Monday, August 30, 2010

Nuclear Swim 2010 in the books

The final swim of the Triangle Open Water Series is in the books, and all went well.  We had a bunch of volunteers and lifeguards out to make sure everyone was safe.  The course went further into the lake so we avoided most of the weeds that hang near the shallow spots of the lake.  217 finishers.

The men's and women's overall finishes were head to head battles and you can see those videos on the series Facebook page

After the swim was all said and done, The Angels (my wife and her friends) and I went for a 50 mile bike ride.  The bike ride was great, it was a nice day, and I felt good.  I  convinced Bri to do a 20 minute run with me through the trails of Harris Lake County Park after.  Please note this trail system is much more extensive than you initially realize.  We wound up running for more than 40 minutes.  Bri kept her cool and did not bash me over the head with a log, though I could see her thinking about it. 

We had a lot of fun with the swim series.  Now we get to focus on two more triathlons - Patriots Half or sprint (for Bri), and USAT Nationals.  I am back into good shape, have shed most of my beer belly, and am looking forward to racing well.  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Road race prices

Check out this op-ed piece in our local paper about the entry fee of road races.  The author essentially argues that road racing is too expensive.  In the article the writer states:

Since the race is sponsored by Garner rather than a corporate entity, it should cost less. Promoting exercise and good health should be the goal even if the activity loses money.
Do you think he will be willing to pay more in Town of Garner taxes?  That seems reasonable, since he wants the town to subsidize money losing ventures for his personal socioeconomic benefit.  Just a modest real estate tax increase.  Nothing to lose sleep over.

The writer goes on:
We who love the sport of road racing should want our sport to be accessible to the masses, not just the affluent.
There are costs associated with races. Police are paid to keep the course safe, but couldn't volunteers do this work? Traffic control is not rocket science. Cutting costs must happen if the sport is to grow beyond its small base of affluent runners. I can play a round of golf with a cart for less than it costs to run a road race.
I'll keep running road races with my family - and begging for discounts - but my days as a bandit probably won't end anytime soon.
A quick check of FS Series, which timed the Garner event, revealed several upcoming 5ks that have entry fees of $20 if paid ahead of time, and even one completely free 5k in November.  Free!  My gosh.  It must be an evil communist plot. :P

There is actually an insurance requirement for most road races (and virtually all events on open roads) to have police or county sheriffs provide traffic control, since they are  authorized to stop people.  Volunteers can yell all they want, but they have no legal right to stop someone from driving through a race course. An armed peace officer has that duty.

He also advocates running as a bandit, so he and his family can continue to enjoy road racing.  I have a proposal.  Instead of stealing services from your local race organizer and any of their charities, how about you pick and choose your races?  You could take your family to three or four events a year.  Make it a special family event.

If you are having trouble with your personal finances, making a 5k entry a hardship, perhaps you should work on ways to create additional income streams rather than setting a poor example for your children.  "Hey kids, let's go bandit another road race!  We'll take advantage of the hard work of other people, and then eat the food and drink afterwards, and go home feeling righteous.  Life is not fair, and you are allowed steal from other people as long as we couch the term in something cutesy like 'banditing'.  We showed them. F--- the man."

I could go off on a long political tangent here but will refrain.  

Running is free - provided you get some decent shoes.  Participating in any event you want to is not.

If the author wants to see low-cost running events offered and promoted to the public, I propose he go ahead and establish a free community based running program that culminates with a low-cost 5k.  Then he can learn to enjoy things like fixed & variable costs, event design, course design, course management, t-shirt ordering, awards, permit fees, city council meetings, Fire/EMS scheduling, Police officer coordination, volunteer coordination, insurance and event sanctioning, and every other little thing that comes along with running any sort of racing event.  He could put in a couple weeks worth of time to operate the whole shebang on a break-even or even slightly money-losing basis (since it is promoting health, after all). 

He could then write another op-ed piece afterward and let us all know how he liked fronting the capital and sweat equity ... so he can listen to a small but vocal minority of  people tell him they didn't like your t-shirt design, or post-race food, or course, or your entry fee was too high, or whatever.

(In case strangers stumble across this post in isolation: FS Series is our partner for the Triangle Open Water Swim Series, and I operate as a for-profit race director that donates a significant portion of the bottom line of this race series to a non-profit organization.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nuclear Swim and other things

The 2nd annual Nuclear Swim is this Sunday, August 29 at Harris Lake County Park.  One Step Beyond is offering $100 to the first man and woman overall.  Bri and I have enjoyed winning some cash prizes over the years so it is an opportunity for us to give a bit back and offer more incentive to the overall contenders.

We promise the checks won't bounce (which is a misdemeanor in North Carolina, by the way).   Heck, we will probably make it cash due to that.

