2010 Miami Triathlon Report

It is once again that time of year – time for another triathlon report from TPMHTDM! I know my faithful readers have been waiting for a full report, and while I will attempt to blame external forces, the delay in the writeup for this race is mostly due to laziness.

As always, you may also be interested in my 2007 MUSF report, 3 pigs triathlon report, my 2008 MUSF report or my 2009 MUSF report

The months leading up to the race were not marked with the greatest in training regimens by me. I did train some, to the point where I was not expecting to die (always a bonus!), but my heart was just not in it. I don’t know if it’s just that the race has lost some of its “novel”-ness, or lack of time, or desire, or what, but my regimen was definitely half-hearted. One possibility would be to move up to a higher distance race, but I’m not sure that will do it for me either.

In any case, you may have heard of the 7 P’s. The way I first heard it was Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance (which I know is only 6 Ps – click the link if you want to). In this race, we will instead prove its corollary, Poor Planning Produces Poor Performance.

But enough of all that mumbo-jumbo – let’s get to race day! I have to say, having all these detailed prior year race reports is very handy for race day planning. For instance, I knew to set my alarm to 4:30, and knew all the things I should bring.

I slept much better than I did last year, but just like last year I did end up waking up on my own about 15 minutes beforehand. So I got up, got dressed and packed my standard race-day breakfast of peanut butter bagels. Again like last year, I had sufficiently “carbed up” with donuts the day before :-)

Due to the empirical data, I could better analyze my route towards Oxford. Last year I took 275, which measured 30 minutes and 23.3 miles. This year I took the Lateral to 75 to Cross County, which got me 25 minutes and 19.7 miles. Sounds like a clear winner! Though it does produce the odd effect of starting out an hour long trip to the northwest by taking 71 SOUTH!!!

After getting over to 75 and starting to head northwards, I passed the “lovely” aromas of the Jim Beam plant. When I was in college, I interviewed for a co-op position with a company called DataBeam. My roommates always refered to it as “Jim Beam” even though I’m sure they’re not related at all. So anyways, I didn’t get a job with them and a year or two passed. One of my out-of-town friends called me up out of the blue. She was studying something along the lines of environmental cleanup or something and was wanting to get a job at Jim Beam and asked if I had any references. I had to let her know that I was NOT going to be able to be very helpful at all!! :-)

Whenever I’m doing a race like this, I keep a notebook with me to write down snippets of things I want to include in the race report. Otherwise I’d clearly forget them. I’m sure this speaks to some strange side of my personality. Unfortunately, since the route to Oxford is pretty much the same every year, I tend to end up with a lot of recycled jokes, which I then have to filter out. Can’t remember the name of the town between Cincinnati and Oxford? Done. Talk about how I used to geocache here? Yup, did it already.

But one geocaching thought that I did have was some good memories of Electric Shavers, who was a guy who lived up in Hamilton who favored the “quantity not quality” method of hiding caches. And when I was really into geocaching, I always liked to keep my “list” of close caches clean. So that was really the last time I did much traveling up here. Had some good memories of that, even though the caches were not always the greatest.

So what does Jim Beam and shaving have to do with this race? Uh, nothing. But that’s what I’m all about! Continuing with my non-race jibber-jabber, I did notice a few things on the drive up to Oxford. It’s interesting since I only ever drive up here once a year (at least for the past 4 years) to see the new things each year. Some things I noticed on this trip – the speed limit was only 45 mph north of Millville – that seemed new. And also, there was a center lane through McGonigle (not to be confused with McGonagall). I know, I know – fascinating stuff….

Okay so onto the real race stuff. I managed to find a place to park on a street that did NOT have a Parking by City of Oxford Permit sign on it, unlike last year, so no parking tickets for me! I made my way with my bike over to the natatorium to pick up my packet, only to find it completely empty. Apparently they moved the packet pickup station to tables out in the lawn. So I went down there to check in. Except there was a brief problem in that it was still dark, so awful hard to see anything in there! Eventually I got checked in, and then got my timing chip (slight delay as I was there so early that they hadn’t set those up yet). One interesting thing I was told was that the swim caps were mandatory this year, which I thought was odd for a pool swim. I mean for an open-water swim sure, makes sense since you want to make sure you don’t “lose” anyone, but in a pool it seems odd.

