Monday, June 28, 2010

BSLT 70.3 RR: Bringing a sword to a gun fight

Having never raced the BLST 70.3, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived in Lubbock, TX for the race. I had heard it was supposed to be warm but hadn’t heard much else about the course. I knew I’d be in for a long day, though, when at the pro meeting, the race director said, “This ain’t no Starbucks racing; this is old school triathlon.”

Swim: 22:44

Being old school, the race began with a classic beach start into a beautiful spring fed lake. I got out well and soon found myself battling for position in the pack. After another minute I was worried about getting trapped by slower swimmers so I moved up and closed a gap to the next guy up the water. This took a considerable effort so I was pleased to be able to grab his feet and rest for a bit. After the first turn, I considered making another move but at this point the first few guys had opened up a sizable gap so catching them would’ve been a very tough task, if not altogether out of the question. I sat in until the next turn at which point I swung a bit wide and tried to open it up a bit for the finish.

Bike: 2:27:55

Out on the bike, I was shooting blanks. The combination of the hard, no wetsuit swim and a few short hills at the beginning of the ride left my legs really sluggish for the first 5 miles or so. They gradually started feeling better and I settled into a decent grove. Although the course traversed soybean fields and oil fields, the race director somehow managed to find what had to be the only hills in the vicinity for the course. Combined with some pretty strong winds, this was not a course to be attacked short on ammo. Regardless, I felt pretty strong on the back half and kept the power up throughout the ride.

Run: 1:22:22

Heading out on the run, I was looking forward to rocking and rolling. From the beginning though, it was evident not only would the bazooka not be available but the machine gun, colt-45, and air pistol would also not be available. Rather, I’d have to show up with a knife… not the greatest idea! I haven’t had too much time to adjust to my new bike position and my quads were not very happy as I started the run. I was moving along decently on the flats but the first steep hill around mile 3 was pretty rough. The second, around mile 4.5, wasn’t any better. Making matters worse, at the top of that second hill was the “Energy Lab” an out and back section which was a surprisingly accurate approximation of the famous Energy Lab section in Hawaii.

I finally reached the turnaround and started heading back, suffering through the rest of the run. There were a number of other Timex Teammates racing, and seeing them on their way out when I was heading back definitely provided some encouragement. Additional encouragement was provided by none other than two- time IM World Champion Craig Alexander! I finally reach the finish and bolted straight for the med tent for a cold towel and IV.

Total: 4:15, 13th

All in all I was pretty pleased with my performance relative to recent training indicators, which have been slightly less than epic. Looking forward, next up is the Chattanooga Waterfront Tri and then Steelhead 70.3 with a few other Timex Teammates. Hopefully we'll be able to step things up by then!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Its been a while since a "real" blog post! Things have been surprisingly busy in the real world around here... especially considering the impending doom. For those of you who are not avid NASA Watch followers, big changes are coming in NASA's direction, especially here in Huntsville. There have been numerous articles in the Huntsville Times but this story is finally getting some big time press.

The President decided to cancel Ares I, the rocket that was supposed to replace the Shuttle, despite Congressional opposition. Additionally, the head of NASA, Charles Bolden, alerted all the prime contractors that they would be responsible for cancellation liabilities. In Dept. of Defense contracts, contractors regularly account and budget for these costs. However, no NASA contractor has ever been held responsible for them so naturally none of them budgeted for them when they bid for the contracts. Long story short, many contractors, including Jacobs Engineering, the company that provides engineering support at MSFC, have an impending budget deficit and therefore have to lay people off.

So needless to say, this has made things interesting around the office. Last Thursday, we found out that this coming Tuesday about half of the contract would be let go. Our group appears to be relatively unscathed but most people are still pretty worried.

Unrelated to that, there have been quite a few ISS issues popping up which of course people need answers about yesterday, so thats been keeping me busy.

As for training, the days I've been able to stay awake have been a lot of fun. Lots of running, hard swimming with the kids, and HIT training on the bike. If I could only get some more sleep...

Anyway... race in the morning! Lubbock is... well... West Texas. But luckily, I'm not here for sightseeing, I'm here to GTWD!

Monday, June 21, 2010


S: 30,000 yds
B: 7h 27min
R: 6h 22min
Naps: 4h 18min

Total: 21h 43min

The training load plus the real work load seemed to catch up to me this week as there were two days when I came home from work, sat down, and promptly fell asleep for over an hour. Sleep is awesome and I need to get more of it. However, its never fun to wake up at 10min until 6PM and know you still have 1-2h of training before dinner and bed as it can create a vicious cycle. The nap means the workout(s) get started later and end later which pushes dinner and bedtime out as well. But that, of course, is just the way it goes. At least on the weekends I can take mid-day naps which are oh-so-much-more delightful.