The race series is going to raise a significant bit of cash for the Triangle Aquatic Center as well, which is where we hold our master swim team practices.  We are happy to do that.

Cross-country coaching is going well, the kids are working hard and our first meet is next Tuesday night.  It will be good to see how they do.

My training for the Patriots Half on September 11 has been going well.  I am not going to be in super shape but will be pretty fit and hope to turn in a good time.

I have been playing around with a "Facebook like" plug in to the blog, but apparently my blog is still an old format so I will need to goof with it for a while. Technology is moving at light speed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Me & Running-in-the-Heat are breaking up

That's it, Running-in-the-Heat.  We've had it.  We're done.  You tease me with ten, twenty, sometimes even thirty minutes of good times, reminding me what it was like when we first met, back when we were young and full of energy.  Then you turn vicious and ugly; your true colors come out, and no matter what I can't make you happy.  You scorn me.  You laugh at me. So we're through.

It's not like you haven't seen this coming, Running-in-the-Heat.  For years we've been on and off.  You tease me and make me jealous, parading out your "friends," Cool-Summer-Day and Refreshing-Sunshowers, bringing them in for a while to show off your real power.  Then dismiss them as easily as you dismiss me, at 6:30AM at the top of a lonely hill in downtown Raleigh.

Why, Running-in-the-Heat, why?  We were so good together once.

But like they say, that was then, and this is now.  We can't go back.

So good luck with everything.  I should let you know I've been talking quite a bit with Cycling-Lots-in-Summer.  We're making all sorts of plans for next year and she promises to be nicer than you.  And her friend Swimming-More has always made it clear she's got a thing for me. The great thing is I don't think Cycling-Lots-in-Summer would mind.  She's cool with that.

Way cooler than you, Running-in-the-Heat.  And that's no pun. 

Now your sister, Running-in-the-Winter, she's awesome and we're totally gonna hang out.  Probably five or six times a week, if you know what I mean.  Hope you don't mind.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Free swim clinic at USAT nationals in September

Bri and I along with Susan Williams will be hosting a free swim clinic on Thursday, 9.23 from 530-730 PM in Tuscaloosa Alabama on behalf of the USAT Women's committee.  You can read all about it and sign up here.

I had a good but short visit with my in-laws in VA for my bro in laws 40th.  Up till 12:15 playing Cornhole and drinking adult beverages, and then up the next morning at 6AM for a 5k swim in VB.  That went well, it was a small turnout but nice conditions.  There were big wave sets rolling through which made the swim interesting.  I finished first in 1:00.25.  There was a slight current and we had to swim into shore and back out at the halfway point as a safety check. 3 mile jog back to the start afterwards.  I was real tired later in the day.

This weekend and next we get to stick around town which will be great.  Jack Johnson concert on Saturday night.  Bike riding. 

That is all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dear Gatorade: G2 sucks.

On Friday night, Bri and I bought a few bottles of Gatorade for our open water clinic on Saturday morning. The clinic went well and afterwards we had a couple bottles left over and poured some into our bike bottles for a bike ride afterwards.  Both Bri and I took a swig and both of us made a "bleargh" noise.  We wondered what the problem was and then Bri realized we must have bought a bottle of Gatorade: G2.  After the ride we checked the ingredients.  One fake sweetener isn't enough for Gatorade: G2: Sucralose and another sweetener called Acesulfame potassium.  Both of these are artificial sweeteners and basically useless for the body in any shape or form if not downright harmful.

Gatorade: G2 is marketed as a lower calorie sports hydration drink.  I have an idea for Gatorade.  I will give it to you for free.

Gatorade: Gh2.0.  You take a regular 20 ounce Gatorade.  You dump 5 ounces out (back into your big Gatorade vat).  Then, you add 5 ounces of water.  Voila!  You've reduced the calorie content by 25%, and it still tastes great, just not quite as strong.  Sort of like Gatorade G2 without the lousy chemical aftertaste.  And if you want to get even more super duper scientific, you (Gatorade, I mean), could add back in the appropriate amount of electrolytes, so the only thing affected is the calorie content. 

I even thought of a catch phrase for you.

Gatorade: Gh2.0.  It doesn't taste like you're sucking aspirin. 

And it only costs twenty-five cents more per bottle.  That's the additional labor overhead burden rate per unit for hiring some minimum wagers to dump out good Gatorade and put in some good water., and then relabel the bottles with magic marker pens.


This is a perfect example of taking a great brand and then diluting it with 2nd rate spinoffs.  Beverly Hills Cop 3 territory.

