Tag Archives: steelman

Prep for Steelman 2015 Olympic

Well I kind of fell off the blogging wagon a bit here lately(again). In my defense, IMLP vs IMCdA post took a bit of time to put together and I also needed to put together my next monthly post  for the iThlete HRV blog too. I have been training fairly steadily the past 3-4 weeks for Steelman Olympic which despite being a shorter distance event still takes up some time.

Ironman Recovery

I gave myself about a week and half of full recovery before starting back into training for Steelman. I was feeling pretty good after the week of vacation we had after the race in Coeur d’Alene, ID. I really took it easy that week and with the ongoing high temperatures out there it was fairly easy to do so. We took a ride over to Glacier National Park for a couple days, which was a bit cooler, and took in the beautiful views of the park.

Once we were back home, I used the first half of the next week to catch up on some home chores like cutting the grass. This provided a bit more active recovery too. By midway through the week I was eager to get back to it again. My bike arrived back to Keswick Cycle from TriBike Transport by the weekend, so I ran down there to pick that up on a Friday morning.

Yuki

One personal item that has been a bit of a stressor was the recent decline in health of my dog, Yuki. Yuki has been battling Lymphoma for the past 5-6 months. He had been doing quite well up until about two weeks ago. When we returned from our Idaho trip we noticed that his Lymph nodes had gotten larger again. He was still in good spirits for a few weeks after but then we started to notice him get a bit more lethargic. He would pep up though when we went for walks or when his nemisis, “Black Kitty” would stroll leisurely by the front of the house. Actually just saying the words “Black Kitty” would send him into a rage of barking.

Yuki with Tails a waggin'

Yuki with Tails a waggin’

A couple weeks ago Yuki started to turn his nose up at his food. We were cooking him organic, grass fed ground beef or turkey, with some rice and vegetables and he was scarfing it up every meal until the other week. Now he didn’t want anything to do with it. He would take a treat here and there, but that was about it. We talked to the vet they recommended some smelly fish, or canned dog or cat food. We got some of that Little Cesar stuff and the first one he gobbled down and my wife and I were high-fiving each other. That was short-lived because he just barfed it up about 15 minutes later. Ugh!

It wound up being almost a week of him not eating. He was still drinking water though and still walking. Last weekend he really started getting slow and was throwing up foamy stuff a lot. Then he was barely drinking any water. Last Sunday we took him for a walk but he kept slowing down. You could tell he was stuggling to keep up. Monday morning was not good. He had puked a couple more times and was just laying around in strange places. I had to carry him outside to pee. My wife ended up coming home early and we made the dreaded decision that I had not been looking forward too.

Yuki went peacefully in our arms on Monday morning(August 3rd, 2915) at around 11AM. Although it was a very well done process by our vet and as comforting as something like that can be. It still hit me & my wife pretty hard. Yuki was my best buddy and I will miss him. He made me laugh everyday with his antics. He was a very independent dog and his personality was surely unique, but despite that he was still my sidekick in his own way. The house is so quiet now and coming home is so anti-climactic without him around. It will surely take me some time to get over the loss of him.

Training

Despite the issues with Yuki, I still managed to continue training. I did miss a few workouts due to dealing with those issues or just not feeling up to it, but I still maintained some training consistency. The main theme though in the training for Steelman was Intensity! The workouts were much shorter than my typical Ironman routines, but I spent a lot more time with Mr. Zone 3 and Mr. Zone 4. Even had a few wranglins with Mr. Zone 5 too. What a jerk!

Training Peaks PMC Chart for Steelman 2015 Olympic

Training Peaks PMC Chart for Steelman 2015 Olympic

It was probably a good thing though to spend some time in these zones for me to get my speeds up a bit. My biggest weakness these days are my run speed off the bike. I need to work on this more this coming off-season as well. I think this time preparing for Steelman will be a big help here too.

Track Time! Workout speed

Track Time!

Surprisingly though, the increased intensity had a very positive effect on my Heart Rate Variablility(HRV) which I had not expected. Morning HRV readings went up into the high 80’s and 90’s and stayed up there for most of the time during my training.

HRV vs <a href=

TSS-June 29 to July 30 2015(QV)” width=”625″ height=”249″ /> HRV vs TSS-June 29 to July 30 2015(QV)

Lots of Green Dots in the Sweet spot - iThlete Training Guide-2015 Jul 30

Lots of Green Dots in the Sweet spot – iThlete Training Guide-2015 Jul 30

Pre-Race Speculation

My goal for the Steelman Olympic race is to get a top-10 in my age group. Looking at the past couple years results I think I should be able to do that. I would also would like to improve upon my last result there back in 2012. Despite being 3 years older, I think I have gotten a bit faster since then. I would love to get a podium, but there are a few really fast guys in my age group that seem to show up for that race year-after-year. I am not going to get my hopes up for that.

