Monday, April 30, 2007

St. Anthony's Race Review

What a great race! The conditions were perfect; hardly any wind, water was 77 degrees, sunny but not too hot, dry and very little humidity. All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better day to race. Luke showed up close to 5am and off we went to meet up with our bikes which we checked in the day before. In hindsight, about 30 minutes would have made for a little less stress pre-race, but we got everything done that we had to.

The day before, check-in was a breeze. Green-eyed Lady was one of many to make that whole process a snap (That's Di - the redhead and G.E.L. to he left) I had an awesome Transition spot - it was easily a 100 yard run from the water exit to my bike (that's my yellow Felt with the wheel covers to the right), but the location made finding my spot a snap. I used TriDummy's race number belt in its first race - thanks TD. The new aero helmet is also on for it's first race.

The only bad thing about the race day setup was getting the timing chip. 4,000 people crammed into the smallest of places - I wish I had gotten a picture - it was pretty comical. But it's done. This time, at least I did not put my suit on backwards! I had plenty of time to warm up prior to my wave - all of the age group men went before Clydesdales, and most of their waves were broken down into 2 or 3 alphabetical groups.

The Swim
I really felt good up to the first turn of the 3-leg swim course. I knew I needed a good swim, so I went out hard. I ran out into the water where I usually just saunter out. I stayed with the group and was aggressive when I bumped into folks - I kept on swimming, looking for clean water. I know I stayed with the main group through the 1st turn buoy. After that, I noticed less folks around me - the swimmers started pulling away. I couldn't hang. I kept my sighting through this leg consistent at about once every 9 strokes - and I stayed on course. At the second turn, or around 1,000 meters, I started seeing some different color caps - I wasn't worried about the one's from the young clydesdales or even the 50+ AG guys that I had happened to pass (waves went off every 5 minutes) - it was the women that went off 5 min after me that I was trying to stay ahead of.

I rounded the second turn buoy and started in to shore. As I got closer to what I was sighing on, I realized it was a dude on a kayak - I hadn't turned sharply enough! Crap! Not sure how much I added to the course, but after that one episode, I found the end of the swim course and stayed on line pretty much to the end. I came out of the water at 32:08 (that's me in the back, getting ready to mount the stairs - all blue caps!) - a minute or so better than last year and a 1:57 per 100 yd pace - not too bad, but not where I wanted to be. I was 75th out of 90 Clydesdale finishers, and even with some mandatory struggling while taking off my wetsuit, I still got T1 done in 2:09. I had a feeling it was on the slow side, considering my sighting error, and I'd have to make it up on the bike.

The Bike

There are a bunch of turns in the SA bike course - someone said there were 40. Almost right away the course takes you up hill and into a bit of a head wind, so it takes a little while to get to speed. I probably went out a little too fast, and by mile 10 I had my average speed up to 22mph. That was my ultimate goal - 22mph. I held on to 22 for about 8 more miles - for whatever reason, I cracked. As Roman says, like a walnut. You can see it on the Garmin graph, plain as day. The dotted line is right at 22mph, and after about 19 miles, I never saw it on the speedo again.

This would cost me more than my bike split. I felt the twinge as soon as I dismounted, and then as I was running in my bike shoes through T2 it hit pretty hard. Left Calf Cramp. My old nemesis. I ingested 2 gels and 2 water bottles while on the bike, and I had 3 electrolyte tablets prior to the race and 64 oz of Gatoraid. I thought I had had enough - I should have drank more. I'll also try and pop some e-tabs during the event next time. My bike effort was good enough for a 1:11:21 split and 20.9 mph average speed. I limped out of T2 in 2:17, unsure if I'd even be able to finish!

This is Luke on his way to a blistering 2:31:58 and a 22mph average bike split - 13 minutes faster than last year! You can see one of our special Norwegian Cowbells at the bottom of the picture. More Cowbell!!!

The Run

Every time I looked at my Garmin for the first 1.5 - 2 miles it seemed like it read a 12:00 pace. How depressing is that?!?! One Clydesdale after another - all those folks I blew by on the bike - passed by me in those first 2 miles. I saw Excel-man fly by as he was finishing up his 2:32:43 effort (Di got a great shot of him to the right finishing up - look at the air under his feet - man, he's flying! Obviously that's my big self to the left...) and just knew he was having an awesome day. After a while, the pain started to subside and I picked up the pace. I started to catch some of the guys that had passed me. By the 3 mile turnaround, I started to feel pretty good. I saw my buddy and fellow Clyde Rob who swam a sickly fast 23:04 and realized I had a chance to catch him. It took all of 2 more miles! I ran the last mile scared that anyone would be running fast behind me, and finished up the run with a 1:00:51 split, which equates to a 9:48 pace. I ran the first half in about 32:50, so the back was in about 28 even - still not that fast but I was really glad to be able to finish strong and running!

