Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2013 Drumstick Dash

2013 Drumstick Dash

I met 2 of my minimal goals for this race which were to finish with a sub 7 average pace and to beat the time of my last 5k, The Gallup For The Greenways 5k, where I finished with a 21:34.

My treadmill 5k's have been consistently sub 20 for some time now, so I was looking to do better than the 21:32 I ended up with, I just got complacent and stuck in heavy traffic...no excuses though, I'll do better next time.

2013-time: 21:32 (chip) 21:32 (gun), pace: 6:56/M, Place 123/3763 overall, 7/163 in my age group, 111/????among men.   

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

2013 Into The Darkness

2013 Into The Darkness
4 Mile Night Trail Race

Spending time on the area trails is essential for my mental health, but being in the woods at night adds a valuable dimension to the experience. I would like to see Into The Darkness become a quarterly race just to be able to appreciate the dynamic within the context of the changing seasons. As a quarterly event it could possibly even give birth to a new trail race series with series awards as well as awards for the individual races.

For now though, Into the Darkness is a stand alone event. I approached it this year with some hope of beating my 2010 time of  32:36, but I just couldn't find any intensity for it so I ended up with a 35:46 which is still better than average for my recent trail running stats which have tended to fall in the 9's and 10's lately. Having just completed my first 50k one week earlier and having spent most of the past several months focusing on long, slow distance running probably has me in a more complacent mind set with my running. It will be interesting to see how long it takes me to snap out of it and get competitive again.
  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

2013 New River Trail 50k

2013 New River Trail 50k
Training Weeks 16-18

History
None. This will be my first year participating in this event. This will also be my first timed 50k race as well as my first ultra marathon of any distance.

Preparation
I intend to do a 20 mile long run at the end of week 16, then follow that up with 2 weeks of decreasing mileage and holding steady to modest increases with intensity.

Week 16-Mon: Intervals 9 Wed: Recovery 12  Thurs: Tempo 4 Sat: Long 20

Week 17-Mon: Intervals 6 Tue: Recovery 10  Thurs: Long 8 + 8  Sat: Fun Run 5k

Week 18-Mon: Tempo 4 Wed: Recovery 8    Sat: Race
PaceTreadmillTrailAsphalt
Total
5




6  8.512
11.5
7 5.51+19
16.5
  8
4.5+1+1010
25.5
  9
11+213
26
  10
9.55
14.5
  11
2+136
21
 12
1+2

3
 




Walking 
1+4.5
5.5
 




  Total146445.5
123.5
Map

The Course


The NRT 50k course consists of fine crushed gravel along a rails-to-trails former railroad bed. Railroads typically choose the flattest paths  when laying out their tracks for fuel efficiency purposes and this course was no exception. Elevation changes were subtle and I only perceived that I was running on a level course.

The Race
Elevation Profile
The 2013 NRT 50k was my introduction to ultra distance events. Throughout training I had been hesitant to establish any goals beyond simply finishing, but in order for the final result to reflect well on the training I did want to have a faster time and pace than the one 30 miler I completed during week 5. I had originally intended to do two or three 30 milers while training for the NRT 50k, but started to feel some burnout during July and August, so I cut my long run mileage way back and started ramping up for the main event with just the one for comparison. 

In my 5 year history with endurance sports I've noticed my motivation seems to wane drastically after about 2 hours or16 miles. I enjoy pushing hard for about 2 hours/16 miles and after that the real workout begins. I have had some success fighting the encroaching fatigue during the 3 marathons I've completed, but I had no intention of fighting it for the NRT 50k, instead I focused my long training runs on staying comfortable, taking it easy, walking at regular intervals, and simply enjoying being outdoors. 


I had entertained some ideas prior to the race about how I was going to run it, but as usually happens my training determined what I was going to do more than any last minute enthusiasm. From race start all the way through mile 27 all I thought about was comfort and taking it easy. 

