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. 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.