Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Little Red Lighthouse 10k

So after spontaneously entering myself into competition with the beast(aka Amber) for next year's Ironman St. George, I decided to throw myself right into training. Two weekends ago, I signed up the day before to race Syracuse where I realized just how poor my biking and swimming really were. Therefore, when my friend Greg, invited me down to NYC to swim in the Hudson river I figured that I better sign up.

1st Problem: It was six mile swim.
2nd Problem: I needed a qualifying swim to compete that weekend.
3rd Problem: It was in the Hudson.
4th Problem: I'd never swam more than 1.2 miles.

It was actually a 6.2 mile swim but it was with the tidal flood so being in the Hudson was an advantage. The qualifying swim was a bit more challenging but after getting the Racquet Club of Concord to certify my painfully slow 3 mile swim that I completed there, I was good. Not only had I never swam more than 1.2 miles before, but I had also had the advantage of using a wetsuit which were banned from this race. You only live once though.

After work Friday we drove down to NYC staying at one of Greg's friend's apartments. They had coached swimming together at Southern Illinois University and were talking about how they were going to fare place-wise while I'm sitting in the corner wondering how I'm going to fare living-wise.

A less than restful 6 hour sleep later brought use to the 79th street pier where the race was to start. Everyone there, except me, were either swimmers, triathletes or a bit of both. Judging by the choice of swimwear, I was assuming everyone was European until Greg informed me that the swim mandated "English Channel" rules which included no "jammers" for men. Apparently my swim shorts were considered jammers and he then hands me a pair of bun-huggers that would probably have looked good on pre-pregnancy Kara Goucher but would have given most of our readers nightmares when seen on me.

The race was seeded from slowest to fastest with me smack dab in the middle at wave four. How I managed to get in the fourth wave is beyond me. There must have been a typo in my entry form. Like the extra zero at the end of my swim qualifying time. Who knows... So there I am treading water with a group of about sixty of my fellow wave four swimmers. I'm looking around seeing who I could hang with. Apparently no one.

Within one buoy from the start I had could no longer see any of the other swimmers in my wave due to the swells as well as the distance they had put between us. By the second buoy, wave five had passed me. By the three buoy, I had swam almost entirely across the river before one of the safety boats put me back in line.

Then I got into a rhythm. I started swimming hard and fast envisioning that I resembled a slightly shorter and stockier Michelle Phelps. Yes Michelle Phelps. I know I will never resemble the subway rep. So anyway, I am moving along thinking to myself that this is actually surprisingly fun and that I should enter some more of these.

That's when I hear the honking.

Boater: "Swimmer, do you want to get out?"

Danny: "Haha; no thanks."

A few minutes pass as I regain my stroke, then I hear the honking again.

Boater: " Swimmer, you may think you're moving but you're not going anywhere."

Danny: "Ha, thanks"

Boater: "No seriously, do you want a ride."

Danny: "No I'm good."

I start swimming again(treading is as fatiguing for me) trying to block out negative thoughts when it does occur to me that despite this guy's obvious inability to comprehend that I'm in the middle of a race, albeit a losing race, he probably is my safety boat. Therefore, I decide not to flip him off or throw anything into his motor and just keep plugging along.

Then I hear the honking again.

Boater: "You look like you need a ride."

Danny: " No thanks go look for other swimmers."

The boat took off leaving a nice trail of gasoline in its wake for me to suck up. After I had crossed under the George Washington Bridge, I had nearly forgotten about him until he honks again, once more offering me a ride. But this time, there were three other swimmers in there with him. Just seeing that was enough to keep me going.
I swam the rest of the way determined and as I come out of the water and look back at all the people I must have beaten, I see no one.

No one. Not one swimmer was behind me. DFL. Dead freaking last!

It turns out that there were a few people in the earlier waves that swam slower than me but I finished pretty close to the bottom of the barrel swimming a 1:59:12 for 192nd place out of 219.

Yikes! I've got some training to do.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A little spontaneity never hurt anyone

I tried really hard to ignore the fact that you could still register for Syracuse 70.3 but I just couldn't resist. Seriously! How often does that happen? The answer is never. Danny and I also had a friendly bet going. A bet that looked a little like this:

Danny: I signed up for the St. George Ironman. No big deal. (Danny is strutting around the kitchen)

Amber: WHAT!? Are you out of your mind? (Amber has one eyebrow up and is looking very skeptical at Danny)

Danny: No, I am not out of my mind. And I am going to beat you. (Danny flashes a big, toothy grin)

Amber: Actually, I am fairly confident that I can beat you by 2 hours in a full Ironman and 1 hour in a half ironman.

