Saturday, November 1, 2014

CFF Dallas Stair Race

On Saturday, 10/25, I did my fifth stair race of the year and second race up the 70-story Bank of America building in Dallas, once again benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. My time of 12:52 was more than a minute slower than last year's 11:44, but let's just say my physical state was not nearly what it was last year. In addition to the sniffles and a cough I had for the week leading up to this race, the two marathons the previous weekend definitely slowed me down. Yes, I raced a marathon on a Saturday, another the next day, and ran up 70 stories of stairs the following Saturday. Yes, I need professional help. Despite my slow time, I still finished seventh out of a very small field of 84 climbers. While the public at large did not show up for this race, West Coast Labels/X-Gym did, taking 8 of the top 12 spots overall (male and female), plus three more.

Saturday morning I jogged the half mile from my hotel to the office tower race venue and had plenty of time to hang out and catch up with my "step siblings" before the race started. In addition to the usual Texas/Arkansas folks (Scott, Robert, Chuck, Heather) there was Steve (who passed me at the Strat), Michael who did this race last year, Wayne whom I met in Austin, Cindy who was also at the Strat, Ken whom I've seen at several races, and no stair race would be complete without George Burnham Sr. Also of note was Ignacio, whom I met Houston, up from Mexico, who just edged out Scott for the win. So a lot of good folks and some fun times. Except for the actual race, that kind of sucked.

For one thing the timing company didn't show up because of some crossed signals. It's fortunate it was a small field, otherwise it would have been a nightmare to manually time this thing. Remarkably the timing worked pretty well, better than some chip-timed events even. The race director had a little trouble sorting the results for awards, but the times seemed to be pretty accurate for having stopwatches top and bottom and noting a time for each competitor. The real sucky part for me was that my legs would not work the way they normally do on stairs. Even the first 5-10 stories weren't super fast, and it only got worse from there. When I got to the 24th floor I went for the water, but unfortunately it was just half-liter bottles, far from ideal. I took one and sipped and walked for 10 stories, stowed the bottle to jog 10 stories, and more or less repeated like that until floor 67 when I mustered whatever I had left for a solid finish.

Most of us hung around for a little at the top as more finishers arrived. People started dropping off as the morning went on; I stuck around for the awards to get my medal for second place in the 26-39 age group. I walked back to my hotel, showered, checked out, and decided to get lunch before heading home.

As for what happened that evening, that's a story for another post sometime down the line...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kerrville Tri Race Report

For my last triathlon of the year, I once again went out to Kerrville for the "Triathlon Festival," two days of racing with three distances. However I flipped the scripts from last year and raced the sprint on Saturday and volunteered for the half/quarter on Sunday. The reason I didn't go for the half was that being three weeks after Ironman Wisconsin, I had no idea what shape my body would be in. Of course I couldn't do the quarter if there was a longer distance on the same day; regular readers will know my crazy wouldn't allow for that. I like to commit to events well in advance, so this was all set in place well before Wisconsin; I feel I've recovered enough that the half wouldn't have been so terrible, but still not advisable. I actually offered to run for a relay team, but they didn't wind up taking me up on it. While I had a decent day two years ago doing this half 5 weeks after an Ironman, it was probably best not to race today.
As for the race I actually did- in a word, it was sloppy. More the weather than my performance- it rained the entire race and I finished with a time of 1:19:12, good enough for 4th in my age group and 20th overall.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Capitol Cruise (Road trip to Ironman Wisconsin via ND highpoint)

Way back a year ago when I volunteered for and signed up for Iroman Wisconsin, I didn't have a plan for how I would get there. Eventually I decided to drive, since it's "only" about 1000 miles from Austin. Some time after hightpoint #40 in December, I started looking for excuses to go to the rest of the state highpoints. For fun, I added White Butte, North Dakota's highpoint, as a waypoint on the route. When I saw it doubled the mileage, I laughed it off as a crazy idea. If you've read my blog, you might know that a certain brand of crazy is sort of my stock in trade. My original plan for race week was to volunteer for TriRock on Monday, go to work on Tuesday, and drive straight from Austin to Madison on Wednesday. When the idea of stopping by White Butte creeped up in my mind, it almost seemed sillier to go to work for one day than to take off on a road trip. Of course once I was already going to be in the Dakotas, it was only natural that I would also stop at the state Capitols. Watch this space for my next crazy adventure cooked up around another highpoint.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Jack's Generic Tri Race Report

Today was my fourth Jack's Generic Triathlon, the second since the venue was moved and an intermediate distance (1000m swim/26-mile bike/6-mile run) was added. Overall I was 4.5 minutes slower than last year for a time of 2:34:46. The swim was different this year but otherwise the course was the same. I'm pretty sure the slowdown is because I went 3 minutes quicker on the bike, leading me to be almost 7 minutes slower on the run.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Couples Triathlon

I recently did the Couples Triathlon my second time, and cut 9 minutes off of last year's race. This time the race was two weeks after Ironman Coeur d'Alene and further proves that it's better to train for swimming, biking, and running than just being at altitude (having been hiking at 20,320 feet 9 days before the race last year). This time I paired up with a friend of a friend for the "couple" aspect; we finished fourth in our category (of 23) but would have been second (of 2) in the "mostly strangers" category if we had gone for that category instead of "friends (co-ed)." Of particular note is that this is the first race of the season I've averaged less than 2 minutes per 100 meters in the swim. The previous 4 (from 300 meters to 3800 meters), I've averaged around 2:10. This swim may have been shorter than the advertised 800 meters, but even for 750 meters my average was just under 2 minutes per hundred. Perhaps most interesting, to me any way, is that I set a PR on the Strava segment that makes up the bike course, a course I have ridden many times, most recently during the Rookie Tri.