Post Race:

The line for the beer tent and food was longer than I could stand. Instead, I got in the transition line and waited to get my stuff. As I got my things, folks from the TNT waves were still coming in off their bikes - the breeze had picked up then as well as the heat! SA is surely harder for them each year than it is for the rest of us starting earlier. Our beer and margaritas were waiting for us at Dan Marino's, as well as some good grub.

My 2:48:31 was good enough for 39th out of 90 Clydesdale 40-49 finishers. My prediction of needing a 2:36 or better was way wrong - 10th place was taken with 2:32:59 by Trey Starkey, and while my horse Larry Witt ran a huge 2:23:11 - it was only good for 2nd behind Alan West from Orlando who won with a time of 2:15:24 - incredible effort for a Clydesdale.
Edit: For some reason Alan West has been removed from the Clydesdale results, putting Larry in first and everyone else up a spot. Awesome job Larry Witt - I talked to him briefly before the race - humble guy, and he also said that his Gasparilla Marathon time of 3:16 was good enough to qualify for Boston, which he will do next year.

I still PR'd at all 3 disciplines at this distance and overall by 23 minutes. So it was a victory, even if it was not the day for which I had hoped. I saw AWESOME performances by my Tri-Friends Excel-man (his first Oly), Luke (who PR'd from last year's SA by 12:22 that's Luke, his wife Perez, and baby Boo to the right, two of our greatest fans...) and Rob who also did his first Oly distance and finished strong.
My battle with the bulge is still on-going - I weighed in at 245 pre-race, so I had gained a little during my taper. I'll be honest and say that my goal for SA was to weigh 230 lbs - I really only lost about 6 lbs from this time last year. Looks like there is still plenty of work to do - and that's one of the great things about Triathlon!

Friday, April 27, 2007

St. Anthony Pre-race Clydesdales 40+

Well, I've been threatening to do this for a while now - with 2 days to go until St. Anthony's Olympic here in St. Pete, Florida, I'm ready to post pre-race predictions for the top 10 Clydesdales 40+. The podium is pretty big for SA as the top 10 get hardware.

The #1 and #2 seeds from last years results, William Glennon and John Cornish, have pulled out of the race for some reason this year (their 2:21 and 2:25 times will be sorely missed...), but #3 Kevin Convey is returning with a time from last year of 2:29:53.

In my opinion, the guy to beat this year will be Larry Witt. Larry just recently ran the Gasperilla Marathon in 3:19, and posted a 10:52 at IMFL06 - awesome times for a 200+ pounder. His time last year was 2:32:29 - barring any hiccups, he'll definitely be under 2:30 this year.

Joseph Dennis comes down from Birmingham, AL with a 7th place from last year and a time of 2:34:41, which was a close finish to Rick Downs of Redington Beach. Richie Petitbon returns with his 2:36:22 from last year. Peter Walton's 2:36 should put him in the top 10 this year, and Thomas Stinson also came in around 2:36 - he'll be coming down from Virginia, so hopefully he's got some training time in.

Kevin McAuliffe, Barry Powell, Trey Starkey, Dan Tillwick and Michael Stone are all in the running with times last year from 2:36 to 2:37 - and I think it's going to take a 2:36 to get into the top 10 this year, just like last year. Only 5 of last years top 10 guys are returning, but there are some notable newcomers this year.

Peter Helling from Brooklyn runs a 1:43 half mary and has gone 2:34 in an Oly. Frank Rudd and Douglas Hale, who runs a 46min 10k, will also be shooting for the podium with good performances throughout last year and who's fitness could have improved over the winter. Of course there are a few sleepers in there and some guys coming up from the 39 and under Clydesdale category, but as usual, SA Clydesdales will be extremely competitive.

