age Group, Event Type, etc.  How is this different that Athlinks you say?  Well, I don’t visit as often but now they have added this easy to use functionality with results dating back to 2009.  What is interesting is that next to each result they have your score.  I like this because I can see how my score stacks up based on my performance at each event.  In my case, the two highest scores in the past 4 seasons came this year, at Rev3 Williamsburg and Tidewater Triathlon.  This means that I was in the best shape of the last four years during the mid-season in 2013, and unfortunately I didn’t perform as well late in the year at Cleveland Triathlon or Sandman Triathlon.

The Off-Season Dilemma

Doran | November 30th, 2013 - 11:25 pm

Every off-season starts the same way for me.  I’m writing about it because I think it’s pretty common and many of you feel the same way.  The first few weeks are characterized by denial.  Yes, the season is over and yes I know I should be resting and take some time off of training. But I have so much fitness from the season and pent-up energy that I can’t help but go on a few more hard rides or runs to just enjoy going fast.  The next few weeks I finally accept it’s time for a break, but end up being grumpy the whole time, because I don’t get those exercise induced endorphins that even out my mood.  Side note: I really, REALLY don’t do well without daily exercise.  Anyway, for the next month I’m usually content to lift weights and get into some unstructured riding and running.  This year has been no different.  After a week or two with very few workouts, November has been a mix of some good long Saturday group rides, a few runs (including the Riverfront 5k), and lifting at least twice a week.  In fact, I’m up to 158 lbs; up about 8-10 pounds from triathlon season (probably half muscle, half fat).  Just recently stepping on a scale for the first time in a month, I couldn’t believe I’d gained that much weight so quickly.   This is about as big as I was when bulking up for the wedding/honeymoon a few years ago.  The Pull Up Challenge really has had a huge impact on my upper body size and strength. Anyway, for the past few weeks I’ve been debating the following three options.  I’ve given myself to December 1 to decide and begin training in earnest.  Now that December is upon us, I’m targeting a December 15th decision.  What’s an endurance athlete to do????

 

New Goal?  Not sure if this is necessarily for me.

New Goal? Not sure if this is necessarily for me.

Lift / Gain Size & Strength

Of course, if I followed my own advice in my Turning 30 post, I would choose this option.  It’s probably time to tone down my triathlon obsession and stay generally fit.  Ideally I’d add some muscle and all around athleticism with lifting and cross-fit type training, while still enjoying swimming, biking, and running more casually.  This would allow more time for work and family commitments, and who knows, maybe I could actually expand my horizons and find some culture with all this extra energy (…. nahhhh).

 

 

Run a Marathon

Somewhat surprisingly, I have never run an open marathon.  I’ve plodded to a few four hour and some change marathons to complete Ironman.  But that was NOT running a marathon.  Heck, that wasn’t even running.  It was surviving.  So the idea of training up specifically for a marathon is pretty appealing.  It’s a new challenge, and something I think I could be decent at.  If I took it seriously, I could probably go somewhere around 3:10 or 3:20 by this spring.  I like the idea of a new challenge, and a new personal  best, while still staying in the area of endurance sports; playing into my strengths and interests.  Another advantage is the training is not as all-consuming as triathlon.  However, there are a few major drawbacks, the biggest of which is it will probably make me even skinnier – it would be counterproductive in terms of lifting and getting more athletic.  Running is also hard on the joints, and doing long runs all winter isn’t exactly my idea of a good time (though I do have all the gear for it, so I can’t complain).

Run a marathon?  Maybe a good option.

Run a marathon? Maybe a good option.

Prepare for 2014 Triathlon Season

After eight years in the sport, I am under no false illusions; making gains in triathlon is very difficult.  I am as close to maximizing my physiology as I can probably get while still having a job and wife.  However, I did see some improvement this past year, and I still love to run, bike, and swim.  But do I really want to be killing myself every morning at 5am in the pool or on the bike, to basically get the same results of the past year or two?

Prepping for a 2014 marathon or triathlon season will involve some cold weather training...

Prepping for a 2014 marathon or triathlon season will involve some cold weather training…

Those are my thoughts, so what do you guys think?  Get big, run lots, or stay the triathlon course?

Lockhart’s Portage Lakes Triathlon Race Report

Doran | October 3rd, 2013 - 1:15 pm

Doran’s Note:  We’ve heard from Brian Lockhart after his first triathlon win and now he’s also shared a recap of his race at Portage Lakes Sprint Triathlon.  In his second year with a serious focus on the sport, he has definitely caught the triathlon bug and will now be a regular contributor to Qwickness.  We look forward to learning more about how Brian approaches the delicate balance of life’s commitments and how triathlon fits in.  Without further ado, here is his report!

Background

This race report isn’t going to be quite as much fun to write as the first one I did following my unlikely win at West Branch.  It turns out, that race AND the Cleveland Triathlon two weeks prior to it was the peak of my fitness and speed during the 2013 season.  (Should I go off track and start complaining or making excuses as I write this, please remember “I’m not making excuses, I anticipated this might happen.”) While I’ve been doing triathlons now for 2+ years, I still have a lot to learn and I’m getting used to training as much as is required.  This past offseason, I trained more than I had ever had for an extended period of time.  By the time I finished at West Branch, I was tired.  Physically and mentally, I was just about done.  My A race for the year was Cleveland and I did very well there.  I had a great build up and taper going into the race.  I pushed harder than I thought I could and the results were better than anticipated.  I signed up for the West Branch race last minute just to sneak another race in and continued to work hard up until almost race day.  My hard work was rewarded with the 1st place finish.

After that though, my training had fallen off.  I was tired.  It wasn’t like I sat around and didn’t train. I just didn’t train nearly as hard.  Weekend brick sessions were replaced with easy bike rides with my wife and my parents. Labor Day weekend is typically a good 3 day weekend to get solid training in.  This year it was spent with my Brother and Sister-In-Law who were in town from Kentucky.  I played some golf, but never touched my bike and went for just one easy 3.5 mile run.  I didn’t mind missing key workouts because I was enjoying spending time with family.