I started out in the easy 8's and as soon as that took any effort at all I quickly ditched the 8's and flirted with the 9's for a couple of miles. I didn't have enough experience with the distance to know how much "push" to invest in the effort, but I knew I had a good solid bank of 8's working to keep my avg pace low, and I knew my goal pace to beat from week 5 was in the high 11's, so I decided to place a bet on holding a high 11/low 12 for the remainder of the course. 


I used regular walk intervals every mile after mile 12. Monitoring my Garmin closely, I would start each mile with a 1/10th mile brisk walk, follow that up with whatever effort was required to bring my avg pace for that mile back down to a mid 11/low 12, walk again until the avg pace was back up to a 13, then use whatever was needed to pull the avg back close to a 12 min/mile. After seeing two 12's I decided I was selling myself short, so I opted for all 11's after mile 17.

This strategy worked extraordinarily well until mile 27. 

At mile 26 I filled my water bottle at an aid station and it was cold and it felt oh so good and I drank the whole fracking thing in less than a quarter mile. I wanted to turn around and go back and drink a lot more water and fill up my bottle again, but that would have devastated everything I was working for.

I was already feeling some fatigue and I had 4 miles to go with no water so I decided to drop my per mile goal pace to a sub 15, which translated to a speed walk with just the occasional light jog. Fortunately some volunteers were monitoring a road crossing somewhere along mile 29 and they had a water cooler. With a fresh infusion of H2O and a full water bottle I was now able to take my mind off conserving energy and instead focus on a strong finish!

Of course a strong finish at that point would still looked like death, but I did kick it up to a 13 for the final full mile and a high 9 for the .27 mile sprint to the finish! As is typical, I was late turning off my Garmin, so final stats don't accurately reflect the effort to the finish. 

Garmin Data: HERE
(Note: Garmin only holds roughly 3h45m of geographical information, then starts to erase oldest data first. It does retain per mile pace stats though.)

Official Results:
New River Trail 50k (NT) USATF certified marathon split: 4:37:22
2013-time: 5:43:48, Pace: 10:59, Place 86/128 overall, 25/40 in my age group, 57/79 among men 
 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

2013 Roanoke Zombie Run

2013 Roanoke Zombie Run

With the zombie apocalypse likely no more than 10 years off, I decided to move my long run to Thursday and participate in Roanoke's inaugural 5k Zombie Run on Saturday in lieu of a high intensity 4 mile treadmill run.

I was unable to survive the zombie apocalypse training drill at Roanoke's Green Hill Park, but I have performed a technical analysis on my performance and remain confident that future drills will deliver an increased efficiency at a future running of the event.

Although survival was not to be part of my experience, I can be confident about having ran a 5k ish course comprised largely of trails and fields with some asphalt paths in just over 21 minutes. This was not a timed event and finish places were not issued either. It was just a "fun run" for those who see things from that perspective and a survival drill for some of us others.

I have no way of knowing how fast anybody else was because the event was conducted in untimed waves. All I know is that I started in the first wave with about 200 other participants and finished 3rd overall.

Speed is a great attribute to have. but in some tactical scenarios it is not enough. Faced with zombie hordes survival is likely to require a vast array of techniques including, but not limited to, stealth, plotting distractions and using other humans as shields.

Garmin Data: HERE    

Sunday, September 22, 2013

2013 New River Trail Challenge Triathlon

2013 New River Trail Challenge
Triathlon
Training For New River Trail 50k: Weeks 13-15




History
None. This will be my first year participating in the New River Trail Challenge. I am participating this year as a runner on a relay team, however I think it will make a nice solo event for a future year.

Preparation
I'm looking for a 20 miler and a 26 miler for the two long runs this segment. My long runs have been mostly 16 milers for about a month now, so building endurance for the NRT 50k is critical for this 3 week segment. I'm only training to finish the NRT 50k, not to place well, but 31 miles is too far to just show up with out the proper conditioning.

