Archive for May, 2010

Metro Dash Austin Recap

Sometimes we get ourselves into trouble. Well maybe not trouble per se, but let ourselves be opened up to punishment. Last week while watching my twitter feed over lunch I saw Austin Fit Magazine launch a contest for an entry into Metro Dash Austin. Being the savvy internets user I am, I found the answer to their question and won! Well crap, that meant I had to actually go and do the Metro Dash. What is the Metro Dash you ask? According to their website it’s the ultimate test of athleticism. Competitors run city streets in search of scattered physical challenge points, power through intense interval workouts, and conquer “The Gauntlet,” an extreme urban obstacle course.

Knowing that a lot of the challenges were Tabata drills, I quickly ramped up my training midweek so I wouldn’t be embarrassed. Then I found this video on youtube and could feel my thighs screaming in agony… what the heck was I getting into? Oh and the course itself is pretty straightforward. They give you 5 points around the city at which the challenges are located, you decide the route you RUN and the order you complete them. Then make it back. Did I mention they had a Navy Seal design this stuff? Probably the most odd component to this race was its high noon start time. In Austin. Texas. In May.

I picked up my packet Friday evening at Lululemon Athletica which gave me time to plan out my route that I would run. On Saturday I arrive at Zilker Park with plenty of time to warm up and get my bearings before the race started. I chatted with a few other runners, some of who were first timers like me and others who had done this race before. Five minutes till the start they announced the final challenge location. Fortunately for my planning it worked out great. The horn sounded and we were off. It was the craziest looking race start I’ve ever seen. A swarm of people heading over to the right down Barton Springs, and another swarm to the left down to the trails. My route was down the trails over to the challenge point at auditorium shores. I arrived to a small group already working on the challenge which was Tabata Star Jumpers. Ouch. I finished, grabbed a cup of water and jogged down the trail to cross over on the 1st street bridge. I started to head up Guadalupe St. when I saw another competitor running the other way. I signaled to him to follow me. He got turned around and thought Guadalupe was another block up. We ran up to 9th where another challenge point awaited us at Wooldridge park, Tabata Push-ups. I started strong, and although there are no pictures to prove it, had to finish in good form, but doing them on my knees. I grabbed some water, ate some sport beans and cruised DOWN 9th to Duncan park where the Gauntlet was punishing competitors. Unlike the other challenges, it was a series of pain. Rope swings, tractor tire flips, slam ball, TRX rows, sled drag, kettle bell swings, box jumps, bear crawl and finally a wall jump. There were several moments where I literally sat on the ground wondering if I would be able to finish. I finally completed and was on my way, slowly. Up on Lamar I headed to Pease Park on 15th. I caught up to a couple of guys and we steadily jogged, walked our way up still recovering from the Gauntlet. At Pease Park our challenge was Tabata Sit-ups. This was one of the few challenges I felt prepared for, minus sitting in the Austin sun at 1pm in the afternoon. We could feel the sun baking our skin as we moved through the eight stations. After finishing there I knew I was on the home stretch. I started running back down Lamar to 6th street where the final challenge was at Lululemon. And yes, it was the Tabata Squats. I was glad the squats were last for me, but they still hurt. I finally finished, hydrated and continued down Lamar. I made it across Lamar and back to the trails on which I started. It was a very slow last mile. When I was walking I couldn’t get my resting heart rate below 160. I exited the trail at Zilker and worked my way towards the finish. I had been watching my time and knew I was close to 1:45. As I was running up the hill I saw the clock and began to sprint and crossed the finish line right on 1:45. Then I wanted to pass out. I found the water jug and a banana quickly. I stumbled over to the recovery area where some blessed souls were operating massage tables. After a few minutes I felt human again and could bask in the fact I finished the race, and with a decent time. I mulled around with the other finishers for a while and ate a Clif Bar. After the final results were posted I placed 6th in the individual ranks and added with the team times, 15th overall. This was a great event and I highly recommend it to my athletic friends when they return to Austin next year. They’ll be in Houston this fall and I’m contemplating going through the pain with a friend 🙂

You can check out some of the pictures from the event here.

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the Rookie Tri Recap

Pre-Race

I spent as my wife would refer ‘all day’ Saturday in race prep mode. It was more of laying everything out; coming back later & working on transition settings; going and getting a transition backpack from VO2TC; checking my list; packing everything; etc. It wasn’t REALLY all day. I think. I made a good dinner at home that night and we retired early. Then my alarm went off at 4:30am and I got up and did what triathletes do, I ate and got ready. The race was held at the Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels which is about an hour away. We rolled down the highway, stopped at two Starbucks which were still closed and settled on McDonalds for a coffee fix. My wife took joy in passing all the tri-geeks with 10k bikes on the highway. There were smatterings of rain on the highway and a little drizzle when we got there. I’m sure there were about 1,000 extra prayers to avoid rain at that moment. I get everything set and we walk towards transition area in which I got my body markings on the way. I find a good spot on a rack about 4 rows back and close to the edge. I had to laugh because several of the guys around me had laid out full beach blankets for transition. LAME. I pull out my hand towel, lay it next to my bike and set out my running shoes, bike shoes, helmet, visor and running number. I ended up having to put my bag on the other side of my bike due to the yahoos with huge blankets. I had originally wanted to do a warm up swim and a little jog but after getting my bearings, checking the transition area, traffic flow and using the porta-potty once more there simply wasn’t time. They made an announcement that the water temp was 75 degrees. For being such a short race there were still several folks who opted for a wetsuit. I met up with Luke & Matt and we walked towards the start for the pre-race meeting. They make a few announcements while we stick our feet in the water. About that time we notice a huge dude with about 2% body fat and a tattoo on his left shoulder blade with the five little rings. Yup, that’s right an Olympian was about to swim with us, Brendan Hansen! He would go on to crush the swim in 4:10, yeah that was first. After the national anthem was sung it was show time.