One of the downfalls of planning enough “buffer time” is that when nothing actually DOES go wrong, you have a lot of time to kill. So after I got everything set up (on the “prime” end of row location, of course), I wandered around a bit. I checked out the parking garage that is right near the transition area to see what the deal was with that (i.e. if it was free). It appeared to be $5-10 to park there, or what we in the “business” refer to as the “sucker’s price” for parking.

Another key piece to my race planning was the post-swim towel placement. In previous years I had placed an extra towel on a set of bleachers that was placed near the swim exit. Basically the idea is that when you get out of the pool, on the way to the building exit (and path to transition area), I would stop, get this bonus towel and begin the drying process a few crucial seconds earlier. Two problems with this though – first, last year the race guy pointed out this bleacher and said you could put towels there, which led to it being a lot more crowded than it used to be. And secondly, the bleachers are not QUITE on the way to the door. So you have to detour a bit to get the towel, perhaps costing you the seconds that you gain.

So this year, I found a new spot – along the railing of the path outside that leads from the swim building into the transition area. Originally I was going to just put it in some bushes, but I found a pretty good spot along the railway that was tucked away somewhat out of sight. The idea there is that I didn’t want a) some race folks seeing it and deciding that it was not allowed and taking it and b) another racer seeing it and deciding “ooh! free towel!”. Later on as I was inspecting the area, I did see several other towels nearby.

Another thing I did pre-race was look for someone. My friend Kent who raced with me last year was not able to do it this year, due to recent birth of twins, but he had passed the info onto Brett, who I also knew somewhat (though not very well). Brett and I had exchanged a few emails about things and said we’d look for each other before the race. So I was trying to keep an eye out for him. Unfortunately, while I thought I would recognize him once I saw him, I was not really sure what to look for other than someone who was tall :) . But I spotted him before too long and we headed into the pavillion area.

We talked for awhile, and then as we were about to kick off the race, I was mentally prepping for what I would need to do, and realized I had left my goggles back in the transition area. So I had to race back there to get them. When I got there, they had already started up the timers on the pads at the entrance / exit of the transition area, so I had to walk around. Back at the race meeting, it went pretty well. One interesting thing was a note saying that the race organizers had tried to work with CSX to route the trains around the race course but they were un-responsive. And in fact, CSX apparently would not even provide them with a train timetable. They said that they had volunteers at the tracks and a plan to compensate times if it came to that, so that was…interesting and I filed that away.

So after awhile of waiting and watching the first crazy-fast swimmers go, Brett went down to take his turn, and around half an hour later, I went down too. I once again subscribed to the belief that because racers were “seeded” on their listed swim time, it’s better to put down a time that is faster than you actually are. My thoughts are that it a) might help you to swim faster as you try to stay with the racers that are around you and b) it’s faster and less taxing to be passed by people than having to pass people.

While I was down in line, waiting for my turn to start swimming, I was chatting with a few folks near me in line. Even though the original talk was that swim caps were required, later I heard that they weren’t, but I just kept mine on just in case. While we were chatting and such, we noticed someone swimming the wrong way in a lane. With a serpentine / pool swim, you swim down Lane 1 for 50m, then back the other way in Lane 2, then back down in Lane 3, etc. until you are swimming back in Lane 8 and then exit the pool and building. So at the end of each lane, you have to duck under the lane ropes. Apparently when this guy got to the end of Lane 1, he didn’t make it under the ropes into Lane 2and started swimming back in Lane 1. So we’re all trying to shout at him, like we’re in Planes, Trains and Automobiles – “YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!” but he couldn’t / didn’t hear us because, of course, he was swimming (“Ah he’s drunk – how would he know where we’re going”). So after he passed us and it became apparent that he was not going to change directions, we all watched him to wonder what he would do as he got to the end (errr beginning?) of Lane 1. Would he make it under the ropes and start swimming the wrong way in Lane 2, or would he realize his mistake and drop under 2 lanes and start swimming in the correct direction in Lane 3. And the answer is…. c) none of the above. He just turned around and went back in Lane 1. When he got to the end of Lane 1 again, he must have figured it out as he correctly ducked the ropes and got into Lane 2. So I guess for him it was the 500 meter swim! :-)

