Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Victoria 70.3

Victoria (BC) 70.3 is a deceptive half Ironman. First, it really isn't in Victoria; it's in Saanich, about 20 miles north. Second, it's a surprisingly tough course, and tough to tell from the maps in advance. The lake swim is, of course, fine, but while the bike course has only about 2600' of elevation (838 m), there were few straights, and it turned out I took the wrong bike; dragging a heavy time trial bike up those hills and rollers wasn't nearly compensated by any speed on the downhills. The run course is almost all on trails or dirt roads, so the scenery might have been fine, but I had to spend my time making sure that my left foot didn't hit a rock or root or hole and end my day. Finally, when I stopped my watch at the end, it said 71.0 miles - 0.7 more than billed (maybe from running in the transition area and to the bathrooms?)

But in the end, it was a fun event - great volunteers, good weather (surprisingly so; little wind, rain held off until the run, and even on the run, the tree canopy kept you from getting too wet), and a huge group from TriScottsdale. I made my base goals. I didn't get hurt, I finished, I finished under 7 hours, and it was 40 degrees cooler than Phoenix, but that was all I could do.

I'm not sure I'd recommend Victoria, however. There's no central location or hotel, so your experience is driven by where you stay. I shared a house with 5 other TriScottsdale athletes (and a spouse and sibling who weren't racing) in Sooke, which is 30 minutes outside Victoria in the other direction, so I had fun but I didn't see much of the other TriScottsdale folks, except at a happy hour on Friday. Other races seem to have much more camaraderie and proximity, but not here. The Ironman "Village" was really out in the middle of nowhere. Plus, those Canadians (and US Pacific Northwesterners) are fast, curse them!

Swim 36:46
T1 8:04
Bike 3:31:47
T2 6:04
Run 2:29:14

Total 6:51:55, 29/34 division, 753/950 gender, 1126/1501 overall

Results here; pictures here.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Arizona Open Water State Championships

I successfully "defended" my state Masters 60-64 championship in the 5000 meter open water swim in Tempe on May 5, despite this year having a second swimmer show up in my age group. My time was 1:44:12, which was 9 minutes faster than last year. I may have done a better job of swimming straight between the buoys, or more likely, because we were using the same course as USA Swimming had set up for the USA Swimming open water national championships (both senior and junior) at the same venue Friday and Sunday, the course was accurate (unlike Arizona Open Water's unfortunate habit of making the courses 20% longer than billed). So there were lots of officious USA Swimming officials in white polo shirts enforcing all sorts of rules (clip your nails, no watches or jewelry, miss the sign-in time cutoff and you can't swim) but at least when they said each loop was 1666 meters, it actually was 1666 meters.

My colleague in the 60-64 men's category was Dan Nutz from Gilbert, an artist who swam in junior college, a good swimmer and an even better raconteur. But he ages up next year or the year after, so I may be able to keep my streak going.

We were 2 of the last 3 swimmers to finish; the organizers lowered the cut-off time from 2:30 to 2:00 the day before because of the heat (it was over 100 degrees at the finish); they pulled everybody behind us out of the lake before they could finish. All in all, a very satisfactory day.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Powerman Arizona Duathlon

This event took over the former Desert Classic Duathlon at McDowell Mountain Regional Park and, despite greater marketing hype, managed to keep the same shambling semi-organized quality that made the Desert Classic so charming, at least when it wasn't raining. To be fair, the Powerman people upgraded the pickup packet (both a t-shirt and a winter running stocking cap) and the post-race food (hot waffles and Nutella), and the decals with the race numbers would have worked better if I had picked them up the day before and put them on at home (both warmer and no sunscreen), but nobody would confuse this little race with a Big Deal.

The course was basically the same as last year, but in 2 huge improvements, it wasn't raining, and my timing chip worked. However, showing that when it comes to the podium, 90% of life is who else shows up, a couple of very fast 60+ guys from outside Arizona dominated my age group. While I finished 6/6 in 60-64, my time would have been 3rd in 55-59, 4th in 50-54, and 2nd (no way I'm ever beating Murray McPherson) in 65-69.

Run1 31:40, T1 2:17, Bike 1:34:23, T2 2:33, Run2 34:09; results here. I thought that was very creditable considering my foot and ankle issues; there was discomfort but I finished and managed to push past a very gracious Dan Knott in the last half mile. Surprisingly, considering the better conditions, my overall time wasn't as good as last year; I think this was a longer bike course somehow. But I managed the trail runs on one semi-bad foot, so Victoria, here I come.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Updated Annual Holiday Post

The Current just played David Bowie and Bing Crosby performing Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth, but I prefer the late Kirsty McColl singing with the Pogues:

But credit The Current for reminding me of Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses:

So let us all devoutly hope that 2018 is better than 2017, for ourselves and for the country.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Scottsdale Half Marathon 2017

I was due for a bad race, and not only was this a bad race, but unlike my last bad race (Tempe Triathlon in 2015, when I couldn't run with plantar fasciitis, and dropped out at the halfway point), there was no good way to pull out, and I stupidly ran 10 miles until I couldn't, then walked to the finish. Walking also hurt, and I guess I injured myself. Results, and a video of me limping across the line, here.

I had a great 5K (8:40 average), a pretty good 10K (56 minutes), and I made it to 10 miles, even with a number of stops and walking breaks, at close to a 2:00 pace (the goal), but then walked the last 3 for a pretty woeful (and painful) 2:25:28.

The grimace above is for real. A week later, I'm still limping, with a weirdly swollen left ankle. What bothered me during the race was my Achilles, so I iced that down, then 12 hours later it was fine and my ankle is shot. It could be a long recovery, but I have nothing on the race calendar until February. I'm just glad this event followed the Phoenix Summit Challenge and wasn't before it. And thus ends 2017. On to dim sum for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Phoenix Summit Challenge 2017

The just-created official Will Summit For Food team photo. Results here, but remember, it's not a race, it's a party. (It's part of the deal to wait for the rest of your group, so you can hold up the number of fingers for the summits you've just climbed.)

See you next year.