So onward to Syrcause, NY for the inagural Syracuse 70.3

As promised the race is still open so we sign up, 'plug up', exchange some fighting words and before we know it race morning is here!

Danny's swim wave started 15 minutes ahead of mine. I thought I had the bet in the bag when I spy him leaving transition after the swim looking a little like a wet cat. To get a really good visual just plug in 'wet cat' into google and the first picture that pops up is actually danny exiting water.

However he held his own on the bike. Must have been all those mints! And he tore up the run course with a 1:25 half marathon. HOLY SMOKES!

He lost to me by 33 minutes which is far less than the hour I taunted him with. His 5:12 time is actually quite impressive considering the amount of swim and bike training he has done. Which is zip, nil, nix, nada, null, aught, cipher, cypher, goose egg, zilch....you get the point.

Overall I had so much fun racing! My goal was to push the bike as hard as I could. I did. And still pulled off a decent half marathon.

Next stop: KONA!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Syracuse 70.3

This weekend Amber and I headed up to Syracuse, NY to compete in the inaugural half ironman event. This was a pretty spontaneous race as usually you have to register months in advance for triathlons, but for whatever reason it was still open so we decided to do it. The course as is with all half-ironman distance races was a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run.
NOTE: Amber did the Pumpkinman last weekend which was also a half-ironman, and biked over 60 miles on Saturday the day before the race. I, on the other hand, hadn't done a half-ironman in two years and hadn't been biking or swimming in about that time either. But after Amber challenged me, saying that she could beat me by more than an hour, the race was on!

Amber finished in 4:39:23 Good enough for 1st in Age Group and:
- 61st fastest swimmer with: 28:56:00;
- 1st in age group and 129th overall on the bike with: 2:35:09 which is 21.7 mph;
-1st in age group and 88th overall with a run of: 1:30:23 which is 6:54/mile pace.

Danny finished in 5:12:56- 55th in age group
- 103rd in age group swim and 981st overall! 42:08:00
-89th in age group, 702nd overall in bike: 2:57:29 --18.9mph
- 5th in age group and 33rd in run: 1:24:52 --6:29/mile pace

So despite losing to Amber in the bike and the swim and barely beating her in the run, it appears that Danny won the competition!

The true competition is next May, when we will be competing head to head in the Ironman St. George in Utah. I plan on spending these next eight weeks doing some more biking and swimming and as they say in the S2 world, it's game time!

To start my training out right, I have decided to enter a six mile swim this weekend in NYC, so if you don't see any new posts after today, you will know why.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Amber's Adjunct Pumpkinman Race Report


Slightly longer version:The gun goes off for the elite wave and before I know it I have caught the super fast feet of Tim Snow. Except I don't know it. I just know that these feet are kicking hard and we are gliding through the water at a good clip. The swim was a 2-loop course in which you exit the water to start the second loop. As I exit the water in my usual less-than-graceful-more-like-drunken-sailor fashion I here cheers for Tim Snow. Holy Smokes! I wanted to ask for an autopgraph but decided against it and instead decided to try hang onto these VERY fast feet for as long as possible.

I exit the water, (first place female!) and start the crazy mad dash up the hill to transition. Did my wetsuit shrink? Note to self: It is extremely hard to sprint, uphill, in a wetsuit, while out of breath and dizzy because you just swam 1.2 miles. My drunken sailer swagger was in full form.

Luckily, I made it out of my wetsuit and out of transition without any big mishaps.

I mount the QR and begin the 56 mile suffer fest. I find myself all by myself until I here the familar voice of the crazy coach. Sean yells at me 'Good job Amber!' And 'where are the hills?' No one loves hills more than Sean and only he would be wishing for them. Crazy man. :) And I had the honor of biking with Mr. Crazy until he decided to drop me like a hot potato.

The run portion is always my favorite as I love chasing people down! My mind wanted to chase people down but apparently my stomach had other plans which involved taking a tour of the port-a-potties. (Which were VERY spacious!)

