Friday, November 26, 2021

Ironman Arizona (at last)

While recovering this week after the race on Sunday, November 21, I cleaned out some saved emails, and found I had registered on December 2, 2019 - almost two years ago. The 2020 race was cancelled with 2 weeks to go due to the pandemic surge, so I did all the training in 2020, and then again in 2021. I didn't have the best day, but there's no way I was going to defer and go through this for a third year in a row. And, as they say, I am an Ironman. Again.

I now know how great conditions were in Florida in 2015, with no wind on almost the entire bike leg. We had a 10-15 mph headwind outbound (and uphill!) on the Beeline Highway, so on each of the 3 loops, I averaged 10-11 mph going east and 20-22 mph coming back west, but the push coming back wasn't enough to make up for the slower times heading out. I knew I went too hard on the bike, and still finished 45 minutes behind 2015, but I knew the run would be a walk anyway, and I really, really wanted to be off the bike. The run was a real slog. I tried to run-walk, but my average speed run-walking was less than just power walking, and toward the end, whenever I tried to run, nothing came out.

Definitely fun to do a race in my hometown. The TriScottsdale tent was a highlight each loop through the run course, and it was great to see people I knew, and of course also fun to be cheered on by people I didn't.

Swim 1:20:22 (actually, a great swim for me, but it was wetsuit legal, so that helped)
T1 20:32 (not sure where all the time went)
Bike 7:15:42 (do not do the Beeline with no drafting in a headwind if you have a choice)
T2 13:15 (acceptable)
Run 6:39:09 (a real slog)
Overall 15:49:00 (not great but once I got off the bike and saw where I was and how I felt, my goal was finish under 16 hours, and I did)

Those results were Division 18/20, Gender 1317, Overall 1712 (it looks like 1932 finished under the cutoff). The searchable results page is here. And my (low-res) photos are here.

Around mile 22 of the "run," I decided that I should reevaluate my relationship with pain - just not that night, later after I finished. But I finished! Not bad for a 66-year-old, except who knew there were all these fast 65-year-olds?

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Cactus Man Triathlon!

The Cactus Man tri was cancelled in 2020, and my registration rolled over to 2021, when 4Peaks Racing successfully pulled it off on May 2. Registration was capped, spectators were not allowed (although it's Tempe, people can hang around if they want), you picked up the finisher medal at registration, and when you crossed the finish line, you got 2 water bottles and a mask. There also was no food at the finish, so I got home and then had to decide, which was more important: being ravenously hungry, or needing to wash Tempe Town Lake off me before I touched food (the shower won out).

They also changed the course from 2019. No more wave start, and instead you entered the water 5 seconds apart (after general seeding by expected swim time finish) from a boat ramp west of the Mill Avenue bridges, then exited the water via a different boat ramp east of the bridges, with a half-mile run (or walk, in my case) back to transition.

It was a hot day, and I finished 4th in my age group in the Olympic (no Sprint for me!) by far enough behind #3 that I can't complain. I plugged through the race steadily, kept running (except up one hill on the second lap, at that point I figured the heck with it), and when I finished, I really had nothing left. You can't ask for more than that, the triathlon version of a foamed runway.

Results here: Swim 29:33, T1 5:00, Bike 1:24:34, T2 4:53, Run 1:08.11, Finish 3:12:12. 4/7 age group, 155/201 men, 214/297 overall. Fairly consistent with my 2019 times, given the changes to the course.

One thing I lost in the pandemic was my year being the youngest in my age group. Who were those 3 really fast 65-year-olds?

Saturday, March 27, 2021

ARR Fountain 5-0

First event in 13 months! That's how I celebrated passing two weeks from my second shot.

ARR is Arizona Road Racers, and of course I'm a member, I join everything. ARR was founded in 1970, so this was supposed to be the 50th anniversary race in 2020, but got rolled over to this year instead. I apparently registered for it months ago, and had totally forgotten about it.