And that brings us to the Bigun. I've been working hard all winter to break into the podium spot at St. Anthony's - that's been my #1 goal and my driving motivation for the beginning of this season. I know it will take a 2:36 or better to do that. I can look at the very probables first. I know I can run 8:45's off the bike. I know that. I know that I can bike 21.5 mph, even though I'm shooting for 22 mph. Lets just say I have an awesome race and put together a 22 mph bike with a 8:45 run - with 5 min total transitions that puts me at 1:07:30 on the bike and a 54:15 run time for a total of 2:06:45 - giving me only 30 minutes to swim in order to break 2:36. Ug - that's the rub - last year I did the swim in 33:45 in rough conditions and I've been averaging about 1,000 more yards a week this year in training compared to last. You can't win a tri with the swim, but you sure can loose it!

And who knows what this year will bring and who will bring it?!? If there are 10 guys who smoke it and race faster than 2:35 - so be it, and I have no control over that. Sure I'd be disappointed, but in reality, if I PR and come in at my goal pace, I'll be the happiest Clydesdale this side of the Mississippi!

So there you have it - the front runners, the guys in the chase, and me. Interestingly, my training buddy and all-round good guy Luke went 2:44 last year and my arch Nemesis (just kidding) Excel-man is racing in his first Oly (we have dinner riding on the overall winner)...I think if you add Luke's weight and Excel-man's weight, you almost have one of me. Pre-triathlon. Scary thought.

Luke's shooting for a 48 min run, a 66 min bike and 35 min swim with 5 min for transitions puts him at 2:34 - and I really hope he does it, but the other side of me, the evil competitive side, still wants to beat him for once. He's swam less than he did last year (but he's been biking a lot and running strong...) and I'm thinking 35 min is ambitious, but we'll see (that's my one shot - I need a good swim, and he has to swim crappy - like 40 min...).

Excel-man is a complete unknown. His Florida's Great Escape results are dubious in that the distances might not have been completely accurate (according to E-M). At those paces, and with some fudging for course, he'll have a 34:30 swim, a 1:17 bike and a smoking fast 44 min run with 5 min for transitions puts him at 2:40:30. I'll never live this down if I blow up out there...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

SA PSA - Edited

In the spirit of being a helpful triathlete and competitor, take a look at the most recent observations of a water buoy just off the peer at the site of the St. Anthony's Olympic Tri:

Looks like we've been gaining about a half degree a day for the past few days, with little change in the forecast temps - so by Sunday, I'll predict a high of about 77 degrees, and in the morning, it should be around 75.6 - 76 degrees...a comfortable wet-suit swim!

Wind data is a bit more complex - it's just plain impossible to rely on any trends to forecast something that changes so quickly. Sunday is supposed to have a low of 68 and a high temp of 83 with a 10% chance of rain - nearly perfect weather conditions! If the 10% chance of rain equates to an overcast morning, then the winds will be even less than what we've had in the morning for the past week or so - clear sky's usually mean a windy day around here.

16 knots equates to about 14 mph winds (these are steady wind speeds below, not wind gusts) and it looks like the average over the past few days has been roughly 8 knots, for about a 7 mph wind speed. They are pretty consistent out of the west - if they stay that way, St. Petersburg should block a lot of it, and keep the waters calm. It's that wind out of the east, like we had last year, that causes all the troubles.

I'm looking forward to awesome conditions on race day - and wishing everyone the best of luck!

Edit: I was anonymously correctly corrected for my inverting the formula for Knots to MPH winds - 16 knot winds = 18.4 mph, and 8 knots is half of that or 9.2 mph. Never know I was an engineering major...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Big race a'coming!

I've been very pre-occupied lately - my brain's had a hard time being creative and blog post-worthy. I've been leaving comment love - that's easy. But coming up with a good post - well, whatever.

What's been going on? Not a whole lot in the training world. I had a sort of recovery week last week after a hard effort at the Clermont Tri. I managed one good brick, which I wrote about, and a couple of crappy swims, a Sunday 25 mile bike ride, and that was it. My right shoulder has been feeling a little sore - its making some cracking noises as a rotate it, so I've been babying it in the pool.

I got my bike all ready for Sunday's race - mounted my tubular, put the wheel cover on, added my new 12-27 Ultegra cassette, pumped up the HED Jet 90 and donned my new LG aero helmet. Everything seems to work. Now all I need is a good taper.

My weight has been hovering between 240 and 242 now for a few weeks. I guess I'll be going into the race this year about 10 lbs lighter than last year. Not the 230 I was gunning for, but I also have to keep in mind that there's some added muscle mass there. Water temp for SA will be 73, maybe 74 degrees, so we'll be in wetsuits for sure.