Week 13-Mon: Intervals 8 Wed: Recovery 12  Thurs: Treadmill 4 Sat: Long 20

Week 14-Mon: Intervals 8 Wed: Recovery 12  Thurs: Treadmill 4  Fri: Long 26

Week 15-Mon: Intervals 8 Wed: Recovery 12  Thurs: Treadmill 4 Sat: Race
PaceTreadmillTrailAsphalt
Total
5




6  12.5


12.5
7 11.54

15.5
  842.5+9

15.5
  9
8.511
19.5
  10
10.510
20.5
  11
19.53
22.5
 12
63
9
 




Walking 
79
16
 




  Total286736
131

 The Course

     The course primarily consisted of fine crushed gravel on a rails-to-trails former railroad bed. It was raining while I was running the course and water puddles were a consistent obstacle. The graphic below seems to me to be exaggerating the elevation changes since as I was running the course I only perceived that I was running on a flat to low-grade incline. Very similar to the Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon from week 3. 

The Race
      Although my focus for this event was largely limited to getting in a good training run in a race environment, this was in fact a team effort half iron equivalent triathlon. Our cyclist, Matt S. had some mechanical issues on the 40 mile bike leg so we lost some time with that, but he did get us to the T1 transition, so that counts the same as a win in my book. Our kayaker, Joe M., had a solid kayak time of just above 2 hrs for his 12.1 mile kayak leg and got us to T2 at around 2 o'clock.

     I started the run leg in a steady rain and while it did taper off some at times it was a consistent element to contend with. I suspected the trail was mostly flat with slight, but steady incline, so I thought it was an excellent opportunity to hold a steady pace. I ran the first mile in the high 7's and tried to hold it, but I knew my recent training stats wouldn't support a prolonged effort at that pace. I figured if I could hold the 7's for 4 miles, drop to the 8's for the middle 5 miles and then cruise the last 4 miles in at a comfortable pace in the 9's then I would feel like I had a good training run for the NRT 50k coming up in 3 weeks.

     I held the high 7's for 4 miles and was all too happy to drop into the 8's for the 5th mile. My pace and stride were starting to feel "locked in", so when the 9th mile was done I decided hold the 8's and even though it was a mental drain by mile 11 I was able to hold it all the way to the finish.

Results
      As a team, The Diesel Ninja-Pirates, we did come in last among the all male team competitors, but we did all reach our finish lines uninjured and had a good time even in somewhat miserable weather. With a finish time of 7:18:14 we have a solid shot at improvement in future years if we can keep the team and the event going in future years.
     As an individual, I look at this event in differing perspectives. I know I can train to run this course in under 1h 40m and would consider that a good goal for a future run. Right now this was just a training run for my first ultra marathon coming up in 3 weeks, the New River Trail 50k (31 miles for the uninitiated), so my training has been focused on long, slow runs at easy paces with a focus on comfort. In that context I have to be thrilled that I was able to compete today at a steady pace on the high end of my recent training stats.

Garmin Data: HERE
(Will update here when full aggregated results are posted online)
   

Saturday, August 31, 2013

2013 Iron Mountain 16 Miler

2013 Iron Mountain 16 Miler
Training For New River Trail 50k: Weeks 10-12

History
2011-Time: 2:32:30, Pace: 9:06, Place: 5/62 overall, 2/12 in my age group, 5/40 among men.
My 2011 time of 2:32:30 still ranks 8th of all time in the history of this event. I had some aspiration of beating it at one time, but looking at where my training is right now I suspect this won't be the year for it. I may even walk the hills this year as I keep my focus on going the distance and staying comfortable.
(UPDATE: My 2011 time was beaten by one person today, so I'm now 9th on the all-time top 10)

Preparation
Training has taken a turn towards just focusing on going the distance at slow easy paces lately and I'm not ready to start pushing the paces outdoors just yet. I am ready to start adding a 4th day of running each week to my routine and intend for it to be a high intensity treadmill run.

