Saturday, June 28, 2008

3X Fast Triathlon Equipment

Family Fan Club is happy to announce that 3X Fast Triathlon Equipment in Loveland, CO is now carrying Family Fan Club t-shirts and stickers in their store. Stop by and say hello to Nick and Nadia. They've got all of your tri gear needs covered from wetsuits & googles to Scott bicycles to Zoot running shoes as well as all of your race day nutrition needs. Stop by and show your support for 3X Fast Triathlon Equipment.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008 Hy-Vee Triathlon

This past weekend, Family Fan Club traveled to Des Moines, Iowa for the 2008 Hy-Vee Triathlon, where the last members of the men's and women's US Olympic Triathlon team were selected. Hunter Kemper and Sarah Haskins secured the final spots on the men's and women's teams respectively. Prior to the Pro's race, there was an age group race with over 2,200 participants, which was a great opportunity to spread the word about Family Fan Club. We partnered with Rasmussen Bike Shop in Des Moines at the Hy-Vee Triathlon Expo to sell and spread the word about Family Fan Club. We met a lot of new and enthusisastic race day supporters, gobbling up rompers, t-shirts, stickers and magnets. The folks at Rasmussen Bike Shop did a great job presenting and promoting our triathlon gear!

The elite race was awesome, with basically the Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Joe Montana of triathlon participating. The prize for the top male and female winner was $200k! That's a lot of cash to swim, bike, run! We caught the tail end of the Women's race, won by Emma Snowsill from Australia. The men quickly followed and it was quite interesting. The swim was about 5 miles from the central transition and finish. We got good position inside the stadium and waited for the athletes to arrive. I was really surprised how quick the swim leg was completed and how tight the cycling pack was. The first group of cyclists entered the stadium for the first of eight laps in a pack of about 25 riders. The action was tight, fast and furious. Each lap had a new leader, but no break aways until the 6th lap when Timothy O'Donnell from the USA broke away with a :30 to 1 minute lead, which seemed significant considering the pace/pack to this point. After the 8th and final lap it was like a NASCAR pitstop in front of the main grandstand with 25 elite cyclists basically finishing simultaneously and sprinting into transition. It was really exciting to watch and everyone was out in under a minute to start the 1st of 4 laps. We quickly discovered that elite Triathlon is all about the run, where to this point in the race all competitors were within a minute or less of each other, it was very close. The run separated the contenders from the pretenders. Rasmussen Henning eventually pulled away for his second consecutive win, again pocketing $200k for the win in 2008 (He won in 2007 also).

The race for the 3rd and final Men's Triathlon Olympic berth was a race between Andy Potts (the reigning 70.3 World Champion) and two time Olympian Hunter Kemper. Hunter pretty much had the lead the entire race and solidified it on the run, claiming the last spot on the 2008 Olympic team. Matt Reed was also at the race, but I suspect that with the win out of hand on the run, he shut it down to avoid injury. $200k is a pretty good incentive, but if the day is lost, no since in pushing it. That's not confirmed, but my guess. Hopefully he's not injured.

Anyway, we had a great time in Iowa, visiting college friends and triathlon. Doesn't get much better than that!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wetsuit Trick

So I've been freaking out in my wetsuit, can't stand it, I just want to get out of it as quickly as possible. I'm a good swimmer, so I know it's not water phobia or anything like that, it's the suit. Typically these feelings are the strongest when I'm the farthest from shore.

I don't recall who gave the tip, probably Craig, Ben or Brian, but the tip is: pull your collar open and let some water into the wetsuit. Pretty simple right? Either it works or I'm playing mental head games with myself. It really felt better today during my open water swim, effectively creating a barrier between me and the neoprene. I didn't freak out once today, maybe that's the key and I'm on to something! Until I prove otherwise, problem solved!

