…my first clue should have been the business card.
Thanks in advance for not asking for more details… ;)
March 2014: Completed my first multi-sport and have now returned to a run-focused training plan/schedule.
Yep, I can now say I have tried multi-sport – a duathlon, to be specific. Not just “tried,” I’m hooked…though I am not planning on doing any others in 2014. I thought about doing others this year; but, at this point, I have too many other running-focused goals set for 2014 to insert training for duathlons and definitely don’t have time for triathlon training. I will certainly be back for the 2015 South Bay DU and possibly give triathlon a go.
This month, I also decided on the rest of my 2014 schedule. I’ll share that in a subsequent post, but it’s gonna be a fun and challenging 2014!
No biz trips this past month – WooHoo!
As far as new equipment & such:
I’m on a quick biz trip to San Diego and, just like last year, my second 20-miler in prep for Big Sur fell on my Sunday away. Not a bad thing though – last year it was Austin & Lady Bird Lake, this year San Diego & Mission Bay/the Pacific.
It was a great run – made memorable by a few things:
With an early-morning meeting and 20 miles on the schedule today, I got an early start (0400.) Actually, no earlier than a typical workday, but early for a Sunday. I must have been zoning out early in the run. Just ahead of mile seven, I moved from the road to the dirt/sandy shoulder thnking that it would be easier on my legs early in the run. At almost exactly mile seven, I tripped on a root or something and basically did a full-on, forward trip in the dirt/sand. Luckily, it was mostly sand (and not pavement.) I basically slid and wasn’t too skinned/scrapped up – just totally sandy on the front side of my body. DOOH! The funny part was that, after the trip, I sped up – running a pace just below or above 8:00 for most of the next eight miles. Guess I woke up!
After reading about Tailwind Nutrition on Facebook, Twitter, and a few blogs, I bought some single-use packs last week to give it a try. I’d used it on two runs prior to San Diego (10 miles each) and then on today’s 20-miler. The two 10-milers worked pretty well – today went great. I ate a half pack of GU Chomps before the run to get some pre-run carbs and only used/drank Tailwind on the run itself. I used 500 calories worth on the run – 250 cals (2.5 scoops) in each Amphipod (18 oz) – basically the same calories I use in GU Gels. I will say that the product worked as advertised. Again, I didn’t eat any GUs and also didn’t take any Salt Tabs on the run. I felt fueled sufficiently and didn’t have any cramping in my calves (which has been an issue) and for which Salt Tabs seem to do the trick. I’m still evaluating Tailwind, but I’m seriously considering a switch for fueling longer runs and races.
More to follow on Tailwind, for sure.
When I planned my route for this morning, it included running as far as possible along one side of the Pacific Ocean inlet to Mission Bay. A fence prevents you from going all the way to the end of the point. I spotted quite a few feral cats in the rocks while running – my headlamp illuminating their eyes. At one point, after passing a group of cats, I spotted a furry creature ahead and to my left – only to realize that the furry part was an upright tail of a skunk! I must have startled him/her, as they were prepping for a spray and not simply looking at me – no illuminated, cat eyes, only a black and white tail! Needless to say, I picked up the pace considerably, darted right, and started sniffing to see if there was any change in the area’s odor. No change…whew!
Twenty miles was the goal, but twenty-one ending up being the final route; just to get all of Mission bay in and to run along the Pacific. This was my route this morning. Very nice run: perfect weather, nice pacing for a long run, felt good after…just a bit tired, but not sore. [Strava]
It was still dark for most of the run and when I was running along the Pacific, so no photo from the early sections; but, I did get a nice shot of sunrise on Mission Bay:
I have a 10-miler on tap for tomorrow morning – doing back-to-back longer runs. Woohoo!