As it came to be my turn and I got ready to jump in, I readied my watch to start my time. But as I crossed the mat and started my time, my stopwatch wouldn’t start. I tried to fiddle with it and “hit buttons” but I quickly came to the same place I did when my goggles broke back in the 3 Little Pigs triathlon – either keep fiddling or just GO. So I just went. Later I realized that due to the fact that it was Carolyn’s watch and I was not familiar with it and I was just not hitting the right button.

The swim went fine. Nobody passed me till the end of Lane 2, and even then, because of the way the serpentine course is designed (i.e. you pass on the left, but at the end of the even numbered lanes you turn to the right), I passed right back because I had a shorter turn (being on the inside). They passed me right back at the start of Lane 3, and I was periodically passed by folks. Still, it was good, given my relative lack of swim training – I didn’t really feel in trouble and I was able to freestyle swim the whole way.

Made my way out of the swim area and grabbed my (carefully concealed) towel which was right where I left it. Sped through the transition time, putting on my shirt, socks, shoes, shades and helmet and went off on the bike. The bike course was the same as it has been the past 2 years, and I could definitely tell that my timing was not as good. Whereas last year, I was clipping around 16mph heading out, this year I was struggling to make 14. There was a bit of a wind going, but I don’t think that was most of it. I passed a few people and again was passed by some as I anticipated the big bad hill at about mile 3.5. It actually wasn’t that bad – I mean it was big, and hard to go up, but I biked the whole thing and passed about 5 people who were walking it.

The rest of the course was more of the same – rolling hills. The 2nd big hill was more of the same – I biked the whole way up and passed a few people walking. A little bit after that, at about mile 9-10 I heard the train whistle. I got a bit worried but figured that there was plenty of time for the train to go through and I was right – when I got back to the tracks it was clear. But afterwards I talked with Brett and he said that he hit the tail end of it. As he got to the tracks there were about 15-20 people lined up there and he had to wait, though only for about 15 seconds. I’m not clear if they adjusted his time or if so, by how much.

In any case, I made my way back to the transition area and went to put my bike on the rack. Final totals for the bike were 19 passed, and passed by 38 people. Having secured the end of rack spot, I was just scanning for my stuff, but I couldn’t find it! Eventually I figured out that someone had put their bike in my spot and I just put my bike on the rack next to mine and headed out. I have a fast transition time reputation to uphold!!!!

Run wasn’t too bad – it was definitely slower than last year but I felt good and felt like I was going at a pretty good pace. I was kind of expecting to see Brett coming back as I left, but he was apparently much faster than me and had already finished. Run is usually one of my better events, at least after a swim and bike compared to others – last year I passed about 30 people and was only passed by 1 person. This time I ended up passing 10 and being passed by 8. Final kick into the corral and finish!

2010musf

I found Brett and we talked a bit. There was a table with some snacks / goodies but it had some of those pre-packaged cracker snack packs in it, which struck me as quite possibly the worst possible snack option! I mean, come on race organizers, I’m parched from just exercising for the past 1-2 hours and you think CRACKERS are the way to go?!!? There were also some apples and oranges, but what I really wanted was a banana, which I saw a few folks walking around with. Eventually I dug through the bags enough and found one.