Swim

The swim was pretty straight forward basically a U shaped 300m course at the Ski Ranch tank. The water was pretty calm and temperature was nice. It was definitely a spectacle to see the open division take off with an Olympian at the front. My was up next. We enter the water and since nobody else was I made my way towards the front. One of the best pieces of advice I got only a couple of days ago was to swim towards the inside. Most everyone takes the advice of going to the outside and it gets crowded. As soon as we go off, I join the crowd but quickly step back to the side and let the rush past. I was able to avoid most of the kicking and chaos this way. I got into my stroke almost immediately. My first sightings were off, but then I was able to follow the buoys great and even ran into one. I was amazed that there were swimmers hanging onto the ramps we past at about a 1/3 in. Just before I got to the turn I heard the announcer lead off the next wave. I was feeling really good because this was the pace I wanted. I wasn’t killing myself and was doing the stroke I trained. About half way down the home stretch I notice some different colored swim caps start to pass from the other wave, those guys were smoking. One thing I’ve notice with swimming is the end always seems so far. I kept sighting the finish, but it took a while to get there. I kept swimming once we got close to shore because the alga on the bottom was NASTY and deep. There were plenty of helpers to grab everyone out of the water and into transition it was… and a long run to the bikes.

Bike

I thought I might never make it to my bike rack. I always get pretty dizzy coming out of the water. In hind sight I should have sat on the ground to put on my helmet and shoes. Instead I stagger and almost trip several times. I slipped into my bike shoes but don’t fasten the tops. I grab my bike and run out of transition. One grave mistake that I would regret later was not strapping my shoes on yet. I was able to successfully tighten my right shoes, but I could never get my left shoe closed. I tried at least 10 times on the bike, but couldn’t feed Velcro through the eyelet. I slowed down tried, failed, repeat. Unfortunately I really let this error get in my mental game. I finally decided I could do without. The route was an 11.1 rectangle that started on the service road of I-35. I was never able to come pre-ride the route so it was all new to me. I heard a few riders concerned about a couple of the hills especially at the start. Fortunately for me I like to ride with Austin Cycle Camp. However it pains my legs, it’s always worth it when I come to an even like this. The hills were cake, and that’s where I made up the most ground. I passed up many riders going uphill after they bombed the downhill. The only riders that consistently passed me were the elite riding TT bikes with aero wheels. Whatever. I wasn’t riding as hard as I wanted too, and kept slipping into a comfortable pace rather than a Time Trial pace. I was conscious about not trying to kill it and leave some energy for the run. The final leg coming in was a nice downhill descent back to the Ski Ranch with lots of bystanders cheering. I hop off of my bike to run it into transition and could already feel my legs being heavy.

Run

I make it into transition, rack my bike pull off my helmet & shoes and slip right into my running shoes while grabbing my visor and bib number. I begin my ‘trot’ out of transition onto the run course. The legs were definitely heavy. I kept telling myself not to overdo it at the beginning. It was cool at the start of the run because all of the people cheering you on and they had a drum line playing some tunes. The run course was an out and back with a final lap around the lake to the finish line. I’m going to just say I’m not a fan of out and back on run, because you get to see the ridiculously fast people running the other way. Regardless I carried on with my slow pace. I knew that I could run faster in training, but just couldn’t muster the strength to pull that pace. When I finally rounded the corner to hit the home stretch around the lake I turned it up and came across the finish line strong.

Post-Race

Crossing the finish line I wanted to pass out lying on the ground. Which in my book was a goal. I didn’t want to cross and feel like I could have given a little more but didn’t. Not long after I crossed I was joined by my friends Matt & Luke. It was an awesome feeling that we all finished the event with respectable times. We were greeted at the finish with lots of cheering by spouses and bystanders, recovery drinks, food, etc. The best part may have been when we found the Advanced Rehab tent offering ART and massages. My IT band/quads were abnormally sore, so I immediately felt the benefits of these great people. All in all it was a fabulous event put on by Jack & Adams and High Five Events. It was so cool seeing folks from Monkey Wipes, and Red Licorice Events supporting as well. The more events I do the more faces I recognize and the more fun I have! Next up, the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon on June 20th.

By the Numbers:

Chip Time: 01:10:23
300m swim: 10:28
T1: 2:10
11.1m bike: 37:28
T2: 1:30
2m run: 18:45

see more photos here

RunFAR Bike TT Season Opener

A lot of my co-workers came in town this week for a user conference, including my friend Jim, who has a pretty awesome Richey break-away bike that he can travel with. Our plan was to sneak some riding in whenever we could during the week. I had remembered seeing some information about a low-key Time Trial posted on twitter. So I asked one of my local cycling buddies about it and decided we should give it a go. The Time Trial runs every other week and is put on by RunFAR. It’s a unique setup where you get a chip, and ride the course whenever you deem appropriate. Then they post the results online. The route itself is pretty straight forward you start at La Crosse on south MOPAC, go down turn around and come back. 8 miles with a gentle climb midway through. So Tuesday after we finished our training we load up the bikes and head out. The location is great because we able to get some warm-up time on the Veloway. When we finished warming up I started to notice several of my Team Austin Cycle Camp riding buddies and others who I had conversed with online but never in person. So it was pretty cool getting to chat for a bit. After we got our chips and oogled over the superfast TT bikes others had we head up to the starting line. It was a quick course, with a brutal wind on the backside. I mashed my pedals for as long as I could and came away with a decent time, 24:01. I hit the one goal i wanted, 20mph average. Up and away from here!

Editors note: this was totally supposed to be posted like 3 weeks ago…