Yea, I know - ho hum post. I'll put something together with race goals and predictions and some pictures of my race-ready bike in a bit. Wouldn't it be nice if during the taper for your "A" race the rest of your life could just be placed on hold - no stress, no changes, no family issues and no mysterious nagging new injuries or fungus's (like athletes foot...)?

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Have you ever had one of those workouts that takes you by surprise? One that you had no "good" expectations for before you started, but as you got going, everything clicked and you just cranked? Today's workout was like that for me - and it's a real confidence booster for the up-coming "A" race - St. Anthony's Olympic on April 29th.

Yesterday's workouts were a complete bust. I went to the Y for a swim after work, and like I promised, I did sighting drills. Since I breath bi-laterally, I did the first 500 yards where every right stroke I sighted, and then the next 500 yards I sighted on every left stroke. I really want to ingrain sighting and make it easy to do no matter which side I'm breathing on. Unfortunately, I pooped out at 1000 yds, and called it a night. Just ran out of energy.

Not to let the swim totally defeat me last night, I thought I'd go on a run. I got out about a mile, and the cramp that grabbed my left calf at Sunday's tri started to tighten up, so I immediately stopped, turned around and walked home. So...I wasn't very excited about a "quality" bike workout when I left the house this morning.

I didn't even bother eating breakfast. I have a bad habit of following along the Iron Pol line of nutrition/hydration philosophy - whatever I happen to think of before I head out the door is my plan for the day. It's not pretty, and certainly not recommended - today's brick started on a cup of coffee and two Endurolyte pills. In keeping with the "Peak" and increased intensity line of training, I thought I'd do a race rehearsal today at least for the bike and run, and do a 24 mile bike and 6 mile run.

In typical Bigun style, I started out slow on the bike and warmed up into race pacing. The first lap went pretty good, but I noticed a bit of sluggishness and remembered that I hadn't aired up the tires. So I paused at the truck (the low speed dip at 12 miles), put air in both tires and headed right back out for another lap. Much, much better. Lots of time in the 23's now. Finished up at 21.5mph average, and PE was very reasonable - I know that there's plenty in the tank still for the ride next Sunday.

I quickly changed into the running shoes and stated out, but had to turn around and drop the keys and the "fix-a-flat" still in the back pockets - they were making way too much noise back there! Things were clicking on the run. Right away I was running in the 9's and feeling pretty strong for just coming off the bike. I picked up the pace, just waiting for the cramp to hit or something to slap me in the head. Nothing ever did. On the way back I tried to keep my pace in the 8's for most of the way. I finished out the run feeling great at an 8:47 average pace. What an awesome confidence booster! If you look at the little stats spreadsheet I even negative split the 3 mile out and back by :45 per mile. For a while now I've been scared I wouldn't be able to break a 9 min pace after a hard bike, but after a good taper and the right eating and drinking I think I'll be OK.

Not much training volume this week - been very busy with my business start up. I did get my new tubies, so I'll be putting the bike together to be race ready on Sunday for a dress rehearsal bike ride. Doubt I'll have my new aero helmet by then though....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tri America Series Clermont.

This was the inaugural race of Sommer Sport's new distance format: 2k Swim, 60k Bike and 15k Run, which for us Americans means a 2188 yd swim, 37.28 m bike and a 9.32m run. Held in Clermont, Florida on and around Lake Minneola, the topography is pretty hilly (ask someone who has done the Great Floridian Iron distance race). We had 1,553 ft of elevation gain on the bike, but the run was pretty flat with only 239 ft gain in elevation there. The water was cold enough for wetsuits - the lake is brown and murky so much so that you can't see your hands when you stroke. Close to the shore, the water was "take your breath away" cold, but about 150 - 200 yds out, it warmed up to comfortable wetsuit levels.

Sommer Sports runs a tight ship. This was my second TriAmerica race and it went off smoothly and on time. There was ample parking, registration was easy and the transition area was well marked. Perhaps because of the new format, or may be with the Escape from Fort Desoto race held the day before (a very popular event) - the Transition area was pretty small. Most likely, the weather kept quite a few people away. I've already posted on my pre-race activities and antics, so I'll not belabor my backwards wetsuit or poor eating habits anymore.