Since the after-race party which was so awesome the first year I did this has progressively gotten crappier and crappier, I didn’t hang around and instead just left pretty soon after the race. And then…. the waiting began. Finally, Sunday night, they posted a version of the times up on the website. I was in 376th of 600 participants (555 finishers). Splits were 11:55 for the swim (which includes the time from when you get out of the pool until you enter the “official” transition area, 1:41 for T1, 55:59 for the bike and…. nothing for the run. Apparently they were still “working out some issues” with the run times and that along with the train adjustments would be up on Monday. The foreboding music of doom from last year began to reprise, just a little bit louder….

Naturally Monday came and went, with nothing. Then on I think Tuesday or Wednesday, they posted final race times, with no transition times at all, and a time of 58:24 for my bike, and 26:14 for the run, overall total of 1:36:34. I emailed to complain, and to ask if the transition times were going to be put back in. The response, from James at HFP:

The transition times are actually included in the bike splits. We had some battery issues with one of the timing boxes, causing some of the transition and split times to be incorrect. So, we included everything together to make it all accurate.

Uhhhhhh I’m not sure how you can say under any possible meanings of the word that just lumping that time into the bike time makes it more “accurate”. Since I’m definitely a complainer, I wrote back:

I’m not sure how you can say that lumping those times into the bike make it more “accurate”?!? As you may already be aware, this is now the 2nd year in a row where HFP “issues” have caused mistakes / omissions from the race times at the MUSF race.

I am not an expert or professional racer. I have limited funds to devote to triathlons, and typically do only one race per year. I have done the MUSF triathlon the last 4 years, and I have to say that it has gotten worse every year.

After last year’s debacle, HFP gave me a 50% coupon to apply to this year’s race. But now, after 2 straight years of HFP equipment malfunctions, I think I have to start looking for another race.

Do you have any kind of assurances that you can provide that we’re not going to see more of the same issues again in future races?

It’s unfortunate that there are limited triathlons in the area on Saturdays, and the only other one I know about here in Cincinnati is at Coney Island and ALSO run by HFP. So we’ll see what to do – but in any case, until I hear otherwise, I’m going to just combine the 2 versions of the times and give myself final splits of:

* 11:55 swim
* 1:41 T1
* 55:59 bike
* 0:45 T2
* 26:14 run
* 1:36:34 total

Thanks for reading, and (maybe) we’ll see you here again next year!!!

Amazing Race!

So, one of the things my company does is that every year they have a National Employee Health and Fitness week. As the name implies, this is apparently some sort of national thing, though I’ve never seen it done at any other company and everyone that I tell it to thinks it’s just one of those wacky things my company does. I’ve written about this before, back in 2007 and 2008

Anyway, it was the same kinds of things this year. We had a kickball tournament, which we won one game and then lost the next. Then we lost in Ultimate Frisbee. Our team did win in croquet, though I was not there because I had taken the day off to go with my son to the zoo on a field trip.

So to end the day, it was an “Amazing Race” style game, similar to the TV show. I had won this last year, and was looking forward to winning again.

We all lined up and got the first clue, which read “It is opposite day at the field – you will find your next clue at the eastern column”.

Okay, so before I go further, take a second and think about where you would go after reading that clue.

Hurry up.

The clock is ticking.

The other teams are all going.

So anyway, we saw opposite, and eastern, and headed off to the western side of the field. Makes sense right? So we got there and there was a lady standing by a bridge at the far west side of the field. She gave us our task, which was to do 20 jump ropes. We did them and then waited for her to give her our clue. She said “Oh, do you have the orange clue? I can’t give you your clue until you have the orange clue” Apparently this was not the first station – we had somehow missed one. So we ran back across the field. We saw some of the other teams so we kind of ran towards them. As we ran, I realized that the “opposite” of column is row. Perhaps the race organizer lives in Amy-Opposite-World, where the opposite of concentration is 64, the opposite of focus is fackus, the opposite of rude is rosy, and the opposite of just about everything is “glottish”. So the opposite of eastern column is western row, which is the name of one of the roads that border where I work. We got that clue, which led us to the 2nd station, which we also got with no problem. At that 2nd station, we got an orange clue, which I reproduce below.

