Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Otter

So a couple of weeks back I attended an early morning One Step Beyond group swim session at Triangle Aquatic Center.   I was about half way through my main set when I noticed that The Coachman's wife (and fellow coach) Bri had arrived to join the fun.

I think I was the only one with a lane to myself (smelly?  slow?  zig-zagging?   all of the above?) so she politely asked if she could join me...   of course!

Wow...   humbling....   that lady is fast!   It wasn't long before I was being lapped, and lapped, and lapped....    she was like some sort of sleek torpedo zooming up and down the pool!

The following day I was on a ride with The Coachman and Kerry, another One Step Beyond victim athlete, and I mentioned how impressive Bri is in the pool....   "she was zooming past me like...."   at this point I struggled to come up with the right word....    " an otter!"

I meant this strictly in the sense of a sleek creature that glides effortlessly through the water at great speed, but somehow both The Coachman and Kerry found this funny and preferred to thing that I was referring to some giant, nasty, aggressive rodent!   Oh crap!   No!   Don't tell her that!

Kerry and The Coachman's interpretation.....
My version.
Anyway, as evidence that the otter is commonly thought of as a sleek, fast swimming mammal, I offer the following:

I rest my case...

Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you....  "The Otter".....

Sppedy on dry land too!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cary Duathlon Race Report

Better late than never!   Here's my race report from last weekend's Cary Duathlon (Short Course).   2.5 mile run;  17.65 mile bike;  2.5 mile run.

A local race and a very civilized 9:00 am start time meant that I didn't have to set my alarm for the middle of the night for a change!   Never-the-less, I was (as always) one of the earlier arrivals at Brook's Park in Cary and was soon registered and warming-up with a nice easy run around the park.

After having a little trouble inflating the tire (or "tyre" if you're reading this in the UK!) on my front Zipp 808 race wheel and running over to bike support to get the valve loosened, I got my transition area set-up and was soon chatting to Rabbit and Mr. Rabbit as the sun finally started to get a bit higher and take some of the chill out of the air.  A big topic of conversation was "what to wear?".  It was certainly a bit chilly and it would almost certainly be cold on the bike if you didn't layer-up a little.   Worse than that though (for me at least, would be being too hot as the race went on.  In the end I opted for long running tights over my tri shorts and an Under Armour long-sleeve under my tri top.  Gloves were ready in transition for the bike leg!

Rabbit "prepping"....   It seems that she opted for the "I'm going to wear everything" approach!
While chatting a strange figure appeared silhouetted against the sun and pushing his bike....   The Coachman delivering my new One Step Beyond Multisport tri top!    I quickly ran back to the car to put it on and dump some of my extra layers and ran straight into Ashley Gilreath from the Outer Banks Tri Club.  She was visiting to race while hubby was doing a local half marathon.

The Coachman cometh!

Ashley looking cold? angry? surprised? when I snapped this picture in transition.
The next person I ran into was Flipper Ass, who was wearing some sort of pink outfit that burned my retinas.   There should be some sort of law against "wearing a loud outfit in a built-up area"!    It should be noted here that, despite their earlier promise of loud support with cow bells and copious quantities of liquor, both Compass and Snort bailed on us at the 11th hour and are now considered untrustworthy undesirables!  ;-)   It was nice to meet a few more members of the One Step Beyond team such as Stephanie Turner, Julie Paddison and Julie Worden.

OK, so on to more serious stuff....   the race!

Transition area seemed strangely uncluttered without the need for wetsuits, towels and so on!

Coach Bri apparently had different ideas and brought the kitchen sink!

Run One:   2.5 miles:  An out and back course through a neighborhood and around Brooks Park, with a couple of hills.

The run got off to a slow start as the opening section was narrow and crowded.   I ran with Flipper Ass to start and knew that things weren't all that special, but found somewhat of a rhythm after about half a mile.  By this time Flipper was easing away, but I could still see that hideous pink outfit up in the distance.   The rest of the run was basically uneventful, but slower than I would have liked.

20 min 32 seconds.  Just over 8 min/mile pace.

Bike:  17.65 miles.  Rolling - not too many truly flat sections.  

I feel that the bike went reasonably well.  I wouldn't call it windy by Outer Banks standards, but it was certainly breezy and there were times whenyou could certainly feel the effects of the head wind.   I basically tried to stay in aero position and keep a strong steady cadence.  As usual, I was overtaken by a few speedsters, but I enjoyed chasing down and overtaking many more, including Flipper Ass!  :-)  (she would get her revenge later!). 

56 min 50 seconds.  ~18.7 mph

Run Two:  2.5 miles.   

Things got a little uglier here.  Legs were a little "toasty" getting off the bike and I took a while to find a decent rhythm.  Even when I started turning over a little better I just felt slow.    Slogged it out though, even after Flipper Ass blew by me on her way to her third place age group finish!

22 mins 51 seconds

Overall (inc. transitions):   1:41:34

Yes, it was painful!
Coming into the finishing chute.  Almost there!
  After a drink and some food I got in line to check my time on the computers that FS Series had set-up and.....   what's this?....    wow!   I was actually third in my age group - a podium finish.  A nice way to start the race season and faster than I was over the same course a couple of years ago, despite the wind.

The guy who won was almost a full ten minutes faster, but I was encouraged that we had about the same bike split (he absolutely rocked the run!!).  The guy in second had similar run splits to me but a great bike.   Overall, I am a happy camper!

Friday, March 1, 2013

The First Race of the Season....

....and it could get ugly.....    .....the Cary Duathlon (short course) is just around the corner on March 9th!   

It's very early in the season, but I'm kind of excited that "race time" is back with us again.   In no small part because of the water temperatures, the first local triathlons don't typically take place until later in April and early May, but there are a host of running and dualthlon (running and biking) races kicking into gear now that it's March.  (Gulp!   Can it really be March already???).

North Carolina early season open water swims could be worse I guess.......

I did the Cary Duathlon back in 2011 as a fun training session and I will be approaching it the same way this year.   I opted for the short course event, which comprises a 2.5 mile run, followed by 17.5 miles on the bike and another 2.5 mile run.  The race is part of the 3 City Duathlon Series sponsored by Inside Out Sports.

Back in 2011 this was only the third race I had done (after my first two - the Outer Banks Sprint Triathlon and Lake Logan Sprint the previous Fall).   I was still pretty slow and I remember being particularly slow on the second run leg!   My splits were:

Run 1.    20:47    (~8:15 pace)
T1.         00:38
Bike.      58:48    (~18.1 mph)
T2.         00:48
Run 2,    22:34    (~9:05 pace)

Total:   1:24:32.5

I think I finished 35th overall male and 6th in my age group.

As far as I can tell the rolling bike course is the same this year, but the run course is a bit different, so it will be difficult to make direct comparisons (of course the weather won't be the same either!) but I'm keen to see how I compare this time around. 

Rumor has it that Flipper Ass will be racing the long course and that Compass and Snort will be coming to cheer us on, complete with cow bells and bottles of liquor....    that scene could get ugly quickly!  The early morning hour is unlikely to slow those two professionals!......