Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Year in Review

As far as what I spent my time doing in 2012, I think my Holiday Note post pretty much covered it. I wouldn't say I really accomplished anything big since I wrote that. The only thing of note, really, was my attempt to climb Mt. Hood last week.

Regarding goals set out at the start of 2012, the only definitive goal was to finish Ironman Louisville, which I did. I did finish the Austin Marathon, albeit at a walking pace due to injury. I did two more half-Iron distance races (Buffalo Springs and Kerrville), bringing my PR below 6 hours. While I did come close to my goal of a sub-20-minute 5k with a 20:35 at the Donkey Dash, I still have not crossed that mark. I set a new 10k PR this year. Of the non-race things on my 2012 wish list, the only one I did manage to do was go skiing, but that was just one day.

Portland/Timberline Lodge/Mt. Hood

This past week, I took a quick trip up to Portland. The main reason was to visit real winter, but more specifically I was hoping to climb Mt. Hood, Oregon's highest peak. While I didn't make it to the summit, I'm not particularly disappointed, as I had a pretty good time making it as far up as I did. In short, I gained 2500 vertical feet in the first two hours, up a groomed trail, and only 1000 feet in the next two hours, slogging through knee-deep snow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Note

December 2012

Happy Holidays! In previous years, I sent out a Holiday card along with a note. This year I'm just sending an email, which is also reproduced here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Natural Bridge Caverns Duathlon, etc.

For the third straight year, I raced in a duathlon at Natural Bridge Caverns, with the unique feature of starting within the cave. The bike course was shorter than last year due to light rain (making it more like 2010). So the times aren't comparable, but I did improve my overall position to third, and retained my age group title with my time of 1:54.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

SkyRise Chicago, etc.

On November 4, I participated in SkyRise Chicago, a race up the 2109 stairs of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, to the 103rd floor SkyDeck. As the tallest tower race on the planet (and more than 3x taller than the Frost climb I did in May), it is a brutal, lung-searing affair. I probably could have done it quicker, but my time of 19:47 was within the range of what I expected. The sub-14 minute time of the winner seems absolutely superhuman by comparison. As a result of this experience, I might be hooked on tower running, as if I needed another hobby sport.
Also, to piggyback on this post with some things I've done since that don't quite merit posts of their own, the subsequent weekend I did part of the Tour das Hugel, a 100+ mile ride of the steepest hills in Austin; then on Sunday raced in the Daisy 5k.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Stage Triathlon"

I had a busy weekend, and sort of did a triathlon in stages, although in the wrong order. Saturday morning I ran a 5K, in the afternoon I raced in a swim meet, and Sunday morning I rode 65 miles in the LiveStrong ride (not a race). Even though I didn't win anything or break 20 minutes in the 5K, it was still a really good weekend. I reset my 5K PR to 20:34, I set PRs for the 100 freestyle (1:27) and 100 breast stroke (1:49), and I got to ride almost 30 miles with popular professional cyclist Jens Voigt.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

IBM Uptown Classic 10K

Thanks to a cold front coming in yesterday, it was nice and cool this morning for the IBM Uptown Classic 10K. The cool 50-degree air played a big part in my setting a new 10K PR of 44:47, almost 4 minutes off of last year's time. I don't know what possessed me to wear a tri-top and arm warmers instead of a long-sleeve t-shirt, but I'm pretty sure I looked ridiculous, especially with gloves and a headband.
I maintained a fairly even pace, in the 7:10 range, despite the elevation going up and down a little here and there. Either they changed to course from last year or my memory of it is off, because I don't remember mile six being mostly uphill. I might have tried to pick up my pace for the last mile, but it took extra effort just to maintain pace. I didn't pick up my pace until pretty much the last turn toward the finish line. It wasn't really that much faster, about 6:40 pace, and it seemed slow as people who had saved more energy sprinted past me. I had been sweating heavily, despite the cold, so once I stopped it wasn't long before I started to feel chilled. I didn't stick around the vendor area long before going back to my car to put more clothes on and head on my way.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Kerrville Triathlon Fest 70.3

Third time's the charm, I guess. In my third 70.3, I finally broke 6 hours. I could try to attribute it to training and preparation, but while those helped, it was probably mostly because of the great weather. With a mostly overcast sky, a high around 70 degrees, and a mostly beneficial wind, it was truly a "chamber of commerce" day. While my swim time wasn't quite as good as Buffalo Springs, my bike and run splits were my best yet. My run split was even better than the Corpus "53.1" in April, for my best half marathon off the bike. While I probably could have pushed the run and/or bike a little harder, my effort was enough to meet my goal, and still left room for improvement next time. If I had gone 5:30, it might have seemed impossible to beat, but beating 5:54:24 seems doable.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Run With The Heroes 5k

