Monthly Archives: April 2009

GW Parkway Race Weekend

This weekend the heat came back and was probably signaling the start of summer. I had a busy weekend scheduled with a bike ride on Saturday, and the GW parkway 10 miler followed by an easy bike ride on Sunday. Saturday I made sure to do a good job with hydration after my heat related disaster last year.

Saturday’s bike ride went very well and I was happy with my speed for the ride given the terrain and the watts I was at, the bike looks good for my goals in the upcoming races.  I have the Columbia triathlon in a couple of weeks but the main goal is to get in a solid month of training in May to get ready for Eagleman. I’m actually planning to take a couple of trips to Cambridge to ride the bike course this month. The only interesting thing that happened on my ride was I jumped the chain over the big ring and it wrapped around the crank arm a couple of times. It took me a while to figure out how to fix it but now that I do it’s a quick fix I can deal with if it happens in a race (just pedal backwards).


Sunday was the GW Parkway 10 mile race. The goal for the race was 1:15:00. And came very close finishing in 1:15:20, given the heat I am very happy with the results, and I came in 266th out of 4,000 people. The race started at Mount Vernon and headed down the Parkway into Alexandria. Nothing to excited to report about the race the only thing of interest happened before the race. I was totally getting hit on by a 36 year old while waiting for the race to start and she was quite aggressive. Does that count as Cougar? Or is the cutoff at 40?


I also saw a blogger that I like to read out on the course taking pictures a couple time and I shouted hi the second time I saw him.

I split the race into three segments, I used the first two mile to get going and through the crowds, the middle six miles at my goal pace, and then the last two miles go fast. Looking back at how I handled the race the only thing I might do differently is take advantage of the downhill at the start instead of trying to hold back a little like I did yesterday. I didn’t have any extra kick at the end to make up some time, but that’s just the way it is some times. If I was rested I easily would have been under 1:15:00 so like I said before I’m very happy with the results.


I ended the weekend with an hour bike ride Sunday afternoon.

Rumpass in Bumpass International Distance Triathlon Race Report

Saturday was the first triathlon of the year and I was really excited to be racing again and see how my work during the winter has paid off. This race took place in the same spot as the Giant Acorn Triathlon last fall.

I stayed with my Uncle and Aunt in Spotsylvania VA about 20 minutes from the race site. They have a little 2 1/2 year old thatt was fun to see again this weekend.


Overall 2:29:21 (12 age group, 83 overall)

Swim 1500 meters 30:12 (20th age group, 138th overall)


The swim was near the nuclear power plant and on the “warm” side of the lake. The water was still in the low 60’s but I really didn’t find it to be that bad once I got in and started swimming.


I have been seeing a lot of improvements with my swimming the last couple of weeks in the pool and was really expecting to swim somewhere near 27 minutes so I was a little disappointed to come out of the water just over 29:00. Part of the increased time was the inability to swim in a straight line.

rumpass swim

I did feel a lot more comfortable swimming in the open water then I did last year which is good but I’m still having trouble with the drafting. I really need to look at how approach the swim leg make a much better effort to find a pack to follow because it seems like I am giving up a lot of time here.



Bike 24 miles 1:04:48, 22.4 mph average (6th age group, 39th overall) Bike Portion Race File

I had some trouble getting the wetsuit off in transition but everything else went quickly.


The bike was two laps of the exact same course for the Giant Acorn. This was my first race with my power meter and I had a certain range I was shooting for. I had my Garmin setup to beep whenever I got below a certain watts level so I was working hard the whole time. The main thing I noticed was I was pedaling hard and working on the downhill parts.


I averaged over 22.4 mph which was my fastest bike split and I was only passed by two people on the bike. One of the reasons why I need to get better with my swimming is because I was so far behind the leaders in age group after the swim I wasn’t able to catch people riding at the same speed so it didn’t really feel like I was part of the race.

Run 10km 51:15, 8:15 min per mile (17 age group,121 overall) Run Portion Race File


The run was a total sufferfest /death march. It started with a 1/4 mile trail run and then was two laps on a rolling course. I tried to hold my goal pace but it wasn’t going to happen so I gradually slowed over the entire run. I would have been very easy to give up and start walking since I wasn’t going to have the run I wanted but I’m happy I gutted it out and finished strong.

I think I might have pushed a little harder then I should have on the bike. It also would have been a good idea to eat a gel on the bike to get some more calories. This picture at the finish line that sums up the race. I think the Olympic distance race is a very hard distance because it is close to an all out effort for over two hours.


I took a quick dip in the lake afterwards to help cool down.


I was really expecting to be close to 1:25:00 for this race but the run did me in. I still set a PR by 3 minutes so I shouldn’t complain to much.