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

5430 Sprint - Race Report

Paul TaylorMy first 5430 race is in the bag and I can't say it was easy. For some reason, I just wasn't "feeling it" today. It may have been a combination of factors including heat (it was a lot hotter today than last week for Greeley and Bolder Boulder), hang over from Greeley last week, allergies or letting the fact that my wave got changed (4th wave) the day before the race to the last wave (9th wave). For some reason, that last one really bothered me. I didn't want to be last and I was glad when the waves were posted on Wednesday that I'd be in the middle of the pack. I shouldn't have let that bother me, but it did and I think it diverted my focus. Can't let outside factors, particularly those that I don't control, have a negative impact. The one benefit of being the last wave was no line porta-a-potty time. As every racer can attest, there's nothing like waiting in line prior to a race. Last wave, no problem, take your pick and take your time. Ahhh... I just didn't have it today.

So, the day started at 5 am, shower, breakfast (oatmeal, bananna) and I was off to the res with Craig. We got a headstart, with the wives and kids close behind. We got to the res about 6:30 am and there was a line of about 200+ people waiting to get into the transition area. The line went quick, but by the time I got inside, there was no room left in my designated area. The volunteers were scrambling for additional bike racks and I finally got one, right next to the run exit. I setup my stuff and proceeded to wait, which I carried in myt my new transition bag / bucket! Very handy, handles everything I need and something I can sit on to change my shoes. The time difference between the 1st and last wave was almost 45 minutes. (The winner was almost done when I started.) I killed time with the ipod and did some stretching, but I was anxious to get started.

15 minutes before my wave I started putting on the wetsuit and headed down to the reservoir for a quick warm-up. The water temp was just right. I was finishing up my quick warm-up when I noticed a boat on the beach and I immediately thought of Rick & Dick Hoyt and the associated video I had watched earlier in the week. Very emotional, tried to block it out of my head.

Paul TaylorFinally it was time. I put myself right in the middle of the pack and I was off. It was slower going than I remember from my first open water start at the Sodus Point Triathlon last year, but I managed to escape without any major touching or damage. I've struggled with the wetsuit, just doesn't feel right and about 200 yards or so into the swim I was ready to quit. I was just totally freaked out. I don't know what it is, I just don't like the feeling of confinement. I settled down, got comfortable and it was pretty uneventful from there on in. The buoy turns were fine, sighting was good and I felt good when I reached the end in under 14 minutes. I finished with the Dad pulling his son in the boat, which is absolutely amazing. I was hoping to catch up with him after the race, but I didn't see him on the bike or run.

Paul TaylorAfter a quick jog up the beach into the transition area across horribly painful pavement, I transitioned in just over 3 minutes, which I thought was relatively good considering the distance from water, fumbling with the wetsuit and transition position. I felt good getting on the bike and I was off. Felt good on the bike, passed a lot of people on the ride out, which is a steady incline for the first 5 miles. The next 5 miles are a steady decline and I was maintaining 25+ mph tucked down on my aerobars, feeling really good. The next 5 miles I lost some focus and my average speed suffered, but overall pretty happy with the bike and I made it in under 1 hour, 58:59. Still room for improvement, but 2 for 2 on goals so far. And then the RUN. Ugh.

Paul TaylorIf you've been reading the blog or know me at all, you know that me and running are like oil and water, it just doesn't work. Despite the nagging back pain on the bike, it only appears on the bike and as soon as I get off, I'm fine, no lingering affects from that. (I've had my bike position checked at CMS and chiropractor visits, just haven't found the problem yet on the bike) I started off good for the first .5 mile or so and then thoughts of walking started to enter my brain and by the end of the first mile, I took my first walking steps. Boooooooooooo. Once you start walking, it's hard to stop. I attempted to restart, but soon after found myself walking again. The course is an out and back on dirt trail around the reservoir with no shade at all and by this time it was getting quite hot. I don't have any good excuses here, just didn't feel like running today and the result was 33 minutes for the 5k.

Paul TaylorOverall, I finished in 1:53, which exceeded my goal of 1:45. I didn't meet my goals but I still feel good about the race overall. One thing it really brings to light is that I've got a lot of work to do before July 20th and the 5430 Boulder Peak race. I've got to get comfortable in my wetsuit (lots of open water swimming), I need to start training for Old Stage (Yikes!) and I need to start a consistent running program. I also need to consider transition times in my goals, because I spent 5+ minutes in transition.