Full disclosure: We own Pepsi Co stock, so you should buy more Gatorade. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

high school x-country coaching

I am excited to have been hired to be the 2010 cross-country coach at Raleigh Charter high school.  This is a 1A public high-achieving academic school in downtown.  We held the first two practices in the morning on Monday and Tuesday.

It is a good group of kids (about 30 of them evenly split boys/girls) and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to work with them.  My goals for the season are:
  • Provide an intelligently structured training plan appropriate to their level of ability
  • Help each athlete meet his or her training & racing goal for 2010
  • Help them learn more about proper training, nutrition, gear, and recovery
  • Encourage fair play and team oriented thinking
  • Be fair-minded, disciplined, and a good mentor/coach/example
  • Do as well as possible at dual meets and invitationals
Our practices are in the early afternoon for the remainder of the season, so we'll be dealing with some heat for a few weeks.  It has been extraordinarily hot & humid here in the Raleigh area this summer.

On that note, this morning I got up at 5:00 to go for a tempo run with a few of my TAF teammates around downtown.  My heart popped on big hill number three at the 45 minute mark and had to hobble-jog back to our starting point.  Something like 8.5 miles in 1:04.  Completely wrecked!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lake Logan / Asheville weekend

We (Tassie and I) have had a good time in Western North Carolina this weekend with Bri and a couple of our friends. We rented a cabin outside Waynesville for the weekend and it is a nice place. Like my blog bio says, I enjoy long jogs in the mountains and lazy days at the beaches. Ha! I really would like a cabin of our own (and one on the beach too) but we are not there yet. One day.

On Saturday morning we woke up at the usual 4:00 AM to get ready for the Lake Logan international distance triathlon. It is a great venue and a beautiful course, so check it out if you're ever thinking of heading to this part of the state. I felt pretty good during the week and was looking forward to the race.

On Thursday night I rode with the Inside Out group, which is cutting it a bit close as far as hard training session goes, but the legs felt fine on racing morning.

There are $100 cash premiums for each leg of the race at Lake Logan, so I figured an outside shot at the swim preme. I pushed the swim pretty hard and came out of the water in around 19 minutes, first in my wave, which is great as I haven't been that fast in a while. Results would show that pro racer John Kenny from PA was a minute faster leaving in the wave ahead of me. John is also a former ocean marathon swimmer and New Jersey lifeguard so I didn't feel too bad.

The bike course is a bit deceptive; net downhill on the way out and net uphill on the way back. The air was thick with fog and we had a headwind to boot on the return trip. I rode solo and kept the effort moderate as I wanted to be able to run off the bike. 1:02 something.

The run is a 5k moderate uphill, then 5k downhill to the finish. I am not a great uphill runner so took short steps and tried to keep my turnover and momentum up. A couple runners from wave 1 were ahead of me but they slowly ran away. I managed to keep a decent pace and did a 21:50 5k to the top. I was very happy to see the run turnaround. Running downhill is much more fun. :) Return 5k was 20:45 for a 42:30 or so 10k, excellent for me at the moment.

This put me into 5th for the men overall with 2:05.53. One super fast woman went a low 2:05.

Bri had an amazing race. I will refer you to her blog for her details. I did a doubletake when she told me her time: 2:07.03. That is an olympic distance PR for her and got her 4th place. She also ran a 39:50.

We chilled out at the cabin for a while, then headed to Asheville for dinner with our good friend Al Johnson and some shopping (cupcakes for the girls; beer for me).

Today we are off for an easy ride though easy is relative since there are hills everywhere here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Patriots Half training

I am officially signed up for the Patriots Half on September 11 up in Williamsburg, VA, giving me 6 weeks to get into shape. The past few weeks have been up and down depending on time and travel. I will go into triathlon geek mode for a second here and discuss the plan.

The plan is to train a lot. I like to keep things simple. :)

This week 8/2:
Bike 8 hours
run 4 hours
swim 3 hours
Lake Logan international distance triathlon on Saturday as part of the above.
total 15 hours

Next week 8/9:
bike 10 hours
run 4 hours
swim 3 hours
total 17 hours

week of 8.16:
bike 10 hours
run 5 hours
swim 3 hours
total 18 hours

week of 8.23:
bike 12 hours
run 5 hours
swim 2 hours
total 19 hours

week of 8.29:
bike 7 hours
run 5 hours
swim 3 hours
includes a weekend at the beach (ocean swimming)
total 15 hours

week of 9.6
rest week.

I have put kung fu on hold until the season is over, too exhausted after those classes and time is at a premium right now.

My goal is to get into the 4:30 range, which should be doable. Anything faster is a bonus.

After Patriots half I will coast through USAT Nationals on September 26. After nationals I am hanging the bike up for the season and switching into running mode, unless I get inspired to do a late season triathlon somewhere.