Last Saturday, I ran the inaugural Livermore Half Marathon – the first of what will be many more for this event, I’m sure. The event had two distances: the marque Half Marathon and a Family Fun 2.5K run/walk (which wasn’t timed.) I hadn’t been to Livermore in a while and forgot how picturesque it was…quaint downtown, suburban communities, ranches, vineyards, great parks system: the perfect venue for a race. I will say, for a smaller community, they pulled out the stops for this event, which will no doubt draw people back next year – I know I will be back for sure.
Finishers. I think they had a cap of 3,000 participants for the event. With rain forecast, I wasn’t sure how the turnout would be – I know I’m a “rain or shine” runner, but I wasn’t sure how many others would be given the 70-80% chance of showers. I’m sure the organizers were concerned as well. No worries – people showed up! I’m not sure how many ran the 2.5K, but there were 1,927 half marathon finishers. At the start, the announcer shared that 75% of those registered were female. Race finishers actually ended up being a 70/30 split (1,351 female/576 male.)
Weather. The weather forecast was 70-80% chance of rain/showers all day – particularly in the morning. At start time, it was partly cloudy, about 55 degrees, with an 11-MPH wind. It looked like it could rain, but the clouds were pretty high, so I thought it would hold off for a while. At the finish, it hadn’t started raining and was just a tad warmer. Bottom line, weather was great for a race!
Course. The 100% paved course was a counter-clockwise loop that started and finished in the heart of downtown Livermore. It left city center, headed south through town and the suburbs, then at ~mile 3.3 entered the park/ranch/vineyard portion (which actually made up ~70% of the course.) After that, runners returned to the downtown area for the finish. From an elevation standpoint, overall, it was a pretty flat course. Miles one through seven were light rollers, with the only hill coming between miles 7.25 and 8.8 (for about 160′ in climb) – again, not to bad…nice and gradual. After that, it was downhill all the way to the finish line.
Management/Support. Course management, support, and volunteers were awesome! The course was clearly marked and had signage and cones at the turns where traffic could become a problem (the local roads were not completely closed for the event.) The aid stations were spaced great and staffed by plenty of volunteers. The neighborhoods came out in force as well, cheering runners on as we passed homes and businesses. Again, from my observation, Livermore really embraced the event. The organizers also had photos taken along the course (courtesy of Project Sport and Gameface Media) and offered them free to runners – which was a very nice touch. A few of the free photos are shown below – they are pretty nice and adding the event logo was a nice touch as well.
Post-Race. The post race area was well-planned – all in one: the finish line fed right into the food/SWAG/awards area. Livermore, being home to several vineyards, meant they had numerous booths for wine tasting. As each runner crossed the finish line, they received a medal and an event wine glass. The wine glass also was used for post-race hydration – they had huge water dispensers at the finish line, ensuring a “green” race. They didn’t have the standard food fare (bananas, bagels, etc.), instead, a local donut shop gave out donuts to finishers – which could be chased by Muscle Milk, wine, water, or lemonade from another vendor/sponsor.
Medal/Shirt. Each finisher received a medal and a wine glass. Shirts were picked up with bib packets. The wine glass didn’t have the event logo, which would have been cool. Shirt and medal are pictured below.
A few weeks ago, I flatted while on a bike ride. After replacing the tube, I mounted the bike, started to head out, lost my balance, couldn’t unclip fast enough, and tipped over falling on my left side. At the time, I was fine – except for my pride (a guy was running by at the time.) Later that day, my hip started to hurt and I’d been nursing it ever since. At race time, it was pretty good but, as you’ll read below, it wasn’t perfect.
On a Saturday morning, Livermore is about a thirty minute drive from my house. So, I didn’t have to get up too early! That said, I did…it’s just a race-day routine.
I got to the event location early enough to park in a covered garage, just in case it did, in fact, pour rain during the race. I thought I’d prefer a covered location post-race rather than an open parking lot. I got there, parked, and walked to the start area to scope things out. I hit the porta-potty (FIRST!), got a sense of the start line area and corral arrangement, and then went back to the car to get ready. They had a bag check area, but I was close enough that I didn’t need to use it. I chilled in the car for a bit, got the rest of my kit on, and then moseyed back to the start to get lined up.
