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).

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Life Time (2 words!) Tempe Triathlon 2019

Not the fastest race for me, and a surprisingly fast group of older guys in my bracket, but a very good day racing, even if it wasn't the best performance from Life Time. Of course it was hot, and there was a lot of construction on the bike course, but things were good and well-organized until the run, where the course markings didn't match the map. For the International race, it's 2 loops of the course, but toward the end of each loop, at the northwest corner of the map, instead of sending us directly to Mill Avenue, the course markings sent us up to Washington Street, then down Mill Avenue on the west (old) bridge.

That shouldn't have mattered too much, at least not if the scale of the map is correct, but everybody showed a much longer run course. Instead of 6.2 miles (10K), the run was 7.03 miles (on my watch; some showed longer, but pretty much everybody I talked to had over 7 miles). That meant when I was psyching myself up before the bridge that there was only 1.5 miles left , there really was almost another mile (or, worse, 1.14 K!) more. Pretty dispiriting to have your watch telling you that you were finished, but in real life, you were a mile away from the end.

There were 17 registered in my age group, but only 11 showed up and finished. It was a fast group, too, especially in the heat. I finished just ahead of a TriScottsdale friend who always beats me, especially on the run, so I must have been doing OK. My time isn't great, but the swim took 3 minutes more than in May (which was wetsuit-legal, while the water Sunday was too warm for wetsuits), and the run with the extra distance took 9 minutes more, so it was about the same rate but more heat. I also had slower transitions, but a faster bike time - but the bike course was shorter. Whatever, I was happy with how hard I worked in the heat, and it was fun.

Time and splits:
Swim 31:10
T1 4:24
Bike 1:19:35
T2 3:48
Run 1:17:32 (7.03 mi)
Total 3:16:277, 7/11 age group, 146/231 men, 196/372 overall

Results here, photos here. Life Time still hasn't explained the over-long run course, and probably never will.