Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Well, the swim waves start at 7am Pacific time - so all you East coast folks can sleep in Sunday and log in to your computers around noon. The waves will be all done by 7:06am. The swim is approximately 1.5 miles, or about 2,640 yards. With about a 2 minute per 100yd pace, I should be done with said swim in 53 minutes. That will be highly dependent on conditions such as chop (wind), current, water temperature (which will be cold - given) - so figure at least an hour, although last year, few people finished over an hour.
After the swim, I have to do a 1-mile warm up run to the bike transition area. I'm sure, being all cold and such, I'll be about 10 minutes to get done with this little run. Shoot, it's going to be 52 degrees, according to the forecast for Sunday, with a high of only 67 - so its going to take more than a mile run to warm the Bigun up!
The bike is 18 miles of San Francisco hills - ug. For a Clydesdale, hills are deadly; it will be a slug fest. This is called "The Great Highway Ride" and will take over an hour. I'm not going to commit any further.
The final leg, the run, is 8 miles of hills, sandy beach, a long set of sand-covered stairs, and final run down to the finish line. This part is a crap shoot - it's any one's guess - lets just go with an hour and 30 minutes to give folks a number to go with.
Now, you can go to this site: Accenture Athlete Tracker and log in to see real time when I get done with different legs of this race. There's supposed to be a nifty 'net-cam at the finish line, so around 3:15 after I start, or around 10:15 am Pacific time, start watching for me, I'm planning on wearing my raceAthlete jersey. Wish me luck, and thanks for watching!
Monday, May 28, 2007
The big A race, the TOOOW, is where it all boils down to. Just running a 10 min pace would cut my time by an HOUR and EIGHT minutes! I can also make some great gains in the swim - and should be able to cut that 1:15 3k swim to 1:05 (leaving some gas in the tank still). That 1:18 with a similar bike time is enough to drop me to under 9 hrs, which would make me confident for doing well at the full Iron distance.
One other thing that will help immensely, is the loss of another 12 -14lbs. That illusive 230lbs. 230 for Woodlands is reasonable. 12 lbs in 24 weeks - that half a pound a week. Sounds easy, but it's not, this I know. I like chocolate way too much. I have to get back to counting calories - it was very successful the first time I did it - it was worth at least 10 lbs earlier this year.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
What really sucks is that I had a better bike and run than both these guys, in fact, I beat the guy who came in 8th in both the bike and run. That's why they call it TRIathlon. Is it really all about the swim?
I'm really digging having a Masters program that I can go to between 5am and 7am every day - well, not Wednesday, it turns out - 4 mornings a week and get almost one-on-one attention from Mio, the resident coach. Race after race, the weakest part of my performance is my swim. I hate to offer it up, but if you (the reader) live close enough to take advantage of the program, it's only $37 per month!
I gotta say, I've been very lazy this past week. I know I fought off a cold, probably brought on by being a bit exhausted. We leave for San Francisco on Wednesday - so I'll be able to swim with Coach Mio on Monday and Tuesday, and get in a little running in, just so I'm not rusty for Sunday's race.
What has Coach Mio done for me so far? Well, he videoed my swimming and showed me how badly I was crossing my arms over my center line in front of me. And, he showed me how crappy my reach was. He started me on a drill where I reach out to my sides - almost 90 degrees it felt like - and extend to get a long pull. After a morning of doing those, he filmed me, and although it felt like I was reaching out like a bird with wings, I was actually reaching perfectly straight in front of me; no crossing over, no waisted effort, long, strong pulls with both arms. I still have to think to reach out to "the side", but it's starting to become second nature, and the best thing - I look more like a swimmer now.
Speaking of swimming, Alcatraz is right around the corner. Just keeping my fingers crossed for decent conditions - looked at the weather for this past week and the highs were in the 60's! I'd better bring some sweaters and a jacket if it keeps being so cold. Pucker factor - high, getting higher every day. Thinking of getting a waterproof disposable camera for the swim - saw a guy on Slowtwitch (The Cuban Comet) who took pics during the swim, and it seems like the thing to do, as a responsible blogger/race reporter...