The race started on time – which was nice, since it didn’t start until 0800…I much prefer an earlier start. I lined up about 20 yards from the line – moving up about three times after looking at my fellow runners in the various areas. I really didn’t want to weave in and out of traffic and have learned over time that most people do not pay attention to the instructions on lining up according to pace. After I settled on a spot, the pacers came into the start corral. I located the 1:50 pacer and lined up near him, decided to stick with or just ahead of him.
The countdown came and we were off.
My goal for the day was not a PR (since I really didn’t expect that I could run one), but a 1:46:48 – a time purely based on a WAG of pacing per mile after reviewing the elevation profile and knowing where I was at with my training runs. The intent was to match pacing from my training and not go out too fast. The day before the race, I considered revising my goal since I had had some good workouts the previous week and even re-planned the pacing (getting closer to a PR time.) That said, I didn’t save the file – telling myself to “stick with the plan, dude.”
Miles one through seven were actually pretty good. I was pacing faster than plan, but wasn’t feeling any impact. Right at about mile six, we made a right turn and I stepped a little funny on the pavement and felt it in my left hip. A quarter-mile later, we made a sharp U-turn to head north and I felt the hip again. It wasn’t too, too painful – just noticeable. I didn’t want to injure/mess myself up, remembering that I needed to stay healthy for April’s Big Sur marathon; so, from that point on, I tried to keep decent pacing, but took fast-walk breaks when needed. Looking over my Strava analysis and the eventual result, I actually did pretty good overall. I had an excellent first half and a decent second. I probably could have pushed myself and still made or beat my goal, but again, I was thinking about Big Sur…and beyond too (i got a busy 2014.)
Overall, I am very happy with my race – 42 seconds off goal ain’t bad. I always tell myself that not all races are or should be “A” races; even so, I usually train and run like they are. In the end, and all things considered, I finished without much hip issue (I’ve had a good week of training,) with a great finish time, and surprisingly good placing in each category.
From an event perspective, this was a great one: small event, scenic and fast course, great pre- and post-race areas. Given schedule, the Livermore Half will probably become an annual race for me.
Fueling. Pre-race, carb loading: I did my normal routine: 36 hours of >80% carbs and +500 calories above my normal day. Race-day fueling: Bagel with 2T peanut butter at -3 hours, a GU at -45 min, a GU & salt tab at -15 minutes, and GUs (2) and an additional salt tab along the way. I drank 20 oz. of GU Brew electrolyte during the run, supplemented by a few cups of water from aid stations.
Equipment/Kit [head to toe]: The North Face Better Than Naked hat, The North Face Better Than Naked jacket (actually tied around my waist instead of wearing since it wasn’t raining), Brooks tech shirt from RnR San Jose, Armpocket armband, Picky Bars #TeamGreen wrist band, Road ID (Slim), Amphipod handheld, ASCIS 55 Shorts, CEP Compression Sleeves, Road Runner Sports Dryroad socks, Altra 3-Sum shoes.
Here are some photos I took or downloaded. As usual, I took no photos on the run portion…I’m too focused to stop and take ‘em!
I finished with a 1:47:30 @ 8:12 pace, which makes Livermore my fourth fastest half. I’m happy with my race; however, it could have been better (not that 1:47:30 ain’t good.) I’ve been nursing my left hip for a few weeks (story in my race report) and thought I could go all out for 13.1 – I made it 7.5 before needing to rethink things.
Complete details coming later this week in my race report.
Overall, it was a fantastic event (I’ll def run it again next year) and again, I’m pleased with my results. Oh, and we even beat the forecast rain showers!
Enjoy your weekend!
