Monday, July 26, 2010

Xterra 4 Corners Race Report

Xterra 4 Corners was held on June 5, which was 6 days after the Bolder Boulder. So, this week was a pretty solid week of training. This was the first week of a build period, so the training was pretty high in volume and intensity. Essentially I was planning to train through this race.

I did this race last year and really enjoyed it. The race actually goes swim, run, bike, which adds a little twist to things. The run course is pretty tough with a bunch of shorter, punchy climbs, and sandy the whole way. The bike course is similar; no serious climbs, but a bunch of shorter climbs in the 1-2 minute variety. This is a fun race to drive to also, even though it is a solid 8-9 hours away. The drive is just beautiful, as you go over 3 serious passes.

So, on to the race. The swim was one of my best swims in a race yet. The swim is 1500 meters, 2 laps. The water was perfect for a wetsuit swim. I managed to be out of the water and T1 in 27:51 which was the best swim time in my age group. The time seems long because after you get out of the water you have to scramble about 50 yards up a hill before you get into transition, so T1 is actually pretty long if they timed it.

Onto the run, I started out well, but quickly faded in the small hills. I just didn't have the running strength to attack the hills hard. I really think that I was feeling the effects of the Bolder Boulder, and a long 10 mile hilly trail run earlier in the week. My run time was 2nd best in the age group, but the minute lead I had coming out of T1 turned into a 2:30 deficit to the leader in our age group by the time we left T2.

On the bike my legs continued to fade. It was a similar story to the run. I didn't have the snap and power to be strong on the short climbs. Essentially, I think my training just hasn't been Xterra specific enough. I have been focused on increasing my threshold power, and ignoring my VO2 max and anaerobic power. I lost another 11 minutes on the bike to the eventual winner of our age group, but managed to hang on for 2nd.

I had fun at this one, but realized my focus had to change to focus on these gaps in my fitness. Solid motivation to keep on plugging away.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bolder Boulder Race Report

The Bolder Boulder is touted as America's best 10K. No doubt that it lives up to its reputation. The race is a lot of fun, very well run, and the course is lined with crazy spectators, bands, frat houses, slip and slides, grilled bacon...the list goes on and on. I didn't get to race this one last year due to a knee injury. So, I was excited to be out there and compete. The race was on Monday, and I had just finished a recovery week after a solid block of training. A recipe for success...usually.

I got up on race day, had the usual breakfast of eggs, toast, peanut butter, a banana and coffee and headed out to the race. I was meeting up with people from work, as we are a major sponsor of the race and have many teams in the team competition. I was racing with our "A-team", so I needed to have a solid race. I realized about 3/4 of the way there that I had forgot my race number and timing chip. Bad news. I flew back home, got my stuff and headed back. By the time I parked I had about 10 minutes to make it 1.5 miles to the start in time for my wave. Well that wasn't going to happen, so I decided I'd just jump into a later wave. So, I stopped for the portapotties, did my warm up jog to the starting line and got to start in the back of the "b" waves. So, this meant lots of traffice to try to get through, since the waves are seeded based on expected finish time.

My legs felt good and I was cruising for the first 3 miles. Then my stomach started to tell me that there was some unfinished business from the pre-race portapottie stop. Unfortunately this meant I had to reign in my pace, which was disappointing becuase my legs were there. In the end I ran 42:54, which was a P.R. (for some reason, I haven't run a 10K in quite some time, so I haven't challenged my time in awhile). Our team also placed first thanks to some very fast guys in the 37-38 minute range. I'm looking forward to another flat out 10K to see what I am really capable of. I'd love to break 40, so that might be the focus after nationals this year.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Race Report - Littlefoot Tri

I just realized that it has been 3 months since my last post, so rather than try to summarize the last 3 months, I'll post some race reports. First up is the Littlefoot Triathlon. This was my first road triathlon of any kind, and my first sprint distance race. The race was in the middle of May. The weather the weekend before the race was snow here in Denver, so needless to say, things were not warm for this race.

The swim: What can you say, the swim was 53 degrees. It was painfully cold. 750 meter swim which is standard for a sprint. I really did not try to push it on the swim, basically because I've never been in water that cold, and wasn't sure how my body would handle it. It was so cold that my face was frozen, so I couldn't really control how my mouth worked for breathing. To avoid drinking half of the lake, I did a lot of sighting stroke which lifts your head out of the water more. Not my best swim, but I got out of the water in 12:28 (1:37/100M). Glad to be done with that.

I had a tough time getting out of the wetsuit due to completely useless blocks for hands, but eventually got out on the bike. Like most races, the bike was my second weakest discipline in this one (on a normal day it would have been the weakest, I just had a really bad swim). That's about all I can say about it, other than it was pretty cold with that air on my already temperature challenged body.

Getting into T2, I just could not find my spot. I picked out a spot that was super easy to find and should have had no problem. Unfortunately the reason I couldn't find my spot was because some noob knocked over an entire bike rack with 4 bikes, and they happened to be laying on my stuff. Eventually I got out of T2 in about the amount of time it would have taken to have a sandwich and beer.

The run was the bright spot of the race, despite the fact that it felt like I was running on blocks becuase my feet were so frozen. I ran 21:08 (6:50/mi.), which I was really happy about.

In all, considering I trained through this race, and wasn't too excited about it due to the conditions, I'll settle for my 51st place overall and 7th in my AG. Total time of 1:14:13. At least I set the bar pretty low to set a PR the next time I decide to race on the road. We'll see if I decide to do that race again next year. I definitely think having a tri bike would help a lot, as you really do feel the drag when you are racing.

Next report; the Bolder Boulder, coming soon.