The Town of Fountain Hills let ARR go forward this weekend. The race start was staggered, you estimated your finish time and they gave you a specific start time. Of course, there was a line anyway at the start, but single file, no clumps of people, it was outdoors, and almost everyone was masked until crossing the start line. The famous fountain didn't go off during the race, but we ran around it twice.

47:00 official, which was good for second place in my (delightful) age group (2/4 finishers). 26/45 men, 54/93 overall. Very casual race, no pictures, but there were aid stations that had 8 ounce water bottles out for pickup. Full results here.

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Iceman Triathlon

Yes, podium!

I signed up for Iceman Triathlon at Lake Pleasant after I had to scrub the Powerman Duathlon earlier in the month after coming down with a 48-hour flu. I wanted to do that race again, to prove I could finish without breaking a bone this time. Also, it would have been my first race since aging up to the 65-69 AG, and it's great being the young(er) guy in a new cohort. There was only 1 person in my group at Powerman, and he finished way behind my time with falling and breaking my finger, so I lost out on a podium, and decided to sign up for Iceman (put on by the same 4Peaks people) to see if I could get it back.

I normally pass on sprint triathlons (not great at races where your finish is determined by how fast you can change shoes), and I'm not a huge fan of cold water. But this was a great little race. Late 9 am start, which meant getting there and setting up after sunrise, and it was plenty warm enough on the bike and run. The water was probably 60 degrees, but it was fine in a wetsuit for the 750 meters. I didn't need my booties or full "squid lid," or the dishwashing gloves I brought for my hands (4Peaks got a special USAT exemption for rubber gloves for this race).

Everything went well until the last 500 meters of the bike, when I got a flat. I tried to fill it with CO2 and float out to the finish, but it was a bad flat (2 small stiff pieces of wire pierced my tire), and being that close to T2, I got off my bike and walked the rest of the way, figuring that would be faster than trying to find the damage and fix the flat. (That was correct - when I got home, it took me a while to find the wires, and that's with being calm and with reading glasses. Out on the course, it would have been nearly impossible for me.)

I had a fine swim, an OK-but-below-average T1, and was doing fine on the bike (and was in the lead in my age group) until the flat, when I gave back all the time I had garnered on the swim and bike. I strolled back to T2 in my cleats, switched to running shoes, and had a pretty good run. It was a challenging run, and with lots of up and down, felt like it was uphill in both directions. Lake Pleasant is a canyon, so that's no surprise, but knowledge didn't make it easier.

But the run, which usually is my weakest event, went very well. I kept moving, and passed 9 men (according to the results), which never happens. I caught (fellow TriScottsdale member) Ralph Ray early in the run, and wound up making up what I lost on the bike and in transitions to finish first in my age group by 1:30. I haven't been on a podium for a while, and when I was before, it was never better than finishing third. I really like my new age group.

So, first place AG. Not bad for the week I signed up for Medicare.

Swim 16:19
T1 4:52
Bike 52:02 (flat tire)
T2 2:34
Run 30:30 (passed 9 men on the run!)

Total 1:46:27 (1/2 division, 40/52 men, 54/74 overall)

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Scottsdale Half Marathon

I try not take this race too seriously - or at least, I regret when I do. The one year I trained hard, I went out fast and got injured, and had to walk the last 3 miles. I'm better off treating this like an end-of-year running party, in this final (10th) year for the NWLB team

For more casual treatment, in 2016, I drove to and from Yuma the day before for a friend's funeral, and this year, I was in NYC visiting Sarah, Matt, and Mayer (now 8 weeks old!) and flew home the afternoon before. But it all worked out fine. We had perfect weather and I got to run with a lot of good friends. I finished in 2:07:30 (19/38 division, 323/513 men, 611/1138 overall, 9:44 pace, so right around the median for the older guys), and this year's time was a good 3+ minutes faster than last year. I did a 2:05 in 2016, and maybe that's in reach for next year - but next year, I age up to the next division, where instead of 19th, this year I would have been 7th. Full results, and some pictures, here. NWLB won the 5K team event, and placed third for the half marathon (not that my time had anything to do with that accomplishment).