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Five races in 8 weeks. What was I thinking? Well, I think I already wrote what I was thinking. Only one was a sprint. Those 8 weeks ends in about 10 days out in San Fransisco. I'm beat, and what's worse, I think I might be catching a cold.
I've already shipped my bike out to CA - which is a good thing - believe me! I'm fine with just swimming and running for the next 10 days. I hope none of you are expecting any earth-shattering race statistics from me from Escape - my race goal is to finish and have fun. Ug, that makes it sound like I'm not confident about finishing - so let me rephrase that - to race and have fun.
This is a mini-vacation for me and TriSherpaDi - that's Mrs. Bigun, but I think Roman might have coined a new name for her that doesn't include the word 'big' - and as far as vacations go, it's not really a "mini". We rarely do "just the two of us" - so three pre-race days in San Fransisco are days to really look forward to.
So take a tip from me - next time you feel the need to race your guts out and pack a ton of races into as little time as possible - rethink it, and then don't. The bad thing is that I look back at all of the races done so far this year and ask myself which one I would have cut - and I can't pick one. I've enjoyed them all: Clermont, St. Anthony's, One-O-One, Mad Beach... just let me get through the next 10 days, and enjoy Escape from Alcatraz too, and then maybe I'll just sleep-in a day or too. Promise.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
The course is a ocean .5 miles swim that is set up perfectly for novice Triathletes, like my buddy Jeff - Lil Clyde - who came down from Detroit to race with us this weekend. The buoy turns from the beach start are just a couple of strokes out, then it's 8x100 yard buoy lengths along the beach to the final turn with a short 100 yd tops swim to the beach. You could easily stand at any point along the way, and the water was calm and crystal clear.
The Clydesdale start was one of the easiest in the history of triathlon - I seeded my self in the back and let the wake of 55 Clydesdales drag me out to the first buoy. I turned down the shore and started swimming, and 16:35 later, behind 21 other Clydes over 40 (and 11 Clydes under 40 yrs old), I was running to T1. My 1:53 per 100 yd swim is not a PR, except that it was without a wetsuit, so for that distance, and no pickle suit, it was my best effort. Still hard to fathom that I got out of the water 32 places back, considering that I felt really good and really fast today. Oh well, back to the pool for me! And, of course, Luke and Excel Man (Excel Man shown to the left battling it out at the run finish with a 17 year old girl...) both stomped me on the swim, my only real chance of being competitive with their skinny behinds, Luke beating me by 5 seconds, and Curt grabbing the swim split nod by an impressive 30 seconds.
The Bike Course is a gently rolling, mostly up hill (Ha!) 15 mile ride that took the inside of two to three lanes for most of the course. There were police at all the major intersections, and I felt safe for the entire event. I did see motorcycle umpires out on the course - hard to believe they only got 4 folks drafting out there, but it's probably harder for the refs to see the violations than for the athletes to see them. In a race with so many new folks in it, I'm not surprised by the number of folks I saw drafting and blocking.
I had a painfully slow T1 - but I did take time out that I usually don't to throw on a shirt - I don't like swimming with one on, but I don't like racing topless. My goal was to finally break 22 mph for the bike - and I came close, finishing the 15 miles in 41:12 for an average speed of 21.84mph. This tied me for 4th best Clyde bike split over 40, and only 2 younger clydes were faster. I even managed to tie my racing buddy Luke (who is 37 and weighs about a buck-70), and open up a can of woop-ass on Excel Man by beating him by 7 HUGE seconds! So I had a race day bike PR, and stomped on Curt really hard (whom I still owe dinner for kicking my butt at St. Anthony's, by the way).