The weekend before the race, I was out of town on my yearly golf trip to Eastern Ohio/Western Pennsylvania.  This is one of those weekends I look forward to all year.  Over the course of 4.5 days, a group of us play 117 holes.  The mornings are early, the nights are late and the food/drinks aren’t really ideal for someone that has a triathlon in a week…..

Monday of race week found me absolutely exhausted from the fun golf weekend. I swam at lunch and tried to muster a bike/run brick after work.  The rest of the week was spent trying to get the feeling back in the water and doing some easy riding/running with a little speed work just to get the feeling of going fast again. I finally started to feel stronger about Thursday but I knew I wouldn’t be able to gain any of the fitness I needed for the race.  I was hoping to get lucky and actually have a better than expected race, but wasn’t counting on it.

Even though my expectations weren’t real high for the race, I was REALLY looking forward to it! After the “long” swim at West Branch I started wondering how much faster I’d be with a wetsuit.  I’m a relatively strong swimmer and didn’t think it would help much.  To me, it always seemed like it wouldn’t really be worth the money.  I talked with Doran who assured me I could find one at a reasonable price and it WOULD be worth the investment.  I started looking online and found a “coupon” for 60% off the sleeveless Vortex from Xterra.  I decided it was time to try racing with a wetsuit and ordered it!  It came to the almost two weeks before the race.  I don’t want to get too much into a gear review here since I really can’t speak on the specifics of a wetsuit, yet.  I will say though, I swam in it one time prior to race day and was amazed how it felt. The suit was comfortable, didn’t let much water in, and it IS fast! I couldn’t wait to race in it.

Pre Race

Race morning was uneventful.  Check-in was easy because I had gone and picked up my packet the day before.  I got a really good spot in transition close to the bike exit so I didn’t have to run far in my bike shoes. After everything was setup, I went out for a little run to warm up.  Surprisingly I felt ok as I went through my routine.  When it was time to head to the water, I arranged my stuff in transition and grabbed my swim gear and headed down.  There was a mini sprint that was heading off before us, so I had some time to get in the water and warm up with the wetsuit on.  It’s always nice to get a couple hundred yards in prior to the race.  What I didn’t know then was that the mini sprint was going to take about 30 minutes for all of the swimmers to complete.  The organizers were sending them off in groups of 2 or 3 and our heat started about 30 minutes later than projected.  Ideally a good warm up should conclude about 10 minutes or so prior to the start of the race.  I was done with mine about 35-40 minutes early…..

Ready to go pre-race in the new wetsuit

Ready to go pre-race in the new wetsuit

Swim

Once it was time to start racing, I was ready.  My age group was the second sprint heat and I was excited to see how I did with the wetsuit.  For the first time at a race, I wasn’t at all nervous at the start of the swim, I was ready to go!  The horn went off and we ran out to the first buoy.  I had lined up in a good position at the beach start, so I knew I could try and hang with the leaders of the swim. The first 100 yards or so was the normal chaotic mess you would expect.  I stayed clear of most of it and kept my eye on a couple guys that were also swimming well.  At the first buoy, I had caught just about everyone from my heat and was now passing the stragglers from the first heat. Eventually I was just about clear of everyone I could see.  I felt strong and felt like I could swim all day. Turns out I had the fastest swim in my age group, second fastest in my heat, and 10 fastest overall. What a difference a wetsuit makes!  I got into transition after the long run up the hill (that thing isn’t fun….) in 12:30.  That was my goal time based on the swim last year which I did in 14:07.  Nice improvement.

I was in and out of T1 pretty quickly.  I didn’t have any significant hiccups.  It took me a couple extra seconds to get the wetsuit off, but it wasn’t much.  I grabbed my bike, ran out, hopped on, and started riding.

Starting up the hill into T1 after a surprisingly fast swim.

Starting up the hill into T1 after a surprisingly fast swim.

Bike

As I mentioned earlier, I did this race last year.  I must have been asleep because I don’t remember the hills being as tough as they were this year.    I knew the course wasn’t easy, but this year it seemed MUCH worse….my Garmin watch says there was just over 900 feet of climbing and I believe it!  For just about 14 miles, you’re either climbing up a hill or going down.  I can’t remember a flat part… I struggled to get my rhythm getting up all of these hills.  My strategy on the bike this year has been to attack up hills.  I’ve made a point to ride more hills over the past year and have gotten much stronger.  The first major climb we encountered I dropped into an easy gear and spun up the hill catching three people with ease.  I even heard one of them make a disappointed sound since he got passed so easily.  I was pretty happy with myself, but that didn’t last long…..They all passed me at the bottom of the hill.  I knew then, I didn’t have it that day.  As the race progressed I watched my average speed fall from 20 to 19 (my goal speed), to 18.5, to 18, to 17.8 (OH NO, UNDER 18!) before finally coming back just over 18.  I struggled for 10 of 14 miles and was really annoyed to get passed in the last 3 miles by a group of 4 riders, two of which were in my age group…..The last couple of miles were downhill so I decided to “take it easy” and try and save my legs.  My thought was to get off the bike and have a really fast run. My bike time was 46:34 which was a little more than a minute slower than last year…

Doing my best on a difficult bike day

Doing my best on a difficult bike day

I came into T2 with my feet out of my shoes and shoes still clipped in.  As I dismounted, one of the shoes fell off and I had to go back and pick it up. I got to my transition area and racked my bike and as I took my helmet off, my sunglasses fell off.  I only lost a few seconds dealing with the shoe and the glasses, but I was behind and didn’t like “wasting” time.  I put my shoes on and took off running.

