Monthly Archives: August 2013

Clear Lake Triathlon 2013

A little worse for wear after taking a spill on the bike, I was able to finish my 2nd sprint triathlon last weekend. Here’s the breakdown.

Swim 500m — 10:21
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I’m positive that the timing, at least for my wave, was off. There’s absolutely no way I came close to a pace of 2min/100m. I felt remarkably comfortable for the first 300 or 350m. Having learned from my last race, I didn’t wait to start at the back of the pack (there was plenty of room anyway) and stayed off to the right side. The course was L-shaped with a single right turn about 350m in, where I was crowded by everyone hugging the corner. Bumping and kicking wasn’t too bad until after the turn where I just couldn’t manage to get away from a guy backstroking. We’d bumped a few times earlier, but it was more frequent at the end and really took away my steam as I was already tiring. Coming out of the water I was well winded and my legs were especially tired, which shouldn’t be the case during the swim. I may need professional help in this arena :-/

T1 — 2:06
My first transition was reasonable — above average — but I was dragging a bit coming out of the water. Still winded, I added a few seconds getting shoes on. It was nothing major, but I certainly wasn’t smooth as I rushed, upset about being worn out early in the race. Leaving, I ran a long way with the bike before hopping on because I wanted to be good and clear of folks stopping to mount or shaky starting the bike uphill on a turn. My mount was flawless, but it did take a few tries to get the second foot clipped. Still, there was no significant loss of time and I’m sure it was better than anyone that didn’t have a running start.

Bike 14.3mi — 1:01:04
The bike leg was where all the excitement was for me. Starting out, there was a tailwind and I was passing folks constantly (it’s easy to do when you’re a strong cyclist coming off of an embarrassing swim) and cruising between 25 and 26mph. Just a mile and a half in I was passing a man when we got to a change in the street surface from concrete to asphalt. There was a pile of asphalt at the transition that popped me off of my bars and I swerved for a few seconds while trying to grab on before ultimately laying the bike down. There was a police officer right there that hopped on his radio and started asking if I needed an ambulance as another officer made his way over from a block down the road. I had a few scratches, but hadn’t broken anything too badly, so I scrambled to get back on the bike, thanked the officer, and left, leaving behind my bike computer which had been thrown into traffic. The front brake was rubbing slightly, so I pushed it into place as I rode.

2.5 miles later I flatted from damage to my front tire. When I replaced the tube, I saw that the outer wall of the tire was badly scraped, but didn’t see any damage on the inside. I guess I should’ve looked closer because the new tube popped immediately after I pressured it up. Sure that this time I was out of the race, I started walking. Several minutes later, when a support vehicle stopped, I was certain he was going to pick me up and take me in; instead the driver shouted from the median, “What size tire?!” He was a great guy from Webster Bicycle and fixed me up with a new tire after also popping a tube. If you get a chance, throw some business their way. I know I will!

Back on my way, some of the adrenaline had worn off from the earlier excitement and I was painfully aware of the chunk of skin I’d lost from my left hand. It burned like hell if it touched anything and made my tape slick with blood, but I settled in and think that I averaged around my target pace of 21mph, discounting all the down time. There’s no way to know, of course, since I lost my computer :-(

T2 — 1:31
The second transition was exceptional as a dismounted without stopping, racked quickly, changed shoes, and belted up with my race bib. My T2 was 3rd in my age group and close to the best in the race. Looking back, though, I think I stood at my spot while putting on my race belt where I should’ve been clipping it on while running.118467-069-002f

Run 2.1mi — 17:34
I’d expected to make an improvement over the run at TriWaco, but instead my mile splits were almost identical at 8:23min/mi. The run was short, only 2mi, but my body was exhausted. I don’t think I’d pushed too hard on the bike and felt fresh coming off it, but there just wasn’t much motivation left. Perhaps it was knowing that any hopes for my goal had passed long ago or the emotional roller coaster that I’d been riding as the fate of my race took turn after turn that left me so burned out. Regardless, I was glad when this one was over. I received my finisher medal, which I immediately bloodied, and was thankful to go and sit amongst friends.

Finishing with an overall time of 1:32:40 was not exactly what I was hoping for, but given the delays I’m pleased enough with my performance. I may still throw a race in this weekend to feel a little better about myself, though the TriRock Austin that I’m looking at has a longer 700m swim.

