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Race Results

23 February 2014

I realized this weekend that I wasn’t keeping track of my race results, so I decided to dig them up.

The exercise made me realize that there are a whole slew of life events that would be nice to log, as a memory aid, but I have yet to find a product that makes it easy. Facebook Timeline is close to being that product, and I tried to use it for a while. But it’s too much of a black-hole and I kept forgetting to keep it up to date.

What I want is something that sucks in Foursquare, TripIt, Strava, and Google Calendar; does some smart filtering and aggregation; and provides a super easy mechanism for annotating events. Then allows for nice visualizations and filtering of past events.

Wildflower 2012

6 May 2012

Today was my 3rd time doing the Olympic Course at Wildflower. It wasn’t entirely unexpected that I’d be slower than last year; having been plagued by a hamstring strain through the winter and only recently getting back up to distance, and from suffering horrible hay-fever the last few weeks.

My swim was 2 minutes faster than last year, but my bike was 6 minutes slower–even though it felt like I was hauling ass–and my run was 2 minutes slower–though it felt much slower because of a really bad stitch/side-ache that came on after about a mile.

Still, it was a fun weekend and a good race.

Swim: 00:23:02
Transition 1: 00:04:18
Bike: 01:17:21 (19:20 mph avg.)
Transition 2: 00:01:02
Run: 00:48:03 (7:44 min/mile avg.)
Total: 02:33:46

(T1 wasn’t particularly fast either, I had some problems getting my wetsuit off and then putting socks on)


11 June 2011

I only seem to be posting about Triathlons these days. Guess I’m not doing much else, other than working and using my new camera.

Anyway, today–in accordance with my yearly resolutions–I entered the Silicon Valley Long Course Triathlon.

At 66-miles long, the course is a few miles shy of a half iron man:

The swim is 1-mile, but two laps. So you have to run out of the water, sprint down the beach, and dive back in. The horizontal-vertical-horizontal transition nearly made me barf. This leg took under 30-mins.

The bike is 56-miles, and takes you all the way to Gilroy and back. It’s a pretty flat ride so most of the time was spent in aero-position which I’m not yet used to. I really didn’t feel like eating on the ride, so had to force down my power bars. Other than that it was a smooth ride and took around 2-hours 40-mins.

The run is 9-miles and flat. My right foot was completely numb for the first 2-miles. I was averaging between 7:30 and 7:45 min/mile splits, which isn’t too bad after the ride and considering it was only the 2nd time I’d run that distance since the San Jose half-marathon last year. My time was about 1:10.

The official results aren’t online yet, but my overall time was 4-hours 21-minutes. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but had estimated around 5-hours. So, not a bad first time. It wasn’t as cardiovascularly intense as the Olympic distance events but I certainly feel more exhausted afterwards. 70.3 next??

Wildflower 2011

1 May 2011

I’m sitting on the couch, back in SF, with burning legs and a glass of Mumm Demi-Sec.

At the beginning of the year I set myself the stretch goal of getting a 2:20 time in the Wildflower Olympic Triathlon. I knew it would be almost impossible, but wanted an ambitious target. This morning I ended off finishing in 2:25:50; which I’m really happy with and is about 14-minutes faster than last year’s time. I give myself a 0.8…

The time put me at 61st (of ~1800) overall and 17th (of ~200) in my age group. My bike was definitely the strongest stage (34th overall) and is the main reason I got the position I did. My swim (404th) and my run (238th) were distinctly worse off.  Got some work to do there.

It was a fun weekend “camping” (we rented an RV) down by Lake San Antonio. Even my parents — who are visiting from England — came by and cheered us on.

Photos to come when I’m more recovered.