Run

For the first quarter mile or so, I had a really strong pace going.  I felt good and was determined to keep it up. Well, it didn’t last long.  It turns out the first 1.5 or so of the run was mostly uphill.  I was fighting hard to keep the pace I wanted (7:30 for the first mile) but with the steady incline I just couldn’t keep it up.  I got passed by some really strong runners which I’m used to and but I was also able to catch a few, which I’m not used to.  After running uphill for about 10 minutes, we made our way into the woods. I was excited that the last 1.5 miles were going to be a trail run.  In middle school I ran cross-country and still would much rather run on a trail than on the road.  This trail we were running must have been really challenging for some people.  There were some hills, lots of trees and branches to duck under, streams to jump over and roots to avoid.  Even though at this point in the race I was exhausted, I felt great!  All I could think about was how much fun it was to do a trail run in a Triathlon.  While I was daydreaming, a guy in his 40’s passed me and “woke me up.”  I decided I was going to try and keep up. He kept running fast and I stayed about two steps behind.  I felt like I was in middle school again.  The thing about running on a trail is, you usually end of running slower than it feels like.  The trees are passing by and you feel like you’re flying.  That is exactly how I felt.  I was pushing harder than I had in a run all year and every time I looked at my watch, it said I was doing 7:45 miles. Eventually I decided I was going to do a little of the work and start leading my running partner.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep up and was left to run on his own again.  Just about the time I started to run out of gas I got a glimpse of the finish line through the trees.  I only had a couple minutes of running left and my season was over. I fought hard to keep my pace up and finish strong.  My overall time for the 3.2 mile run was 24:56. While it was not my best, it wasn’t the fastest course.

Finishing it strong on the run

Finishing it strong on the run

Overall

Overall, I’m happy with my race.  It was great to cap off another successful season. I had a good swim, the bike was hard and I struggled but I didn’t cave in, and pushed hard on a challenging run.  I missed several goals I had set for myself going in, but I didn’t do the work needed to reach those goals.  I learned that I need to continue pushing myself to get better but that when things get tough in a race, I don’t give up!

Portage Lakes Sprint Triathlon (link to results)

  • Swim – 750m: 12:36
  • T1: 1:24 
  • Bike – 22k (13.6 miles):  46:34 
  • T2: 1:02
  • Run – 5k: 24:56 
  • Total: 1:26:34  (26th overall of 242 and 5th in Age Group)
The finish line of the Portage Lakes Tri & 2013 Season

The finish line of the Portage Lakes Tri & 2013 Season

Sandman Triathlon – Race Review & Report

Doran | September 19th, 2013 - 12:12 pm

After getting my mojo going again at Patriot’s Sprint last weekend, I was really really looking forward to the Sandman Triathlon at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  It really plays to my strengths because of the ocean swim and flat fast course.  The tougher the swim, the better I’ll perform relative to the rest of the field.  Last year we had a really windy day with some serious waves, and I finished in 7th place overall and won my age group.  Plus, I trained on these roads for a year when I lived at the beach, so I knew the course well.  In the 2013 edition, I decided to race in the Open Division, in order to start in the first wave with all the fastest guys.  The week leading up to the race involved very minimal workouts, with Monday and Tuesday being an easy recover swim and ride.  Wednesday I had a long day, traveling to Richmond and back for work.  So Thursday was a brick workout with some speed work and Friday and Saturday were some easy workouts to freshen up before the race.  I knew I’ve been steadily losing fitness since Cleveland Triathlon in early August, but I was fresh and I excited to race.  My strategy was to take advantage of the swim, push the bike just a little harder than last week, and then hopefully put together a sub 19:00 5k on the fast flat run course, which was an out and back on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.

Pre-Race

Race morning was absolutely perfect.  A cold front had come in the day before, and the ocean front was calm and cool.  Air temperature was in the low 60s, but the ocean was warm, 76 degrees with small waves and little chop.  My swim would be less of an advantage, but it was setting up to be ideal conditions for fast racing.  After setting up in transition I went for a nice 10 minute ride and after walking 500 meters up the beach to the swim start, I got in and warmed up in the ocean.

A beautiful morning at Virginia Beach Oceanfront

A beautiful morning at Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Warming up... or just walking in the ocean.

Warming up… or just walking in the ocean.

Swim

About a minute after finishing my swim warm up, I found myself running back down the beach into the water.  The race was on!  I forgot to mention my other key strategy and distinct advantage… DOLPHIN DIVING!!!  I guess I was a porpoise in another life, because I am now pretty sure I could beat Michael Phelps in a swim race where the water in 1-1.5ft deep.  I hit the water running then sprung forward and started my patented dolphin diving.  And yet again I found myself right at the front of the race.  The first buoy was about 50 meters off-shore, at which point we hang a right and swim parallel to the shore line for 600 meters or so until the next and final buoy, where we make another right and head up into T1.

And we're off... the waves were much smaller than last year

And we’re off… the waves were much smaller than last year

Rounding the first buoy I was in third, and temporarily on the feet of two really fast swimmers.  I knew one of the guys was a stud swimmer/runner named Michael Sciabelli, and I knew I probably wouldn’t stay with him for long.  Anyway, the key to this swim is to stay far enough away from shore so that you don’t have waves breaking on you, it is far better to stay further out in the swells.  Breathing to my right (towards the shoreline), I was again amazed to see people fighting through the rougher waves.  Before long, this must have taken its toll, as I moved clearly into third place, again leading the first big pack of swimmers (similar to last week’s race).   And yet again I felt comfortable and relaxed, and did not have to push too hard.  Sighting was difficult, as this race had only two buoys.  That’s it.  600-650 meters away from each other.   Have the race organizers ever done a triathlon?  Or tried open water swimming in the ocean while sighting?   It’s hard enough with ocean swells to see 100 feet in front of you, let alone sight a buoy almost a half mile down the ocean.  Anyway, we knew where we were headed, so I just focused on staying out of the breaking waves and keeping it comfortable.  Similar to last week, as we neared the final buoy, the pack started to catch up with me.  The bouy was strangly far from shore, so I had to angle even further out to sea in order to circle it before returning to shore.  Just about the time I adjusted my course the buoy started moving… quickly.  I just happened to look up and sight to confirm my new course, when I saw the first two swimmers rounding the buoy, and a jet ski dragging it much closer to shore.  So I adjusted my course yet again, now angling back towards the shore.  I got a good head start on the others in my little group (who were still heading out to sea) and cutting this corner allowed me to gain significant ground on the first two swimmers, who unfortunately rounded the buoy when it was way out there.  So I exited the water in 3rd, with the first two guys in sight, and a little pack behind me.