I might as well have had a calendar for my swim. Unbelievably, I did not come in last for the Clydesdales with my time of 52:54 or pace of 2:15 per 100yds. The old saying, "you can't win a race with a swim, but you can sure lose it" definitely holds true for me (thats the Jet coming out of the waterin 40 min - a screaming good swim time btw...). That put me 12 min behind 1st place, and 9 min behind 2nd, right out of the gate. Given the conditions were the same for everyone, I can only attest my time to crummy sighting. I'll work this week and next on sighting practice every time I swim. Lesson learned. Again.

I was good through T1 and on my way to the hilly Clermont bike course. Right out of T1 you are mashing up a 6% grade. I though I had it geared low enough, but I almost stalled halfway up the hill. Chalk it up to cold legs - the next lap up that hill went much smoother. Knowing full well that my swim was for crud, I was pedaling hard to catch up to Jetpack and Luke who where out there somewhere. I did the first lap (18.8 miles in 58:19) for an average speed of 19.3 mph - but the really bad weather hadn't kicked in yet. We had a couple of bouts of light rain to this point, and of course gusty wind, but the really hard stuff wasn't to come down until lap #2.

I can't really say if a disc would have been feasible for my 240 lbs in those conditions, but I would have been one of only 2 I saw that were brave enough to try to ride with one. I'm glad I erred on the side of caution - really, I just ran out of bike-prep time. The winds were 80% cross winds - with the disc and the Hed 90 - I would have been screaming fast! I saw both Luke and Jetpack out on their returns, about 2 miles ahead of me, so I didn't really have a shot of catching them, but I did try and make up some time and distance. Then, on lap 2, the bottom dropped out of the sky.

Between the gusts and the hail and the inch and a half of rain that fell I lost a half mile per hour on my average for lap #2. Still, it was good enough for 2nd best Clydesdale bike split, and allowed me to regain some of time that I lost on the swim. The kicker was in the T2. I thought I was in the center lane, but when I looked for my stuff, I couldn't find it. I went over to the next lane - but I definitely was not there. Back to the center lane I went, and lo and behold, there were my shoes. It seems that during the torrential downpour the Transition Area had filled up with water and lifted all the cut grass up and back down on top of our towels, shoes, hats, race numbers, gels and sunglasses. I racked my bike, dumped the water out of my running shoes, and donned my gear a minute and a half slower than the guy who took 2nd place. That minute and a half, swim time not withstanding, would come back to haunt me.

Out I went to the run course. Luke was done with the sprint race and cheered me on, telling me that Jetpack was a good 10 minutes ahead of me. The run course was an out and back 4.5 miler or so, with plenty of water and Gatorade on a nicely shaded, paved trail. Jetpack was running 8:50s and I was running 9:28s, so I harbored no delusions of catching him. It was the other Clydesdales up ahead of me that I was after. Because of the out and backs, I knew about where they were, and after each turn I could tell I was gaining. I paced myself a little slowly in the beginning due to the calf injury I was recovering from - I didn't want to push it on this "C" race.

At the last turn, the Clydes were all lined up and in my sights. I passed two of the slower runners, and as I picked up the pace I ran by two more with about 2 miles to go. Then it hit. Left calf and hamstring cramp - subtle at first, then it got more and more painful. Definitely a lack of sodium. I should have drank more Gatorade! I stopped briefly to try and stretch it out and 2 Clydes re-passed. I got on the heels of one and tried to limp along with him - maybe the pain would go away, or he would break! The pain just got worse, and he didn't break. We ran hard all the way to the finish, with a run split of 1:30:55 or 9:45 min per mile pace, and placed 5th. Places 2 through 5 for the Clydesdales were within 55 seconds of each other. 55 freaking seconds! I left lots of "55 seconds" out there for sure. But, it was a "C" race after all, and hopefully I didn't do so much damage to my leg as I can't quickly recover and get in one more solid week of training before my St. Anthony/101 race tapers.

The race swag was pretty nice - the T-shirt is cool, the finisher's medal is one of the best I have, and 5th place got me a nifty mug for my efforts. For a budding 1/2 Ironman competitor or someone wanting to test themselves more than an Olympic distance event, this is a great race. At 4:30:48 I finished about 30 minutes shy of where I wanted to, but I identified some weaknesses that need a couple of tweaks prior to my "A" race, and, despite the weather, enjoyed the competition. Coming out of the water so late, I passed so many people on the bike that made it really fun (heck, out of 140 men that raced only 56 beat me on the bike), - even if a couple of them (only a few, actually) passed me on the run.

