Monday, August 29, 2011

Bastrop Lost Pines Triathlon

Today marks one year as a triathlete. The 2010 Lost Pines Triathlon was my first race of any kind since college (and I was never a swimmer, runner, or competitive cyclist before last summer). I was hooked immediately, and since that first race, I've done an "indoor triathlon," two more sprint triathlons, an Olympic triathlon, three duathlons, the Splash and Dash four times, two 5ks, a 10k, a half marathon, a time trial twice, plus several organized bicycle rides of various distances (did I forget anything?). And what a difference a year has made. I went from a 1:53:09, fifth in age group, to a 1:24:33 age group win, and third overall (although the swim was shorter, so not a 100% direct comparison in terms of the time). This event played well to my strengths and weaknesses, with a longish (16 mile) hilly bike and a short (200m) swim, respectively, plus a relatively small field. I'm absolutely ecstatic with the result, especially that I had the fastest bike split.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mixed Results

In this month's iterations of recurring timed events, I went one for two, in terms of improving on previous times. On the positive side, on the 9th I improved my time in the South MoPac Time Trial over June by 17 seconds to 19:43. That doesn't sound like much, and I guess it's not, really, but I'll take a 1.4% improvement and half a mile per hour (to an average of 24.5 mph). On the not so positive side, on the 16th I had my second slowest (of the 4 times I've done it now) time in the Splash & Dash. My total time of 36:57 was well off my best time of 34:29 in July, and slightly better than the 37:16 in June. My problems started in the swim. I swam to the outside, to keep from running into people, and also tried to swim freestyle. So, I wasn't really looking where I was going (need to work on sighting) and didn't have anybody else to follow, and wound up way off course, or at least going further than necessary. I'm not sure what happened to me on the run, but just before the end of the second loop, my stomach started cramping. I walked for a minute or two, then picked up the pace again, but not as fast as I had started, and not to the pace I should be able to hold for 2 miles (3 1k laps). One plus, also for undetermined reasons, is that I forgot to put on my calf compression sleeves, but didn't suffer from the calf cramps I've had many times transitioning from swim (or, elsewhere, bike) to run.

So, some questions I need to find answers for: If I show improvement in my strongest discipline (cycling) but none (at least not consistently) in my two weaker ones (swimming and running), have I really made any progress as a triathlete? If I'm actually faster swimming the breast stroke than freestyle (based on other data), should I really be trying so hard to improve my freestyle (especially considering I'm automatically sighting when swimming breast, and at the moment sighting throws off my stroke freestyle) just because it's supposed to be the best stroke for triathletes?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ring of Fire Ride

Today I rode in the Ring of Fire Ride, starting and ending in Luckenbach, organized by the same folks that put on the race in Corpus Christi I did in May. Considering Austin has been over 100 degrees more than 50 days already this summer, and today was another, it was definitely fiery. I expected that part. What I hadn't fully prepared myself for, despite having seen the route elevation profile, was how hilly the ride was. Since the "long loop" course was 42 miles, and I was planning on doing the 84-miler, I knew exactly what I was in for once I started the second loop. There was a race component to this event, and everyone was chip timed, but I was doing it more just to survive it than to have a fast time, and I'm pleased to say that I did survive it, with a total time of 5:38 (by my watch).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jack's Generic Triathlon

On Sunday, I had what felt to me like one of my best races so far at Jack's Generic Triathlon. Even though the venue wasn't the greatest, I felt like I did really well and finished within my target time of 1:15-1:20, with a time of 1:18:22. Quite telling of my strongest and weakest disciplines of triathlon, among age groupers, I was 460th in the swim and 19th on the bike. Thanks to the disparity in distances (and being 116th in the run), I finished 80th overall, 15th in my age group. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that I had (by seconds) had a better bike split than my two really good triathlete friends IM and MG, but that's really only because IM's computer fell off her bike and she went back to get it.