Despite all the drama, hanging out after the race was totally fun. My friends Trent and Alissa both finished well; Alissa really cleaned up with a super swim and ride. And the Hagemeier fam, sans Erica, was there to cheer her on and chill out after the race making for a really pleasant time. Here’s to great friends and an amazing God that kept me safe!

Blessings and Shalom,
Aaron

Here are a few pics of some of the resulting injuries. If you’d like more details of the wreck (including the colorful description of a friend that witnessed it from behind), just fb me or email. I also had some bruising on my belly and back, scrapes on my arm, and a strawberry on my hip. Most importantly, the bike is fine.

A chunk of skin missing off my palm IMG_2495 IMG_2492 IMG_2488

 

Unknown Encouragement From Strangers

Running on Tuesday night at Lamar’s track I passed a group of ladies that unknowingly gave me some awesome motivational shots. The first time I passed them as they walked I heard one say, “Oooooo, I wanna back like that one!” Now, I have no Idea what my back looks like when I run, but it sure made me feel like I was something. 2 laps later, “Ooooo, girl, he jus’ glide!

I assume I was not meant to hear either of those, but ladies if you ever read this you need to know that you made my night! Now if I could only glide a little bit faster…

Next Up — Clear Lake Triathlon 2013

Clear Lake Tri Logo

Woohoo! By this time on saturday I will have completed my 2nd Triathlon! Saturday I’ll be in Clear Lake — right next to NASA — swimming, biking, and running in what I hope will be a race I can really feel good about. I’ll be doing the shorter sprint distance again which for this race is a 500m swim, 14mi bike, and 2.1mi run. My friends Tim Storbeck and Charlie Dixon will be there doing the Olympic distance (Clea Lake calls it “International”, but I don’t know why”), and Trent and Alissa (my awesome training buddy :-) ) will be doing the sprint, so I’ll have lots of company.

I’ll give you the full race report in a few days!
Aaron

TriWaco — Race Day Part 2

Sorry for the delay on the race right-up. I kept forgetting to order pics from the race photographer that I wanted to include.

The race started in groups called waves that are released a few minutes apart. My wave was the third to start the race. When we were called to get into the water I waited in the back thinking I would avoid getting bumped, hit and kicked since I knew I would be moving slow. The crowd was dense, so I sat in the water near the bank. After the horn blew, it took probably 20 0015seconds before things had stretched out enough for me to get moving, then I still had to stop twice to wait for room to move. As it turns out, it was a really poor decision to start in the back. I ended up passing people and getting jostled in the mix anyways so my decision gained me nothing and cost the majority of a minute. My biggest concern was that I would get excited and go too fast, but I was way slow and finished my swim averaging 3:37/100m over 400m. To put that in perspective, most people that ranked near me averaged 2-2:30/100m and were 5 minutes ahead of me by the end of the swim.

The first transition, or T1, was very smooth. You can see in the picture that I didn’t rush, but I also didn’t waste time. Since my bike was the closest to the bike exit I didn’t bother having my shoes already in the pedals, rather I slipped them on but didn’t velcro or latch them until I was on the bike after the transition. All I had to do was slip on socks, shoes, belt with my race number, and put on my helmet. I did take a swig of Dr Pepper :-) My T1 time was 2:33 which was significantly better than most.

0028Leaving T1 I made a running mount which wasn’t particularly graceful. I find it pretty hard since my bike has a pretty hard stand-over height, but I don’t plan on buying another any time soon. You can’t tell in the picture, but it was taken before I cinched my shoe down. Actually I think I’d just done one and sat up for the picture. Going out the crosswind was a little at my back and I averaged close to 23mph on the mostly flat ride. Turning around I realized that the wind was more of a headwind than I’d expected and I had a total average of 20.9mph over the 12.5mi (my computer said my average was 21 even, but official race results left me down). I tried not to push hard because I’d had a really sucky run after a ride earlier in the week and was pleased with the result considering I’d been off the bike for 6 weeks except for 2 rides the week before the race. I took one energy gel at the beginning of the ride and sipped on a 50% mix of watered down gatorade, my usual.

Coming into T2, I dismounted by unclipping on leg and throwing it over to ride side saddle as I slowed to approach the dismount line then unclipped and ran into the transition area so there was no stop. I think this is how most folks do it, but I a lot take their feet out of the shoes and leave the shoes clipped to finish up. I edged out most people that ranked near me and beat several significantly with a time of 1:23. Overall, T2 times didn’t vary as much as T1.