Week 10-Mon: Intervals 8 Wed: Recovery 12  Thurs: Treadmill 4 Sat: Long 16

Week 11-Mon: Intervals 8 Wed: Recovery 12  Thurs: Treadmill 4  Fri: Recovery 11

Week 12-Mon: Intervals 9 Wed: Treadmill 4   Thurs:  Recovery 10 Sat: Race
PaceTreadmillTrailAsphalt
Total
5




6  8
1
9
7 1023.5
15.5
  823.56.5
12
  9
3.56
9.5
  10
4+310
17
  11
11.5+48.5
24
 12
11.5+23.5
17
 




Walking 
4.5+25
11.5
 




  Total2051.544
115.5

The Course
     The course was just like I remembered it from 2011. Very technical (rocky and rooty). This year it was wet and slick  too from rain the previous night.
The Race
The town gazebo.
     Not a bad race. I stayed with my strategy of walking up the steep hills so I wasn't really looking to place well. My time of 2:58:08 is about 26 minutes slower than when I ran it in 2011, but I was training for a Boston Qualifier at Richmond that year too so I was much better conditioned. I still ended up with 5th overall, 4th place male, and 1st place age group today. The 16 miler seemed to have a smaller number of participants this year, so that reflects in how I still managed a top 5.

Results
This is a small town, low frills race,so no age group awards. It's ok 'cause they make up for it with lots of  high quality small town character. They did add a masters award for 50+, so that gives me something to shoot for in later years.
 
Finishers award. Choice between a loaf of bread or a jar of jam from the local bakery. I enjoyed the jam in 2011, so figured I'd go with bread this year.

Garmin Data: HERE
Time: 2:58:08, Pace: 10:50, Place 5/36 overall, 1/2 in my age group, 4/16 among men

Saturday, August 10, 2013

2013 Lynchburg Half Marathon

2013 Lynchburg Half Marathon
Training For New River Trail 50k: Weeks 7-9

History
None. This is my first year participating in the Lynchburg Half Marathon

Preparation
My goal for the 3rd 3-week segment that leads into the Lynchburg 1/2 on Aug 10th is just to take it easy and maintain what I got. I need to start doing some recovery miles, but I'm not willing to start running 4 days per week just yet, so I'll swap out the interval training for recovery training this segment.


PaceTreadmillTrailAsphalt
Total
5




6  2
1+1
4
7 8
10+1
19
  81511+3
20
  9
123+3
27
  10
37+3
13
  11
18+2
11
 12
24
6
 




Walking 
32.5
5.5
 




  Total111579.5
105.5

The Course

The Race

Shirt front, race number and finishers medal.
Garmin Data: HERE

Final Results:
Lynchburg Half Marathon 
2013- time 2:03:16, Pace 9:25/M, Place 125/316 overall, 18/26 in my age group, 90/160 among men

The past 3 weeks have been very lazy and it showed through on race day. Ya get what ya pay for I guess. Anyways, I had a good time and satisfied my curiosity with regards to the Lynchburg Half Marathon's reputation. 

It's all true!

That frackin' hill at mile 4-ish kicked my butt and I never really recovered from it. Oh well, I set a low bar to come back and get a course PR in a future running of the event. It was a good overall experience even if was my Personal Worst half marathon time. Some days its all about going the distance.
 
Shirt back. Please support Lynchburg Half sponsors.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

2013 The Scream Half Marathon

2013 The Scream Half Marathon
Training For New River Trail 50k Weeks 4-6
Shirt front, race number, finishers medal and pint glass (3rd place Age Group award.)
Final Results: Time 1:34:26, Pace 7:12, Place 28/337 Overall, 21/139 among men, 3/25 in my age group

Garmin Data: HERE

History
This is the 2nd year this event has been held and my first year participating.