Due to the magic of post-production, this is how we came out...

With the magic of post-production, this is how we came out…

Coming out of the water, I was a bit disoriented, as there was really no clear path to transition, just sort of open beach and a few volunteers.  It was CJ who got my attention and pointed me in the right direction.  It’s really not fun to run in sand after an ocean swim and prior to a bike ride.  So with a sky high heart rate, I got into T1 and prepared for my ride.  Grabbing my bike I headed towards the exit nearest me… only to be informed by a volunteer this was the wrong one… he pointed towards another in/out area.  Again I cursed the race organization.  Set Up Events would have had a clear path with cones up to T1 and clearly labeled Bike Out / Bike In / Run Out signs in transition.  How was I supposed to know?  While I’m on another little rant, there was no clear “mount” line either.

Running up the beach, generally in the right direction... I think

Running up the beach, generally in the right direction… I think

Bike

Now safely on my bike, I had a little trouble slipping into my shoes, but finally got going.  Up ahead I could see Sciabelli, so I focused on steadily reeling him in.  A few minutes in, I was passed by Navy SEAL Dan Hathorn, who was definitely doing some work on his P5 (a nice guy, we chatted afterwards).  I had beaten him very early in the year at Smithfield Sprint, so I thought maybe I could stay with him for a while, but I was wrong.  I had to let him go; I was really having trouble producing any power on the bike (and the dude is fast).  The past two weeks were the opposite of my Cleveland and Rev3 races, where I probably went too hard on the bike… I was struggling to keep my power at 200 watts (pathetic by most standards), which is about 10% lower than what I held at those two Olympic triathlons.  If it weren’t for the power meter, I would have though my brake was rubbing.  I just did not have the bike legs.  But I stayed steady and tried to minimize my losses and told myself a fast 5k could make up a lot of ground.  About 5 miles into the bike, near 80th street, I got a huge boost of energy when I saw my friends Hadder and Katelyn cheering for me in front of their house.

The next segment of the ride is my favorite, the freshly paved piece of Shore Drive through First Landing State Park.  I had trained on this road probably over 100 times in the year I lived there.  Just as I reached this segment, I also caught Sciabelli.  This would also be the section where I’d see my exact position in the race, the turnaround was a few miles up the road.  Since I wasn’t producing much power, I had to work on the other end of the equation, aerodynamics.  With this smooth road, I didn’t have to worry about all the bumps and cracks on Atlantic Ave, and so I literally put my head down and pedaled.  I didn’t even look where I was going, I just put my nose down to my water bottle between my arms, and used the yellow line, which I could see out of the corner of my eye, to stay on the road.  While maybe not the safest way to travel, it did help me eek out a little more speed; moved from 21-22mph to 23-24mph with this technique.   By the turnaround I was passed once more, and I knew I was solidly in 5th, with Sciabelli not too far behind; still well within striking distance to catch me on the run.  Emerging from the First Landing State Park section, I was again greeted by Katelyn and Hadder; their encouragement resulted in a little power increase and some great motivation.

Finishing up the ride

Finishing up the ride

I brought it home the rest of the way without much to note.  I took the other half of a gel I had started and began to think about running well.  With about two miles to go I was passed again, and decided it was too early to think about running and I needed to stay with this guy.  Just before transition, as I was taking my feet out of my shoes, I was passed again.  The race was suddenly getting more interesting.  I had a quick T2, in 50 frantic seconds I was out on the run.  Below is the summary data for my ride (and link to trainingpeaks file), which was slightly stronger than the week before.  However, I clearly worked for it, as shown by my average heart rate of 169, 6 beats higher than the week before.  This is likely a combination of the ocean swim with beach run and pushing harder overall.  For the early section of the ride, I really had trouble settling in to a heart rate below 170.

Patriots Power File: Normalized Power 201w, Avg Speed: 22.3mph, HR 163 VI 1.03

Sandman Power File: Normalized Power 206w, Avg Speed: 21.8mph, HR 169 VI 1.04

Coming in with the group... didn't know there was a girl right behind me until I saw this pic

Coming in with the group… didn’t know there was a girl right behind me until I saw this pic

Run

I somehow came out of transition with a female racer, I have no idea where she came from but dang, she must have had a nice swim-bike.  I quickly passed her and was soon running on the boardwalk, which was crowded with tourists, other runners, families, surfers, etc, Given the congestion, I could only make out one of the guys who passed me at the end of the bike, so I must have transitioned faster than the others (several of us came in pretty tightly bunched).  In the first half mile I was feeling good and passed the guy in front of me.  It’s hard to start running fast early in the 5k; it takes awhile to shake the bike ride out of the legs.  But I didn’t want to start too slow to make up a 19:00 5k; I don’t exactly have the speed to make up for a slow first mile.  Well, sure enough, it ticked off in 6:10, exactly the same as the week before.  At just about the one mile mark I also saw the first guy sprinting by me in the other direction, absolutely flying, and not far behind was #2.  Hathorn passed in third and I was looking for the turnaround up in the distance.  I was ready to bring this run home.  During the middle section it took all my mental strength to keep pushing towards a really uncomfortable pace.  With nobody directly in front of me or directly behind (I snuck a peak back every once in awhile), I needed to stay motivated.  After the turnaround I saw the guy I passed early in the run, hanging on pretty close behind, and Sciabelli behind him.  He definitely had me running scared, because I know he can put over a minute into me during a 5k.  Not too long after that, it was easy to find the motivation to finish strong.  One reason why I run so well here is this race has the world’s longest finishing sprint.   Because it’s situated on the boardwalk, you can see the finish line from the two mile mark.  Seeing the finish always helps increase the pace and pain threshold, but in this case, you still have a solid mile of work to do!