It took a few minutes to settle into the run, but I felt great. My stride was comfortable and I paced behind one guy for the first 2 miles. This is one place where it would do me well to utilize a little technology because I had no idea how fast I was going. Still remembering the crappy run from a few days earlier, I stayed put and didn’t pick up the pace until the last half mile or so and not much then. The course was mostly flat except for a climb up to a bridge at the halfway point (which left me with an unsettled stomach for a minute… waterbelly) and again to a bridge for the finish. I may have tried harder if I’d have been passed more, but over 3.45 miles, only 4 people passed me and they were booking it. 0068One more came by just before the climb to the last bridge, but he wasn’t in my age group so I didn’t bother fighting. However, as soon as I got onto the bridge a man next to me started to kick. I muttered to him that I didn’t want to go yet, but couldn’t resist and turned on the heat to overtake him, the guy that had gone by a minute earlier and 4 others before crossing the finish line at the far end of the bridge. My run pace was 8:20 over 3.45 miles, which disappointed me because I know I could’ve held 8 minute miles.

My official time was 1:22:23, good for 78th of 359 who did the sprint distance and 12th in my age group of 37. I probably wouldn’t be disappointed with myself since it was my first tri, except that cutting a minute would’ve put me in the top 10 for my age and 1:30 better would’ve put me at 8. I held back because I’d been fighting a respiratory infection in the weeks before the race and I’d had a bad run a few days before, but it would’ve been easy to make up that time, either on the swim or run.

My takeaways from this first experience come in two places. First, I know that I shouldn’t discount my abilities on the swim or try to avoid the crowd. By starting in the middle of the pack, I would have cut at least 30 seconds without swimming any better. Swimming to the side is always an option and can be beneficial on turns. I swung wide on the first turn and passed a slew of folks that got muddled down in a tight crowd. I will obviously be focusing on improving my swim before the next race, too :-)

The second lesson is not to hold back when things are feeling good. When it clicks like my run did, I need to be comfortable enough to push on and just be sensitive if I let my heart rate get too high. Really, both of those can be summed up by saying there isn’t room for fear if I don’t want regrets. I’m glad for the experience, but look forward to a better race next time.

Blessings and Shalom,
Aaron

To see full rankings and compare, goto http://mychiptime.com/searchevent.php?id=7670. I’m listed as Barry Chinn.

TriWaco — Race Day Part 1

Sunday I got up at 3am so I would have plenty of time to drive to Waco without being rushed. I incorporated 2 new elements into my race routine that I’d never done before. The first was an early breakfast. Getting up early to eat an easily metabolized breakfast is a great habit for long races. Though I was only doing the sprint distance, it’s something I wanted to try out and I was conveniently awake at 4 in the morning to eat half a jar of applesauce. If I’d been closer to the venue I would’ve woken up to eat then gone back to sleep. This sat much better with my stomach than my previous clif bar breakfast an hour before the race (This was my first triathlon, but I’d done several duathlons) and I will continue to include it.

I was parked in Waco by 5:45 which allowed plenty of time to get checked in, set up, and situated. Everything I needed was packed and ready, so all I had to carry to the transition area was a backpack and my bike. The second change to my race routine was an addition to my transition setup. I put on my towel along with the necessities a water bottle of flat Dr Pepper that would be a quick way to get additional carbs and caffeine during the race. I left it there, but took a few swigs at both transitions.

The last part of my pre-race routine was caffeine and pre-emptive pain reliever. My favorite sources are Monster energy drink (I do 6 or 8 ounces) and Aleve, which I take about 45 minutes before the start. For max effectiveness, it’s usually recommended to ween yourself off of caffeine in the week before a race, but it’s rare that I have any except what’s found in chocolate, so caffeine is a huge race day boost for me.

Tri Transition

Here’s a picture of my transition arrangement. You can see my helmet on the bike seat, bike shoes on the towel with my race number on top so I wouldn’t forget it, running shoes behind them, and Dr Pepper next to the shoes. My socks are closest since they have to go on first and are rolled down to the toes to go on quickly. Sunglasses are stuck to my handlebars I skipped gloves. Tools are hidden inside the second water bottle. The swim cap and goggles obviously were with me for the start of the race :-)

The things done before a race, from nutrition to getting a transition mat set up efficiently and familiarly can make a huge difference in performance and I was beyond pleased with how I set myself up for success at TriWaco. Next you’ll hear how the race went for me.

Aaron

Read about how I did here.