Preparation
The 2nd 3 weeks of training for the NRT 50k consisted of running 3 times per week, adding additional mileage and intensity to the interval training, upping the pace of the 20 miler and swapping out the 26 miler for a slower 30+


PaceTreadmillTrailAsphalt
Total
5




6  4.558.5
18
7 6711.5
24.5
  83.5124
28.5
  9

23
23
  10

15
15
  11

5
5
 12




 




Walking 
25
7
 




  Total141592
121
Compared to weeks 1-3, I've steadily pushed my average paces into the 7's, 8's, and 9's and it paid off at the race. As stated above, I was looking to do my 30 miler at a slower pace than last segments 26 miler, but I had originally intended to do the 30 on a trail and changed it over to asphalt at the last minute. A

The Course
       
    The Scream half marathon is a point-to-point USATF certified downhill course. Most of the course is on a rocky dirt/gravel road, but the first 2 miles are asphalt. I selected it for several reasons...1) Roanoke (my home town) does not offer a similar type race. 2) The course is comprised of a section of the Peak to Creek Marathon and I wanted to get a feel for the course so if I end up doing Peak to Creek I'll have an idea what I'm getting into. 3) I do rather well with downhill running, so it offered me an shot at a PR without having to be in what I call "PR" shape. 

The Race
 
     The first two miles are on asphalt and offer rolling terrain. My legs felt heavy and dead for this section and the steady downhill couldn't have started soon enough for me. Once the continuous downhill started I found a groove in the high 6's fairly quickly and no one was passing me, so I was content to hold at a steady effort. After a few miles into the downhill Garmin was showing me with an average pace in the low 7's. My PR 1/2 marathon pace from the 2012 Blue Ridge Half was a 7:17, so I was feeling motivated to ignore any encroaching fatigue.

      Somewhere between miles 7-10 are two fairly modest, but noticeable uphill sections. I didn't have the programming in place to compensate for them without interrupting my pace so I lost a few seconds getting past 'em, but my average pace was staying in the low 7's, so I wasn't stressing on it.

     By the last 3 miles my calves were feeling intense burn and I was calculating what was the least amount of effort I could expend and still make a PR. Garmin isn't 100% accurate and especially not in areas with heavy tree cover, so I knew better than to let Garmin be the decisive factor. I tried to focus on holding a steady effort, but I was wearing out fast. Logged the final full mile in at a 8:00 min/mile flat.


     When I saw the finish line something got a hold of me to make a strong finish. I scrambled to find a surge and had to start bellowing out with a war cry, but I did manage a good sprint and passed one guy who had been playing leap frog with me for several miles. I was pleasantly surprised as I charged the finish line by the sight of my wife and daughter, I thought they would have been waiting at the Brown Mountain Beach Resort for me to get off a shuttle bus. I was happy to see them, but I missed the time clock completely and had no idea what my official time was. Garmin was showing 1:34:xx, so I figured I PR'd by a small margin.


     After several minutes of walking around in post race exhaustion I made it over to where the results were being posted. 1:34:26, I almost couldn't believe it, that I had cut it so close, but still managed a PR. After doing a double take I realized I had pulled off a 3rd place Age Group award as well. Making the podium AND getting a PR at the same event is the kind of moment I live for. The fact that the course was downhill and somewhat lending itself to a PR was in no way diminishing the experience.
Post race showering facilities lacked in hot water, but offered a refreshing "natural" feel.


Shirt back: Please support The Scream sponsors.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

By The Numbers: 2013: Q2

By The Numbers
2013: Q2
All mileage. Includes run, bike, swim, hike, walk and elliptical. I been doing a lot of elliptical work in lieu of cycling and swimming lately.
Cycling mileage is way low, but my speeds are looking good when I ride, so no worries.
Not spending much time in the pool. "0" indicates less than 1/2 mile. Completely blank indicates a literal zero.