As far as improvement goes - I did the Tri America Clermont Olympic race last year and biked 16.87 mph average on an easier overall course, and ran 10:48 min/mile average for a shorter distance. So I can't hardly complain about 2 mph faster bike speed and a minute per mile faster run. I missed having Mrs. Bigun there to cheer me on - I'm sure with some pom-poms and a cowbell or two I would have done better - but the weather made spectating nearly impossible. This just means she'll be that much more rested and raring to go for St. Anthony's in 2 weeks!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pre-race review - Clermont TriAmerica

This race was very "un-Bigun" like. I'm usually pretty OCD about getting ready, making sure I eat right, getting the right amount of sleep, etc, etc. Today's race - none of those things. It was just for fun today. And that wasn't so bad, really.

The last few days, the Biguns have been very social. We saw the redneck concert of all redneck concerts - 38 Special, Hank Williams Jr., and Lynyrd Skynyrd - yes, all in the same night. That was Friday night. Last night we went to a "mini-reunion" of sorts - local folks that graduated in my class met at a fellow's house where we ate and drank and talked late. After the party was when I squeezed in some time to get my stuff ready for today's race. I didn't clean my bike. I didn't rotate my tires like it was suggested I do. No, I didn't put my wheel cover on, nor did I get my Hed Jet 90 front wheel ready either. That's right, folks, I raced on "stock" wheels. I couldn't find my electrolyte pills (which would be bad later...). I threw a bunch of stuff in my tri-bag and hoped for the best, and got in bed right around midnight for the second night in a row, looking forward to a 4am wake up call.

No, the Bigun didn't partake in the spirits either night. While that move showed extreme amounts of discipline and willpower, it made for a long concert...I think I was the only non-drunk person there (besides Mrs. B and the other two that came with us). I did eat at the reunion party. And eat. And then eat some more. 7-layer dip...mmmm. Boiled shrimp...mmmm - sorry everyone, I ate so much shrimp - I don't think there is anymore. I made shrimp an endangered species last night. And a giant hamburger. Oh-my-god...the hostess made this German apple pie that was two servings delicious. Plus some cookies. I destroyed that 7-layer dip, btw. Sampled the hummus with bread wedges - those were pretty good. Carrots off the veggie plate - ate e'm. Lots of 'em. They made the kids leave the room - I think they were scared for their general well-being.

Oh, and lets just say that 100% of last night's food, in it's entirety, took a ride on the Bigun express for 4 hrs and 36 minutes of swimming, biking and running this morning. I was reminded of my passengers at the beginning of the run - but was able to ignore those loud-ass shrimp, as persistent as they were, through the finish line. Barely.

The weather was insane! We knew it would be, based on forecasts, but we were hoping for the best, right? The whole day's weather was less than ideal...but I'm really not complaining. It would be like bitching about the hills or the murky water on the swim - those things were all givens when I hit the "register" button. I even found myself laughing when I was on a long downhill stretch going about 35 into a driving wind and rain, one eye closed, the other squinting to keep the water out, my arms stinging from the small bits of hail mixed in with the giant raindrops - it was an adventure! We truly earned our finisher's medals today!

I think (our times aren't posted yet) that my swim time was best measured with a calendar. I was that guy you see swimming way out by himself, then cutting across everyone to try and get back in "formation"...back and forth, back and forth. It was ugly. The reality of my poor swim stems from my jinxing myself right before the starting gun. Let me explain. I put my swim cap in one of the pouches of my tri-bag, and zipped it shut. Really, I zipped the cap into the zipper - tearing it, of course (jinx #1). My scramble to find a replacement left me with little time to warm up, stretch, swim a little, etc. I found myself with a couple minutes before the gun without my suit on, so I moseyed over to some solid ground and commenced putting my wetsuit on. Damn if it felt funny for some reason. It wasn't bending right around my knees (did the Bigun's legs get that much more massive?), and then I was having a heck of a time getting my arms in - for some reason the arms were pointing behind me. I actually got both arms in the suit before I realized that it was a rare wetsuit that zippered in the front (jinx #2, and for the uninitiated, I had it on backwards). It was at that point I realized it would be a long day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rain, Rain go Away

Tomorrow's conditions call for an interesting day. Temperatures will be great, and setting up our gear will be nice and dry - right. Any deviation to this and we'll be setting up in a downpour. Crap! This is our season opener! Luke will probably go stag, which means with the weather, Di may bail as well. I couldn't blame her or anyone else for that matter. I just hope Sommer Sports doesn't cancel the race.

