Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 20 - Gateway Olympic Triathlon

On May 20th, I participated in the Gateway Olympic Triathlon at Lake Carlyle, Illinois. I won’t be so bold as to say I raced it, that term is reserved for people who actually race, but I will call it a successful event.

 In 2011, this race was my first Olympic distance triathlon. I really had no idea know what to expect. I had done a handful of sprint distances and my training had been adequate.  The swim went fine although I got winded a few times and had to do take a few breaks to collect myself. Once out of the water, my heart rate skyrocketed and pretty much stayed stuck in overdrive for the duration of the event. This was aggravated by an asthma attack. In retrospect, this probably wasn’t entirely due to the pollen and exercise but more a factor of the hotel I stayed at. There was someone smoking in the room next to me (is that even legal in Illinois????) and I woke in the night feeling like I was being suffocated.  So breathing  was compromised from the beginning.  Oh, and it was hotter than hell.  I finished but the whole experience just kind of sucked and I was ready to hang it up.
So the goal for 2012 was to  keep the breathing under control, stay calm, and see if allergy/asthma meds could keep the airways open.  I drove down on Saturday with Reindeer Mary’s husband, Troy. This was to be his first Olympic distance triathlon.  We met up with Mike Ransick and tried  out the swim course, which had been changed up a bit. The water felt pretty good in my wetsuit although I saw a couple of people opting to swim without. Of course this set off a spiral of doubt in my mind --- should I just leave the wetsuit in the car? Will I overheat? Do I really need it?  Why didn't I bring a sleeveless?

In the end I opted to wear the wetsuit. The swim was great, I didn’t really need to stop and rest this time and my sighting was good.  Lake Carlyle is a very large lake, not very deep, and the water was murky but more of an emerald green than the silty brown you would normally see in Illinois. The course had been changed to more of a rectangle and you kept the buoys on your left. I did get clobbered pretty hard on the last stretch by a guy who was zig zagging.  I just could not seem to get out of his way. At the beach, I sat down in the shallow water and peeled out of the wetsuit, as I had done at Racine. Something about getting some water in the suit makes it easier to remove. Naturally my suit promptly got caught on the timing chip and this small delay added probably another minute to my swim time. Maybe more. But it was all good, I treated spectators to a comical display of how not to remove a wetsuit and then sheepishly trotted up the hill to transition.
Heart rate spiked a bit going into transition so I walked to my bike and just tried to keep things real. Took a hit of albuterol before setting out and made sure to take sips of water every mile. There are a couple of somewhat challenging hills on this course that seemed more manageable this year.  Over the winter, I spent some quality time on the trainer doing Sufferfest workouts, and I think this interval training paid off in easier hill climbing for me. 

The run was tough. I knew it would be hot and decided from the start that I would Gallowalk the whole thing. And I did.  This strategy paid off with a faster time than 2011. 

All in all I shaved just under 5 minutes off my 2011 time, but more importantly enjoyed the race.   

Post Race Meal – I grabbed a small sub sandwich and ate the meat and cheese, not really hungry enough for all of the bread. By the time our group was packed up, everyone was hungry. We stopped at Kahunas in Greenville for some serious cheeseburgers.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 3 Ride

Went out with Steve for a ride this evening. Stopped at the Covered Bridge in Glenarm and got this shot of me with LaPina. Would not have attempted this with my mountain bike.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Enjoying the Moment

The 2012 triathlon season is now underway and my first race, the Sullivan Sprint, is behind me. This winter I spent a lot of time focusing on my swim and this was reflected in a two minute improvement over my 2010 effort. Funny how excited I got over two minutes.

My next race is the Gateway Olympic at Lake Carlyle, Illinois. But enough about racing. Sometimes in our quest to follow some ordained training schedule, it's easy to stop living in the moment and find pleasure in the simple act of exercise. I find that I get so wrapped up in getting the workout in, that I forget what this is all about, which is the pursuit of a hobby that I enjoy.

And so in the spirit of living in the moment, for the month of May I am going to find some small pleasant fact about each and every workout. And just maybe someday in the future, when training is no longer fun, I will come back here and reread these posts as a reminder.

May 1 - This morning I went for a run. There were quarter mile repeats included in this, which are never easy, nor should they be. Then a couple of miles in Zone 2. I jogged into the heart of Chatham down Route 4 and passed between McDonalds and Hardees. Even though it was just barely 5 a.m., the smells of hash browns wafting from the two fast food eateries was pure pleasure.

This evening I took my old Cannondale out for a spin. We have been having some serious thunderstorms and I had doubts about going very far from home, so I kept it close by following some small country roads that wound through the neighboring cornfields.

Central Illinois may lack hills and thick forests, but there's a certain lonely beauty to the vast farm fields. I had to stop and snap a pic.