Tuesday, May 26, 2009


What are true necessities in triathlon? We get so caught up in all the new-fangled gear that sometimes I think we get confused about what we really NEED (if we really "need" any of this..). Think about running shoes for a minute. Only in the last 30-40 years have we even had such things. There are arguments for and against their necessity, and I have to say that the ones against all the shoe technology are quite convincing. I seemed to decrease my pronating tendencies and need for support when I stopped getting those motion control Beasts several years ago. But decide for yourself. Read here.

Apparently the requirement for a complete Memphis in May triathlon weekend are the standard photo poses. Aren't there always similar ones at your hometown race when you have multiple cameras pointed your way?

Wetsuit + swim cap head (thanks Charlie for sharing this with me):
Bent over in transition:

Applying bodyglide, mushy stomach included (thankfully the bent over in transition and bodyglide application were NOT captured simultaneously and from behind like last year):

Actually running, and uphill even (albeit SLOWLY-- and yeah, this was the first 100 yards of the run):

Post race pictures with Laura in our matching jackets (when is the last time it wasn't 90F at MIM??):

Ridiculous post race beer consumption pose (with a Terrapin brand beer.. ahem, team):
And that completed my weekend of races. That and the Amateur Challenge check I got for 3rd place. That 34 seconds by which Susan beat me cost me $75! That's like a race entry fee, as long as you sign up 5 months in advance and already have your USAT insurance and bribe the race directors... or one-seventh of the IMLouisville entry fee that I'm not getting back... or the cost of the numerous bottles of cough syrup and meds I took over the weekend... But really, who's counting? A check's a check and I'm heading to cash it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Well Rested

I'm going into this weekend of races with very well rested legs. I've taken more rest days this week than I did in the last month, I think. Monday night I went to the pool and felt a scratch in my throat. I attributed it to the pool chemicals being out of whack; since the water was murky, it seemed a probable cause. The scratch was there all night and the next morning, when I bailed out on my ride. Since that swim, the only exercise I have gotten is in my intercostals and abdominals, which get quite a workout during those intense coughing attacks. I'm even feeling a little soreness.

An article in the NY Times tells me that it's ok to exercise with a head cold, and my performance won't even be impaired. The only problem is that this isn't just "exercising," it's pushing myself to 90% for 75 minutes on Saturday and 135+ minutes on Sunday. Oh, and apparently the rules are different if you have chest congestion. So I'm going to do my own little experiement, n=1, and see if 4 days of no exercise + a hacking cough has an effect on my racing and perceived symptoms. Sounds fun, huh? I plan to enjoy myself out there. Just maybe for a little longer than usual.

So what country are we saluting this year anyway?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Do-over time, finally

I'm just going to forget that I've already done a triathlon this season.

Time for my first triathlon of the season! It's a double. I'm always eager to give myself plenty of excuses for pathetic races before the race actually takes place, so I've again signed up for the Memphis in May Amateur Challenge. That means my pre-race brick is actually going to be timed on a marked course. Therefore I have to do a pre-pre-race brick the day before, Friday. Three bricks in a row for the weekend!

Unlike most years in the past, I didn't give myself the Gulf Coast excuse. I need a break every now and then from that run course that I've done 17 laps of. The math: 5 IMFLs (2 laps each) + 7 GCTs = 17! And that's a 6.5 mile lap we're talking about. Gets a liiitle old.

I guess I do need to update this blog with a race report. Just over a week ago was the Outdoors Inc Canoe and Kayak Race, of which I took part for my debut canoe race. My big boss and I had a big challenge with a local sportswriter and his 11 year old son. When I saw the son, who was much smaller than I am, I breathed a sigh of relief, because I was SURE we would outpaddle the pair. We had a strategy in place that we'd discussed beforehand, and we set ourselves up to our advantage: near the inside of the turn from the Wolf River to the Mississippi. After 45 minutes of sitting in the pouring rain at the mouth of the Wolf, our race began and we paddled furiously off the starting line. Around the turn, into the current we went, and I kept looking over my shoulder to see if we'd lost them. Nowhere in sight, I took it a little easier. Ahead of us, a rowdy crew had capsized and the Coast Guard boat cut directly in front of us, stalling us for a few seconds and creating a huge wake to overcome. The next thing I knew, our competitors were drafting a few yards off the back of our boat! They had huge grins across their faces, knowing they had stealthily attacked during the mayhem. At that point I went back to just below redline, knowing we had more than half the race yet to go. We stayed in our respective positions for the remainder of the paddle under the I-40 bridge and to the end of Mud Island, where we were to turn upstream and paddle into the harbor several hundred yards for the finish. The competitors took the outside and tried to go around us at the turn, but out of nowhere it seemed, a boat came perpendicular to the rest of the field. We collided with it briefly, but had enough momentum to maneuver around it. The competitors were not quite as lucky as we had been and got slowed down significantly when they broadsided the boat. We pulled ahead with 100 yards to go. The elder competitor was breathing and grunting heavily, which helped me keep tabs on their location. The last few yards were an all out max effort for me, and I assume my partner too, and we secured our win by approximately 2 boat lengths. Success! Strangely I haven't heard any mention of the event from that particular sportswriter since the pre-race heckling on his radio show. Next year, when the son is a larger 12-year-old, the big boss may need to recruit a more experienced paddler than myself, or maybe I need to start working on this sport in my spare time. I was sore for days, although I heard the boss claim to not feel too much soreness himself. Of course, he was in the back of the boat out of my sight. Maybe I should take on a new sport, especially now that the river is encroaching upon my run path again: