Monday, April 28, 2008

Mud Hen 5K Race Report

Saturday April 26th marked the start of the 2008 race season for me. I was excited to see how a winter of base training (Boot Camp, Spinning, Kick Boxing and occasional swimming) would impact the first race of the season. I ran this race (Mud Hen 5K in Longmont, CO) last year with next to zero training, about one month of 1x a week Boot Camp training in 38:12. (Yes, I walked a lot.)

My goals this year were:
* To beat last year's time, where 30 minutes would be amazing and 33 minutes was the slowest I could go and still be happy.
* Run the whole way, no matter how slowly. No walking!

As I did last year I warmed up for the race with an hour of softball practice. Unlike last year, I didn't take a line drive off my shin. Also unlike last year, I rode my bike to softball practice and then to the race, which is about 6 miles from my house. While there were no line drives off the shin this year, last year's sunny and 70 weather was replaced by what I'd have to say was 30 mph winds, overcast and about 50 degrees. These are not ideal conditions. Needless to say, it was cold (really cold on my bike), windy and just overall not a very nice day. It would have been easy to turn around and go home. But I didn't.

I arrived at the park for a 10 am start at about 9:50, at which point I quickly stripped off my winter warm clothes for shorts and t-shirt. Oh so chilly. I locked up my bike and calmly walked toward the starting line, which was about .5 miles away. I arrived at the tent at about 9:57 to pick up my number and t-shirt only to find that there was no record of my registration. The support team was very kind and got me signed up quickly, a number and a new t-shirt by 10 am. I quickly pinned my number to my shirt, put my new shirt on and was tying my shoes as the race director counted down to the start. At this point I'm thinking, everything is aligned and telling me to sit this one out. But no, I'm a runner (ha), the show must go on.

I started about 15 seconds late, so I just kept time on my triax C8. About this time, I remembered that I didn't have my heart rate monitor on, bummer. The Mud Hen is around Lake McCintosh, which is a very small lake in Longmont. I don't think I recall ever seeing a wave on this lake, until today. I'd say the waves were rolling at 2 to 3 feet with white caps, it was windy! I came out strong despite the elements, feeling good, breathing easy. By the time I reached the west side of the lake, the wind was full on blow you off the trail strong. Again, an opportunity to quit or walk. No, I must go on. To my surprise, I reached that half way point in just over 16 minutes.

I rallied around the lake until I reached the northeast corner, where the wind was primarily blocked by houses, which was a nice relief. Encouraged by my time thus far, it kept me going. I could start to see the finish line and that was motivating. I kept looking at my watch and the finish. I've got 11 minutes to get to the finish. I've got 5 minutes to get to the finish.

Again to my surprise, as I approached the finish chute, 31 minutes and ticking... I stopped my watch and it read 31:20! I was thrilled, PR! I was tired and my hamstrings were aching, but I meet my goals and considering the weather, I think I would have been under 30 minutes for sure.

The first race of 2008 is in the books and I'm very happy with the result. The base training, although not running specifically, definitely helped me beat last year's time by almost 7 minutes. I'm encouraged, that with some running training, continued base, cycling and swimming training that 27 minutes might be possible? Oh, that would be great. I've got 1 month until the next race.

Next race: Bolder Boulder 10K

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why do I tri - Part 2

Picking up where we left off with Part I, I completed my first triathlon on June 10th 2008. I arrived early and picked out my spot in the transition area. I staged the transition area with my triathlon gear exactly has I had mentally prepared, laying out each item as I expected to use it. I was a bit nervous, but excited nervous. I took a quick dip in the pool to warm up, as Greeley is a 500 m pool swim. The Greeley Triathlon pool swim is a snake, where you start on one side of the pool and swim up and down the lanes until you get to the other side, completing 500 m in a 50 m pool. Seeding is important and I wondered if the time I submitted was accurate. I used to be able to cover 500 yards in about 5:20, but that was almost 20 years ago. I submitted a time of 10 minutes, hoping to go faster, but at the same time not embarrassing myself.

I waited and watched 105 competitors go and finally it was my turn. I can't recall being so pumped for competition, probably back to high school. I took off feeling fresh and strong. By the end of the first length, I was ready to pass the first swimmer. I passed about 10 other people on route to a 9:20 swim, which I was really excited about. I hopped out of the pool and headed for the transition area. I quickly toweled off and prepared for the bike, just as I had mentally envisioned. In fact, I felt like I had a lot of time in transition. I came out of T1 in about 1:30.

Since this was my first triathlon, I rode my 8 year old Specialized Rock Hopper Mtn Bike, big fat tires, panniers and all. Like Slow Fat Triathlete recommended, no need to run out and buy a road bike or triathlon bike. I completed the two lap course in approximately 45 minutes. I was gassed and getting passed, but I still had a great time. I was encouraged and cheered by my family, in particular my two boys dressed as pirates. Arrrrr!!

As I entered the transition area, my legs were weary and tired. I quickly transitioned from biking to running in about 1:30. I came out of the transition area strong, but I was gassed. I was just hoping to make it past the wave of spectators, at which point I'd take a breather and walk / run. I continued to walk / run and finished the 5k in about 37 mins for a total time of 1:30 minutes.

In hindsight, Greeley was the perfect 1st triathlon. It was small (200+) and an excellent introduction to the fun and friendly triathlon community. We made several new friends, just sharing in the spirit of the day. I also liked that I got a number of door prizes including Road ID braclet, Tifosi sunglasses and a bunch of snacks.

I drove back home with my first triathlon in the books replaying the day already identifying areas for improvement. It took 17 years to get here, but I did it and now I'm hooked! I challenged one of my college buddies and we competed in the Sodus Point Sprint Triathlon in Sodus Point, NY.

June 10th also marked the birth of Family Fan Club. More on that in another post.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why do I tri - Part 1

I recall watching my first Ironman back in the early '80's on Wide World of Sports. I was around 10 and distinctly recall asking my Dad if he'd ever want to do that. His response was something along the lines of "Heck no". It looked grueling, but as NBC does today, Wide World of Sport told a compelling and interesting story.

My first in person experience with triathlons was as a volunteer supporting a triathlon at Sea World in 1990. I don't recall the name, distance or who won, but I recall saying that someday I would do a triathlon.

Flash forward to 2007, 17 years later. I hadn't forgotten about triathlons, but I wasn't making any active progress towards actually doing one. I'd followed the sport on Wide World of Sports and NBC, I knew who the big names were Dave Scott, Scott Tinsley, Mark Allen, but it never really occurred to me that this event was for regular people like me. The biggest deterrent was the run. I really do not like running. Probably has something to do with not being good at it, it hurts and in general, why run when you can walk? Two contributing factors led me back to thinking about triathlons:

  1. I'm not getting any younger, my waistline is expanding and I've got a family that I want to stay healthy for.
  2. We moved to a new house on a cul de sac where everyone is running, cycling and doing triathlons. Healthy lifestyle is a way of life on my street!
I started again to think about triathlons and the impression it left 17 years earlier, that maybe I could do this. I joined our local recreation center in March of 2007. I started attending Boot Camp class 1x per week weighing in at 240 lbs on a 6' frame, not exactly in shape. For two months or so, it took a full week of recovery. Gradually I built up my endurance to attend twice a week, usually sore between classes. I ran my first 5k at the end of April and although I had to walk more than I wanted, I did well enough to keep the dream alive of completing a triathlon.

I looked online and asked friends for recommendations and finally settled on the Greeley Sprint Triathlon, which was scheduled for June 10th. While I was hemming and hawing about signing up, my neighbor encouraged me to just do it and tell all of your friends and family, then you're committed, so I did. Immediately I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into and doubts creept in and out of my mind. The one thing that really helped me was a book called Slow Fat Triathlete: Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now by Jayne Williams. Great book for beginner triathletes, that you don't have to be Dave Scott or Scott Tinsley or in great shape, basically, just do it. Jayne also let me know that I didn't need all new equipment or a road bike or any of the other fancy nice to haves, just the basics. I trained 6 to 8 hours a week, running, cycling, swimming and boot camp cardio classes for the big day.

To be continued...

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Family Fan Club Blog

Welcome to our new blog. The 2008 race season is right around the corner and has prepared a number of t-shirts, stickers, buttons and signs (over 100 products) with designs for kids supporting Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa on race day, as well as designs for adults (over 100 designs) who love swimming, running, cycling or all three!

We are runners, cyclists, swimmers and triathletes creating designs for athletes and their family and friends in the Boulder, CO area. Our designs are inspired by our training, racing, friends, family and pop culture. You may have already seen our shirts and designs at the 5430 race series or Denver Marathon race expos in 2007.

Check back with our blog frequently, we plan to publish our training and race reports, as well as new product and design announcements.

Visit our website at and Wear Your Support in 2008. See you at the races!

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