It was a nice day at the reservoir with family and friends, a great way to spend Father's Day.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

5430 Sprint

One day until the first 5430 Triathlon of the year. The weather is outstanding today and expected to be so again tomorrow. We've got 3 vendors selling gear at the 5430 Sprint Expo and with over 1500 competitors, many of whom I suspect could be beginners, we should have a good sales day. Plus, it's Father's Day, who could resist a Triathlon Daddy t-shirt?

My race preparation has been pretty good. I'm coming off last week's Greeley Triathlon, so the base work is done. I swam Monday and Tuesday, ran on Wednesday and Thursday and took a 20 mile bike ride yesterday. Today I'm just going to be relaxing at Connor's t-ball game and heading to the Boulder Reservoir for packet pick-up and relaxation.

My goals for tomorrow's race are:

* Under 1:45 overall with
* Under 15 minute swim
* Under 1 hour bike
* Under 30 minute run and no walking!

In order to make 1:45 I'll need to go under in one or more of the categories and have fast transitions. My training times and Greeley suggest all of my goals are achievable, I just need to go out and execute and have a great race!

I'll blog more tomorrow to let you know how the race went!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

First Open Water Swim of 2008

I figured with less than a week before my 1st Triathlon with an open water swim (5430 Sprint), that I'd actually go out and do at least one open water training session at Union Res, about 10 minutes from my house. Makes sense right? In addition to my first open water swim of the season, it's also my first swim in my new AquaMan wetsuit!

When I got there, it looked like everyone had a similar idea, because there were 30+ people ready to go swimming, typically there's 5 or 6. Normally I'm very comfortable in the water, no problems, but something about being trapped in neoprene leads to hysteria, usually at the farthest point from shore. I think it's just a matter of acclimation, it's just not a normal feeling. At this point, I can't imagine spending more than 15 minutes swimming in the suit and I even started to contemplate not wearing one for the next race, which is 1500 meters. I'll keep practicing, would hate to not wear the wetsuit, I think I just need to get used to it.

I did four laps of the 400 yard course and it felt very good, very comfortable, averaging about 6:30 per lap, which should translate to a 14/15 minute swim this week at the 5430 Sprint. The big difference I noticed for the first swim of the year is how straight I swam. Last year I was all over the course, left, right, way right. This year I noticed that when I maintained a steady kick, I seemed to stay on course. When I got lazy and stopped kicking, off the to the right I went. I'll think of my feet as my rudder until I otherwise disprove that theory and keep kicking. Another challenge is sighing the bouys. I wear glasses and although I'm not blind, I have a hard time picking up the bouys sometimes. I found today that I almost have to stop, sight in on the bouy and repeat as necessary to stay on course. I'm sure that sighting method won't endear me to those swimming behind me, but I've got to do what I've got to do right?

This is one of my favorite videos. I've only done one mass open water swim start and I escaped without a scratch, but everyone has been telling me how aggressive Boulder area swimmers are, so we'll see. My training swim last night didn't get to this level, but maybe next week?

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rick and Dick Hoyt

A friend of mine pointed me to this story this weekend, recalling how inspiring this father/son duo are, where he'd actually been in a race with them back in Massachusetts.

As father's day approaches, for me it's a reminder about the priorities I have in my life, about what's really important. Also reminds me of this card I was given for my first year as a father, which I keep on my desk.

I'll pass the same warning he gave me, have some kleenex on standby.

Check out their website, particularly the accomplishments, the times are amazing, truly an inspiration to everyone.