Other Stuff

My wife and I also ordered a couple inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboards a couple weeks ago. I thought this would be a good cross training activity and something we both could enjoy together. Xterra was offering a buy one get one free offer(Use Code: BOGO10) so I decided to give it a try. I have used their wetsuits for years now and they are great and well priced too. Reviews on the SUP’s were mixed, mainly due to a lack of customer service issues, but we gave it a try anyway. So far they have been great! I love the portability of the inflatables and they work just us well as the regular ones. That is according to my wife since I have never been on one until now. We took them out for their virgin tour at Smithfield beach on the Delaware River. It was pretty fun.

SUP on the Delaware

SUP on the Delaware

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for how Steelman goes. Can’t be worse than Ironman Coeur d’Alene right?

 

Race Review: Steelman Olympic 2012

Race Name: Steelman Olympic 2012

Race Location & Country: Lake Nockamixon, PA US

Date: August 12, 2012

Race Category: Male 40-44

Why did I do this race? Close to home. Very well organized. Third year I have done this race(1 year Sprint, 2 year Olympic), so provides good test of fitness and improvements for me. Challenging course.

The Swim

0.9 miles. Shape is kind of a rectangle and goes in a counter-clockwise direction(see image below). Usually a non-wetsuit swim since it is typically very hot in August in SE PA. Although previous 2011 was wetsuit legal. Lake is pretty clean and I typically enjoy swimming here. This year I overate at the vegan buffet the night before and paid the price during the swim. You can usually find clear water after the first or second turn buoy. Exit is on a boat ramp which can be slippery, but there is always tons of great volunteers here.

image

The Bike

24.6 miles. Steep little climb out of the marina right from transition is always a rude awaking to the quads. After that it is mostly downhill to rolling until the first turn. Course is a two loops of the park road(RT 563) for Olympic and one for Sprint. There are several pretty good climbs on this course with ~1300 feet of elevation gain overall. Road is totally closed to traffic during the race, but can get congested with athletes. Doing two loops causes you to run into the slower triathletes on your second loop. There is usually around 1000-1500 entrants in the race, so it can get a bit congested despite the full road. I usually end up out in the middle close to the yellow lines on my last loop. The southwest end of the course has some pretty good uphills and downhills that keep the legs in check. The lane back into T2 can get crazy with overeager athletes. This year one guy went flying past me as I was coming into T2 and took out a bunch of other triathletes dismounting their bikes. I had a first hand view of the carnage and then just tip-toed through them to the racks.

image      image

The Run

The run is probably my least favorite part of this race. It is run on a paved walking/bike path that parallels the shoreline of the lake. The path is only around 5-6 feet wide and supporting 2-way running traffic on here is extremely congested. Trying to pass a slower runner while not taking out another runner coming the other way is difficult. I have frequently had to turn sideways while passing someone. The Olympic race is 2 loops of the path and again running into more slow runners on the second loop is extremely time consuming. Path is mostly shaded, but can still get very hot and steamy. Must be from all the body heat in a confined space. Course is fairly flat with a few undulations along the way.

image

Transition

Racks are assigned by wave/age group, but there are no bib number assignments on the racks which kind a stinks. If you get there late you are most-likely at the end of the row. Things can be a bit cramped too if you are in one of the big age groups(M 35-39, 40-44, 45-49).

Race Organization

Race is very well organized and communications are great. You can count on play-by-play emails the week leading up to the race. Swag is good. Good food post race. Usually pizza, fruit, bagels, cookies. Not a lot of vegan fare though. Plenty of volunteers and they do a great job. Port-a-potty line was huge this year, so get in line early. They also have an expo the Saturday before with some decent vendors if you come down for early packet pickup.

Since they close the main road into the race area. You and any family/fans have to be in the race area by 7 AM and you are trapped there until around 10:30AM. The 10:30 exit is usually not too bad if you are doing the Olympic distance, but if you are a faster sprint triathlete you could be hanging out a while. The early arrival for any fans and family is a big detractor to getting any additional fan support. I don’t really have any fan or family support other than my wife, so this is not an issue for me either.