So, do I throw on the wheel cover tonight and ride with the Hed Jet 90 in the front tomorrow? It's going to be very windy, and a little hilly t'boot. I've ridden those wheels in the wind before and managed - it got a little dicey... I've got a few hours to watch the weather and think about it some more. We'll see...

Friday, April 13, 2007


My original thought on peaking was that I'd put in a ton of hours and ramp the body up hard to take on my A race and follow on long race - the Bradenton 101. Of course, things change, as they always seem to do, and my idea of what a "Peak" is has also evolved.

After doing a little reading on the subject, I think (and I'm no coach, disclaimer, disclaimer...) that the peak is really more about intensity than volume. Personally, I'm at a point in my almost 2 year triathlon career that if I put in more than 10 - 12 hrs of total training in a week, something breaks. This level, this 10 - 12 hr level, is where I need to stay for a while and get my body used to it. Last year I averaged about 5 hrs of total training per week, so this is a good jump for me.

So I've been concentrating on adding intensity to every workout, more on some, less on other's so that I don't go "hard" on every workout. When I swim, I'll go 250 yds easy than really push hard for 250, and mix that up over 2k. Early in the week I pushed 1000 yds, then did 1000 mixed hard and easy. On the bike, I've been doing intervals - 37 miles with a 40k TT in there, or like yesterday with a 6.5 easy, 6.5 interval keeping it over 22mph x 4 for 50 miles. My shoulders and legs are really sore this week - these intervals are very different from steady state swimming and riding.

I haven't run in a week, so I really can't say how my calf is doing. It doesn't hurt during any activity other than running, and even then it takes a few miles, so we'll see this Sunday at the Clermont race - I'm thinking it will be fine. I'm looking forward to racing with Jetpack and Luke and hearing those damn cowbells ringing for the first time around the transition area. By the time I get back, our IMAZ racers will be either done or getting done with their marathons - I'm anxious to see how well everyone does.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Racing season is upon us! Yea! Another season is here now, in Florida, too - the rainy season. It came in with a flurry, and just now I heard a sound missing for a few months - thunder. Thunder sucks. Means that there was lightning out there first. duh...

Thunder makes swimming a challenge in Florida. The YMCA pools here close for a minimum of 30 minutes each and every time they here a thunder clap. There's almost no perfect time of the day to swim. Mornings - you have the evening's storms over the gulf, and the lightning lights up the sky - 30 minutes. After work - that's when the fun starts - and in the summer it showers nearly every day - 30 minutes. My best luck has been around noon. It's insanely hot then, but the clouds are in building stage and you can get in an hour of swimming as long as you time it right. Wait until 2pm, forget it - 30 minutes.

All this rain makes biking challenging as well. Luckily, nearly all rain cells are short lived and only rain down on a small area - so many times it's raining at work, and then 10 miles away, at Flatwoods, it's clear. It's a crapshoot. I was lucky to get in a bike this morning before the rain started coming down. Sure enough, as soon as I close the door to the truck after putting my bike in the back - drops on the windshield.

Racing Season. Finally. Clermont. Cowbells. Jetpack. New Distance to race this weekend - 2k swim, 37 mile bike and 9 mile run. An Olympic and a half. An Ollieplus. Instead of swimming, here I sit, watching the rain.

All this rain means the grass is growing again. And another new season for the Bigun. I'm going into the lawn business. I'm not quitting my day job...yet, but I'm needing to do something. Something my own. Something I can be proud of. Integrity Lawn Care. It's a start.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Ride with the Jet

I posted about the infamous Jetpack ride on Thursday - the one that started with "Take it easy on me, Bigun" - you know the one. Anywho, I thought I'd show the world, in my horrible graphic style, the speed results of our 83 miles together. All of you Power-heads couldn't give a hoot about MPH (or kph, for you Canooks), but I'm still training in the dark ages. The Jetmeister came in at 3m and left right at 80; here's the results: Except for the end there where I held up a bit while he got some water (the dude drinks some fluids, let me tell you!), we kept a really consistent pace. I did some hammering in the rollers, but all in all it was a great ride. Looking forward to doing it all over again on Tuesday, maybe. I say maybe because I've been working on a business idea that might keep me working all day Tuesday, and I may have to try and find 5 hrs in the late afternoon, early

People get sick of reading about other people's training, but I'm pretty pleased with myself, so read on if you feel like reading some Bigun bragging. I finally downloaded Thursday's 40k TT from my Garmin tonight, and for the first 12.4 miles I was at 34:50, or about 21.5mph - for the second 12.4 miles I went 32:45 for an average of 23 mph. I like that I could keep 23 average for 12.4m - the second 12.4m... next time I'll try and do a warm up lap first, but that won't be for a while probably.