…with the sound of Mooooosic on my run this morning. Today was my longest run in a while (21 miles in 3:03:48 @ 8:45/mi Strava) and my Garmin hosed up and didn’t record data right. Bummer. Hopefully it works again tomorrow.
Last Saturday, I ran/rode/raced/did(?) the 2014 edition of USA Productions’ South Bay Duathlon in Morgan Hill. This was my first multisport event and, from the “go big or go home” camp, I went for the International distance (they offered a sprint distance as well.) This event is the only duathlon that USAP offers and is billed as a “great opportunity to prepare for the upcoming triathlon season, the remainder of the duathlon season, or just enjoy an endurance event in the bay area.” From my perspective, this was a dipping of the toe into multisport…and I’m hooked. For sure on duathlons…and most likely on triathlons too – I just need to come to grips/train for the swim. I do wish USAP would stage more duathlons or offer them as an option for their triathlons as other tri events often do.
Finishers. This was a small even, which suited me just fine! International: 113. Sprint: 149. There were also relay teams that did the duathlon as well – International: 2. Sprint: 2.
Weather. The weather was forecast to be excellent for a race. At start time, it was about 46 degrees with no wind. At the finish, it was about 61 without any wind. Again, weather was awesome!
Course. The run and bike courses were both flat loops on paved roads. The run was a 3.1-mile, rectangular loop and the bike was a 5-mile loop that covered most of the run course, plus a nice ride along the foothills. I said both courses were flat, but the bike did have a .25-mile “roller” at mile 3.25 of each loop that made the ride portion interesting and gave you a nice push to speed up for the backside of each loop.
Management/Support. Course management, support, and volunteers were excellent! The courses were clearly marked and had signage and cones at the turns where traffic could become a problem (the local roads were not closed for the event.) The aid stations were spaced great and the volunteers were awesome! At transition, there were course officials giving directions to make sure things went off without a hitch.
Post-Race. The post race area was great – all in one: the finish line fed right into the food/SWAG/awards area. They had a great selection of post-race food, including burritos (though I didn’t partake of one.) There were quite a few people just hanging out after the finish of the International distance and the faster finishers from the Sprint Du.
Medal/Shirt. Each finisher received a medal and a non-technical shirt (which was nice for a change.) Both displayed the logo for the event.
As with my first marathon and 50K, this is a long and detailed report, mainly to capture my thoughts and other stuff about the race for myself. Read on or skim!
So, SBDU was my first foray into the world of multisport. The day I would link two sports I have come to love and enjoy: running and cycling. One I’ve become pretty confident at (running) and the other I’d still consider myself a dabbler (cycling.) Honestly, I was pretty confident about doing well in each of the separate sports (more so with running than biking) – it was the transitions that I was most nervous about. I had practiced transitions, but not in the space or layout that would be at the race – there is quite a bit of difference between my driveway/garage and the properly distanced/laid out transition area at a race. First time or not, I did set a goal for the day, based on my overall training and two, dry-run 10K/40K/5K sessions that I did on two Sundays. More on the goal later.
The transition area opened up at 0600, so I got there at about 0550 to make sure I had time to set up, orient, use the porta-potty, warm up, and then calm down before the start time – I wasn’t leaving anything to chance. As I parked, there were people starting to arrive, so I did the porta-potty thing first – love being “first user”! After that, I got my kit and went to the transition area. I thought transition location was supposed to be based on bib number, but when I checked in, they said people could set up wherever. I decided to grab an end-of-row space in the middle of the area – thinking about having to run out and in wearing my bike shoes (read: less opportunity to slip.) I set my stuff up pretty quickly, remembering to keep things minimal and also place some visuals to make sure I could easily locate my space: orange backpack and purple towel where I could see them coming in. I didn’t want to have to count racks coming into transition.