Top Tips

  • Be prepared for non-wetsuit swim.
  • Put your bike in an easy gear heading out of T1 and easy spin up the hill out of the marina. You legs won’t have much blood in them from swim yet.
  • Save some legs on the bike there are some good climbs on 2nd half of bike loop and you have to do them twice.
  • Practice your running crossovers(grapevine)  for the run. You will need it on the run course.

How did you do?

Very good. This was my second time doing the Olympic course and I shaved off ~13 minutes from the previous year. My swim was a couple minutes slower due to no wetsuit and stopping to dry heave occasionally this year, but my bike and run were both faster. It was also not quite as hot and humid this year.

Verdict

Fun local race. Good indicator of your end of season fitness and relative to most of the local tri scene in the Philly-Lehigh Valley area. If you are looking for a smaller race(entrants-wise) this may not be for you. If you like to test your meddle against most other triathletes in the area, do it up.

Race Report: Steelman Olympic 2012

The day begun as a typical race morning with the alarm beeping away at 3:50AM. I slept well until about 1AM and then it was up every hour checking the clock. I stuffed down some chia seed toaster waffles with maple syrup and a cup of coffee. Then after a quick morning constitutional, I racked the bike on the car, through my gear bag in, and off we headed to Lake Nockamixon by around 4:45AM. The race “athlete note” said to be there by 5:30AM, so we were under the gun. I still had to pickup my race packet and decorate everything with the appropriate number placards. We decided to bring our dog, Yuki(pronounced U-kee and not after the Philly newscaster), along since he was so excited this morning. He actually followed me out to the car without me knowing it and he usually does not leave the house without a leash on. He seemed pretty stoked to go along so we tossed him in the car too.

The ride down there went pretty fast since the only people on the roads at that time on a Sunday morning are triathletes and bakers. Once we hit routes 313 and  563, it was a solid line of vehicles all with bikes mounted to them in some fashion. Once we got into the Park(Lake Nockamixon), we were directed into the upper parking lots. This really stinks since it is a 15-20 minute walk each way to transition. The thing that really sucked was the kids directing traffic started redirecting people back down to the Marina right after we parked. The marina is where the race start is. We made our way down to the marina and I picked up my race stuff and got marked with my number, 171. They were not bashful with the markings, and I don’t think there was any direction that you could not see my number. I sauntered into transtion and bumped into my coach and his wife who were doing the sprint relay together(btw…loved your shirt Scott! Smile ). After a quick chat, I was off to find a spot on the racks.

Steelman does not assign rack spaces based on your bib #, which makes it a bit of a free-for-all to find a transition spot if you are not an early bird. I was able to find a few inches of rack at the back of the 5th row from the Swim In and the one guy next to me moved over a bit too. while setting up my transition spot, I was starting to feel some pressure building in my lower digestive track. I then headed over to the outhouses after getting my space in order. As I came around the corner of transition, the shit-house line went on to infinity. Shit!(pun intended) I ran into my wife and Yuki and we headed to find the end of the line. It was 6:40AM and the race was starting at 7AM. The line moved fairly quickly though and I was able to get in there before transition was closed. Whew…much better!

I got down to the swim start for a quick warm-up. Water was really warm and it was not a wetsuit legal swim. I think the water temp was around 80 degrees F. My warm-up swim felt good which gave me some confidence. Getting out of the water was a bit chilly though as the air was still a bit cool. Good thing I was only the third wave.

The Swim(.9 mi)

I waded out to the start for my wave and stayed to the far right side. There were a few guys in front of me and when I realized that there was still about 10-15 feet from them to the start pylon, I waded out past them. The gun went off and we were off. The race start adrenalin got the best of me and I realized I was kicking much more than usual. Not having a wetsuit also causes me to kick more to get that same level of buoyancy too. I tempered the kicking and settled into a steady stroke. After making the first turn buoys I started to feel a bit of stomach malaise which started playing with my mind. Apparently, the buffet food fest I had at the Honey Underground Vegan Supper Club was not the wisest of choices for my pre-race dinner the night before. I had fairly open water, but still managed to get punched in the nose. I love when you think you are free and clear and some dude comes out of nowhere and cuts right across your line. Then he proceeds to take a stroke directly into your head. He then bounced off me and redirected back in the other direction. WTF??!

Thoughts of “blowing chunks” started to consume my mind. Where do I go to do that? Do I have to swim out of the general path of swimmers? That would be gross. I would probably follow me too. Eventually that subsided, but the swim seemed to take forever. I didn’t look at my watch the whole time so I really had no idea how I was doing time-wise. Eventually I reached the boat ramp exit unscathed and was glad to have that behind me. I don’t know how many times I have to screw up that pre-race dinner before it sinks in to eat something basic and don’t overeat!!! I hit the timer at ~32:00, which is about 2 minutes slower than last year. Given I didn’t have a wetsuit on this time, it isn’t horrible, but I just didn’t feel great like I have before.