NB: Results –
Swim: 00:25:25
Transition 1: 00:02:06
Bike: 01:11:27 (21 mph avg.)
Transition 2: 00:01:02
Run: 00:45:50 (7:23 min/mile avg.)
Total: 02:25:50


13 June 2010

Man, I thought I was going to die on the run…

Well, that’s a slight exaggeration, but I did feel really tired, got the chills (again), and was having a hard time keeping my legs moving.  Time slowed and I felt like each mile took an age. But in actual fact they were only taking about 7 minutes 12 seconds (average… which is a pretty fast time for me).  The bike went as hoped, where I averaged 20.25 mph.  For the swim, I was just hoping to match my Wildflower time, but managed to knock off 4-minutes.

Swim – 0.93 miles in 26:40
T1 – 2:01
Bike – 24.9 miles in 1:13:46
T2 – 1:09
Run – 6.2 miles in 44:34
Which gives me a finishing time of 2:28:11.   Over 10 minutes faster than my time on the–admittedly much hillier–Wildflower course.

The only slight hiccups were the elbow I took to the jaw during the swim and the subsequent mouthful of lake water I swallowed, and then on the bike the aid station was unmanned so I ran out of water at about the 20-mile marker.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the result.   I don’t think I could have done much better.  Position wise, I came 15th in my age-group of 64, and 106th of the 429 finishing men.  But as I said in my other post, at my level that’s not a very meaningful metric.

So now the question for next year is: do I try for a half-Ironman or do I stick at the Olympic distance and try to improve my times?  Or maybe both…

Prelude to a race

10 June 2010

I’ve been reading Joe Friel’s book The Triathlete’s Training Bible recently.  It has a ton of useful information about when to train, how to train, when to rest, what to eat, and how to maximize efficient swimming, biking, and running techniques.  One of the things it suggests to do is write up a race day plan; as a way to help you prepare, but also so you can check back and compare expectations with reality.  So, since I’m doing another race this coming Sunday, I thought I’d write up my plan…

At 4am the alarm will go off; It’s Your World will be playing on NPR.  Get up.  Have a cold shower.  Get dressed (race shorts under civvies).  Head down to breakfast: blue-bottle coffee, 2-pints of water with electrolyte mix, toast and honey.

I’ll have packed my bag the night before, but just do a last check through.  Pump tires on bike to 120psi.  Get Tessa and Ada ready, head to car by 4:45am.

The drive to Almaden Lake is 55-miles and should take less than an hour.  Tessa will drop me off and go find parking.  I’ll have registered the day before, so head straight to the transition area and set up my spot.  I should have an hour before the race starts, so I’ll familiarize myself with the transition area, the entrances and exists, and the swim course.  If allowed, I’ll do a warm-up swim, nothing hard, just enough to get the blood flowing.  Stretches.  And the requisite trips to the porta-potties.

I’m in the third wave, starting at 7:08.  I’ll stand one row back from the front, on the inside.  I’ll take the first 100m easy, trying to avoid feet, and picking a path through the carnage.  After that I’ll settle into a comfortable rhythm, avoiding the temptation to race.  A mistake I made last time was going too wide, so try to keep an optimal course.

Transition to bike
My wet suit’s a two piece, so I’ll have the top off by the time I get to my spot.  Take off the bottoms.  Socks on.  Shoes on.  T-shirt on.  Helmet on.  Put 3 gel packs in back pocket.  Grab bike.  Run for the exit.

The bike course is wide, smooth, and relatively flat.  I’ll be pushing hard.  I’ll have a gel pack at the start, one half way, and one at the end.  I’ll alternate between water and energy drink, sipping regularly.

There’s a 7% climb for 200-vertical-feet between miles 15 and 16.  After riding in Marin, this should be easy.

I want to average above 20 mph.

Transition to run
Simply drop bike off, take off helmet, switch shoes, and grab race belt with my number.

Like the bike it’s a flattish course.  I’ll take the first mile to ease my legs in, then settle into a race pace.  I want to push close to my limit.  I won’t have my heart rate monitor so I’ll pay attention to my breathing and if it gets laboured will ease off.  I’ll take water every mile at each aid station.

At the end of the day I know I’m not going to place very highly.  I could say I’d like to finish in the top 10%, which would be very cool, but is meaningless; it is a measure of other entrants not myself.  My goal is for everything to go smoothly and to feel like I couldn’t have finished in a quicker time.  But, shit happens and if something does go wrong I’ll just do my best to get to the end.

