Archive for the ‘ swimming ’ Category

Lake Pflugerville Tri Recap

So after the Rookie Tri, I thought I might be getting into the swing of things with Triathlons. So my buddies Matt, Luke and I registered for the Lake Pflugerville Tri. This was a no miss event for me seeing as the lake is only 8.5 miles from my house and the area where we do most of our usual training. The field was limited to 500 participants which was about half the size of the Rookie. The last month of training has been pretty solid, including some PR times on the swim and bike route for the race. I was also able to capitalize on the early daylight hours while in California for work last week. (more on that later)

We planned to meet at Matt’s house and ride the 1.5 miles from there to avoid traffic issues. BRILLIANT. It was an easy was to get in and a nice little warm up. We arrived just as the sun was beginning to rise and were able to pick some pretty descent spots in transition. My wife arrived with the kiddos in tow just before the pre-race meeting (this was father’s day afterall) and it was great to have them out there cheering me on.

The 8-year-old daughter of a friend who just returned from IronMan Kansas 70.3 sang the national anthem and the open division was off. The swim for me was pretty good. There was definitely much more bumping and kicking than I had experienced in the Rookie Tri, but that’s all part of the game. I tried to stick to my pace, sight the buoy’s and get as much oxygen as possible. All of these goals were met, and I in fact hit the first buoy square on. I made it to the beach and bolted to transition. I wanted to make sure and not ‘dottle’ my way to the bike. I’m pretty sure this may have been where my heart rate was indeed the highest through the race.

I made it to my bike, got my shoes on, helmet on and was ready to go. The only issue? I continued running past the mount line which was… silly. After a disappointing showing on my bike for the Rookie, I was out for revenge. I know the course by heart and was ready to go. I put my head down, eyes up and hands in the drops and I was gone. I began my assault and starting passing riders pretty quick. Once we turned past the Cele store, I knew the fun was about to begin, a series of rollers over a 4-5 mile stretch. And it was. Fun. Because I trained on it. And passed people on it. And owned. It. Average speed coming off was over 19mph. I was on target. The plan was to be able to turn up the pace after the rollers. I had a slight pause trying to get down some Hammer Gel before the final leg of the bike, but kept plugging away. The last leg of the bike was a little tougher for me than I had anticipated. It’s normally where the gas is able to be turned up quite a bit, but I was just maintaining. Before we turned I heard my buddy Matt yell behind me “come on Andrew, let’s do it.” Arg. Matt had finally caught up to me, which meant he was smoking his time. We stayed fairly close through the end of the bike route, but I geared down to spin up before the run.

In transition, I was really starting to not feel so hot. Well, yes hot, but not in the good way. I slipped into my running shoes, grabbed my visor & bib number and headed out. I could see the wife and kids as well as our friends at the top of the hill cheering. I managed to make it up the hill in good form, then hit the trail. Ouch. The run was going to hurt. Again. The first mile was ok. At least I thought the water station was at mile one, but it wasn’t! If you’ve never run around Lake Pflugerville, it’s a great trail. Minus the 2nd mile section on the backside of the lake that somehow doesn’t get any air movement, and is always a sweltering furnace of pain. And I mean it. The comfort I took was knowing that I wasn’t the only one struggling on that side. There were many quality athletes that felt the pain. After hitting the mile 2 marker, I began my mental countdown. I didn’t want to look at my watch, but felt pretty sure I was on target for my goal of 1:30 finishing time. But I didn’t want to ruin it. So I kept plugging along, and only had the wind knocked out of my sail from a few amazing female athletes who coasted by me. I finally make it to the finish, arms in the air, eyes on the clock at 1:30, then over to my amazing wife and kids! It was done, I had finished it, and I felt…ok. I layed on the grass with a cold towel, regained composure, drank my recoverite and began to bask in the glow of another successful triathlon completed. It was a great day. My friend Matt had smoked his swim and bike. Luke also threw down a great overall time. So yeah this triathlon thing? Totally addicting! And Fun.

By the numbers-
Overall time- 1:30:24
500m swim- 14:16
T1- 2:28
14m bike- 43:30
T2- 1:16
3m run- 28:53


the Rookie Tri Recap


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

It’ll Make Me Faster… Right?

So there comes a point in every cyclist’s life at which they’re faced with the question, to shave or not to shave? For me it came the past few weeks. I hadn’t really paid any attention to it for quite a while as my legs aren’t very hairy to begin with. But then a cycling buddy posted on his blog that he made the shave. It got me thinking, do I need to go ahead and shave my legs now? Is this the final barrier for me becoming a real cyclist? So I turn to my friend the internets; the answer is always there. I really was curious the reasoning that other people used to shave their legs. Boy oh boy are there some fun answers out there! Topping the list as a tall tale is that it will make you faster; thus my pun for the post title. Although it won’t necessarily make you faster on the bike, the feeling of the air moving around your legs is pretty sweet. And just like anything else, if you think it makes you faster, do it! I have a little advantage on this theory however, since I’m a beginning triathlete I get the benefit of shaven legs in the water. There were also comments about how people like the way it looks, etc. However one disturbing trend I saw was people saying it made road rash easier to clean on shaved legs. WHAT?!? Who plans on getting road rash so much that they need to keep their legs shaven in order to clean it? Here’s a bit of advice, if you ever hear a cyclist use this as a reason for shaving their legs make sure you slowly move yourself out of a 50 yard radius around them. And then don’t ride near them anymore…