The view from the finishline, which can be seen for over a mile

The view from the finishline, which can be seen for over a mile

I knew that I was really close to my goal time of 19:00, and thought if I brought it home with a sub-6:00 mile I could do it.  I tried to balance my finish-line enthusiasm with the fact I still had quite a ways left to run.  I pushed really hard over that last mile, and all the way to the finish I was scared of getting rundown from behind.  I managed to hold off everyone behind me, but fell just short of my goal, with a 19:04 5k and 6:00.89 last mile, according to my Garmin.

Not... quite... fast... enough...

Not… quite… fast… enough…

Overall

This race was really fun, and that’s the point right?  I’m sick of taking myself so seriously.  I don’t get paid to do triathlons; I enjoy the challenge and work really hard to keep progressing in the sport.  Yes, it feels good to do well at races, but I truly enjoy swimming, biking, and running, especially on a gorgeous day like we had for this race.  So I’m not going to overanalyze my results and go into agonizing detail comparing this race to last year’s (my bike and run were within SECONDS of last year… ANNOYING).  I had a good time, and while this wasn’t the best organized race, it’s still a great one to keep on the calendar due to the unique venue of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Boardwalk, and Atlantic Ave to Shore Drive bike route.

Sandman Triathlon (final results)

  • Swim  (750m): 9:54 (1:20 per 100 meter pace according to my Garmin, with run up beach removed)
  • T1: 1:28
  • Bike (14.5 miles):  – 39:52 – 60th overall (21.8mph avg)
  • T2: 0:50 – 80th overall
  • Run (5k or 3.1 miles): 19:04 – 35th overall (6:04 pace according to Garmin)
  • Total: 1:11:11 – 6th overall of 431

 

And of course, I have to share some pics of the family and friends who supported me.  Big thanks to the future Mr and Mrs Hadder for coming out so early in the morning!

The Future Mr. and Mrs. Hadder

The Future Mr. and Mrs. Hadder

My furry pup, beautiful wife.. and her favorite hat

My furry pup, beautiful wife.. and her favorite hat

Post wouldn't be complete without a glamour shot of Bear

Post wouldn’t be complete without a glamour shot of Bear

Patriots Sprint Race Report

Doran | September 10th, 2013 - 12:10 am

It’s been about a month since my really disappointing Cleveland Triathlon, and I’ve gone through a range of emotions.  Bottom line is my race wasn’t really that bad, but I took it really hard for some reason.  For the first two weeks afterwards I was basically “over” triathlon, truly thinking this would be my last season and I’d finish out the next two races and never take the sport seriously again.  Gradually, I got back into training and put in the bare minimum sessions to race at Patriots Sprint and Sandman Triathlon.  Going into the week before Patriots was really hectic with both a mini-vacation and some really important days of work.  My job is really interesting right now and I’ve had to focus on a diverse range of subjects, so triathlon has taken a backseat.   As you can see below, my preparation was far from ideal:

  • Fri-Sun – Lake House in Pennsylvania with CJ’s family – A little open water swimming, but mostly waterskiing and tubing on the lake.  Super fun mini-vacation.
  • Monday – A day in Old Town Alexandria with CJ (Easy 4 mile run)
  • Tuesday – Baltimore, MD and Alexandria, VA for work, important meetings and dinner with colleagues (no time to workout)
  • Wednesday – Richmond for really important work meetings (only mustered an easy 2 mile run and 1,000 meter swim with some fast stuff)
  • Thursday – Back home, organized and hosted a job fair with over 1,000 people, crazy day (short brick ride/run in morning)
  • Friday – My first day in the office in a week, lots of catching up to do, Happy Hour for Virginia Young Professionals Summit (no workout)
  • Saturday – Early morning and Virginia Young Professionals Summit, I was a panelist for “You Can Have It All” session on work/life balance… funny right?  (short easy swim, tuned up my bike and took it for a short ride)
  • Sunday – Race Day

So with a month of sporadic training and a re-shuffling of priorities, I had absolutely no expectations for this race.  I honestly didn’t even think about the race until Saturday afternoon, when the young professionals event was over.  My plan was to be very conservative, since my fitness level had slipped, and I had been blowing up early in my last few races.  I wanted to rely on my swim fitness, which was still high, by taking the swim easy (for me, which still puts me towards the front, but not swim like crazy to make the front pack), starting the bike very easy and keeping it steady throughout, and leaving a lot of energy for the run, so I could push hard and possibly make up ground at the end.

Pre-Race

CJ, Bear, and I were up at 4:20am and by 5:00am were out the door to make the now familiar 50 minute drive to Anniversary Park in Jamestown (basically Williamsburg, VA).  It was good to be back racing with Setup Events, so it was the usual pre-race routine.  Of note is that this event had a collegiate competition, so tri clubs from colleges across the region were there.  This meant some really fast dudes and dudettes, particularly from the Naval Academy, Virginia Tech, and other schools in the Mid-Atlantic.  For a sprint distance race, this field of 600 was very competitive.

