Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tour of Colorado (aka Pro Cycling Challenge) 2011 (w/pics)

Today was the final stage of the Pro Cycling Challenge (or as those of us from Colorado call it - the Tour of Colorado - much to the dismay of Phil Ligget ;-)

Paige and I rode from our place to meet my buddy Chris up in Golden. We milled around the start line downtown for a while, had some iced coffee, and then jumped on the bikes to head up Lookout Mt.

Paige and I camped out on the back set of switch backs, 2/3 up Lookout about 2-3km from the KOM finish at the Buffalo Bill Grave sign. There were a TON of people up there, chalk all over the road cheering on the riders, costumes - felt like being part of something really big. So great to see a tour like this in Colorado again. It's been terrific watching all week as they traversed roads most of us have ridden (albeit not at the same velocities :-)

It was really amazing to watch the riders coming up so freakin' fast. There was a breakaway of about 20 riders, a couple chasers and then the peloton. I'm pretty sure they were all in the big rings.

It's a little scary the way the tour cars clear the road. They ride pretty fast, staggered out like a cow catcher to push the crowds back. I'm sure it's from years of experience because it's very effective. It opens the ever narrowing road up again as people jump back out of the way. And I'm sure those drivers have a foot hovering over the brake just in case someone isn't as quick - then again, maybe not.

After the riders passed, we hopped on the bikes and finished the ride up to the backside and down Highway 40 - same as the course. It was a zoo up there - once you got near the top you were just crawling along with enough speed to almost be track standing in some places.

Total ride for us was about 38 miles (with obviously some decent climbing). This on top of a 30 miler on Friday early morning and a 17 mile run yesterday in the heat, during which I seriously overheated and bonked at about 12 miles or so. Actually felt pretty good after about 10 miles today - so I think it was just a heat bonk yesterday.

Here's some pics!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pictures from Triathlon Nationals!

Getting the transition area ready the day before.

After an easy bike ride and dropping off in transition.

IMHO - A lot of arrows and things to remember in Triathlon !! :-)

Staging for the swim. Almost race time - and look how relaxed she is!

Out of first transition and out on the bike! Lots of folks coming into this first corner way too fast and almost overshot it!

First hill on the run, right out of transition. It was way steeper than it looks here - especially near the top.
And that's AFTER already swimming and cycling!

Paige's Team

Well deserved dinner with the team before the awards ceremony

Sitting right in the front row of awards.

They all clean up nice - don't they!

And of course a well deserved visit to the Ben & Jerry's factory along with samples of ice cream!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


These are the winners of the 70-75 men's category.

And they could all kick your ass.

Seriously, absolutely inspiring.

Did I mention Paige's coach Susan won the overall women? She's 42.  That's against women half her age. Nationally. 

Awards ceremony

So what picture is on your head when you hear 61 years old? Yeah, put that on the shelf. The winners in those age groups look like teenagers bounding up on the stage. Whoah.

All done!

Paige has now put Nationals in the bag. She said she felt great in the water but a little our of it on the bike. Great 10K time. Now just wait for results!

A bunch of spectators I was talking to while waiting for her to finish her run asked me her name. She was wondering how she had so many people cheering her name as she passed! What great spectators here in Vermont. Many people didn't even have anyone in the race. Just came our to cheer.

Great collection of athletes here. Really fun to be a spectator today!

9:45 update -on the run!

Paige came through on the bike and thru transition fast! Took that first hill on the run looking strong! Now a flat as a pancake 9 more K and she's through the finish line!

Update 9 am Tri Nationals

Paige was all smiles this morning. No stress, just jazzed to be here. She was wicked day out of the water ans through first transition. Waiting for her to finish the bike. Men's leaders are just now coming through. Pretty exciting and beautiful weather here in. Burlington!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Georgetown 1/2 Marathon - Broke 90 minutes :-)))))

One of my major goals at the start of this year was to break 1:30 for a half marathon.

Well, today I PR'd my previous time by over a minute and a half and ran the Georgetown 1/2 Marathon in 1:29:26 !!

That put me 10th in my division (out of 131 racers) and 114th overall (out of a total field size of about 3,100 runners.

Some quick race notes:

  • It was a beautiful Colorado morning, a little warmer than last year both at the start and finish. 
  • I didn't feel 100% at the start, nor throughout. I felt a little off and my stomach was really bothering me until about mile 8. Still, it felt good to put in a solid performance, even without one of those out-of-body running experiences.
  • I was a little skeptical until about mile 9. Then I looked at my time and knew I just had to keep hanging on. By mile 11 I knew I would probably break 1:30 because I had a solid pace throughout in the bank. I ran pretty much flat splits on every mile - adjusting for hills (both up and down).
  • I've really worked on my downhill running (both on pavement and on dirt). This helped a ton throughout the race.
Next up is the Aetna Park to Park 10 miler on Sept 5th. Then the Denver 1/2 marathon about a month later. Will be interesting to see what time I can pull in on that. Then on to the California International Marathon on 12/4 - my other goal was to break 3 hours for the marathon. Not sure if I'll get there this year, right now I'm feeling like 3:05 - 3:07 is more in the ballpark (which would still be a great time and a PR) - but there's something about those specific barriers (:40 for the 10K, 1:30 for the 1/2 and 3:00 for the marathon).