My thought process is usually pretty scattered for those that don’t know me well. So here’s how it played out in my head… “I see a lot of other cyclists who are fast with their legs shaved. I’ve never shaved my legs before, I’m not sure about this. It can’t be as bad as shaving my face, which I hate. I’m really tired of how my cycling shorts look with little hairs sticking out. I need to clean the bathroom anyway. I already have a razor and shave cream. Ahh, what the heck, it’s certainly not any crazier than suiting up in lycra and riding my bicycle for 5-6 hours.” You see, I’m fairly simple. So I pull some instructions (not that I really needed instructions on how to shave, but found a good tidbit on using clippers the first time, then shave with a razor). Holy moly! I just thought my legs weren’t hairy. After using the clippers I was proved wrong. The whole process itself was pretty simple, and didn’t hurt. I gingerly shaved around the knee as a lot of people said it’s tricky, I guess they’ve never shaved their face before. I’ll save any gory details, because I like the fact that you read my blog and want to keep it that way!

End result? Pretty sweet, and silky smooth. Fabrics feel really funny on my legs now. I assume it will go away in a couple of days. I learned that it’s not as difficult as I thought it might be, you just have to take your time. We will see what I think when the stubble appears in a few days. I really do like how my legs look with my cycling shorts now especially since there’s no annoying hair sticking out. I realized it is also extremely difficult to get a picture of the back of your legs by yourself and an iPhone. I also learned that my calves are no where near as impressive as I thought they might be. Guess it’s back to the bike and working out for me. Quads though? Not so shabby 🙂 Good thing I hang out with Austin Cycle Camp and continue to hit the hills in Austin even when it hurts. I’m making this post so that if you guys don’t hear from me tomorrow, you’ll know what happened… my wife came home and freaked out! Any takers on an over/under of her reaction? 😯

I’m gunna TRI

So last Sunday afternoon I hooked up for a ride with my buddies Matt & Luke. We were in the mood for a leisurely stroll as neither of them are big cyclists (yet) and I wanted to get some miles. I decided I would ride to Matt’s to add some extra distance. 7 miles in the headwind later, I arrive and the three of us head off. Luke is a very physically active person and last year did the Rookie Tri. We were enjoying the ride and talking about how Matt & Luke both rock at running, and how I had just taken up swimming again. At some point during our ride, we all came to the conclusion that we would go home and all register for the Rookie Tri. Which after I got home, I did. Crap, did I just do that? There’s no backing out now. Fortunately for me the stats for the Rookie aren’t too bad. It’s a 300m open water swim, 11 mile bike ride, and 2 mile run. The bike and run I can do in my sleep. The date is May 9th, so that gives me plenty of time to remember how to swim adequately and to continue to work on my form. On that note, the swimming is actually going ok… I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not trying to sprint, just endure. I’ve gotten some great pointers from some of my Tri friends including Iron-Man Gustavo who owns VO2TC. I feel more comfortable now since I’ve done several brick’d workouts, and think I’ll be able to juggle adding runs and swims to my weekly regimen while maintaining cycling as my predominant form of calorie burn.

Birthday & Swimming

So yeah, in case you missed the memo, my birthday was on Tuesday. Thanks for all the well wishes! And yes, you local ATX folks will have noticed that I did indeed receive a most awesome present with the snow on my birthday! Not just any snow, snow in Austin, and the most snow that’s been here in 6 years! It was fun! Note the picture of my princess enjoying the fluffy white stuff.  In other birthday news, I received Glee Vol 1 (don’t judge me, it’s good stuff) and a cool extended battery for my iPhone from my brother. I had forgotten that I added it to my wish list a while back. It’ll be fun because it will enable me to track my long rides on my iPhone runkeeper app without running out of battery! My wife however took the cookies. Well she didn’t take all the cookies, in fact we enjoyed lots of cake and cookies from the world-famous Round Rock Donuts bakery. I’m digressing. I guess my wife had heard enough about my ponderings if/when I could do a triathlon. So she got me some nice goggles, new running gear and a swimsuit. Ummm, game on! I’m not sure what all her motives were. It could have been to shut me up; to fully support my crazy endeavors; or since she was a rockstar long distance swimmer in high-school- to show me whose boss when it comes to the water. Or probably a combination of all! Regardless I personally saw it as a green light to begin triathlon training. So I went down to the Clay Madsen Rec Center and joined. It’s only a couple miles from our house and they have a great 25 yard pool that’s split in lanes most days. This will make it super easy and convenient to swim. They gave me my fancy ID badge and I was on my way. So I get suited up, and jump in the pool. I brought my HRM with me so that I could keep track of the ol’ ticker while I was swimming too. I psych myself out and begin swimming. A few strokes down and my goggles have water in them. I stop, adjust the straps and I’m on my way. After that it was smooth sailing, or at least that’s what in my head I thought it would look like. All in all I completed 300m and I’m sure from the lifeguards standpoint it was probably pretty comical. Watching some dude flail his way back and forth, stopping to rest and flailing again. Whatev… you have to start somewhere right? Here’s to developing some fins over the next few months!