Bearpup helping me set up in transition

Bearpup helping me set up in transition

Swim

The swim was in the same area as the Williamsburg Triathlon, so I was fairly familiar with it.   The water was particularly shallow, so I knew that my famous dolphin diving routine would be in effect again (much to Conor’s dismay).  I practiced it in warmups and felt very confident that it was faster and more efficient than swimming.  Also, it is SOOOO nice to get a swim warmup, it really is my key to a good race.   The Collegiate Wave started first, so I was in the second wave with all Men Under 50.  This was a sizeable wave with many of the top guys (though not as many as the Collegiate Wave).  The course was set up so after going out, we would turn left with the current and then make one more left back to shore.  I noticed the current pushing the first wave wayyy left, and many either cut the course by missing the buoy or had to double back to actually circle the buoy and legally complete the course.  So rather than making the same mistake I did at Rev 3, I moved towards the right-center of the pack so the current would naturally push me towards the left and the buoy.  When the horn went off I started dolphin diving.  And kept dolphin diving.  After about 50 meters there was nobody directly in front of me, so I kept at it.  At 75 meters I stole a look to the right and saw one person about 10 meters to my right swimming, looking left I saw the same thing.  I was basically all alone, dolphin diving my way straight up the middle, leading out the swim.  Cool.  At about halfway out to the buoy, after probably 100 meters of dolphin dives or more, I began swimming, angling slightly right of the buoy and I charted the perfect course.  I arrived at the buoy just behind the guy from my right and the guy from my left, and we made the left turn basically together, with me in 3rd pace.  Not wanting to make the same mistake as Cleveland Tri, I was taking this swim really easy.  So for the next 3-400 meters, I took it nice and easy, staying in my own rhythm and not worrying about the first two.  As it turned out, I was basically leading out the entire chase pack.  As we rounded the second and last turn buoy towards the shore, the pack began to engulf me and I picked up the pace a bit to stay with them.  Then I caught up to most of them by… wait for it… dolphin diving my way into shore while they were either swimming or wading through the awkwardly knee depth water while expending a ton of energy and not moving very quickly.  So I came out of the water very happy with my position, pacing, and effort.  Now it was time for the quarter mile run up to T1, which is never fun at this race site.  My bike was basically as far as possible from the “bike out”, so I had my shoes already clipped in the pedals and ran barefoot to the mount line and was soon on my way.  Not a blazing T1 by any means, but not horrible.

Pic of the swim, you can see people standing at first buoy

Pic of the swim, you can see people standing at first buoy

Interesting face... coming out of the water with the Collegiate Wave

Interesting face… coming out of the water with the Collegiate Wave

And out I go on a quarter mile wetsuit jog to T1

And out I go on a quarter mile wetsuit jog to T1

Bike

This bike course is awesome and extremely fast.  It’s an out and back on very smooth pavement.  The terrain is very flat with a few small rollers.  Definitely a good course for a fast time, and I noticed there was not much wind on race day.  I set out on the bike remembering how at Rev3 I had chased hard early when I saw Conor go by.  Not this time.  Rather than going for it early, I decided to basically try and sit on 200 watts for most of the ride, particularly early on.  This is in stark contrast to Rev3, when on a course twice as long, I started out the ride closer to 220-230watts and averaged 215.  Well, this ride felt awesome, I was moving along at a nice clip (22-23mph) and didn’t feel like I was riding too hard.  I had a steady stream of people to pass, as the Collegiate Wave had a four minute head start.  Also, I really wasn’t being passed by anyone, so I decided to keep the effort at this relatively moderate level.  At the turnaround I still hadn’t been passed and thought maybe I’d get a bit of a headwind, since my speed seemed fast given my low power output.  It never materialized, so I guess I’ll chalk it up to smooth pavement and flat roads.  Toward the last third of the bike ride I started to get overtaken by several age group athletes, so I picked up the effort a little bit to remain close and finish strong.  Soon I was slipping my feet out of my shoes and dismounting the bike, feeling great to be running through transition.  I had to lug my bike all the way to the other side, then I was out on the run course, ready to tear it up.

Coming in off the bike, clearly having an awesome time

Coming in off the bike, clearly having an awesome time

I decided to do a little comparison between this race and Rev3 with respect to my power output on the bike, and thanks to www.Trainingpeaks.com, got some great inside.  My average heart rate and average speed were exactly the same for both races (despite Rev3 being almost twice as long) and my normalized power (which takes into account spikes in power) was 14 watts higher (215 vs 201) at Rev3!  So I held a 7% higher power for basically twice as long at Rev3.  Wow, I must have been taking it really easy at Patriots!  Links to the TrainingPeaks Graphs and Data are below.  VI is variability index, which indicates how evenly paced the power is across the race.  Anything under 1.06 is generally pretty decent, but my Patriots effort was more steady than Rev3.  Part of the reason for the similar speed despite lower power output is probably that the Rev3 course included some hills and also it was a windier day.

Rev3 Power File: Normalized Power: 215w, Avg Speed: 22.3mph, HR 163, VI 1.05

Patriots Power File: Normalized Power 201w, Avg Speed: 22.3mph, HR 163 VI 1.03

Meanwhile, in CJ and Bearpup world, a photo shoot session was ongoing….

Bearpup, chillin.  We're growing her hair back out.  Very exciting.

Bearpup, chillin. We’re growing her hair back out. Very exciting.

Run

After a decent transition (48 seconds), I immediately felt like I was going to have a really good run.  This makes sense, given how I paced the swim and bike very conservatively.  At this point in the race, there was still a steady stream of collegiate athletes to catch, but I had my eye on a few of the age groupers who came by me late in the bike.  I quickly came upon one guy and tried to really pass quickly so he wouldn’t be tempted to follow.  Just as the one mile mark went past (in 6:10) I caught up with several other guys I recognized as those who passed me on the bike.  At this point we are really of similar ability so I hung back for a minute then tried to really pick up the pace.  It worked, and by the turnaround I had a decent gap on them.  The second mile ticked by at 6:09 and I was starting to wonder if the elusive sub-19:00 5k was within reach.  I tried to keep my stride rate high, and at times dipping down to 5:45 per mile pace.  I knew that once I got out of the path on through the fields, it was slightly downhill to the finish, so I hoped  that gravity would carry me home.  Right at the end I was passed by two collegiate guys, but by this point I knew I had done almost all I could do in the age group race and while it was close, my third mile came in at 6:08 and I missed out on sub-19 by a measly 16 seconds.  I was really happy with this run, as I paced it almost perfectly even (6:10, 6:09, 6:08 for each mile) and put in my second fastest triathlon 5k split.  My final opportunity of the year will come next week, on a super flat course where I ran 19:11 last year.   Of course, the age old question is should I hold back on the bike and break 19 or put more effort into the bike and hang on for a 19:30 and potentially have a faster overall race.  Clearly, I want to race fast, so I guess we’ll find out next week.