After setting up, I went for a warm-up run up the course and then back into the event area scoping out the entry to transition from the road, the exit from transition, the start area, and the finish line. I was basically killing time and trying to calm my nerves – most of the people setting up for the international distance looked pretty serious…at least in the eyes of this newbie. When I got back to the transition area, I hit the porta-potty again, did my final set-up with fuel, and then chatted with a few people in the transition area. I must have looked OCDish as I was repeatedly checking my transition set-up, on-board fuel placement, and kit so much – nervous energy!
I headed to the start area at about 0650 and hung out. The international distance started first, with the first of four waves starting at 0700 and my wave (#4) starting at 0712. The Sprint distance didn’t start until 0930, so most of those people were not even at the event at that point. I watched the first three waves head out then lined up with my fellow “males 40 and over” competitors – a total of 48 of us. As we all lined up, I looked at people’s placement and there were definitely three “sub-waves” in the final wave…I lined up in between the first and second ones, knowing that I planned to try for a Run 1 pace right around 8:00 or just slightly below.
My plan was to go easy on the first run, keeping the pace at or just under 8:00/mile. My pacing during the two dry-runs was faster, but I didn’t want to have an awesome Run 1 and sucky rest of the race. “At or just under 8:00″…yeah right. I went out like I was running a 10K only and when the first mile split buzzed on my Garmin, I saw 7:33…I thought, “dial it back, Dennis.” I tried to slow and ended up with a 7:44 for the second mile. The final mile of the 3.1-mile loop is a downhill, so I naturally sped up to a 7:23 pace. For the second loop, I again tried to dial it in as best I could, but ended up with miles one and three being faster than the same segments on the first loop. Coming into T1, I said to myself, “Hopefully I this wasn’t the best part of my race”…having seen the Garmin buzz mile 6 as a 7:16 pace!
One funny thing and one total goof happened on Run 1.
Funny: At about mile one, I noticed that my race number belt was positioned such that when I wanted to get to my GU packets and salt tabs from my jersey, it would be tough. I decided to adjust on the run and ended up popping off one of the little tabs that secure the number to the belt. I saw it fly off and spin around on the ground and instinctively kept running for about a few yards then decided that it would be disastrous to let the bib flap about during the rest of the race (~33 miles.) I did a quick loop, grabbed the tab, and then picked the pace back up – securing the bib back on the belt! I ended up twisting the belt when I put it back on, but the bib was at least secure.
“helmet, shoes, shoes, GO!” is what I kept repeating in my head over the final .2 miles of the 10K. I wanted to make sure things went well in the first of two transitions – the aspect that I was unsure and nervous about for the race. Things went pretty good on T1. The only thing that tripped me up was getting my left bike shoe on and then mounting and clipping in at the mount line. Ahead of the race, I pictured myself slipping while running in my bike shoes out of transition and purposely took the run out a bit slower to eliminate that possibility. T1 = all good!
After getting clipped in my pedals (FINALLY!), I headed out for the bike. The result of that total goof/dumb error above manifested itself within the first two miles: a cramp in my left calf. It would nag me for about 15 miles until it finally worked out for the most part. Cramp or not, I kept going;’ easing up when it started to pull too much, but still tying to stick with my pacing plan of about 17 mph. I popped two salt tabs and drank most of my 20 ozs of GU Brew electrolyte drink during that time. I did leave about 2 oz. for the final mile to hydrate up before T2. I am not a strong cyclist, so I did not expect too much from the bike portion. My training rides on much hillier terrain average about 17 mph, so I was at least hopping for something along that pace or better. I ended up with an overall pace of 17.5 mph and believe I could have been faster had I not been nursing the calf cramp for 3/5′s of the bike.
As expected, the little .25-mile “roller” at the backside of each loop was the slowest portion of my bike – probably for most as well. Still, I did pretty well on it, even with doing three iterations with my calf cramp.
All-in-all, the bike went well. I gritted out a decent pace in spite of the calf cramp and ended up with a faster 40K than both dry-runs sessions.