I was back in form for T2 and got through it quickly amidst the sounds of cowbells and loud cheering from our support crew (that's part of the crew to the left - Diana, me, Jeff's wife Carrie, and Lil Clyde). Even Jetpack was there snapping away with his high-speed camera and reminding me to take short strides to get my legs back. The run course is an out and back 1.55 miles for a 5k total, with the first half on the street, and the second out on the beach. I finally managed to reel in Rob (coming out of the water to the left, Photo Credit Diana), a phenomenal swimmer/Clydesdale friend who had the #1 Clydesdale swim split of the day at 12:22 (congratulations, Rob on that - your 1:22 pace per 100 yds is the stuff of Clydesdale legends...). I had tried to catch him on the bike, and watched him from about 200 yards away as he dismounted from his 20.06 mph average bike split - so instead I had to reel him in on the run.
The entire run split, all I could think about was Excel Man running me down and passing me with a 5 minute head start. That thought haunted me for 26:57, and fortunately I came in ahead of him. I actually ran down a few Clydes with my 8:41 pace (I didn't get this guy though, on the right...)- coming across the timing mat, through 200 yards of deep sand, in 12th place and a total time of 1:28:03. That was just 3:15 out of 5th place - the medal group, but I have to say, I don't think I left anything out there on the course today.
Cool thing about this race - last year I did the swim in 18:40, taking 2:05 off with this year's effort. I did the bike at a pace of 20.35 mph, an increase of 1.5 mph, and the run sped up this year by 25 seconds per mile. Last year Luke beat me by 6:52 - this year, only by 3:38 - watch out, Lukey Luke, the Bigun's a coming (he doesn't look too worried to the left)!
Excuses? Sure! Lil Clyde being in town over the weekend meant lots of food and beer on Thursday and Friday, and a really late night before bed on Saturday (plus a day at the beach, in the sun!) - but the whole point of the Mad Beach Sprint is to have some fun...this year a race seemed to get in the way of drinking a lot of beer.
Lil Clyde did his first ever triathlon today - hooray for Lil Clyde! He beat 18 Clydes with his 1:40:30 time, with a 2:17 pace on the swim, 19.1 mph average bike split, and an 8:53 run pace! Awesome job today - we hope he races again with us soon...and maybe even train this time!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Yesterday began with the best of intents - get my customers done for the day so that I could get my workout in, and perhaps even get out to Flatwoods with Diana for her inaugural bike ride. That's when things went horribly wrong. I started with a brand new customer who spoke zero English - nada, nunka, nothing. My initial contact with her was through her daughter, who did the negotiations and let me know what her mom needed.
I was in my groove, had busted out my line trimmer (weed whacker...) and was making my way around the house. Of course, here in Florida, nearly all homes have irrigation systems, and these are all built pretty much the same, with a 1" PVC pipe from the main water line that leads to a cutoff valve and line back down to the sprinkler heads. This contraption sticks out of the ground about 2 feet - and in a cost saving, home builder, shoddy workmanship style, is made of perhaps the lowest grade, thinnest PVC that could be gotten away with. The PVC pipe you buy at Home Depot, say, for home repairs or projects is easily twice as thick as what was used on this home (and my home too, I'm afraid...). This PVC sits in the sun 24-7, and gets more brittle with each passing year.
You can see where this is heading. In case you didn't know it, a weed whacker will slice through this PVC like it was just another piece of grass. In an instant, I had an eruption of water! I had hit the inbound pipe, the one that comes from the street - after a couple of minutes of panic, I realized that the only way to stop the flow was to turn off the main from the street. Ever try that? The water company has a special wrench they fashion for the sole purpose of turning that valve. My buddy Mike lived close by and I borrowed a pipe wrench and wrestled that valve closed. Eventually.
I learned a bunch yesterday about irrigation systems. I can probably do some pretty good repairs to sprinkler heads or lines and maybe even add a sprinkler or two if given the chance. The four hours I spent panicking, then getting the water off, then repairing the line, then testing the system (only to find out that it wasn't working in the first place - ug!) - and the really funny part, attempting to communicate with Senora Customer with my nearly non-existent Spanish, made for an interesting start to my day.