In my pursuit of a sub-20-minute 5k, I somehow managed to run two this weekend. If the second, a timed race, hadn't been short, I would have reset my PR twice, while still being short of my goal. The Saturday run was a fun run, mostly people in the running group I run with Tuesdays and Thursdays, except the fast people didn't show up for whatever reason, and I wound up "winning." Sunday's result was even more shocking: Out of 57 people in my age group, I finished first, and I was 21 out of 700 total. While I'm pleased with my time of 20:13 (for just under 3 miles by my watch), I have more work to do to reach my goal.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ironman Louisville: The Race

Well, I did it. It didn't go as well as I had hoped, but it didn't go nearly as badly as it could have. While the swim and bike went pretty much as I had expected, the run came down to just keeping putting one foot in front of the other. With an overall time of 15:30:16 and splits of 1:37:00, 6:16:23, and 7:11:07 (swim, bike, run), I hardly set the world on fire, but I did accomplish my main goal of finishing without seriously injuring myself. I had hoped to finish under 15 hours, and I thought sub-14 might have been possible. If I had been able to improve on my marathon PR (I walked the only full marathon I had done previously), my total time would have been under 15 hours. For my first full Ironman, I don't think it's that terrible of a time. Also, while this is by far the most epic one day I've ever had, I haven't quite decided if, overall, it's quite as epic as climbing Gannett Peak solo last July (summit day on that expedition has now been bumped down to second most epic day ever).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ironman Louisville: The Journey

I thought I would say a little about what led me to tomorrow's Ironman Louisville, speaking more metaphorically than literally. Plus, maybe it will keep me from freaking out a little bit longer, as the clock ticks down to the race start. Some of this might be old news to regular readers, but I'm pretty sure that's nobody.

Ironman Louisville: Inventory

In anticipation of tomorrow's race, I thought I would detail all the gear and stuff I have lined up.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

2012 Bastrop Lost Pines Triathlon

After winning my age group for the first time at last year's race and coming so close to getting the overall win, I was looking forward to this year's race, and hoping to pull off that win. Despite cutting four minutes off of my time, the field was larger this year, and the level of competition was higher, and I "only" managed to repeat my age group win and fastest bike split. While it would have been nice, I'm really not disappointed to not get the overall win. An extra "feather in the cap" was that I got the age group win over my friend Dustin, whom I train with some at the gym.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jack's Generic Triathlon

Today I raced in the tenth annual Jack's Generic Triathlon, for my second time. I'm pleased with how it went, I cut almost four minutes off of last year's time for a total time of 1:14:27. The race actually went very similarly to June's Lake Pflugerville Tri, except that the bike course there had less elevation change and the run was slightly shorter, so I did it in almost a minute quicker than today's race.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

IronMan 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake

On Sunday, June 24, I completed my second half IronMan, 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake, in Lubbock, TX (the first being Austin 70.3, plus the not-quite-half RoT Tri). While I am glad I finished, I am also extremely disappointed I didn't beat my time from Austin, which I don't feel is very representative of my abilities as a triathlete. On the positive side, I was quite pleasantly surprised that my swim time was much better than Austin, though it's still far from competitive. A 6:48:32 is far from a great time, but for a tough course on a hot day, and not my "A" race, I'll take it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lake Pflugerville Triathlon

Today I raced the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon, the third event in the Texas Tri Series (the first being the Republic of Texas Tri, which I raced; and the second being the Rookie Tri, which I volunteered for). Since I signed up to do the series, I was planning on at least being at this race, so I decided "what the heck?" and raced. I'm glad I did, because it turned out to be great weather, and I had a great race. Not that it really means anything, but this was my quickest sprint triathlon to date, with a total time of 1:13:33. It was quite a fast field, and my time was good enough for 11th in my age group, and 58th overall (out of 64 and 660, respectively).

Monday, May 28, 2012

Capital of Texas Triathlon Race Report

Well, I'm a bit disappointed by my results in today's Capital of Texas Triathlon (CapTex). While I did beat my time from last year, I didn't beat my time from the other Olympic-distance triathlon I did, the Austin Triathlon. In fact, I'm probably most disappointed that my swim time was only 10 seconds faster than Austin Tri. While my run today was far from representative of what I'm capable of, I really wanted to have tangible evidence of the work I've done in the pool for the last eight months beyond short-distance split times.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Belgium and The Netherlands

I took a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands with my parents and aunt in March. I don't know why I haven't brought myself to write a post about it yet. It's not like it wasn't a great trip, or I haven't had any time. I guess I just couldn't find an angle to it that would make it so it wasn't completely boring to write, let alone read. And now it's been two months, and it almost seems like it's too late. So I'll slapdash something together, first the basic itinerary, then some thoughts on various topics.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb

Today I did the Fight For Air Climb, a big fundraiser for the Austin chapter of the American Lung Association, and a race up the Frost Bank Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Austin. I've wanted to do one of these for a while, but this is the first time I actually did. I did very little training specifically for this event, so fifth overall in a time of 4:01 is a pretty good result in my book.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Shiner GASP / The Rookie Tri

