Friday, August 26, 2011

Ragnar Race Report

I have to admit that I wasn't terribly excited about participating in the Ragnar Relay, but now that it's over, I'm glad I did. It was truely unique experience. I also got to run the relay with my wife, so it was nice to spend some time without the kids, even if its with 4 other adults we hardly knew and we all stink.

I won't get to detailed, but I'll say that my wife and I were in Van #1 and she was runner #3 and I was runner #5. We quickly learned that this was going to be hilly and harder than either of us expected, but our fellow vanmates were great and kept the spirits high. Overall, the three legs went like this; Leg #1 - hot and hilly, Leg#2 - dark and hilly, Leg#3 - tired and hilly. Would I do it again? You bet!

Here's some pics from our 28 hours of running...

Winona MN

Leg #1

Happy to be done with the first run!


Getting a drink from Ernie and Bert. 

That's how I felt about Leg#1.

Lake Pepin at the first Van exchange.

A quick spin

During the first Ragnar Great River, this bar handed out free beers to the runners, but there was only 30 teams that year. 

My wife finishing Leg #3.

The beginning of my third leg. 

Leg #3 got more and more hilly and I was tired. 

Excited to be done!

Finish line...28 hours later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The "Procedure" follow up...

So the day before my first triathlon of the year, I had a follow up visit to the Urologist. I haven't decided if my Urologist is a former contestant from the Bachelorette or models part time for Ralph Lauren, but he's a damn handsome man (in a non-sexual sort of way). I'm secure enough in my man-hood to say that, however, there is always a level of weirdness when one man (handsome or not) puts on latex gloves, asks the other man to pull his pants down to his ankles, and then tries to have a normal conversation about guy stuff; football, cars,  favorite know, normal guy stuff. When all the while, all I can think about is how this makes a living centered around other men's "junk". Then I asked myself (not out loud of course), "what kind of guy decided's that he's going to do this for a living?"

Below is a close representation of myself and my Urologist...guess which one I am.

Anyway, only after I hear the "snap" of the removal of his latex gloves do I wake from my "happy place" and realize that we are finished. He does however have some homework for me. He hands me 2 boxes with a small container in each. He says they are for the "samples" he wants me to bring in sometime in September. I thought that was a little cold and impersonal considering we were just getting to know each other. So after a brief discussion about the "samples" and how they use them to make sure the "procedure" worked 100%, he explained that if the "procedure" wasn't 100% effective, he'd want more samples and I'd have to get another box. Wow, now I thought he was getting a little needy and clingy and that maybe this relationship wasn't going to work out, but I'd wait to see how the first 2 samples came out (not literally, of course) before coming to any conclusions.
So now I have 2 future dates with my boxes and I thought I need make it less cold and impersonal and might as well give them each a name. So here's a few that came to mind;

Betty and Wilma? Cartoon chicks, that's a little weird.

Cagney and Lacy? chicks with handcuffs and dangerous

Thelma and Louise? Getting better, but they are two crazy chicks.

Ginger and Mary Ann! That it! and if I need another sample, I will name her Mrs. Howell. What? Age is just a number.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

100th post and Graniteman Big Lake Tri pics!

Me and my race buddy

The morning started with a 5am wake-up at the hotel. I should explain that we stayed at a hotel in St. Cloud MN which is about 25 miles from the race site. The reason for this was that our oldest daughter (Sassy) stayed at her Aunt and Uncles the entire week before and we were going to meet in St. Cloud to pick her up as it's about half way between our place and theirs. We thought it would be fun to get a room in St. Cloud, go to the race, then go back to the hotel and meet up with Sassy and have fun playing in the pool.

The night before, we drove to Big Lake MN and drove part of the bike course and checked out the parking situation. The bike course looked good; not very hilly, wide shoulders on the highway, and favorable for a bike pace PR. Then we went to the packet pick up and ate at the pasta dinner. We headed back to the hotel, played in the pool with our youngest (Drama), and then hit the sack.

Getting ready to race

My biggest little fan
Getting set up in transition on a perfect morning!

I got up at 5am, showered, got dressed, brushed the teeth, and got my bag and water bottles ready.  Then  my wife and Drama got ready. I ate a banana and a powerbar and we jumped in the truck and made our way to Big Lake. It was warm, but not hot and there was little overcast. The weather was good and the wind was calm.

