A 57 Year Old IT Guy Who Started To Run

(and then swim, bike, and Tri)


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Jubilee Run for Cancer 8k

JubileeRun
I ran this for the first time last year. It’s a tough course, almost all uphill for over the first mile, but I really wanted to go all out and gauge my fitness level. Last year I ran a 9:36 pace, and this year I ran an 8:23 and beat my last year’s time by 5:50 – BOOM!

All of the training is beginning to really show some results, because I spent most of last fall doing LSD runs at about a 10:00 pace. I am now doing those same LSD runs at a 9:20 pace, and routinely running intervals at an 8:00 pace, a speed I used to only be able to hit for about a hundred yards.

Jubilee Run for Cancer


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My First Triathlon Wetsuit Arrives

Having signed up for two triathlons this year with open water swim distances in the one mile range, I have been firmly committed to making this OWS thing work. My first is May 31st, the Capital of Dreams Triathlon held here in Montgomery. I’m pretty excited because you get on the riverboat, which chugs upriver, and then jump off (it’s only 3 feet to the water) into the Alabama River and swim 1,500 meters back to the dock.

BlueSeventySince the river will be just 70-72 degrees that week, a triathlon wetsuit was needed. After looking around, I found that for some unknown reason almost every manufacturer of tri wetsuits was backordered for weeks on most of the main male sizes. I finally found a suit online (their last one in my size) that I had wanted, the Blue Seventy Sprint. It seems like a great entry-level suit, at a good price, and I like that it wasn’t just flat black all over with a huge logo on the chest. That’s me and a multisport teammate trying out our suits – my first time getting mine wet. The fact that the coloring was orange and blue was just an added bonus for this Auburn fan.

This might be the only time this year I will need a wetsuit, since my Toughman 70.3 is in Alabama in August and I am sure the water will be plenty warm by then! I found out after swimming a short bit in the lake, that my blue-tinted pool goggles were just not going to work in open water. The field of vision for sighting was just too small, and then I read that blue tint makes the big orange buoys turn into dull brown blobs that are very hard to see. So a new pair of goggles must be purchased.


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Kingry Metric Century

Kingry

This was my second attempt at a Metric Century, and thankfully ended a whole lot better. I completed all 65+ miles dog-free, at a very good speed, and rode over half of it with a group of nine riders who challenged and encouraged each other.

As you can see from the graphic, this ride had only 1,600 feet of elevation gain, much less than the last ride. It was hilly, but not a roller coaster of high climbs and steep descents. There were more groups of riders, and more riders stuck around after the ride. We had a great BBQ lunch waiting at the finish, and all had a good time after the ride as well. It was everything the first ride was not.

My goal for both of these rides was to prove to myself that I could complete the 56 mile bike portion of my upcoming August Toughman 70.6 Triathlon.

Kingry Metric Century


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Tour Autauga Metric Century Ride

Tour Autauga
This was my first attempt at a Metric Century bike ride (62 miles) and I had a great time up until just shy of mile 55, when a dog ran out of a driveway from behind and knocked me down.

Earlier, I and the guy I was riding with were charged by a ginormous Pit Bull, but we were going downhill and he missed his angle.

The Dog that got me came out a driveway from behind, the first I saw of him he was next to the bike trying to get under my front wheel. And I went down.

Funny thing, I’m laying (lying?) on the side of the road. I’ve pulled my phone out of my seat bag (thank goodness, because I carry it in my shirt pocket a lot, and the wreck probably would have killed it) and I’m calling the SAG wagon that the organizer’s provide, when a woman stops. She asks if I’m OK, I say yes, thank you, and she drives off. About 2 minutes later she’s back, and I’m still happy to be laying on my back. She says, I don’t want to alarm you, but with all this rain you should watch out for snakes coming out of that drainage ditch. Sooo, I stood up!

The elevation on this ride was called “challenging”. At mile 20.74 we climbed 330 feet in 3.84 miles. But I was still fresh. Then from mile 47 we started a 3.5 mile steady climb of 115 feet, turned a corner and saw the next hill – with no break – going up another 262 feet in 1.4 miles. I walked the bike up most of that.

Of course, I also had a lot of downhills over 30mph without pedaling. I went over 36mph twice. But it doesn’t make up for those long slow uphills.