Swim Result: 32:05 for .9mi(1500m) (Pace1:57/100 yds) 

T1

The run to transition was a light jog and several people passed me. I was still suffering from my “full” feeling in my stomach. My wife said I didn’t look good coming out of the water. I found my bike lane, but there was another guy in my lane with the exact same bike as me, so I studder-stepped a bit until I realized I don’t have Zipp race wheels on my bike. I wish, but they are worth more than my bike. Talking to this guy later I found this bike is a 2006 model. So my good friends at Cycles BiKyle sold me a 3 year old bike as new when I bought it in 2009. I had rubberband-ed my bike shoes to my bike to avoid another bad bike mount, but they both snapped when I pulled the bike off the rack. Great…here we go again. I actually had a good bike mount so it was a non-issue.

T1 Time: 1:55

The Bike(24.6 mi)

The bike went well. I kept a high cadence the whole time. On the climbs I dropped down to the small chainring and spun away. I saw so many people standing up pushing big gears and thought about how they will pay for that later. I also had a bottle of Skratch Labs hydration mix on board and did a bottle and a half of water, which kept me hydrated well into the run. The sodium and minerals in the Skratch mix really helps to get rid of the cramping on the run. I was actually a little full of water on the run, but not too bad. Tried to kick it up a bit on the 2nd loop of the bike and then ease up for the drive back into the marina. One guy went flying by me in the the dismount area and ended up taking out a slew of other guys and crashing to the ground. Was kind of humorous to watch really. Even though I felt like I was taking it easy on the bike my overall pace was faster than last year I think. I think this is testament to my training plan and performance this season. Also I have 15 lbs less weight to carry around too.

Bike Result: 1:17:27 for 24.6mi ( Avg Speed 19.1mph. Event results say 20.8mph)

T2

T2 went ok too. Had a little issue getting my shoes on but nothing too bad. I didn’t wear socks with my New Balance Minimus Zero’s and they were fairly new so I could be in for some issues on the run. They are very smooth inside though and I didn’t have any issues with them on short runs.

T2 Time: 1:28

The Run(10k)

The run started well and finished even better. I truly felt the best I have ever felt on a triathlon run. Holding steading on the bike really paid off here. This is the kind of thing where experience pays off. I started off running a <= 8:30 pace for the first half of the run and increased the pace up a bit on the second 3.1 miles. I saw high sevens during the end. There was one guy in my age group that was just ahead of me and I tried really hard to catch him in the end. I didn’t get him and he got me by 4 secs. Oh well. Still felt really strong at the finish and I think I am started to gain some maturity in my racing.

I hadn’t seen my wife and my dog the whole race, so I was wondering where they were all day. I eventually found out on the run. My wife ended up volunteering at the run aide station at the turnaround for the Olympic distance run. I dropped the water she handed me on the first loop and she said I was the only person to drop a water all race. I had asked her “where’s my dog?” and she said “over there.” So when I looked away I missed the cup. I wasn’t allowed to say anything to my dog as he would start freaking out if he saw me. It was pretty funny though because he was checking me out when I went by.

Run Result: 50:47 for 10k ( Avg Pace 8:12/mi )

Race Summary

Despite the swim, I think the race overall was personally successful. I cut off ~15:00 off of my time from last seasons’ race. If I was going to have a bad leg the swim is the best one to have it in, but I think that issue is the easiest to resolve. Although I seem to keep making that mistake over and over again. The difference between 23rd(my AG Place) and 10th place is only 10 mins, so if can chop off another 10 mins next year I could be in top ten. I will be moving up to the 45-49 group next season, so no idea what that will be like. Hopefully some of these guys retire!  As a reward to myself I had 2 slices of CHEESE pizza which was quite yummy! So I should be good on vitamin B12 now for a while. The weather today was perfect with moderate temps in the morning and low humidity. Was a great day to race.

Click here for the my actual race results…

Click here for the overall race results…

Overall Finish Time 2:43:40
Overall Place 135/380
Gender Place 109/229
Age Group Place 23/45

As of this writing I am feeling quite well. My coach published this weeks training schedule and it looks like a doozy. No rest for the weary! We are heading up to the Finger Lakes this weekend, which is a great place for a training weekend. Open water swims in Keuka Lake are always a good time. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!