I even swam a full 3,050 yards today after work - 1 hr of swimming, 7 min of breaks on sets of 500 yds. Of course there was that girl there - you know the one - making me look like I was standing still there in the deep end. There's always someone in the pool that makes it look effortless. Until she showed up, compared to folks in the other lanes, that person was me for a while. Fame and glory sure is fleeting...

I can wish in one hand and crap in the other, and see which one fills up first - but I sure do wish this calf wasn't hurting me like it does. Not when I swim. Not when I bike. Only when my 240lbs of unsupported blubber runs on it. That Bradenton 101 race's 18.6 miles is going to be a long way without any long runs in the next 28 days.

The Kahuna has a call to arms for IMCdA'08 - a race already on my '08 tentative schedule, and my first ever M-dot Ironman attempt. I'm psyched - not only to race (well, really - to endure...), but hopefully to meet a bunch of you in the raceAthlete and Tri-Blogger Alliance Communities (plus anyone unaffiliated...) who may also be up for the event. We don't have that much time left to decide to commit for a race a year and 2 months away - this is a crazy sport! Iron Benny is going up there this year to race - good luck, sir! I hope his recent Ricky Bobby imitation doesn't effect his training.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Strong like Bull

I wish! I know I'm pushing it, and now my calf is screaming at me to stop. I'm putting in measly mileage, and still my body's rebelling. Guess you can only do what you can do. I'll probably have to cut out the running for a while and hope I've got some fitness to carry me through these next races - it's either that or stop running 4 miles into any race. Ok for sprints, but crappy for anything else.

Had a pretty good bike today - Got done with a lap at my favorite biking place, Flatwoods, and after 12.5 had an average of 21.4mph. It was overcast this morning so no harsh sun or any wind to speak of, so it was a great day for a time trial. That first lap was a psudo warmup - I saw the speed and thought that today was the day to go for the elusive 22. After my 83 mile ride on Tuesday, I really didn't think I had it in me.

Good 'ol Jetpack met me out at Suncoast Trail 2 days ago right on time to start up our long ride - and right away he tells me to "be easy on me". Now if I wasn't the nice guy that I am, that statement would be an invitation to thouroughly lay waste to the Jetliner, but I'm the kindler, gentler Bigun now. So, we rode at the pace of one of those old airliners with the prop engines - in all reality, it was the perfect base ride for the Bigun. The Jetster hung in there just fine for the whole ride - look out Wildflower, Mr. Jet just made a big deposit...

On the way home from the ride, my Cousin Ann from Ohio calls and gives me the details, already arranged with Mrs. B, for today's golf game in Orlando - about 70 miles from where we live. I had time to get home and shower, let the girls out and pack the clubs before Di got home and we made haste to the land of the Giant Rat. From 4 - 8 yesterday, the Big Guy played an impressive round of golf - my semi-annual round it seems these days - and shot a fantasticly fun 97. Not so much fun to start playing golf again...

Of course we have a few drinks and a very late-night steak (they are on vacation, so time is meaningless - we've got to work the next day) and don't get back home until 12:30am. I tried swimming at noon the next day (yesterday) and at 500 yards the tank was empty. I fought it for another 250 yards, but I just made it worse. I went to lunch with Bacon, another work/riding buddy, and he said my face was all pale and could see I needed food fast.

Is this boring? Seems pretty boring to me. Anyway...I didn't figure I had a chance of hitting 22mph today for a 40k TT, but I felt very strong heading out into that last lap. I had long stretches of 23 - 24mph, and it never got below 22 except for sharp turns. With about 2.5 miles to go, the Garmin flipped over to 22mph - and I hung on for last little bit to finish right there at 22. I guess the real significance to all this is that my St. Anthony's bike goal is 22.2mph (1:05), and this ride puts that goal in the doable range.

I cooled off with another 12.5m lap, really slow pace, and then did a 6 mile brick run that re-fried my calf. Now you are all caught up with the Bigun's training. I've been a little destracted with life and business lately, so the blog has suffered. Guess that happens...