Monday, August 29, 2005

Lynnwood Hi5 5K

This is a little race in Lynnwood (outside Seattle) at the Alderwood Mall. It starts with the 10K runs and 5K runners at the same starting line, but going opposite directions. The idea is that the runners are supposed to "high 5" at the start (ah, I get it now).

The start is all uphill. I took off perhaps a little too fast, but slowed down enough to do the first mile in 6:30, perhaps a little too fast given that it was all uphill. I did the second mile in another 6:30 at 13 minutes. The third mile I spotted another runner, who I knew was either the third or fourth place overall in front of me. I pushed on the uphill (my strength) and almost caught him. He surged on the downhill. With noone behind me, I slowed a bit in the last half mile to run alongside Liz, Josh and Ben, who were cheering me in, and finished in 20:48. For a hilly 5K, I was pleased with my overall time. My goal nowadays is to do flat 5Ks in under 20:00.

I ended up being the fifth overall finisher. But three of the four in front of me were over 40! No medal today! The kids were bummed. But there was lots of free food and Jamba Juice at the end as consolation prizes.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Heart of the Sound Tri

This is a fairly new (started in 2001) little sprint triathlon (1/2 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 5K run) on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound. My friends Troy and Gay live on Vashon Island and Gay volunteered for the race. I flew in last night to Seattle and, due to the ferry delays, didn't get to Troy's house until 11pm. Luckily the triathlon didn't start until 9:30am. I did manage to assemble my bike while waiting for the ferry so it wasn't all lost time.

I drove from Troy's house on the north end of the island down to where the police officer was directing traffic and parked at the high school to catch a shuttle down to the race on the Burton peninsula.

I arrived at the race at 9am and Gay helped me checkin. They weren't going to let me race due to losing a barend cap. I wrapped my baggage receipt around the bars. The water in the salt-water lake was smooth for the swim. They started first with the relay wave (relays for a sprint?) and then with older waves first, and men 35-49 ended up being the fifth wave. I had more problems with the Aquasphere goggles getting water in them, and had to stop several times to clear the water. But great visibility when I wasn't doing that. I didn't notice my time out of the water, but I was moving slow. Clearly if I want to do well, I'll have to change my "no swim" training model ;-)

Gay cheered me out of the water into the transition and I jumped onto the bike. The bike course is quite hilly, which I love. I was glad I brought the road bike instead of the tri bike. I had lots of derailleur noise in most gears and was not shifting well, probably due to not putting the derailleur back on quite right. I should have done some checkout runs and potentially adjusted it before the race. The course is a loop that gives you a nice tour of this pretty island. Its also long for a sprint (15 miles) which also helps me. This is now one of my favorite tri bike courses. The bike course is what will bring me back. I did wipe out once on the course going into one of the steeper climbs, I shifted off the triple front derailleur and lost my chain and fell. I got back on the bike right away though and attacked the hill.

The sun came out just in time for the run, which was a loop on the road outside Camp Burton. Two loops of about 1 1/2 miles each, with a nice little hill in it. I'm not crazy about the double loop though in any race. I did each loop in about 11 minutes for about a 22 minute run split. Unfortunately I wasn't really timing my splits. And the race results didn't break those out. I finished with 1:42 for the race, exactly in the middle of the 13 40-49 year old men.

A fun race with a beautiful bike course. Its inexpensive $55 and reasonably well-organized. I'll be back next year.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Folsom International Triathlon

As I had just done Big Basin Redwoods trail run the day before, I was ambivalent about going to do this race. But I had signed up several months before and I hate to back out of previous commitments. Also I had never done this race before, and its one of a limited number of tris in the greater Bay area that I hadn't done. I drove out late Saturday to Folsom and stayed at the Larkspur Landing (I recommend this hotel which is very close to Lake Natoma).

I got up at 5am and did the quick drive over to the lake. After last week's fiasco at Sandman of getting lost in the swim with fogged up goggles, I had my Aquasphere goggles ready to use. I saw our old UI designer at Good, German Bauer at the starting line and we chatted while waiting for the old man wave.

The water was COLD, due to the American river flowing down from the Sierras into it. I started out well in the swim but got caught in quite a melee of thrashing arms. Someone caught one of the holes in my wetsuit and ripped the arm clear off! It stayed on hanging by a thread. To top it off my aquaspheres were leaking. I ended up stopping for a good several minutes to adjust my goggles and the arm on my suit. I ended up getting out of the water in 39:55, horrible. I was third to last out of the water. German was second to last, about ten minutes later.

I toyed with the idea of stopping, but decided to treat the rest of the day as a training exercise. I did the bike in 1:09, 25th out of 57 in my division. It was a nice slightly hill bike course with enough wind to make it interesting. I felt fine towards the end and comfortably did the final 10K run in 45:21, got 21st out of 57.

Not a good performance today. But I hadn't done Folsom International before so I thought I should do it. I don't plan to do it next year however. I'll probably just stick with the previous day's Folsom Mountain Bike Triathlon, which I've done well at before.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Big Basin Redwoods

This is a Pacific Coast Trail Runs event held in Big Basin State Park, the first California State park. I love these lowkey PCTR events. They are always held in beautiful places, and today's event was certainly no exception. I prefer the shorter runs, especially when racing the next day (Folsom International Triathlon is tomorrow). So I entered the 9K.

I got to the race just seconds before they actually started. It was quite a lot of footwork getting up to the front in the first half mile on the narrow trails. I'll try to start in the front next time. The first several miles were uphill which I love. I was able to steadily move through pack picking off people. I finally got up to one young guy in red shorts and black shirt around mile 3.5 (there were no markers though). I passed another really young guy in red shorts and I couldn't see anyone ahead at all. I heard some guy pushing fast behind me on a short downhill around mile 4. There was one more uphill to drop him. I pushed hard thinking that he would drop back. He was still there but maybe a little further back. I could tell I wasn't going to beat him on the downhill (not my strength). He went past me on the steepest downhill. I tried to hang with him on the downhill but ended up finishing around 15 seconds off of him.

I thought we had finished 1-2 since last year's race was won in around 43 minutes and we both came in under 40 minutes. Supposedly though there were two runners who finished in 35 minutes which is just an astonishing time for basically climbing a mountain for three miles and then coming back down. These guys had beat an immediate exit, prizes in hand before we even got there. Had to settle for fourth. But I really enjoyed this race. Will definitely be there next year.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Sandman Triathlon

I had done a 5K the day before and then a 60 mile ride from Santa Cruz up to my house in the hills and back down. So I was totally exhausted on Sunday.

But I can't resist a beach triathlon so I showed up anyway to treat it as a training day. I arrived at Seacliff State beach in Aptos to a cloudy morning. The water was quite choppy. I had a very rough time staying on course and I think was in the water for 25 minutes (horrible). I took my road bike out on the bike course. I felt exhausted the whole time. But I did enjoy the ride. It finishes with a 4.2 mile run on the beach. I love beach runs, and did manage to turn in a decent finish. Despite my awful swim and slow bike, I finished in 1:46. My goal is 1:35 next year.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Kids Count 5K

This was held in a technology park near my office ( so I couldn't resist running it even though I was doing SandMan the next day and riding to Santa Cruz and back later this day.

I went out the flat fast course at a 6:30 pace consistently finishing in 19:51, good for third in 40-49. Nice little convenient race.