This weekend is BSLT 70.3 which I'm looking forward to despite the work-induced lack of cycling. Hopefully I can get some sleep between now and then. On a brighter note, I should be fully acclimated to the heat as it has been quite toasty here in the Tennessee valley. Should be just like HS CC practice all over again!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jun7-13 and weekend review

S: 25,900 yds
B: 8h 4min
R: 6h 39min

Total: 21h 32min

Training, especially HIT, occurred quite frequently last week. However, so did work, which left not so much time to sleep. Tuesday night at the CC park was fun but Wednesday (hard bike) and Thursday (hill workout) were particularly brutal.

Although the week was tough, I did have the weekend in Birmingham to look forward to. Saturday was the Buster Britton Memorial Triathlon in Oak Mountain Park just outside of Brimingham, AL so I headed down with my buddy Stephen B on Friday evening.

After a nice nap on the couch, it was race morning and I was up making coffee. Race morning was uneventful until we got to packet pickup and I found out I was #25. I thought this was a bit strange because this race uses a time trial start and therefore in theory the start order should go from slowest to fastest. Regardless of whether they ranked people by projected swim finish time or projected overall finish time (both of which you had to enter) I was fairly convinced I'd be faster than 25th. But hey, you never know. Additionally, triathlon swim legend and Timex teammate Bruce Gennari was only seeded 22nd, so clearly they werent basing these seedings on projected swim finish time.

On to the race... I took off into the water and immediately started passing folks. The 400yd swim in the warm lake came and went and I was off onto the bike.

Being on a mountain, this course was pretty hilly but fun at the same time. I was able to stay in my saddle for most of the ride on the smooth roads through the state park. There were a couple of out and backs and it appeared Bruce and one of the members of the local USAT development team were pulling ahead of me a bit but it was hard to tell since both of them started before me.

Coming off the bike, there were only three people ahead of me and they had all started ahead of me as well. I took off in my racing flats, hoping to chase everyone down. I figured the run would be hilly but I didnt realize the first mile would be almost all uphill. At the turnaround I saw my comp: one kid way out front and then Bruce and another kid not too far up the road. I was able to pass one of the kids and Bruce on the way back to be the second finisher across the line. As it turns out, though, I ended up third as someone else who started further back in the field also had a faster time than me.

I had a ton of fun post race eating Arby's, having a couple of ice cold Cokes, and hanging out with the Huntsville contingent. Awards started promptly at 11:00 and by 11:45 I was on my bicycle headed back to the house where I was staying in Birmingham. The ride home was a bit on the warm side and required an emergency water stop at a well at a church. However, 2h45 later I was back at house where USA-England was on TV and Stephen had an ice cold Flying Dog waiting for me. So other than the fact that I lost to a 17 yr old, it was a pretty fun weekend!

Monday, June 7, 2010


S: 25,500 yds
B: 8h 6min
R: 8h 7min

Total: 22h 56min

I missed out on a little cycling time to due a slight incident on Saturday. About 1h into my ride, I was riding along a on road with no shoulder and sharp drop off into a ditch when someone passed me more than a little to close for comfort. Not wanting to go into the ditch, I swerved into the middle of the lane, hit a pothole, and totally lost control. The result was a nice dive onto the pavement and a ride home in my roommate's car.

Although I was pretty shaken up in the immediate aftermath, I was pleased when I wasnt too sore the next morning. Other than some road rash on my chin, elbow, and both knees, I didnt really suffer any serious injuries.

On a lighter note, some quick addition reveals over 70 miles of running last week which isnt bad at all.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Surprise, suprise... not one but two studies find no effects (positive or negative) from "compression garments." Now naturally, some may argue that positive effects do exist but that the authors of the studies did not attempt to measure them. However, until I see data, I remain a skeptic. Also, the blog post fails to mention one definite benefit: the ability of long socks to significantly decrease convective cooling on cold days.

In all honesty though, I really just liked the article because of this quote, which I think is particularly applicable to triathletes: "In light of the findings, Laymon speculates that the popularity of the garments reflects their trendiness, not their ability to enhance performance."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


S: 29,200 yds
B: 5h 17min
R: 5h 22min

Total: 18h 20min

Busy, busy, busy with the real job. Despite the fact that there are only two scheduled launches left, we are still manufacturing components for Space Shuttle missions. So in order to assure the electroless nickel plated adequately on the separation bolts, I had another trip out to California last week. This meant too little biking and too much time on an airplane, neither of which is entirely conducive to getting faster. All in all, though, the trip went well and I did get in a quality swim in Cerritos.