Bringing it home while in a bit of discomfort

Bringing it home while in a bit of discomfort

Bear was more thirsty than I was.  There sure are a lot of dog pics in this post, wtf?

Bear was more thirsty than I was. There sure are a lot of dog pics in this post, wtf?

 

Overall

Coming into this event after a long week of work and not a whole lot of specific race preparation, I had no expectations.  I was very conservative, but still had a pretty good performance.  I really, really enjoyed racing again and definitely still love the sport.  Maybe my talk of “retirement” was a bit premature…   So now I look ahead to Sandman Triathlon, and I plan on going in with a similar mindset.  Obviously, I can’t get in any more training to improve my fitness, so I’ll recover early in the week with some easy workouts and then do some short, race pace stuff towards the end of the week to sharpen up.  While I won’t have the level of fitness I had at Rev3 or Cleveland, I’ll try to push the bike a little bit harder and really give it my all on the run, since this will be my last race of the season.  Who knows what next year will bring, so I want to make it count.  Also, if you are looking for a fast race, I highly recommend these three VTS Races, all at different distances:  Jamestown Triathlon, Patriots Sprint, or Patriots Half.

Another dog picture, COME ON!  Am I gonna have to change the name to Bear's Blog?

Another dog picture, COME ON!?!?! Am I gonna have to change the website to Bear’s Blog?                          Wifey is looking good though.

Patriots Sprint Triathlon (final results)

  • Swim  (750m): 9:06 – 25th overall – (1:23 per 100 meter pace according to my Garmin, 1:16/100Y)
  • T1 (incl quarter mile run up to transition): 2:27 – 58th overall
  • Bike (20k or 13.0 miles):  – 35:21 – 60th overall (22.3mph avg)
  • T2: 0:48 – 80th overall
  • Run (5k or 3.1 miles): 19:16 – 35th overall (19:15 and 6:08 per mile pace based on my Garmin)
  • Total: 106:56 – 32nd overall of 600 (2nd of 28 in Age Group)
The prizes. WINE.  Finally, something we can use!

The prizes. WINE. Finally, something we can use!

Gotta love 30-34 men's age group, would have won most of them

Gotta love 30-34 men’s age group, would have won most of them

 

Guest Post: “The Art of Transitions”

Doran | August 21st, 2013 - 2:28 am

Doran’s Note:  The goal of Qwickness is really to share the experience of an every day age group endurance athlete, not necessarily MY life, but just topics that interest us all, with a little personal touch. Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to get Brian Lockhart to write a guest post.  Well, after a very exciting race this past weekend, he finally caved and wrote this post, which is a really great read.  Hopefully we’ll be hearing more from Brian in the near future.  

Doran didn’t ask me to write a guest blog post because he thought I had some really great insight on what most triathletes consider the 4th discipline.  Rather, he wanted me to give a report of what it’s like to win a race.  Nearing my second “serious” year of competing in Sprint Distance Triathlons, and my 10th event, I actually won a race! While I’m extremely excited about my win, I am quick to admit/realize that my competition was not to the level most of my other races.   Still, I’m pumped about it!

A quick history on me.  I did my first Triathlon as an indoor race a few years ago with Pat Weiss.  I really enjoyed it and did the same race the following year.  That second year I decided it was time to do an outdoor race and signed up for one with my brother Nathan and Brian Goold.  It was cool to do a race that was about 10 minutes from home in Munroe Falls. I did the race on a mountain bike that is probably two sizes too small and I got before I was even in high school. Even though I was getting passed left and right on the bike, I had a blast.  That afternoon my wife asked me, “So, when are you going to get a road bike?”  There are two important things in that question that need to be acknowledged. 1. She immediately noticed that I was hooked on the sport and this wasn’t something I just wanted to do one time.  2. It was our 1 Year Wedding Anniversary and she couldn’t have been more enthusiastic and supportive.

I did another race that summer, and then started to get “serious” last year as I did four races and even won my age group in two of them.  While I don’t really enjoy it, my biggest “advantage” in a race is the swim.  I swam for three years in high school which helps. The reason I don’t enjoy it is that I was/am a sprinter.  50 yards as hard as you can go is my kind of race.  100 yards is pushing it and forget about anything longer.  Before every race, no matter the distance, I get most anxious before the swim.  The thought of swimming 400-900 yards for whatever reason gets me worked up…..

I’ve done four races at this point in the season, including Sunday’s race.  Despite “unseasonably cool weather” (62 degree water temp and 35 degree air temp to start the first race) and nagging foot/arm injuries, I’ve made some nice improvements this year.  It all came together at the beginning of August when I competed in the Cleveland Triathlon which was my “A” race for the year.  I had a strong swim, best bike ever on a hilly/windy course, and turned in a really solid run that was a half mile longer than they claimed it would be.

Given how hard I went during that race, I haven’t been feeling too strong in training the two weeks since and decided a good way to snap out of a funk would be to do another race.  I’d always had about 3-4 weeks between races so I didn’t know how I would perform two weeks out from my last race.  My plan for the race (Champ Racing’s Machine Head ) was to have a strong solid race and just see how I felt as the race progressed. If I felt good, I was going to push the run and see what happens. I didn’t taper for it and didn’t go through my normal race week routine.  I was almost thinking about it as a good long workout.  Nothing crazy hard.