Racer #5748

2 May 2010

If you’re not interested in my trip to Wildflower this weekend you can stop reading (or mute) now.
If you are slightly interested by it but in the tl:dr crowd, you can skip to the end to see my times/position.
If you are actually interested in my race report, please continue (hi Mum, hi Marie)…

So… if you read the last post you’ll know I was heading to Wildflower to do the Olympic triathlon this weekend. Now, this is no Iron Man. The Long Course is on Saturday and is a half-Iron Man; the Olympic is an “Intermediate Distance” event and is a mere 1-mile swim, 25-mile bike, and 6-mile run. However, each of the Wildflower courses is known for being particularly grueling.

Tessa, Sani (my fellow racer), his brother, and I drove the 300-miles to Lake San Antonio on Friday afternoon, and set up camp.

On Saturday, we did some swim training, a light bike ride, and watched the Long Course competitors. These guys are seriously hardcore. The winner will finish the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and half-marathon in 3-hours 55-minutes. The last person will take nearly 10-hours, biking and running in the scorching California sun. Seeing the people of all shapes and sizes do this race made me feel really quite lame. The Team-in-Training people were particularly impressive; many of whom certainly don’t look like athletes, but they all support each other and with serious mental willpower finish the course to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Today, after two cold and uncomfortable nights in a tent, was our race. The start is split into waves, with the collegiate men going first at 9am. Then the male age groups, then female. My wave started at 9:25.

The swim started with the usual carnage; legs and arms flailing everywhere, people almost swimming over you, kicks to the face. By the first buoy it had thinned out only a little, so I decided to go wide to avoid the masses. By the half way point I was now overtaking stragglers from the waves in front; some swimming breaststroke, some lying on their backs staring at the sky. By the final buoy and the last-leg back to the dock I got overtaken by the front guy of the wave behind me. Appropriately wearing a ninja-black swim cap. The swim felt long, when training I think I go into a kind of meditative state, but in the excitement of race day it took forever.

After the first hill, the bike was relatively straight forward. I pushed it quite hard, taking satisfaction from over taking guys on $5000+ tri-bikes, and feeling awe at other guys on $5000+ tri-bikes flying past me. The course was a there-and-back, with 2 biggish hills either way. My “nutrition strategy” was to have an expresso-gel at the start and end of the ride, a honey gel in the middle, and then alternate water/electrolyte drinks throughout. This worked pretty well.

The run was killer. As always it hurt like hell trying to run after biking for over an hour. And the course was tough. There were aid stations at each mile giving out much needed gatorade and water, but even with these I started getting chills about half-way round. At this point the sun was high in the sky and it was getting hot; I feel so bad for the women who didn’t get to start till 11am. The run course was nearly all up hill for the first 5-miles, on road and dirt trails. Then a 1-mile knee crunching decent to the finish line.

I felt pretty rough by the time I crested the final hill, but I kept going and made it to the finish with a time I’m pretty happy with.

My total time was 2-hours 39-minutes, which put me 24th in my age group of 224 guys, 142nd out of all 1200 men, and 166th overall out of over 2000 competitors. For context, the winner came in at 2-hours 2-minutes, median time is 3-hours 19-minutes, and the 90th percentile take longer than 4-hours.

Swim: 00:29:49
Transition 1: 00:03:04
Bike: 01:19:31 (18 mph avg.)
Transition 2: 00:01:09
Run: 00:46:10 (7:43 min/mile avg.)
Total: 02:39:43

Not too shabby, but plenty of room for improvement.

Now, off to finish this 2002 Moon Mountain Syrah and eat some honey sandwiches, oh, and I should probably shower at some stage.


29 April 2010

Tomorrow we’ll be heading down to Lake San Antonio for my 2nd Wildflower Triathlon. Last year I entered the Mountain Bike course. This year I decided to up the ante and try for the Olympic distance.