Run mileage has stayed at near record high levels, but avg speeds are still down.

Post exercise weight is still above peak competitive levels, but fine for general health.

BMI means nothing to me, but I throw it in here since its available.

Blood Pressure is fine.

First thing in the morning weight started getting a bit high in June, but Im making the adjustments.



Body Fat % is good. I like to keep it between 12%-16%


 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

2013 Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon

2013 Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon
Training For New River Trail 50k: Weeks 1-3

History
None. 2013 is the inaugural running of this event.

Preperation
The first 3 weeks of training for the NRT 50k has consisted mostly of slower paces while I get my body readjusted to longer distance running. I'm running 3 times a week and ending every 3rd week of training with a 1/2 marathon or, in the case of Iron Mountain, a 16 miler. 

PaceTreadmillTrailAsphalt
Total
5




6 

.5
.5
7
912
21
  8
418.5
22.5
  9

17
17
  10

19.5
19.5
  11

18.5
18.5
 12

4
4
 




Walking 

8
8
 




  Total
1398
111
 
   High concentration of miles in the 8 to 11 min/mile range over the past 3 weeks. Very few of the miles in the 7 min/mile range were ran consecutively, so I was not expecting to run as many sub 8's as I did at todays race.

The Course
  
This is a non-technical, fine crushed gravel trail. There is slight elevation changes, but they are gradual and almost impossible to differentiate from a flat surface while running. I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a half marathon PR due to the relative flatness of the course.
The Race

This event has 3 distances racing simultaneously. A 1/2 marathon, a 10k, and a 1 mile. It is impossible to know who is doing what distance, but I knew after the first mile or so that I had 6 in front of me. Just before I reached the 10k turn around 4 of the ones in front of me came running back towards me. This meant I was 3rd over all in the half. I held 3rd for the first 8 or 9 miles, but eventually had to drop my pace from the mid to high 7's down to a low to mid 8. Shortly after dropping my pace I got passed by 2 and held 5th for the remainder of the race. I also managed a 1st place for my age group, but I acknowledge that running a 1h45m half marathon is not particularly fast for a flat non technical trail, so it was just a fluke that some faster runners didn't show up and take the podium spots.
Results
Bling! Crossing over the Jackson River on I-64 with me pillaged booty!

Garmin Data: HERE
 
Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon
2013-time: 1:44:53.04, Pace: 8:00, Place 5/34 overall, 1/3 in my age group, 5/17 among men

Please support Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon Sponsors

Sunday, June 9, 2013

NRT 50k Training Plan

NRT 50k Training Plan

     The New River Trail 50k is going to be my first "official" timed 50k race. I've worked up a training schedule that involves running a 1/2 marathon as a warm up race every 3rd week starting on June 29th with the inaugural Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon and ending on Oct 12 with the NRT50k. The exception will be Aug 31st with the Iron Mountain 16 Miler in lieu of a Half Marathon.

     Rather than follow a strict schedule, I'm gonna train for this one more by "feel". Basically I'll have a general intention of running a weekly 8 miler for intervals, a 12 miler at tempo, and alternating my weekend long run every 3rd week between a race, a 20 miler, and a 26 or 30 miler. I'm not even going to begin making goals for any of the warm up races or the NRT 50k itself. As always I will give it what I got on race day and be happy to finish each event knowing that I kept myself active.

     Worth mentioning is that the NRT 50k is a USATF certified course with official timing at the 26.2 mile mark that can be used for Boston Qualifying. I am not prepared to say at this time that I'm looking to BQ. Im just going to go through the motions with my training plan and whatever happens on race day will be acceptable as a reflection of the effectiveness of my training. 
  