But right now I'll just hover happy with my PR and sub 90!!

Paige will be at Triathlon Nationals next Saturday and I'm soooo looking forward to be dressed warm and cozy, drinking my Starbucks and cheering her on through all the transitions and to the finish line! It's a nice treat to be a spectator!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Shoe Fetish?

Ok, so I didn't intend things to get like this. But they have. I officially now have 6 pair of running shoes. In all fairness, I need to point out three things:

1. I do 90% of my running in just two pair.
2. Each pair actually has a special purpose for it's existence.
3. It's not like I went out and bought this many pair off the rack. Some have been demoted, some I got a smokin' opportunistic deal on.

So - from left to right;

Brooks Defyance - These are my 'go-to' shoes that I run most all my runs in. They are the newest of the lot, and the ones that because they get used the most, rack up the miles the fastest, and get replaced most often (about every 10 weeks). They were what I went to when Pearl Izumi stopped making my previous model (Cruise), and I was forced to spend an hour trying about 10 different models on to find a replacement line. I actually like these better than the previous Pearl Izumi's. They are lighter and just feel 'springier' when I run. Very comfortable on the long runs too!

Brooks ST Racers - My track and racing 'flats'. They actually have a bit of cushioning and are meant for distance racing. I love these too. They are so light and quick. I feel fast in them.

Newton Motus - These are a specialized shoe from a company in Boulder that emphasizes natural running form. They are quite expensive (around $175), which has prohibited me from buying them in the past, but I had been wanting to try them out since I saw them at the Boston Marathon expo a year and a half ago. My massage therapist had bought these and the Saucony minimalist shoes, and they weren't working out for him at all. So he sold both to me for $20 / pair. Smoking deal. I like doing shorter runs in these. They provide an interesting 'feel' and help me really focus on a good neutral stride.

Saucony Kinvara - Saucony has this minimalist line. These are smack in the middle. The 'very' minimalist shoe is the Hattori, which looks like a water shoe you'd wear windsurfing or something.

The model I have (4th from the left the collection above) is still pretty minimal. There is no pronation control (I'm a pretty neutral runner anyway), and very little sole between you and the ground. I really love  going out for short, easy runs in these on dirt trails because you can feel all the little rocks and terrain undulations on the bottom of your feet. It feels like a foot massage and I like it for recovery. If I run longer than 6 miles or so, I get little tweaks in my feet and ankles here and there, so I keep the runs very short. I've always loved the entire 'look' of the Saucony line, but they never really seemed to fit my stride very well, regardless of the model. I play around in these, but they aren't for any serious running. Again - at $20, they were a deal and I get my money's worth.

Pearl Izumi Cruise - These are the <sniff> last model of Pearl Izumi's I had. Probably went through like 10-12 pair of the Pearl Izumi line through the years. I had felt these were really great until I started running in the Brooks. Now I'm a Brooks guy. They just felt that much better. With change, sometimes comes something better. This last pair of Cruise's are pretty worn out at about 400 miles (generally I get shoes to last longer, but these didn't. Maybe too much running in the rain. Now they are retired to being bad weather shoes for maybe another 50 or 60 miles. Short runs only. Of course now my Brooks have gotten some miles on them and aren't 'pristine' enough to keep out of the elements - so these will probably get relegated to my 'gym' shoes.

Pearl Izumi Syncro Pace III - Like the Cruise above, these are long past their lifespan. I used to run in these more supportive shoes prior to re-working my stride (when I over-stride, I pronate a little. When I land my foot underneath me properly, I run pretty much dead neutral). I keep them because they have a special 'custom' modification. If you look at the sole, you'll see a bunch of sheet metal screw heads. This is for traction when running on hard packed snow and icy conditions. I read about it in an article a while back and last winter decided to take an old pair of shoes and drill in a bunch of sheet metal screws. It really works! And the extra support helps on the snow - so I'll keep 'em around for that icy day here or there. I also have a pair of Yak Trax that are the shizzle for running on 'non-icy' snow conditions. They fit right over any pair. Together, they keep me running when the weather gets lousy - which doesn't happen all that often here in Colorado!

Anyway - there you have it. I told you there was a rational explanation for my collection. And at least I'm still about 2700 pair away from this lady!!

It's Imelda Marcos - remember her? I think she's still in exile and now a store clerk at Nordstrom at the Mall of America. Ok, she's actually out of exile and part of the Philippine Legislature as of 2010.

I don't know if she runs. Probably not.