The course is a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike, and then a 10km run (that’s 1-mile/25-miles/6-miles for the imperially inclined). While it’s no Iron Man, they say the bike “should be considered relatively difficult” and the run is a “combination of road and trails, through campgrounds and challenging hills”.

The training has been pretty tough. I injured my back last October, which meant I started the running training later than I would have liked. I’ve also found it stressful finding the time to train (doing an IronMan must be almost a fulltime job).

For the last couple of months I’ve been working out 5 or 6 days a week; with weights, runs, and swims in the infinity pool, during the week; then long bike rides, runs on the embarcadero, and swims in the bay, on the weekend. Running after cycling is hard on the legs, my knees and ankles are pretty sore this week.

Anyway, I do it because I enjoy the challenge. Hopefully I’ll finish with a reasonable time and legs that still work. I’ve already signed up for the 12km Bay-to-Breakers run in 2-weeks and the Silicon Valley International Triathlon in 6-weeks.

Wish me luck!

Need to tri harder

4 May 2009

When in Hawaii last year we got a chance to see some of the Ironman 70.3. This seeded the idea of someday doing a triathlon, especially since my knees were doing much better after a course of physiotherapy.

Then in December I saw an ex-colleague tweet that he’d signed up for the Wildflower long course. I checked out the website and noticed the Mountain Bike Course: a much more manageable 1/4-mile swim, 9.7-mile bike, 2-mile run.

I told my personal trainer about it and in February we both signed up. We trained in the pools and the gym at work, then at China Camp Beach on the weekends. The distances aren’t very long, so I was mainly focussed on getting a reasonable time.

Last weekend was the actual event. We drove down Friday and camped on the hill above Lake San Antonio.

On race morning we got up at 6, ate a solid breakfast of granola and expresso beans, and then headed down to set up the transition area before the long course got underway. I got pretty nervous while we watched the long course participants leave, but by the time it was my wave’s turn I was calm and ready to go.

There seemed to be a lot of people unprepared for the swim, and I caught up to the tail end of the first wave by the mid-way point.

My transition to bike was pretty terrible; I spent way to much time putting my shoes and gloves on.  But the bike course itself wasn’t too bad at all, with only a couple of hills of note. Everyone is marked with their “race age” on their left leg, so I could tell I was overtaking people from the first wave, which was very motivating.

My transition to run was nearly as bad as the one to bike; I managed to misplace the t-shirt that had my bib number and spent valuable time digging through my bag. The run is definitely my weakest leg and having pushed hard on the bike I found it pretty tough. I made it back to the stadium though, with enough energy to do a sprint finish :)

My end time was 1:04:43, placing 17th 16th of 131 in my age group, 59th 1012 overall. Some of the times are messed up so I’m not 100% sure of my overall ranking. My bike time didn’t record correctly so I don’t know how long I spent in the second transition, but if my first was anything to go by I think I should be able to shave 2 or 3 minutes off my time just at the transitions.

What next? I definitely want to do longer tri’s in the future but I think for now I’d like to focus on improving my time on sprint courses while working on my running.

Update: looks like they fixed the timing data.

One week to go

25 April 2009

One week to goOnly one week until the Wildflower Tri. Having been training for a while now and reading blogs and magazines, I’m feeling a little lame only doing the Sprint course. But at least its a start.

Tessa came out for a bike ride while Sani and I did a trial run at China Camp. I’m getting more used to swimming in the cold, salty water, but it’s still not the most pleasant experience.

This week we’ll be winding down and doing some relatively light training. Don’t want to start the race with sore legs!

Wild Flower Triathlon

20 February 2009

I just registered for my first triathlon!  I’m entering the mountain bike course of the Wild Flower Triathlon. It’s a sprint, so is only a 0.25 mile swim, 9 mile mountain bike and 2 mile run, but it’s my first race so I’m already pretty nervous.  I can do each of the pieces on their own, but one after the other may be tricky.  To make things yet more interesting, my knees are in pretty bad shape at the moment.