I got my stuff set up in transition, body marked, and hung out for a while with my wife and Drama. Drama was having a good time watching all the people and all the attention she was getting. 

I'm the one behind the guy who's bent over...that didn't come out right.

Swim start

I'm out there somewhere

Exiting T1 with my little buddy cheering me on!
I got through the swim in 13:00 and was satisfied. My T1 time sucked, but since I didn't practice removing my wetsuit, I couldn't be mad. Besides, I was having a good time and I got to see my little buddy in T1 cheering my on.  The bike went really good, I was looking to finish in 45 minutes (15 mile course). The course followed the lakeshore on the west and north side and then after a few turns, we headed north out of town.  At about the half way point of the bike is the "lollipop" portion of the course. You basically took 3 left turns and then a right turn back towards town. At about mile 8 my time was 23 minutes. I was pushing a little on the way back, but not too hard, I didn't want to blow up on the run. I came back on the west side of the lake and knew I was under my 45 minute time goal. I unstrapped my shoes and glided into T2.  *15 miles in 43:43,  20.6 MPH avg. PR! *
T2 was pretty quick, but I started heading back out of the "Bike Out" exit when a volunteer corrected me  before I got run over. I was on a "high" from the bike and wanted to push the run. I used a short/quick leg turnover for the first few minutes as we left the park and ran along the west side of the lake. The other bikers were coming in and there was a lot of action to watch. I passed a few people in my age group and watched as the elites were coming back. I got to the turn around (11 minutes) and grabbed 2 cups of water; one I drank as I walked and the other I dumped on my head and back. I then tried to hammer it home. I passed a few more in my age group and finished the run in 22:05 (sprint tri PR!).

By the time I finished, it looked like it may rain, so I got my stuff from transition and we headed back to the hotel. Our oldest daughter, her 2 cousins, and her Aunt and Uncle met us at the hotel and we played in the pool and had a good time hanging out.

Overall, it was great weekend and I maybe I'll do this race next year...we'll see, I may have other plans.

Wondering what time the pool opens at the hotel.

Completely gassed! but thrilled about my finish time. 

I look high... must have been all the endorphins.

As you can see, it was a formal event.

Sassy jumping into the pool!

Friday, August 5, 2011

First Tri of 2011!

This is the inaugural race for Big Lake and is a new addition to a series of races that include another triathlon that took place in July and a half marathon in September. The name Graniteman comes from the area in which all the races take place, central Minnesota. The largest town in this area is St. Cloud, MN (about 30 miles from Big Lake) and is home to large deposits of granite. Quarries have operated in this area since the 1880's and thusly the city of St. Cloud is nicknamed the "Granite City". 

Well its the first of 2 triathlons this year, but the next one is the Square Lake Long Course in September and that'll be a bit more challenging. So this race is one part training for Septembers race and one part fun...mostly fun I hope.

The location of the race seems like it should be favorable for a fast race, but of course a lot of other variables come into mostly. It could be windy, rainy, hotter than the surface of the sun, or all of the above. In any case, it should be a fun course. Here's my course description for each leg;

Swim: The swim course takes place at the local beach (Lakeside park beach) which is on the southwest corner of  Big Lake...not terribly original when it comes to naming lakes, beaches, and roads (I'll get to this later) in this area I'd have to say. I guess Wet Lake and Sandy Beach were taken. Anyway, It's a triangular course which will have us starting on the right side of the beach and angling out to the left and making one turn and coming back towards the left side of the beach.
The swim distance is .33 mile, 531 meters, or 580 yards, depends on which one you prefer. In any case, I'm just hoping to kick and flail my way through without incident.

Bike: After I entered the bike course route into Map My Ride, it appears that its very flat and should be fast. Other than that, I have nothing to go on until tonight when I drive the course. I'm actually feeling pretty good about the bike this year as I've already spent more time in the saddle than I did last year in prep for my Olympic tri. If conditions are decent, I think I can surpass my overall bike pace PR.

Run: The run course is a 5K and is also flat and fast and takes place on Lakeshore Ave (Again...not a very original name, but at least I won't forget where I'm at). I've done a few brick workouts and all have gone very well and the last two I've done have been sans socks.  I haven't done a tri since last September, but I feel my fitness level is in a good place and I plan on pushing as hard as I can at this point.

So there you have it, my Graniteman Big Lake Triathlon preview. Next post will be my race report.