Monday, May 01, 2023

Cactus Man Triathlon 2023

I completed a busy month of racing with the Cactus Man Triathlon in Tempe, Olympic distance. My times were almost identical to last year, I was 1:10 slower than in 2022 overall (1:15 faster in the swim, :36 faster in T1, 1:07 slower on the bike, :20 faster in T2, and 2:14 slower on the run), but instead of finishing 3rd of 6, I finished 10th of 15. So while 90% of life is just showing up, it now means who else showed up, now that I'm one of the older guys in my division.

The water was very cloudy, and there was a slight current because the lake is still getting runoff from the dams upstream, but with all the fresh water, the lake actually seemed "fresher" than in past years despite looking like it was thick enough to plow. The bike course was the usual Tempe route, with lots of turns, including 2 tight U-turns, so I used my road bike and not the tri bike. And the run was very hot, and not just my watch, but some friends also thought the course was longer than 6.2 miles. As it was the same route as last year, I'm not sure how that would have happened. (But if it really was 6.5 miles, then that would explain the additional 2 minutes for the run.)

I ran a very "technical" race, in that in finishing 10th in my division, I finished 11 minutes behind the 9th place finisher (no way to catch him), and 20 seconds ahead of the 11th place finisher (that's pretty close). Much better than the reverse.

Before the race started, and as I slogged through the run, I did think how grateful I am that I can still do this stuff with my friends. I'll never be great but it's great fun to still be able to participate. Results here, photos here.

Swim 30:37 (wetsuit)
T1 4:43
Bike 1:26:43
T2 3:18
Run 1:14:30
Overall 3:19:51, division 10/15, gender 184/240, overall 237/327

Monday, April 17, 2023

Arizona Road Racers Spring Cleaning 5K

ARR called it the "Spring Cleaning" race because with your free (with membership, of course I'm a member, I join everything) race entry you got a shirt, which was a leftover from a prior ARR race. So I got a 2014 race shirt along with the chance to run in my old neighborhood, starting and finishing at Arizona Falls and running along the ol' south bank of the Arizona Canal. I visited my old street and saw what the new owners are doing to the houses (short answer: McMansioning big time).

Results 29:12 (division 5/7, gender 37/50, overall 50/81). The 50 overall was nice, in that I was the last person on the first page of results. But I don't know about ARR, with 7 guys in the 65-69 age group; didn't everyone get the memo that no more than 3 are supposed to show up at an event, so everyone gets on the podium? And my time would have made me 5/5 in the 70-74 age group as well.

I did learn that waiting an hour after eating may be fine for swimming, but not so great for running a fast 5K (by my standards).

Monday, April 03, 2023

Oceanside 70.3

Post coming soon but a great day, a tough course, I finished, and I'm happy about it. 7:21:28.

More photos here.

Now for the post. Oceanside 70.3 is a big favorite of Tri Scottsdale, and we had a huge group again this year. Most people did a relay (and to them, congratulations, but relay people suck) but a large number of us still were doing the whole thing. It's a relatively easy drive, a very nice venue, and fun to see lots of people you know. I'd been a spectator once before, but now I've been a competitor and have much better memories.

The weather was good. The swim got moved back to the harbor instead of the beach start, apparently due to excessive currents. The harbor course seemed cramped and it was hard to get a rhythm with all of the other swimmers, plus after the turn, we were sighting into the sun, which made spotting the marker buoys difficult. A fair swim, not great.

About two thirds of the bike ride was on Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, which is a huge tract of much undeveloped California coastal property. It's a beautiful but hilly course, over 2,700' of climbing (some cyclists back with me had to walk their bikes up the steepest hill around mile 28), but where else are you going to see "Caution: Tank Xing" signs? A very good bike ride; I used my road bike and not the tri bike and was glad I did. We had wind on the final 8-10 miles after all the hills but it all worked out.

Finally, the run is two loops around the beach area of Oceanside, with lots of spectators showing as much endurance as the competitors. By the time I got to the run, it was clear this was not going to be a very good day, and any time there was a slight uphill grade, I started walking. Still, I had a lot of Type 2 fun and am proud of finishing.

Swim 42:39
T1 14:36
Bike 3:28:55 (very nice)
T2 8:08
Run 2:47:11 (not great)
Total 7:21:28, division 27/47 (41 finishers), gender 1469, overall 1975/2522. Probably where I should be (have to be?) at age 68 in the 65-69 age group.