Amazing Race Orange Clue

The clue said something about a bridge, so now that we had the orange clue, where to go? Back to the first lady, who was looking for the orange clue and was standing near a bridge. So away we went. She made us do our jumping jacks (again), and then we gave her the orange clue, but she told us that was NOT the orange clue. As you have probably figured out by now, that’s the “red” clue. Okay, it does look kind of red, but it’s definitely an orangeish-red, and in the light of the sun, and sunglasses, it’s easy to confuse.

So eventually we found our way to the correct bridge, and then the next clue, and then back to the orange clue lady, where we did our jump ropes (again), and then back to the finish, where we finished about 5th or so (out of 15 teams).

Then as I was sitting on the patio stewing about the annoyingness of the clue confusion, one of the ladies from corporate communication was filming people. She came up to me and asked how I liked the race. I replied “Eh”. She kept the camera on me, perhaps waiting for me to crack up or something. I elaborated “It was all right”. After another pause, she stopped and said “Thanks for the great soundbite” Hahahahaahahahaha. I apologized to her later but in the moment I was just too annoyed.

Health Miles step challenge

So, I’ve been in this Health Miles program at work for almost a year now. Click the link where I explain it more but basically they pay you for being healthy and walking.

So for the month of April the company has been doing a step challenge. Basically whoever takes the most steps wins. Plus, there’s money involved. Top guy gets $100, then $75, then $50, then $25 for places 4-10, and $10 for places 11-20.

Now, I knew that I was not going to win because there are just far too many freaks out there. On April 1st (day 1), I uploaded so that I could see myself in 1st place with about 9,000 steps at about noon. I lasted there about all of 10 minutes before someone else uploaded their steps and wasted me with about 15,000. But then an hour or so later, someone else uploaded and had 25,000 steps by 2:00 on the first day.

I was calling shenanigans, but apparently this guy was seen running on the treadmill for about 90 minutes before work, and then for another hour or so at lunch. So like I said, there’s a lot of FREAKS out there.

As some comparison, it is commonly recommended that 10,000 steps a day is a healthy goal to have. In the 9 months or so that I’ve had this pedometer, I’ve been averaging about 10,500, so that’s nice.

So since this challenge started, I’ve been actively trying to get more steps than that. I’ve been working out extra in the mornings (also triathlon training), and for the month, have an average of just over 14,000 steps. So about a 40% increase.

And yet, THAT’S NOT EVEN HALF OF WHAT SOME PEOPLE ARE DOING!!! It’s worse than I can even figure because as part of the challenge setup, there’s a daily maximum of 30,000 steps. So any steps that you take more than that are not counted towards the challenge. But there are 3 people in the company that have maxed out (30,000+) EVERY DAY! Like I said, there are a lot of freaks out there.

So today is the last day of the challenge, so I was trying to do some calculations as to where I stood. For the first week or two, I was holding on to some illusions of earning $25 by finishing in the top 10, but it has become increasingly clear that I’ll be lucky to hit the top 20.

So this afternoon, I looked at my calculations. I was at about 344K steps. But I also had 61K in the bank (I haven’t uploaded since Friday in a sort of sandbagging maneuver so that others don’t know how many steps I have – the pedometer has an internal memory that keeps track even if you don’t upload). I was also banking on a 15K day today, which would put me at 421K.

So looking at the leaderboard, there were 17 people that already had more than 421K, so I knew they’d be ahead of me. But then I realized something – because of the 30,000 / day maximum, anyone that had uploaded today (Wed) with less than 391K steps could not catch me, since the max they could do on Wed (the last day) was 30K. The leaderboard only tells you total steps and the last day uploaded – nothing about how they’ve done on particular days or what time they uploaded. Similarly, anyone with a last upload date of Tuesday and less than 361 could not catch me, and so on.