Race morning started out well (even got to sleep until 5:30 which is a plus). We got to the course and got my area picked out in transition.  I try and get near the exit to the bike so I don’t have to run very far in my bike shoes. Once everything was setup, I went for a little warm up run and tried to figure out the run course which was quite confusing.  Surprisingly, I felt pretty good.  Soon after, it was time to head down to the water for the swim start.  Going on the same time was the Olympic race.  This is where more of the better athletes were.  They headed out on their first lap of the swim and I took some time to get a good swim warm up.  About 20 minutes after the Olympic start it was our turn.  By the time we started, we were mixed in pretty well with the main pack of Olympic swimmers. My plan was to get to the first buoy without working too hard and I actually followed my plan.  It was kind of fun to swim with a group and maneuver around. While I am by no means a great swimmer, in most races I end up swimming just behind the lead pack, all on my own (which is fine).  I knew once we were headed back to shore that there were at least two people that had broken away and I had no intentions of chasing them down.  I also knew there was another guy about two body lengths behind on my right.  I kept sighting to try and see if there was anyone else ahead of me, but with swimmers from the Olympic it was pretty hard to tell.  A couple times I flipped over and did backstroke just to see how many were close to me and I couldn’t find anyone else. I was in my usual spot, all alone.Swim

I finished the swim pretty strong and while it wasn’t easy swimming for almost 15 minutes straight, I didn’t feel horrible.  Running up to transition the other guy that was swimming with me caught up and his wife told him he was third or fourth out of the water.  I should have known then that I was in a good spot but I felt like there was no way she could be right.

I headed into T1, put my shoes on, grabbed a couple gels, put my sunglasses and helmet on and I was outta there.  It was one of my fastest transitions at 50 seconds.

I got out on the bike course and settled in for the 13 mile ride. Soon after starting on the bike, another guy I hadn’t seen in transition came past me on the bike but he didn’t pull away.  I thought he was doing the Sprint and I decided to hang with him for a while and see what happens. I knew the back half was hilly so I didn’t want to go too hard and blow up.  I set a nice pace and was surprised to see I kept hanging around 20 mph which is right around my goal pace for a race.  I passed a guy that was just hammering away on his bike and knew I wouldn’t have to worry about him anymore.

bikeThe rest of the bike was pretty uneventful as there weren’t many riders in the part of the course I was in.  Just me and the guy 50 yards ahead.  As I kept riding, I looked down and noticed that my average speed was now above 20 mph and I REALLY didn’t feel like I was working hard at all.  There was one point on the course that was an out and back on the West Branch Dam. This gave me my first look at how many racers were ahead of me.  I counted 11, but I knew some of them were doing the Olympic so I figured I was in 5-6th place.

I got back into the park where the Sprint ended and the Olympic did another lap.  I was shocked to see the guy I was “racing” with was actually doing the Olympic as he went back out.  That was one less person I needed to worry about!  I got into T2 and quickly took my helmet off and got my running shoes on and ran out.  It was a really quick transition for me and only took 38 second.

runI headed out on the run and again felt pretty good. I didn’t feel like I worked real hard on the bike and my heart rate wasn’t sky high. The run was kind of confusing to start as we had to run up and down the lanes of the parking lot for the first ¾ of a mile.  I noticed while I was running, the race director was driving his Gator just ahead of me to help me figure out where to go.  This was really nice to have since I never was able to determine just how the run was setup.  I wasn’t too far into the run that I remembered him saying during pre-race instructions that he would be driving around the run course trying to help direct runners (in addition to the volunteers).  If he was leading me around, was it possible that I was leading?!  I looked around the parking lot and didn’t see anyone else running!  I knew from the tail end of the bike that the guys ahead of me weren’t THAT far ahead.  I saw Emily and her parents and she told me I was leading! I had two thoughts: 1. AWESOME! and 2. CRAP. I was going to be forced to try and win this thing.  I had planned to have a solid swim and bike and push the run some and see what I could hold for 3 miles.  I wasn’t going to be concerned at all with my place, originally.  I saw the guy that was in second and knew he was a bit behind me but didn’t try and figure out what my advantage was.  (That might have been a mistake because it would have been easy to do with the course setup OR it might have been good to not know.)

I’m not a strong runner, and haven’t been able to do the work needed to hold a fast pace, and that had me really worried about the guy behind me.  My fastest 5k had been two weeks prior for my “A” race and I held a 7:30 pace.  I looked at my gps watch and that was what I was holding and feeling strong.  I kept that pace for the first half of the run.  When we got to the part of the course and I passed the guy that was chasing me, I tried to pick up the pace a bit and look as strong as possible. I didn’t want to look at all like I was struggling.  I’m pretty sure he did the same thing as he looked really strong too. At this point I could tell I had given some time back to him. I didn’t want to look back and show him that I was getting nervous, but I peeked twice on the trip back home.  Each time, he looked MUCH closer.  We entered the parking lot and had two trips up and down the rows and I knew it was going to be close.  I started running as fast as I could hoped to hold on.  I saw him at the last stretch to the finish line and knew I had held him off.  I came across the line and still couldn’t believe I had actually won a race!   I ended up winning by 15 seconds!

Coming in for the win!

Coming in for the win!

Here’s where the title of this post comes in.  The “Other Guy” beat me by 20 seconds on the swim,  5 seconds on the bike, and 56 seconds on the run. I on other hand made up 1:10 in T1, 29 seconds in T2 and won by 15 seconds!

BL vs OG

People work REALLY hard and spend a TON of money to get faster by just a few seconds in each of the three disciplines and overlook transitions.  Don’t have time to train like others or unlimited funds to buy the fastest and most aero gear?  Work on your transitions and BOOM, you might just win the race!

Brian and his VERY supportive wife, Emily

Brian and his VERY supportive wife, Emily

Award

Taking home the “W” and some hardware