Chelsea Sodaro, who was the first American woman in decades to win Kona in October, finished second among the pro women, and donated her winnings to Moms Demand Action. Here's her post-race interview. Good for her, both for acknowledging her mental health issues earlier this year and for making triathlon seem a lot cooler by being right on the issues.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Mackinac Island Swim

I really can't remember how I heard about the Mackinac Island Swim, which only started in 2020, so this was the third annual. Somehow, I found it online last December, registered late because the date could have conflicted with a Lawler family event, sat on the waitlist with 35+ people ahead of me for months, then suddenly got in off the waitlist in mid-June (36 hours to decide; what the heck, let's do it!)

So, I didn't have enough time to train but still thought it looked like fun, and it was amazing. Very tough, 65 degree water and we had heavy winds from the east, which is unusual as that's the leeward side of the island, so that meant the water was rougher on the last 4 miles than on the first 4, and as the event director said by email the day after, it was "a washing machine" out there. UPDATE: The website describes 2022 conditions as "62 - 65 degrees, SE winds = fast and calm start with a slow and brutal finish (think washing machine)." So I wasn't imaging it.

It's not a timed event, you have a chip only so they can make sure that everyone who went into the water got out of the water. I am very happy with my 6 hours and 2 minutes of swim time for 8.2 miles. Mackinac Island is beautiful (once you get out of the most touristy area near the ferry docks), the people were great, Lake Huron is very clear and shallow for most of the coastline, and the weather was amazing for a guy from Phoenix ("Hey, this is what we condition air to.") It was, to use a cliché, epic.

More pictures later, I hope. [UPDATE: Photos were here, password is MacSwim24, but last time I tried the link, it didn't work.] A fun day and now I've swum 8.2 miles in open water (that's 3 times the IM distance, plus an extra mile).


Saturday, May 07, 2022

Cactus Man Triathlon 2022

I thought I might do well this year, given the base fitness left over from IMAZ in November plus some good rest ahead of the race. I even thought maybe I could get close to 3:00 for the Olympic distance again. But the week before the race, I saw that there were 10 men (!) registered in the 65-69 age group, and my friend Jeff said that if I'd been racing 3:10 or 3:15, dropping 10 minutes in an Olympic is a very tall order, and he was too nice to say it, but I figured out I was unlikely to do it.

And when I got to the race, I did fine in the swim and was happy with my bike time, but my transitions were slow, and once I started running, I realized that my 3:00 days are long gone, and I am now at the point where 3:10 is a really good day, and I wasn't going to get to 3:10 today.

But I was determined to see it through, and I finished in 3:19. I got some water and then hung out at the Tri Scottsdale tent, satisfied with the effort but figuring that with 9 other guys racing, I was in the back of the pack, figuring that I finished well below the median.

To my surprise, it was a podium finish - third in my age group, and I actually had to beat out 3 guys to get it. I had no idea; they don't post finishes anymore, you scan a QR code at the finish and check your results on the website, but my phone was back in transition. I learned I got third when I was congratulating another Tri Scottsdale athlete on her third-place finish, and she told me I did as well. (Of course, she's about 30 years younger and finished about 20 minutes sooner.)

Results: Swim 31:52.8
T1 5:19.0
Bike 1:25:35.6
T2 3:38.1
Run 1:12:15.7
Total 3:18:41.3 (3/6 division, 160/220 men, 214/329 overall)

Results here, photos here. I went to lunch after the race and drank about 64 oz. of water and didn't need to go to the bathroom for hours. So I guess it was a hard day.

Thursday, March 03, 2022

Iceman Triathlon 2022


We had some unseasonably cold weather during the second half of February, so the Iceman Triathlon at Lake Pleasant, which is never warm, was about the coldest water I'd ever (and hopefully will ever) swim in, unless I'm on a boat that sinks. It was a challenging day and my time for the swim was almost 8 minutes slower than in 2020, so even though I didn't get a flat tire this year, I still finished 4 minutes behind my prior time. But I'm chalking that up to water temperature, and if my problem at a tri is the swim, I know I can do better next time. I still managed about the same percentile as 2020, so there's that.

Plus, it truly was a race where 100% of the podium was showing up at the finish line. First in my age group! Of course, I'll never tell how many were in my age group, but you can check the results here.