Monday, June 3, 2013

2013 Salem Sprint Triathlon

2013 Salem Sprint Triathlon
2013 Time 01:03:10 (S-7:35, T1-1:52, B-27:40, T2-1:29, R-24:36), Place-39/106 Men,  7/18 Men 40-44
     Pool swim triathlons have a strong appeal to me. I've never taken the time to get comfortable in the open water, but I have easy access to a pool, so pool swim tri's offer me a chance to incorporate my cross training disciplines into a competitive environment without having to leave my comfort zone by venturing into the open water.

     That said, I'm no big fan of the "comfort zone", but I know where I'm at right now too. Mentally I just don't have the drive that propelled me to some of my fastest times and statistics. All I want out of my recreational life is to simply be active, spend plenty of time outdoors, and maintain a few health stats such as body weight, body fat %, and blood pressure. I seem to be doing a good job of this so far by running longer with less intensity, taking more rest days and focusing my cross training on weight training for endurance.

     Still, even knowing that I'm not as competitive as I was from 2011-mid 2012 doesn't subtract at all from the satisfaction of participating in racing events. I actually find it quite interesting watching my race stats change from year to year as a reflection of where I'm at mentally and what kind of training I'm doing.

     Last year heading into the Salem Sprint Tri I was doing regular brick workouts and still getting plenty of quality pool time. This year has seen very little time on the bike or in the pool and my running has been mostly long, slow distance. My expectation for this years Salem Sprint Tri was adjusted accordingly.

     Regardless of where my training is, when race day rolls around I'm giving it all I got. Anything less would render the results less meaningful. 

     The Swim
     The 300yd pool swim consisted of a 6 lap snake swim in a 25yd pool. With starts being 10 sec. apart the potential for congestion was significant and I saw plenty of it. The important thing was that I adjusted to the congestion without letting it effect the quality of the experience. I passed 3 or 4 people in the first 150 yds and eventually was passed by 3 or 4 presumably different people in the last 150 yds. By the 4th lap I was ready to take a break at the end of a pool lane and get some oxygen, but I fought through it and settled on just abandoning the flip turns in favor of pushing off the wall with my head above the water to just get an extra breath or two. I ended up with a 7:35, which is 42 sec slower than last year. Not bad at all considering I hadn't even been in a pool for over 4 weeks!

T1
 Felt slow, but kept it under 2 minutes, so I'm not disappointed.
The Bike
     They call it a 15k, but it seems to be 9/10ths of a mile short. The first few miles of the course have a few turns where volunteers are critical and they did a good job of flagging us in the right direction. I passed more people than I can remember, but it seems like it was at least 10. My calves were feeling that happy burn by mile 3 and I knew I was trashing myself for the run, but I was just trying to get the most out of THIS moment, so I kept pushing. Time was actually faster than last year by 12 seconds, which is astounding to me since I hadn't been on a bike in 2 weeks. I'm going to credit it to the high intensity elliptical work I've been doing lately.

T2
Seemed to flow smoothly and was within a few seconds of last year.
The Run
     I was trashed from the bike and with no brick training lately I just had to laugh at myself. It wasn't miserable like at Angels a few weeks ago, it was just sub par. I wasn't motivated to pass anyone except for the people who were seriously burning out. With about a mile to go I found myself behind a young kid (10-ish) who was racing HARD with long strides, but still moving at my burned out jogging pace. I could tell by the way he kept trying to pull away from me that he wanted to hold his spot and I was right at my oxygen capacity to let him keep it, but I still had enough reserves to keep an option to pass on the table. When the finish line came into sight he turned on some juice and I held back for a few seconds then turned on some juice myself. I caught up to him, but he was working hard for the spot and I wasn't invested in the effort anyway, so I slowed down to make sure he crossed the finish line first. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
Please support Salem Sprint Tri sponsors
Conclusion
     Finishing with a 1:03:10 was an awesome surprise. Giving up less than 3 minutes from last year, when my training was much more focused towards a better finish, is incredibly satisfying. I still look forward to breaking an hour on this course one year, but I'll be back in 2014 regardless of the shape I'm in as long as they are holding the event.