Large pipe wrench and all the tools and supplies needed to fix a busted water supply line - never leave home without them. Yes, yes, I know, pictures would have made this much more interesting. Sorry to disappoint you. The really funny picture WOULD have been of me trying to stop the leak initially with Duct Tape - water all over me - that must have been hilarious! And here I thought Duct Tape (100 mile an hour tape) could fix anything. Another one of life's disappointments...
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Friday, May 11, 2007
If you are having a hard time figuring my workout schedule - I start my season after my last race of the prior year. It makes sense to me since it's the time to transition to pure base training. Anyway, with the 1st 101 done and the first half of the year gone - its time to see what's possible for the second half of '07. I still intend to sign up for IMCdA08 - next June me and Mrs. B will be looking forward to a great VACA and trip out west to see some of our blogger and tri-friends and celebrate this joy that is triathlon! Perhaps we'll meet a few of you at Woodlands, and bring it on home Texas style - yeeee haaaaa!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
What a cool race! It began with an in-water start on the way for a 3-lap 1.86 mile swim. The water was 82.5 degrees - so wetsuits were not allowed, and even though it is considered the Manatee River, the water was very salty...I was seriously ready for some fluids during that third lap. I tried to stay on someones feet for as long as I could - I was successful for the first two laps, and then folks stared to tucker out and I was alone for the last lap (yes, I actually passed some folks on the swim!). I think I kept my pace even for all three laps - and it was very hard to take it easy and I had to keep reminding myself that there was still a long day ahead. I came out of the water at 1:15:05 (92nd out of 119 starters), and except for some pain in my left shoulder, I felt pretty good (of course, looking back, a 2:29 /100 yd pace leaves a lot of room for improvement...).
I packed a complete change of clothing for the bike - bibs, cycling socks, and raceAthlete jersey, plus a Ziploc bag with my flat tire kit. I had taped gels and Endurolyte packs to my bike for easy access - they stretched from the head tube all the way to seat. Lesson learned - I paid more attention to my calorie intake on this race than on any other - the tape served as a way to tell how much I had taken in, and the gels sitting there showed with my knees hitting them from time to time let me know I still had some to go. I think I taped down 16 and had 5 left when I transitioned. The gels and the Infinite mix they had with the protein was my only fuel.
We did 6 laps out on a very flat HWY 64 - no, it's not that picturesque, but the road was in great shape and we got to use two whole lanes of it. Right away I had the distinct pleasure of being passed by pro after pro - it was awesome. Since we were doing out-and-back laps, we could all see everyone else along the course (I passed by the one bike injury, Ashley Carusone, who broke her jaw when a driver ignored police at one of the many intersections - the police really did an awesome job and were great the whole time). Granted, it was a little disheartening to see some riders head off (about 50 folks) to do the run while I still had a lap to go. Di had parked herself just past the aid station with her camera, cheering and cowbell - and even our extended Tri-Family Luke, Perez and Boo showed up for a few laps.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
Check out the massive Transition area! It's awesomely small...only has to hold my bike and about 200 others. Can you belive it? I can't remember a tri that I've done, period, that has had less than 200 total people in it. I talked with a Volunteer there and he tells me that we will have our bikes taken from us after the bike leg is done for sure, and if they have enough volunteer support, our bikes will be handed to us after the swim as well. Pretty cool - makes me feel kinda special (and no, I've never done an M-dot race). Just to make sure, I checked, and Blink, I can fit in the changing tent...
There is no beach, so they will remove these bars in the barrier and we will start and stop the swim here. Still no idea if it's a water start, but for safety's sake, I'm guessing we will be in the drink. Another first for the Bigun. At least along the wall where I was standing, there was no perceivable current - but out there a ways, and first thing in the morning instead of 4pm when I was there - we'll see.