Post Race

After the race was just as much fun. After lunch everyone went out on my Uncles boat for a sunset cruise along the Potomac.

Here is the boat:


Alex driving:


And some sunset pictures:




Cruising along the Potomac at an average 45 mph and topping out at 68 mph is a great experience. Apparently the boat is capable of 85-90 mph with a different prop and only two people.

Race Ready

I have my first triathlon of the year on Saturday so today I got my bike set up for the race. Now the bike looks like it wants to go fast.DSC04018_edited-1


New for this season’s race setup is a disk cover for the rear wheel. It will allow me to use my Powertap powermeter during races without having to spend several thousand dollars to get another powermeter built into a disk.  The disk cover is two plastic shells that bolt together to act like a disk wheel.

Is it as good as a several thousand dollar Zipp disk wheel? No. But for $60 it comes very close in terms of performance and aerodynamics. So in terms of performance for the $’s you can’t beat it. I’m looking forward to getting outside with this setup and seeing how it rides.

Another week in the books

Another solid of week of training in the books. This week was a little over 12 hours with 6 hours of biking, 4 hours of running, and 3 45 minute swims. On Thursday I had a solid 12 mile long run after work along the W&OD trial. I still felt very fresh and after this run and mentally it was nice to do my run in  a different place, I think I will make do this more often.


This weekend was another with a 3 hour ride on Saturday and a 2 hour ride on Sunday. Saturday was pouring rain all day so I was stuck riding the trainer inside. Before I started I decided I would the workout for my 3 hour ride and see how things were going and probably flip my 3 hour ride for Sunday but I was surprisingly able to make it through 3 hours on the trainer. I watched 2 hours of the Silverman Triathlon I had on the DVR which seems like a really tough course, maybe I will do the half one day. For the last hour I switched back and forth between the 2008 Ironman Hawaii and the UGA spring football game.

Sunday was a two hour bike ride in the wind just like last week. But this weekend it was cold. I biked out to sugarloaf mountain, went up it and came back home. The views are starting to look like spring time and once the trees get leaves it will look a lot nice also.





Next week will have a little less training volume and will capped off by my first triathlon of the season, an Olympic distance down in Lake Anna, the Rumpass in Bumpass. I haven’t figured out what my time goals are going to be but based on how my training has been I expect to set a PR.

I also have the GW Parkway 10 mile running race the weekend after that. I’m doing this race for free since BAE is one of the sponsors, maybe I can be the fastest person at the company to run the race.

Solid Weekend

This was a solid weekend of training. the weather was great and I took advantage of it. I got in a 3 hour bike ride on Saturday followed by a one hour swim and Sunday was a two hour ride followed by a twenty minute run.

Saturday was very very windy which made the ride interesting, it had been a long time since I rode in windy conditions. I was getting blown all over the rode when I went across empty roads with nothing to block the wind. For this ride I used a lot of my usual routes including a climb up sugarloaf. But this time I did something a little bit different. I went headed back on one of my normal routes but went on some new roads that made an “S” shape around the backside of Sugarloaf mountain and then headed back on one of my usual roads. This allowed me to go the entire ride without having to reuse any roads which is nice from a mental point of view to keep things interesting.

 long ride 4-4-2009


Today was another day that I was happy to have my garmin 705 and Powermeter. The Powermeter came in handy because it was so windy and I was able to focus on power instead of speed which would have been worthless because it was so windy. The Garmin came in handy for two reasons, the first was my workout. I had specific power intervals that I was doing with the workout and I was able to program the Garmin to beep at me when I was going to hard or to easy. I was also able to program my new route into the Garmin so I didn’t have to worry about getting lost or taking wrong turns. I was actually surprised that Garmin is able to have a route running and beep the turns at you while doing a workout at the same time. It’s amazing how much this technology has come along in the last decade.

After the bike ride I went swimming. The swim went good not mcuh to say, I got the workout done and I was swimming around 1:40 per 100 most of the time which is good for me. There was a couple of interesting things going on around the pool that are worth mentioning. The first was the guy in the lane next to me with a workout that consisted of swimming 25 yards as hard as possible, hanging onto the wall for 2 minutes and repeating that process for the next hour. He never swam more then 25 yards the whole time I was there. The second thing was at the diving well. A guy went out onto the lower spring board and stood at the end looking scared of the deep water for 10 minutes (not exaggerating) before during around and walking back. So what does he do next? Goes up to the medium height (10 feet?) spring board and repeat the process. What makes you think the 10 ft one will easier and then short spring board? And both times he had a line of little kids waiting the entire time.