This weekend, like last year at this time, I overdosed on sports and sacrificed sleep by cycling 100 miles on Saturday and volunteering for a triathlon on Sunday. The ride was the Shiner GASP, and the race was the Rookie Tri. Both were great events, but some day I'm going to have to learn how to have a relaxing weekend.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Republic of Texas Triathlon

The Ides of April. Other than normally being tax day, it doesn't have quite the portent as the Ides of March. While I would hardly call this April 15 doomed, it certainly didn't go as originally planned. The plan was for a half distance (70.3) triathlon at the inaugural Republic of Texas Triathlon Festival, which is something of an outgrowth of the Corpus Christi Triathlon I did last year. However, due to dangerously high winds, the swim had to be cancelled (as it was Saturday for the sprint distance race), and a 6-mile section of the bike course over the harbor bridge had to cut out. Also, for reasons that weren't explained, the bike turnaround was moved, cutting out five mile from each of two loops, making the course a total of 40 miles. The run course was unaffected, and remained two ~6.5 mile loops. I was kind of disappointed about not having the swim, I was hoping to show off the work I've done in the pool since Longhorn 70.3 in October, but as my time still wouldn't have been all that competitive, I wasn't devastated. Plus, it would have been my first time really swimming in salt water, which I was a bit nervous about, and didn't have a chance to attempt on Saturday afternoon when I got into Corpus due to high winds (making very rough seas). So, while I didn't have the day I might have had with calmer weather, I was pleased to at least average over 20 mph on the bike (which I so narrowly missed at Longhorn), and had my best half marathon time so far in 2012 (but far from my PR) of 2:34:11, for a total time of 4:34:57. Beyond my personal performance and a couple of minor gripes, it was a very good, well run event, as all High Five Events I've done have been.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Blue Norther Duathlon

Once again, I did a race I probably would have been better off skipping. If I hadn't registered back in January, there's no way I would have. Still recovering from the knee injury, suffering from a stiff neck the past few days, plus rain and daylight savings time, it would have been easy to stay in bed this morning. But I got up and did this race, and I actually felt pretty good about it. I'm a little disappointed I didn't beat my time from last year, and even worse I don't think I beat my bike split (I don't have clear data) despite a year with the bike and race wheels. I am pleased, however, that I was able to run more than I have cumulatively since 3M, with little complaint from my knee. I'll blame my 1:38:36 being 1:35 slower than last year on the light rain during the first run and half of the bike.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Austin Marathon Race Report

I probably should not have attempted to do a marathon today. I probably did for the wrong reasons, namely that I was already registered and I wanted to finish the Distance Challenge. But, I did start the Livestrong Austin Marathon, and good idea or not, I did finish my first full marathon. While I didn't finish anywhere close to the time I had hoped for months ago, I met my expectations on the day, still recovering from major knee pain suffered during the 3M Half Marathon three weeks ago, with a 6:27:47. Since I knew I would be going slowly, and not being one for a crazy costume, I thought I would tweet along the way. Those tweets are collected here.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

3M Half Marathon

After good showings in the first three legs of the Austin Distance Challenge (IBM 10K, Run for the Water 10-miler and Decker Challenge Half Marathon), I had high hopes for my second running of the 3M Half Marathon (2011 report). However, it seems training for the full marathon has not been kind to my legs. On top of the foot pain I've been having since before Decker, I hurt my left knee running 18 miles last weekend, and had a bad right calf cramp Thursday night at swim practice.
While I had a pretty good 10K this morning (~51 minutes), that was about all my knee could take. I started walking near the halfway point. I tried once or twice to pick the pace up to a jog (10-12 minute miles), but walking (15-16 minute pace) was as fast as I could go without severe pain.
It was rather demoralizing, walking as everyone ran past. First it was the 1:50 pace group, then 1:55, 2:00, and eventually 2:10. After that I didn't feel quite as bad, as there were a lot of people taking walk breaks. At least I wasn't in the way as much at that point. For a while, in my head, I was saying to the passing runners "Yeah, well I had a better 10K than you did," which is of course completely moot in a half marathon.
I seriously considered stopping at one of the many convenience stores on the route for real food, a drink and ibuprofen, but I was quite sure any stop would be the last. I had stopped early in the walking phase to chat with a friend spectating and was barely able to start again. At that moment, with almost six miles to go, I seriously considered withdrawing and getting a sag ride to the finish. But, I figured a DNF would be a more lasting pain than my knee, so I kept on.
At the final turn, onto Congress in front of the state history museum, I made one final attempt to pick up the pace, but the pain was too much. I crossed the finish line with a time of about 2:40, got my finisher's medal, picked up my dropped clothes, and boarded a bus back to the start.
The drive home was quite painful as well, having to work the clutch in my manual transmission car. Surely there is a line between tough and stupid, and surely I have crossed it.