Monday, May 31, 2010

Combat Triathlon

Since I had to stay near home this weekend due to family concerns (and my father-in-law is healing slowly, but steadily) I chose to bypass travelling to Austin for the Capital of Texas Olympic distance triathlon and instead entered the more local Combat Triathlon in Texas City.

The Combat Triathlon started with a 300 yard seeded pool swim. I submitted a time of 6:45, not wanting to over-estimate my ability by too much, but still figuring I could go a bit faster. I ended up finishing in 6:01 (and I could have been a bit faster if not for the other swimmers in the way), passing several people along the way while trying not to push too hard to make those passes. I have certainly come a long way since last year when I did a 300 meter pool swim in 7:25. After heading through a fairly fast transition, I headed out for the 15 mile bike ride. The took us primarily along major freeway service roads and was pretty well supported by volunteers--although at the only street I saw unmonitored an uncaring driver sped up just to beat me passing by, but his action was more thoughtless than dangerous at that spot. The bike ride was fairly quick along the major roads and I averaged the fastest speed I have had in any triathlon at 19.3 mph, finishing in 46:38.

I also felt like I had a good second transition, although I did take my time a bit just before heading out on the run. The run tends to be my weakest spot in triathlons, as I have endurance but presently lack speed--although my speed has been improving slowly as I have lost weight. I had a generally good run in weather that was heating up at this point. As my heart rate was heading higher, I ended up walking about 45 seconds for every 4 to 5 minutes I ran. Still, I felt strong for the whole run and even though I felt I was maintaining my best pace towards the end, I still found the strength to sprint to the finish line at the end with a 34:39 3 mile run.

My goal for this race was to finish in the low 1:30's, which I accomplished with a 1:30:19 finishing time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

El Chupacabra de Houston Nighttime 10K Trail Run

This past Saturday I took part in the first El Chupacabra de Houston Nighttime 10K Trail Run. The run took us through the winding trails of the fairly new Lake Houston Park in the New Caney area, which is a joint project of Montgomery County and the City of Houston.

I carpooled over with some friends, arriving at the park for check-in around 8 o'clock. I get a chance to hang out for a while with some of my friends from The Woodlands Running Club as we wait for 9 o'clock to roll around. Someone had brought a supply of glowsticks that we all got ready and adorned ourselves with.

The start went off at 9pm and the road was definitely pitch dark after clearing the starting area and just before heading into the woods--at least pitch dark other than the trail of runner's headlamps and flashlights, although once we got a mile or two out from the start the gaps between the runners allowed full darkness to set in. I ran the whole way with friends, trading a fast run time for having a good time on the trails.

Trail running is much different in the dark. You need to pay constant attention to the next steps in front of you while still remaining aware of the area around you. A couple of times we found runners coming back to the trail that had lost their way, however we never went more than a few feet off the trail.

Waiting at the finish line was a large buffet of BBQ, beer and sports drinks. The BBQ tasted great and the sports drinks were very welcome on the warm and very humid night (no beer for this designated driver).

I would very definitely recommend this race next year for anyone wanting a fun, alternative racing experience...just don't expect a 10K PR in the process!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Graduation Day

Normally this blog is about me, me, me...this post is about my oldest daughter, Amanda. (She's just about the center of the photo looking back towards me as I snapped it.

Amanda has been a source of great pride for her parents in recent years, and while parenting is often not easy, this weekend we can celebrate one of the truly happy mile-markers in her life.

Amanda will become a Magna cum Laude graduate of the University of Houston this Friday afternoon. She will be graduating after 4 years of hard work and dedication to completing this path she placed herself upon 4 years ago. She has certainly made her family proud of her--something we have made sure to point out to her.

(Father-in-law update-just a quick update on my previous post about my father-in-law, he has had his hip repair/replacement surgery on Thursday and is recovering with a good prognosis at this point. )

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lone Star 70.3 and April Monthly Wrap-up

With a little time passing by, I wanted to look back over my Lone Star 70.3 performance with fresher eyes and also just look back at how the last months has seen progress (or lack thereof) towards my overall goals.

Lone Star 70.3 - I think my biggest issue with expectations might be that I wanted a better day than I was going to be able to have on that day. In the end the weather and my body were not as cooperative as I would have needed to meet my best goal time, but I can not be upset with a day that set a new PR when it was not a "PR kind of day". In the end I think I got about the best finishing time that I was going to get, and that means that I am happy with my level of effort for that day. Now that I have two 70.3 races under my belt, I have a much better understanding of the race and what it takes to train for and complete it. I will look for a new PR this coming October in the Longhorn 70.3 race.

Last November I learned to expect about a 4 week period to fully recover from the 70.3 distance. This month I will continue to work on my training with that in mind. I am looking at a sprint or Olympic distance tri near the end of this month as my next event, although doing a small local recurring 5K race is always a last minute possibility as well.

I easily met my training goals for the month of April and have thus far been able to train without any major interruptions, which will not be the case for the month of May. In May, my oldest daughter will graduate from the University of Houston (magna cum laude!!) and I will spend some family time with her at that time. Also, my father-in-law was injured early last week in a construction accident where a (empty) 1000 gallon water tank fell across his body and fractured his hip, compounded by a "mild" heart attack a couple of days later awaiting the reconstructive surgery on his hip. Everything now appears to be improving for him, and he is once again looking towards the reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation. I will gladly let some of my training time go to spend time visiting him and helping at his business in his absence.

April turned out to be the first month this year that I gained weight, but that was largely due to my recovery week after the 70.3 being the last week of the month where I allowed myself to go off diet (loving those Chick-fil-A peach milkshakes!) while also doing minimal exercise. As of May 1 I was up 5.2 lbs for the month, but still down 3.4 lbs for the year. I fully expect to be back on track in May in the downward direction for weight once more.