There was one lady who was at 413K with a last upload date of today. I figured she had likely uploaded in the morning and was probably going to work out later and pass me. Then there was one at 361K and a Saturday date who also looked likely to pass.

That would put me at 20th, and then there were only 2 others who had a chance (everyone else was eliminated due to the 30,000 daily max logic above). There was one guy at 363K and Monday, and one lady at 331K and Sunday. Both of those folks could theoretically catch me but it would be difficult.

I had worked out on the elliptical this morning. I tweaked my back bowling on Friday and it still kind of hurts. So I didn’t want to run on the treadmill for that reason. I tried a few elliptical machines this morning before finding one I liked. They were all various elliptical / stair stepping type things. The first one still felt like it was impactful. Then the second one only was counting every other step of mine (similar to how it works when I bike), but then the 3rd one hit the sweet spot. 45 minutes at about 150 steps per minute, so about 6500.

But in looking at my chances, I figured I’d better seal the deal and so I went after work too. Even used the same smelly clothes (and they were pretty rank). Did another 40 minutes and currently sit at 26,177 steps for the day. So I’m feeling good – even the 413K / Wed lady will have to do another 21K today to catch me.

I’ll keep you posted!

2009 Miami Triathlon report

Okay – once again, I raced this year in the 2009 Miami University Student Foundation report. The people have been clamoring for my race report, and I shall deliver!

You may also be interested in my 2007 MUSF report, 3 pigs triathlon report or my 2008 MUSFreport

I once again woke up ear-lie in the morning. I did not have a particularly restful night sleep. I had gone to bed pretty early and fell asleep okay, but Carolyn was out at her monthly book club the night before and when she came home she woke me up after I had had about 2 hours of sleep or so. Not intentionally but I was awoken nonetheless. I had a really hard time getting back to sleep and eventually managed it around 2:30 or so. Not the best time to go to sleep in preparation for a 4:30 wakeup!!

One benefit of the book club is that I was able to eat a breakfast made up of super-triathlony goodness (i.e. Jennalee’s cake balls). I had also “carbed up” the day before with several donuts at work. As you can see, I am a true athlete in every sense of the meaning.

I was excited to be able to scientifically compare the 2 ways to get to Oxford (275 or Cross County) with my race report last year (see the first few paragraphs), until I realized that, tragically, I have moved since last year’s race. So the times are, once again, invalid. But THIS YEAR, yes THIS YEAR, I will have some valid test data to compare for next year.

I took 71 to 275 to 27, and it took me 30 minutes and 23.3 miles, while hypermiling.

And, I also saw some sort of tow / flat-bed truck hauling a replica of the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard, so I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

I once again pondered as I drove about this trip, which I have made several times now, though not very frequently. I didn’t have to worry about remembering the name of the town between Cincinnati and Oxford because I read my report from last year (it’s Millville). But I am always interested in seeing the changes. The first time I really remember driving to Oxford was a geocaching trip which was, oddly enough after I looked it up, 7 years ago nearly to the day (4/19/2002). That wasn’t the first time I made that trip, as I made a visit to Miami when I was in high school to check it out, and who can forget flying from Bowling Green to Oxford as Cliff flew blind through rural intersections at like 90 mph, so that we could hurry and get our butts completely destroyed by the boyfriends of the girls in the Miami band. I seem to remember there being no stoplights between Cincinnati and Oxford. Now there are a good number, along with some other signs of development.

I once again got there very early and parked on a side street. I went down the 2nd side street but there weren’t any spots very close to the transition area so I went around the bend to the 1st side street to park. This would turn out to be a very poor choice (cue foreboding music of doom…)

I went to check in and did so, arriving early enough to secure the prime end of row bike spot on the rack. I then walked around awhile (very cold – next year, gotta remember a coat or something warmer) and then saw Kent and Charlotte arriving. Kent got himself all registered and we hung around for awhile waiting for the race to start. In the 2 or 3 hours that I had to wait while doing nothing, I clearly had no time to put on the sunblock that I brought nor get my sunglasses out of my car. Nope, just ran clear out of time.