Tour Autauga


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Trek for the Track 10k

TrojanTrek
This race is a fundraiser for a local private school, St. James, who is trying to build a track facility. Last year, I ran the 5k, but this year I wanted to run the 10k. It was a different course, much hillier and also warmer this year, and I did not do quite as well as I wanted.

As you can see, it was a rolling hill course, and I managed to run an 8:58 pace, and finished a full 16:30 faster than my only other 10k over a year ago. But back then I weighed 55 pounds more, too.

Trek for the Track 10k


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My New (to me) Triathlon Bike

This week a member of my triathlon group posted he had a 2003 Quintano Roo Tequilo tri bike for sale for $300. It is a 59cm frame and my road bike is a 58cm, so I jumped on it. It had been hanging around his garage for over four years, and he decided he finally needed to part with it. I know I’m not a threat to drop several thousand dollars on a tri bike, and yes it’s 10 years old bike, but it was a high end bike in its day. It has the original Profile Design tri bar, Shimano bar-end shifters, and Mavic Formula XS1 rims. It’s an aluminum frame with a carbon front fork, and now it’s mine!

Tequilo.jpgSo this is my new project bike. With my LBS doing all routine maintenance on my road bike for free, because I bought it there, I haven’t learned much maintenance beyond keeping the chain clean. I had gotten a new Spin Doctor bike stand for Christmas, and I’ve been putting it to good use. I spent about an hour hour cleaning the chain, cogs, and cassette of a LOT of accumulated grease and crap, got it all washed down, and took off the fraying handlebar tape. The tape on it was black, but the frame is such a great color blue, I went with blue tape. The tubes were also swapped out, not because they were bad, but because they are probably at least five years old. I’m keeping them both as my spares in my bike bag, so they re-purposed nicely. The photo shows plain old bike pedals, but I have a pair of Look Keo Plus pedals in-bound, since I already have them on my Trek road bike. Also have a Garmin speed/cadence sensor to put on. Total cost should stay just under $400, or about $2,000 less than a new tri bike.

Still left to do is to dial in the bike fit, but that will have to wait for another blog post.

Now it’s time to go out and RIDE!


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Seaside Half Marathon

I had heard that the Seaside Half Marathon was a fun course to run, being at the beach at Destin, FL. It was described as “mostly flat and fast” and that was mostly true. This race fell two months after my bad first marathon, so I was already in condition for the distance and wanted to prove to myself I was better than that marathon performance.

I felt that between recovering from the marathon, and tapering before this race, I would have about six weeks to train. So I approached my training with a goal of speed. I had done lots of distance work for the marathon, but those six weeks I worked on speed and intervals. My only previous half marathon had been very hilly, and I had run it in 2:10:07 so my goal here was to beat that time and try to break two hours.

Destin's white sand beach.jpgThe weather on race weekend was absolutely beautiful! After a winter of temperature swings down into the teens, we had lows in the 50′s and highs close to 70. The race officials were saying it was the best weather they had had for the last six or seven years.

Vera Bradley bag and race bib.jpgThis race is sponsored by Vera Bradley and race swag is a large Vera Bradley bag, so the mix of women was probably 75%. The course runs on route 30A, which is all beach living at its best – Florida’s gulf coast version of highway A1A. It was cambered pretty steep in a couple of places, but not too bad, and the first (and last because it was an out and back course) 4 miles were almost flat. However, the road is just two lanes so it was consistently full of runners the entire time. From about miles 5 through 9 the course turned into rollers. Not hills – it is Florida after all – but a lot quick up and downs of 15-20 elevation changes. I had been practicing for flat, so this was a little unexpected. My goal was to try and maintain a 9:00 pace, to break two hours, and in almost made it. I got a cramp going too fast down a hill in mile 8, and had to walk it out for a couple hundred yards, then had a slower pace the next mile.

Finish Stats.jpg

Then I gave it a big SIUP and got back my pace, and ended up with a 2:04:06…which is a new PR and beat my old time by 6 minutes, so I’m happy. All in all, this was a great weekend and a great race. I would recommend this one to anyone looking for an early spring half marathon.

On the way back.jpg
Powering it home.jpg
Finish Line.jpg

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