Just as I did for T1, over the final .5 mile of the bike, I kept repeating my transition in my head: “Rack-It, helmet, beanie, shoes, shoes, grab visor, GO!” Things went very smooth – no trips running in with the bike shoes. My shoes straps didn’t give me too much trouble taking them off – my shoes have two Velcro and one clicker-type strap that can be a pain to get out of in a hurry. T2 = excellent!
Over the last mile of the bike, I weighed taking the handheld on run 2 or leaving it – knowing that it was still sitting on my towel in transition. Since I had worked out the calf cramp and the final run was a single loop with two aid stations, I decided to leave the handheld. I also decided to stick with my original pacing plan to maintain as close to a 7:30 pace as possible; but, decided that I would slow up or walk if the calf cramped again. I felt good about that plan and went with it!
It’s weird, coming off the bike in my training, I am always faster…I may feel totally slow…but I consistently end up with a faster pace than on run 1. I wasn’t sure this would hold true with the cramping I had on the bike, but I went for it out of T2. I felt good on mile one, ending up with a 7:14 pace; however, I really felt tired on mile two. It was around 60 degrees by then and that could have contributed to that feeling as well…it’s been a while since I’d run in temps that warm. I ended up speed walking through aid station one, again at a point when the course narrowed through a dead end fence that separated two roads, and then again at aid station two. I ended up with an 8:20 pace for mile two – still not bad in the scheme of things. I probably should have flipped the mile one and two paces coming out of T2. Mile three on the loop was flat/slight downhill and, since I was felling good again, I decided to go for it. I went from an 11:00 min pace at mile 1.9 to an average pace of 7:20 for mile three and a final kick pace of 6:49 to the finish.
I crossed the finish line (smiling!) , turned in my timing chip, accepted my medal, took the ice-cold bottle of water and chamois that they were handing out, and kept walking to cool down.
First Duathlon complete: BOOYAH!
Overall, I am very, very happy with my whole race – each segment and transition. The goof/dumb error was the only aspect that I would change, of course. I believe the pacing on run 2 would have been different if I had not cramped on the bike. Running in my bike shoes proved to be a non-issue and the transitions went very good for my first multisport.
Oh, back to my goal for the day. My overall time goal was 2:40, based on times of 2:45 and 2:46 during my two dry-runs. I beat that by 1:49 and expect my time would have been even better had I hydrated properly and not cramped on the bike (at least that is what I’m telling myself.)
Fueling. Pre-race, carb loading: I modified my normal routine, increasing my calorie intake by an additional 200 each day: 36 hours of >80% carbs and +700 calories above my normal day. Race-day fueling: I ran out of bagels, so I ate two slices of Sheepherders bread with 2T peanut butter at -3 hours, a GU at -45 min, a GU & salt tab at -15 minutes, and GUs(2) and additional salt tabs (3) along the way. I drank 20 oz. electrolytes during the bike portion and took some water/electrolyte from the aid stations during the run segments.
Equipment/Kit [head to toe]: Adidas running beanie (R1/bike)/Headsweats visor (R2), cheapo aviator sunglasses (SWAG from Picky Bars!), Pactimo Ascent bike jersey, Road Runner Sports arm warmers, Picky Bars #TeamGreen wrist band (more SWAG from Picky Bars!), Road ID (Slim), TYR Ironman Tri Shorts, FuelBelt Gel-Ready Race Number belt, Road Runner Sports Dryroad socks, Altra 3-Sum shoes (R1/R2), Shimano SH-RO87 Road Shoes, 2012 Felt Z85 road bike.
It felt weird but, for the first time in a race, I did not wear my iPhone (in my Armpocket armband) during the race. I read that carrying cell phones is against the rules in triathlon and I DID NOT want to be penalized…or look like a total newbie. Because of that, I took a grand total of two pictures at the event – I didn’t even take the traditional start/finish line photos. I was bummed after, but there will be other races. Here are some photos – some I took, some I bought from the event photographer:
Race photos taken by Captivating Sports Photos