It was 90 degrees when I was out there taking pics. The high for Sunday, however, calls for 85 degrees and a 30% chance of rain. It is supposed to be 71 degrees when we start; too bad we have to waste the low temps while we are in the water! Tomorrow may be different, but the "expo" was one running store vendor, a gel-guy, and the infinite drink provider for Sunday's race. I got a chance to sample the bike and the run formulas - I know, fancy-schmancy - and I'm guessing they'll be fine for me. The bike formula's got some protein mixed in, and I could tell it was a little "thicker" - but nothing that wouldn't quench the thirst.
I drove in along the 6 miles of HWY 64 that we will be biking on - the road is in great shape, and except for the 2 little bridges in the middle, it's Desiree's 6-pack flat. It's got 2 and 3 lanes on either side of the road in places, so traffic will be running on the right as we ride. Traffic was thick from 3pm - 4pm, but on Sunday morning, except for Churchgoers, it shouldn't be too bad. The race starts at 7am - so by 1pm give or take, at the absolute peak heat of the day, I should be off the bike and running. Go Bigun!
I spread all the stuff I got in my registration kit out here on the couch. I was really looking forward to the advertised visor as I was going to wear it on the run. Looks like I'll be going with my favorite hat again - schwag from my Miami-Man half - it's just such an awesome cap. Believe it or not, I have yet to look inside the new Inside Triathlon issue with a sexy Desiree pose on the cover.
Because I'll be able to change into whatever I want on the bike, my plan is to wear the coveted raceAthlete bike jersey and my favorite bib-shorts. This would have been the perfect time to announce a really special deal I was selected for, but since I don't know all the details, and the "kit" is on order and is 5-10 weeks out, I'll hold off on that. Anyway, I'll change into an awesome pair of nike tights and running shorts (no bike pad...yea!) with the uber-tight white nike run top (no nipple bleeding, hopefully), and be on my plodding way.
Now I have no idea how this will work, meaning if it will be your typical web cam and dreary triathlon race coverage or if it will be pretty cool - but you'll have to be the judge as I'll be out on the course. And since most of you will be racing on Sunday, well - maybe my family will be able to tell me how the coverage was. Click here for the 101 Bradenton website. Near the top there is a red headline that says, "Live Race Coverage" - after you click on that there are 3 choices - a blog, video, and "intime results" - whatever that will be. Perhaps it will give our splits as we cross over the many timing mats it will take to keep track of our 9 different loops we'll be traversing.
I've read so much and I thank everyone for their support and guidance for this race. I truly plan to take it easy for the front half of this race - and somehow leave enough in the tank so that the 18.6 mile run is not a pain-fest. I like the comment of Excel-Man, "its a catered 18.6m run" - of course, I respond well to words like "catered"... The race area should look even better tomorrow after all the signs are hung and more people are milling around. I'll write more later!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I've done a few 80+ mile bikes in recent history - so that should be ok. I'm going to take it slow - yea, right. The only thing I do well, and I'm going to take it easy, like that's going to happen. The PLAN is to take it easy, watch the HR (if I can get the damn thing working again) and relax for 80 miles. 'Cause then what? Oh yea, a nice little 18.6 mile run afterward.
Hopefully a few half marathons in somewhat recent history will pull me through to the finish line on Sunday. The course has three 10k (yes, unfortunately they are in a row...) loops - so I'll be able to break it down into 3 painful sections. Can't wait. The bike is loopy as well - 5 or 6 loops, depending on which article you read - which is cool since I'll be able to see my greatest fan, Mrs. B, a bunch - more so than any other race so far. I'll be needing more Cowbell for sure.
And I have no clue, really, of what to expect. Sure I've done a Half IM distance race, but this one has GEAR BAGS and a CHANGING TENT - so now there's more to fuss about. Oh yea, and I just quit my j-o-b and started a landscaping/lawn maintenance company. Fun times.
I'm scared, did I mention that?