We went into the bleachers for the pre-race meeting at 7:15, which was frought with technical difficulties – they tried like 5 different microphones before getting one to work (again, cue foreboding music of doom….) They explained things which I already knew for the most part. There were a few differences, like a new chip system (foreboding music getting louder), but nothing too bad. Then Kent and I just waited around for our very high numbers to be called. I was #423 and Kent was like #570 or so (out of 650 I think – higher numbers = slower swim times).

About 8:35 or so my number was called and I made my way down. It’s always a tricky bit of strategy to figure out where to appropriately seed yourself in a staggered swim like this. My thought is that I want to go with faster swimmers, on the odds that they will help me go faster, and it seems like it would be faster to not have to pass people (generally speaking). My swim times for 400m are about 10:30 and I put 9:30 down on my registration. This also got me a prime center bike rack (2 from the transition exit), since those are based off your number (which is, again, based on your swim time).

Then, I made my way onto the mat and jumped into the water. I once again was amazed by the nonchalance of some people after crossing the mat (and thus, starting their time). Let’s go, people!!! I jumped in and out as far as I could (cuz hey, free 2-3 feet I don’t have to swim!) and then almost immediately passed the guy who went in right before me (I almost jumped on top of him) :-) . I do think that he passed me back a little bit later though. I passed a few people and was passed by a few more, but all in all the swim was pretty uneventful. At the turnaround at the end of lane 1, I had a bit of trouble getting my head under the lane ropes, but nothing big. I was able to swim the whole thing freestyle, once again.

I got out of the pool and went to go get my towel. One (other) annoying thing about this year’s pre-race meeting is that the announcer guy pointed out the “secret” bleachers where PJ and I had stashed our towels to get after the swim, and so there were a good 20-30 towels there. And now that it was announced, I’m sure most people that do it again next year will bring towels to place there. But afterwards I was trying to figure out if it was even worth it – it’s a not-insignificant detour to go back to the bleachers to get your towel rather than just going out the door from the end of the pool. I’m contemplating next year (if I race this race again), stashing a towel in the bushes outside on the way to transition.

It was right about here that I went to check my swim time on my watch and realized I had forgotten to start my watch at the start of the race. I started it here though and made my way into the transition area. I am estimating my swim time at 11:16 (that includes the time getting out of the end of the pool, getting my towel, and walking / running / staggering to the start of the transition area. Why, estimate, you might say? Surely by now you should have the official results and not need to estimate, right Dan? (OH BABY DO YOU HEAR THAT MUSIC!!!?!!?)

I felt like my T1 went well – did it pretty quick and was out of the transition area (except for catching my bike pedal on the support for the bike rack as I was heading out and nearly pulling everyone else’s bike on the rack down). Let’s say, 1:36 or so? (Dun… Dun…. Dun…. Du-dum!!!).

The bike went really well. I was feeling good and keeping up a good pace. Last year I averaged 14.8 mph, so I was trying to keep it at 16 mph this year. I knew that there were a few good hills but also knew that the last 3-4 miles were slight down-grades that I could probably bust out at ~20 mph. So I figured if I shot for 16 mph on the non-hill, non-downgrade parts, that I could make it around 15.5 or 16mph. I was doing well for the first mile or two but then as we started going on some slight up-grades, my mph started slipping. Then at about mile 3, we had the giant hill of doom. I did manage to ride all the way up it, though it was not fun. Somewhere around here my cycle computer broke too, so I had no idea really of how fast I was going. For the rest of the ride it just said “0.0 mph”, which, frankly, on some of those hills was about what it felt like!!!

