The Scottsdale Half/5K is usually a fun event, with a huge Tri-Scottsdale/Team Fresh Hair turnout. I had two goals after last year's bad race: (1) not get injured, and (2) finish. And I did, although it was a slog. I tried to stay even, but my pace slowed over the miles from 9:30/mile down to 10:00/mile. But I didn't get hurt, I finished, and I beat last year's time (which was deceptively good) by 14 minutes, although I was 6 minutes behind 2016. But for not training enough, and not getting hurt, it was a pretty good day, and based on how much trouble I had sleeping Sunday night, I gave it my all. My time was 2:11:50, a 10:04 pace, 27/37 division, 342/476 men, 628/1033 overall.
Here's the link for the finisher video. You can tell I gave it my all; I thought I was gliding to the finish, but it looks like my legs are gonna fall off.
It was a very hot day in Tempe on Sunday. We started out around 84 degrees for the swim, and by the end of the run, it was well in the 90's and humid (by our "it's only a dry heat, like a self-cleaning oven" standards). UPDATE: While the official temperature for the event on the result website was 103 degrees, I think I finished before it hit 100. But maybe not!
I was 4 minutes slower than last year, but I think that's due to the weather. I also finished 5th in my age group, because 3 guys ahead of me all aged up this year from 55-59 to 60-64 (curse each of you for getting older, especially you Steve Greenspan). But a very creditable performance: Swim 32:19 (a minute faster than Thursday), T1 3:15, bike 1:19:14 (slower than last year, maybe I should have used the tri bike after all), T2 2:47, and run 1:07:18 (5 minutes slower than last year - which I'm pretty happy about, considering the weather). Overall, 3:04:18, 5/10 age group, 134/237 men, 186/395 overall.
I'm pretty tired today; it was "only" an international distance triathlon, but it was hard. Results, photo, and a finish line video (boy, I don't look at all graceful running) available here.
It's a small event, with a number of options. There are 2 swim distances (750 & 1500 m), one run distance (5K), and options to swim only or to swim and run. The price is the same for all 4 options, so of course I swam 1500m and ran. And once again, more than 90% of life is just showing up: 1/1 ag, 26/43 men, 33/61 overall, results here. It was really hot, even in the water; posted temperature was 84, but there were warmer pockets. Nice tune up for Lifetime Tempe Tri on Sunday. No pictures, though.
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!
Total 6:51:55, 29/34 division, 753/950 gender, 1126/1501 overall
Results here; pictures here.
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.
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.