I crossed the line first in 4:32. WOOHOO!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pumpkinman Triathlon

Location: South Berwick, ME(right over the border from Portsmouth, NH)
Venue: Pumpkinman Half-Ironman Triathlon
Race Lead-Up: "Amber Ferreira, the 2009 New Hampshire female triathlete of year, is considered the favorite to win the women's half-iron race."- September 09, 2010 edition of Foster's Daily Democrat.
Results: 1st Female, 15th overall in a blazing time of 4:32:02.
The Background: Amber's sister Deidre did this race last year and praised it, not only for its great scenery and excellent post-race meal, but also for the organization that lead to a supremely well run race. Luckily, despite concerns that she may not be able to do it due to the proximity to Kona, Amber decided that it would actually be the perfect tune-up race. She would not be disappointed.

Amber and I stayed over in Portsmouth the night before the race, going out to the Portsmouth Brewery for dinner and checking out all the local shops. The next morning we arrived in South Berwick and we quickly met up with the rest of the S2 crew members doing the race: Sean Snow, John Rhymes and Lisa Ransom. All four were to compete as Elites so that they could compete for prize money.

Amber came out of water in 25:21, well ahead of the second female, which she only would further distance herself from. Based on Amber's goal of biking 21mph, I figured that I could get a 45 minute run in, get back stretch out and still catch her on the tail end of the bike. I went for the run on the bike course so I could cheer on the age-groupers while running. I came back to find Greg Whitman drying himself off after swimming in the lake. Due to the road closures, we decided to run to grab some breakfast as we both hadn't eaten yet. After taking 3 1/2 miles to get to the breakfast(found by Greg's cool Droid), hastily eating our eggs, homefries and toast we rushed back so that we could see Amber.

Just in time! Instead of Amber biking 21mph as predicted, she biked 22.3 mph so she got in nearly the same time as we did. We ran beside her for about a half mile, shouting our encouragements and getting her pace(thanks again to the Droid) which was at 6:30. She was looking great. We then ran to the next place where we could see her and about 25 minutes later we saw her again, again running with her long enough to get her pace which had slowed to 6:40's. We saw her twice more along the course, each time with a pretty steady running pace though slowing a bit. Due to the relatively hilly last few miles she ended up finishing with a half marathon time of 1:32 which she wasn't pleased with but I thought was pretty good since I was struggling to keep up with her for those short spurts.

The post-race celebration lived up to its praise: A turkey dinner with all the fixin's served with silverware and on actual plates, with a beer tent. Additionally, the day was made more lucrative as Amber won the first place prize money as well as winning her choice of some pretty awesome jackets from this cool company out of Portsmouth(more information to come on this-we plan on going over and checking it out in person).

A great way to end the summer triathlon season. Now on to the fall season and KONA!!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

amphibious operations and ZOOT shoes!

I came home the other day to find 2 pairs of ZOOT tri shoes at my doorstep:

Ultra-Kalani <--love them!


Ultra TEMPO <---love them!

Thanks to Jake at ZOOT for hooking me up.

So let's talk ZOOT. Zoot uses unique Barefoot technology which incorporates a seam-free liner within the shoe - specifically designed for race day without socks. So you can go sockless and fear no blister.

My three favorits from the Zoot collection: The Zoot Ultra Tempo, Zoot ultra and Zoot kalani. The Zoot ultra tempo features an innovative sole system used in military boots for amphibious operations. What the heck is an amphibious oberation? Let me enlightened you: An amphibious operation is a military operation launched from the sea by naval and landing forces embarked in ships or craft involving a landing on a hostile or potentially hostile shore. An amphibious operation requires extensive air participation and is characterized by closely integrated efforts of forces trained, organized, and equipped for different combat functions. The complexity of amphibious operations and the vulnerability of forces engaged in these operations require an exceptional degree of unity of effort and operational coherence. Comprendo? ---> The Zoot Ultra Tempo features a series of drainage holes in the insole and sole of the shoe. These holes prevent a shoe from getting water logged when athlete pour cups over their head in a hot race while running through aid stations. Additionally, the Zoot ULTRA Tempo uses an integrated stretch lace closure system to facilitate quick donning of the shoes in transition. Stability is accomplished partially through the use of a carbon fiber insert in the mid sole. And, like Newton's the Ultra Tempo's are designed with what Zoot calls the "Tri-O-Mechanics" that are said to promote a more forward-than-heel foot interaction with the ground. "Tri-O-Mechanics"...gotta love the people at ZOOT.

The Zoot ultra's and the Zoot Ultra Kalani are fasssstttt! The shoes are fast because they are light. I think there is enough cushioning in the Kalani's even for Ironman distance runs. And did I mention the "grip button" to help pull the shoe on? What else do you need in a shoe?