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Ironman Canada Signup! (Plus a new 5k PR)

Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles, then run 26.2 miles - within 17 hours.  Sounds simple enough, eh?

That's what I'm telling myself :) 

I recently signed up for Ironman Canada, held in Whistler, BC on August 25, 2013.  I plan on taking some time off work to devote more time to training for this event.  The most common question I hear is "WHY?!?!".  I think each person has their own reasons, here are some of mine:

  • Last season I started getting into triathlons and I really loved it.  I enjoy the race planning, the transition setup, the multiple sports aspect (swimming is my weak sport), the timing, and the competition.  I feel Ironman is the "pinnacle" of the sport, and completing one seems to be an unofficial goal of most triathletes.
  • Training is actually kind of enjoyable.  When I was just cycling or just running, the training became rather monotonous - it is difficult to do the same thing over and over again.  With the three sports, it's harder to get bored because you are always training
  • Performance - my running performance has really improved over the last seven months.  My last half marathon in February was 1 hr, 47 min, nearly 14 minutes better than my previous one back in 2006
  • Coaching - My tri coach has really helped with the performance and training.  I know that I can be well-prepared for this
  • Philosophical - when we used to live in Madison, Ironman Wisconsin was held there every year, and I used to think I could NEVER, EVER complete an Ironman - it was downright impossible for me to do.  This past year has been around accomplishing things, from participating in my first triathlons even though I was a HORRIBLE swimmer, to launching WhereShouldISki.com, and now to tackle a full Ironman at the end of this summer.  

So, hopefully come August 25, 2013 ... I will be saying "I AM AN IRONMAN"

Oh, and I did a 5k this weekend, 21:30 - a new personal best by 2 min, 30 seconds.  Not bad for pretty much zero race prep or taper (and semi-heavy drinking two nights prior).

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A New Half Marathon PR

Saturday, February 23, Richland, WA: I finished the Tri Cities Half Marathon in 1 hour, 47 minutes, 16 seconds.  Thirteen minutes faster than my previous personal record in the half marathon, just over 2 hours when I ran the Chicago Half Marathon in August 2006.

I finished 76th out of 468 finishers, 10th out of 22 in my division.  I had a very effective race plan established by my triathlon coach, executed it well, and finished with a very great personal result.  The race plan was to keep the HR under mid/high zone for the first mile, then very low zone 4 for miles 2-4, low zone 4 for miles 5-7, mid zone 4 for miles 8-10, then somewhat high zone4 for miles 11-13.  I didn't have much of a time goal, I just wanted to break two hours for my time.

Here is the play-by-play of the day.

  • 5:40am - alarm goes off, wake up and start some coffee
  • 6:00am - drink single cup of coffee, have an english muffin with butter. Open up the laptop and review the race plan and race route
  • 6:30am - have a clif bar, start getting the race clothes ready
  • 7:00am - wake up my wife, she is going to drive me to the race, which fortunately is only three miles from the house
  • 7:20am - head down to the race course
  • 7:30am - arrive at the race course, start my warm up
  • 7:45am - get in line to go pee
  • 7:55am - super long line!  Finish up and get to the starting line.  Take a clif shot gel and a swig of water.
  • 8:00am - gun goes off, race starts!
  • 9:47am - cross the finish line!
Now for the actual race, let's take it mile by mile:
  1. OK, need to not be above 160 HR. Check the Garmin, ooh, only at 155 and I'm holding an 8:00min/mile pace, ok this is good!
  2. Crossing mile two I bring the HR down to 149 as per the race plan.  Some people start passing me ... grr ... must restrain self.  Pace drops to 8:30.  I'm thinking well, 8:30 pace is still going to set me up well under 2:00 hrs to complete, so this is good.
  3. HR up to 150, pace drops to 8:20
  4. Feeling good, HR up to 151, pace dropping to 8:10
  5. Take a Clif Shot at ~5.5 mile mark then wash it down with water at the aid station.  HR up to 152, pace stays 8:10-8:20
  6. Race plan says I can go up to 154.  End up staying around 152-153 and pace falls to 8:20
  7. Something clicks here, maybe it's because we hit the halfway point but pace goes to 7:56 and I'm feeling awesome. However, I'm starting to feel blisters on my feet from the run.
  8. 7:50 pace, HR 153, my fastest mile of the race
  9. 8:10 pace, HR 154 - fatigue might be starting to set in
  10. Take a clif shot at mile 10, HR 155, small hill in the course and pace drops to 8:17, starting to look forward to being done
  11. 157 HR, 8:03 pace - clif shot kicking in and I find another gear, knowing we're going to be done soon. Blisters starting to get painful
  12. 157 HR, 8:02 pace - struggling to keep the cadence up, left IT band starting to tighten up due to the slope of the road. Find some sidewalk sloped better to support the left side
  13. 159 HR, 8:03 pace - are we done yet?!  
  14. 0.2 miles to go 166HR, 7:43 pace - Finish, finally!  1:47:16.
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Bib #331 ready to roll!

 
On course, in the home stretch! 

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Complete! Looking forward to the next race!
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Skiing on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe

Last week work brought me to the city of San Francisco.  My good buddy Jim moved to Berkeley area in the Fall of last year, so I took the opportunity and headed up to Lake Tahoe with him.  Tahoe is an interesting place, it tends to either be very sunny or very snowy, and seems like it is rarely between those extremes!  My new project, WhereShouldISki said it would be sunny, and it was right!

We started off Friday with a trip to Mt Rose, NV; I was intrigued by the famed chutes.  They were definitely a fun challenge, I would be glad to go back. 

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Heading over to NV

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The Chutes

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Mt Rose Ski Area 

After a backcountry route recommendation by Mike at the BackCountry store in Truckee, we decided to head towards Rose Knob Peak near Incline Village, NV.  Saturday morning we started skinning (like hiking) up towards Rose Knob Peak.  We were treated to spectacular weather and even better views.  

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Getting started in the morning

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Taking a break for lunch

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Amazing views from the top of Rose Knob Peak

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A great day out 

The snow itself didn’t ski particularly well on the way down, it was a bit sun-crusted and extremely variable.  That’s what happens sometimes in the backcountry though, it’s not all about the way down, it’s about spending time in the mountains with friends!  Looking forward to heading back!

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Skiing down

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Flying out, Heavenly Ski Area from the plane

 
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Ski Touring at White Pass

The wife and I checked out White Pass this past Sunday to get some early season skiing in.  The ski resort wasn't open yet, so we ski toured (aka backcountry skiing) up the resort using our own legs.  It was our first tour of the season, with the goal of getting re-acquainted with the equipment and get our climbing legs back.  I'd say it was a success - pretty much any day in the mountains is better than a day out of the mountains.


Base of White Pass Ski Area - we saw three other groups on the day


On the way up, looking down at Hourglass I believe (from Cascade Cat track) - definitely needs more snow


Happy wife at the top


Top part of Cascade - choose your line wisely!


Making tuns


Whoops, not the best photo positioning, but still fun


The dog had a blast. Here he is telling me to throw his squeaker ball for him again.


Post-tour soup and hanging out

All-in-all, a fun day. Now let's get more snow!

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