The goal of Team Hoyt is to integrate the physically challenged into everyday life. One way to accomplish this is to educate the able-bodied, making them more aware of the issues that the disabled face every day. Another is by actively helping the disabled to participate in activities that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. Team Hoyt targets both of these areas.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Race Report: 2008 Greeley Triathlon

The first triathlon of 2008 is in the books and I finished within 1 minute of my overall time goal, so I consider my goals met and the race a success. The day started early at my house, up at 5 am for a shower and breakfast to leave the house by 5:30 am for the 40 minute drive to Greeley. This year we all left at the same time, rather than drive separately, just put the kids into the van in their pajamas and we were off. The weather today was chilly, overcast and sprinkling. I'm 3 for 3 on miserable race conditions this year, hopefully this will be the last crummy race day of 2008! We arrived around 6:20, plenty of time to get the Family Fan Club stuff setup and get my transition area prepared. While I was taking care of pre-race activities, I thought of another t-shirt design, which I'll reveal in the next couple of weeks.

I jumped in the pool for a quick 100 meters, felt good and fast. The negative to that approach was that it was cold, so I just stayed in the pool for the next 25 minutes until it was my turn. The thing I like about the Greeley Triathlon is that it's a pool swim, where everyone submits their expected times, everyone is ranked based their submissions and we snake across the pool. As long as everyone submits reasonable estimates, it works really well. This year I passed two people and got passed by one, so the people in my number range did a good job of estimating their times. The swim started strong for me, but around 250 meters I started to get really tired. I've been battling allergies the last two weeks, which I think attributed to the lack of endurance, but I still finished better than last year in the pool. The nice thing this year was that Kim, Connor and Griffin were on the pool deck cheering me on, so I could see them cheering when I was swimming south in the pool. (I've been working on bi-lateral breathing, but when push comes to shove, I only breath on the right)

After the swim, I quickly transitioned to my bike and I was off. It was a bit cold on the bike, but not to bad to start. I was feeling good, loving the aero bars position, but cautious with the slick roads. I got passed by the top 5 or 6 competitors, but otherwise held my position. By the end of the bike my feet and thighs were pretty cold.

After the bike, I transitioned to the run with heavy cold legs, but I felt good. I kept a consistent pace with no walking, running mile to mile. Having done the race last year, I was surprised that the run course had changed slightly, a good reminder to check the course before the race! Compared with last year, the change made the run a bit harder, over rolling hills, which makes my 5k PR time all the more satisfying. I'm looking forward to the next 5k to see what I can do when I only have to run!

Overall, I finished in 1:21 with a 9 minute swim, 39 minute bike and 29 minute run, all PRs collectively and individually. I didn't make the top 3 in the Clydesdale category, 3rd place was 1:18, which will be very reachable NEXT year. Back to this year, I cut 16 minutes off my 2007 time, which is pretty significant for a Sprint race (500 meter swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run).

The organizers do a great job, it's run by triathletes, so they know what needs to be done on race day. I'll definitely be back next year as long as it doesn't conflict with the Steamboat Springs Half-Marathon. The organizers also invited Family Fan Club to return, which we're definitely excited about.

Next race: 5430 Sprint @ Boulder Resevoir on June 15th.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Greely Triathlon Expo

The 2008 Greeley Triathlon expo and packet pickup went great! We had triathletes, friends and family buzzing around the Family Fan Club tent. Based on today's activity, triathlete support and Family Fan Club will be well represented on race day.

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2008 Triathlon season starts tomorrow

The 2008 Triathlon season officially starts for me tomorrow at the Greeley Triathlon. This is where it all started for me and Family Fan Club last year, where I did my first triathlon and Family Fan Club was born. I've been looking forward to the 2008 Greeley Triathlon pretty much from the day after the 2007 Triathlon. 2007 was fun, but I felt I could have done a lot better. Last year I finished in 1:37 with a 00:09:20 swim, 00:45+ bike and 00:37+ run/walk. My goals this year are:

* 1:20 or under
* Under 9 minute swim
* Under 40 minute bike
* Under 30 minute run
* Top 3 in Clydesdale division

Those are some lofty goals, particularly the last one, which in the scheme of things would be icing on the cake. I don't need to be top 3, but it would be nice! My training has been going pretty well. The simulated triathlons that I've done this year suggest that I will be right around 1:20. I think it will take 1:17 to be top 3, so not really counting on that.

In addition to the race, Family Fan Club will also have a booth at the Expo / packet pickup and on race day.

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