Sunday was a two hour bike ride. I took the tri bike outside for the first longish ride this spring. I had been riding it indoors all winter and during my shorter rides during the week so I don’t have to worry about getting use to the position so much. I felt good during this ride the goal power for the workout wasn’t to hard and I am happy with my speed that it resulted in and am looking forward to see how my bike split will improve at my first race in a few weeks.



The one thing that was not so good about my workouts this weekend was the brick run after Sunday’s ride. It was a total disaster. The problem wasn’t related to my running it was the fact that I did not eat or drink enough during my bike ride and was totally out of energy for the run. When I got home I had to lay down in the grass for a few minutes I was so exhausted.

I spent the rest of afternoon cleaning up the bikes and getting the grill cleaned and ready for the spring. Grilled Salmon, ummmmm.

2009 ING Georgia Half Marathon Race Report

Sunday was the ING Georgia Half Marathon in Atlanta.  The race takes place in downtown Atlanta starting at Centennial Olympic Park and making a loop through most of the city.


This is the third year of the race and the second year of this course. The first year the race started and ended in Five Points and went through some not so great parts of town. The current course gives you a good tour of the city and has lots of rolling hills, especially in the last four miles. You need to save a little of energy for the end or you will really struggle. Overall I think this a very good and challenging course that doesn’t need any tweaks.

But I think the biggest difference from year #1 to now was moving the expo to the Georgia Dome. That made a world of difference in terms of parking and control of crowds. I have gone on Friday the last two years and never had to wait in line to get my packet.

Like I said before this was the third year of the race and the third time I have done the race and here are my past results and goal time for this year.

2007: 2:10:26

2008: 1:53:50

2009: goal of 1:40:00

Last year I didn’t budget enough time for the crowds and didn’t get to the start line early. The problem was I came into centennial park from the back corral so I had to push my way up towards the crowds of people closer to the start line and didn’t make it before the start of the race.  To leave myself enough time this year I got a ride close to the start and got there in plenty of time.

It was in the forties the morning of the race which is a little chilly to be standing around waiting to run but it got into the fifties during the race which is perfect running weather. Here I am with Adam and his trash bag both looking cold.

pre race

One thing that surprised me was my predicted finish time put me in corral #1 which meant I was right behind the elite wave and in the first few hundred people across the start line and if a race with 12,000 people that makes navigating the traffic at the start of the race a lot better. And it was neat to be right up front at such a big race and see the huge crowds behind you.

My plan for this race was to split it into three parts, #1 take it easy for the first two miles to get through the traffic and warm-up, #2 settle into a 7:40 min/mile for the next 8 miles and #3 pick up the pace for the last 5k.


My Garmin had some trouble with the first mile of the race because of the all the skyscrapers, it had me running 1:48 min/mile at one point but once I got through the first mile and half it was fine. Here is the link to the training peaks workout file:

So how did I do?

I think this chart with my pace for the three sections sums it up the best. The first two splits are the first two miles. I didn’t really run a 6:10 for the first mile, the Garmin was off but look at the third block. I was able to run exactly the pace I was trying to, 7:40 min/mile. The problem was the last 5k didn’t go down in pace, this was more an issue of the last three miles being mostly uphill and my increase in effort resulted in me not slowing down.


You can see the nasty hills starting around mile 10. If you are familiar with Atlanta the first is going up 10th street out of Piedmont Park and the second is going up Juniper, similar to the end of the Peachtree 10k last year and the third one is going up the hill by the football stadium at Tech. You can ignore the elevation in the first couple of miles, there was not a 350 foot climb that’s the skyscrapers messing with the signal.


Here are my splits by mile for the race and the change in elevation for each mile:



And here is the pace for the race. You can see a few big slowdowns around 30:00 and 45:00, and 1:00:00. This is due to the fast that I still can’t figure out how to drink from an aid station while running. I’ve tried collapsing the cup and just gulping it down but I can’t figure out how to drink without choking on while I’m running. And you can clearly see it costs me a few seconds during the race slowing down and speeding back again and it takes me out of rhythm. 


Overall I think this was one of my best run races. I had goals in mind and ran the exact race I wanted and I negative split the race. Not much more I could ask for. The last 5k was really hard and I was exhausted crossing the finish line. I had some muscle soreness the next day but no injuries so I think ran things exactly right for my fitness level.

So here is the result, 54 seconds off  of what I wanted but for how hilly the course was I am more then happy. This comes out to a 7:42 min/mile pace.


The thing that really surprised me was that I came in 475th place overall which is the top 5% overall and was in the top 10% of all males. Adam had a good race as well and ran a 1:28 and came in 97th overall.

Here’s a cell phone pick of me at the finish.


I should be back next year for try #4 and hopefully I’ll be shooting for a 1:30:00. Maybe they will give out a special medal if you make it to the first five.