I managed to survive the big hill (and passed quite a few people who were walking), and then set my sights on the 2nd big hill, which I knew came about the 7 or 8 mile mark. Unfortunately, without my cycle computer, I was unsure of the mileage, and it wasn’t really marked on the course. There was a big orange “5″ spray-painted at one point on the ground, which kind of coincided with where I thought the 5 mile mark should be, but that was it. There were quite a few hills that I thought “okay is this it?” only to find out that no, in fact, that was not it.

As I pedaled, I tried to do some calculations to see what I would need to do to hit my goal time of 1:29:59. I estimated 12 minutes for my swim (wanting to be on the safe side), and then figuring another 2 minutes of transition time (adding both T1 and T2), and giving myself 27 minutes for the run, I was going to want to be at about 50-51 minutes on my watch by the end of the bike, something that looked conceivable. I got to the 10-mile point, which was marked by a turn and some volunteers saying “10 miles – no more hills!”, and I tried to up the RPMs. I made my way back into Oxford and the transition area. Another one of my goals had been to really speed through T2, figuring that (as I know I have said many times before) that although I can’t run, bike or swim particularly fast, I can at least do NOTHING fast. The last few miles I was trying to decide if I wanted to waste time getting my water bottle. I was kind of parched, but didn’t want to risk my T2 time. In the end, I decided to go for it because I figured it wasn’t worth risking overall time in case I got cramped or dehydrated on the run. I figured I could just grab it and go – take some drinks and then throw it in the bushes and get it after the race. So as I approached the transition area, I successfully pulled off the patented PJ Woolston flying dismount into the transition area and busted up the aisle. In the end, my decision to go for the water was a waste as I could not find my water bottle (not sure where it went?) so I just headed out. As I left T2, my watch said 51:10, which meant if my 12 minute swim time was accurate then I needed to do the run in 26:50. So I figured I could shoot for 9 minute miles as a pace.

The run was really hard. I’m not sure if it’s the just coming off a bike, or something about concrete pavement, but I always feel like I am going so much slower than when I’m on a treadmill. But when I made it to the 1-mile mark (which seemed to take forever), it was about 8 minutes! That buoyed my confidence and I continued to run. And I was passing people like crazy! At the turnaround (1.55 miles) I was at about 13 minutes and at the 2-mile mark I was at about 17. At about 2.5 miles I was finally passed by my first (and only) person on the run. I ended up passing about 35 people. As I rounded the final part of the loop I could see that I was very likely going to beat my time so that made me excited for sure. Then as I crossed the street for the final time and headed into the tunnel, I turned on the kick and was really busting. Right there I passed Kent who was heading out the other way to start his run and we exchanged high-fives.

After crossing the finish line, I hung out with Charlotte a bit while we waited for Kent to finish the course. I also ate some of the dry Kroger peanut butter crackers that were provided, though I could not finish the package because, dry. I did drink copious amounts of the bottled water and later Kent found that some of the bags had bananas in them, which we ate.

We hung out and rested awhile and then Kent and Charlotte went home. I waited around for a bit to see if there was going to be any free pizza as there was in 2007, but alas, nothing. I have to say that the “after party” was one of the most fun parts of the race in 2007 and the last 2 years have been getting progressively worse and more lame. As I was getting ready to leave, the last racer crossed the finish line and the organizers told the paramedics that they could go home. They asked the paramedics if they wanted a race T-shirt and they said sure. I was intrigued….

So I followed the girl back into the swim hall. Why is that, you might ask? Because they (very lamely) gave all the racers ANOTHER WHITE T-SHIRT. This shirt is almost exactly identical to the one that I got LAST YEAR, just with a different date on the back. I was pretty annoyed about that. Especially since all the volunteers were wearing these cool blue shirts. So I thought maybe I could score one of those. It took them awhile to figure out where the shirts were but eventually they were found in a big cardboard box just sitting out in the hall. So I asked if I could have one of the extras, and the girl was like “No. These are only for the volunteers”, which I didn’t understand since all the volunteers ALREADY HAD their shirts and these were just extras. But she wouldn’t budge. So I said okay and went into the bathroom. I came out and saw that she was heading back to the transition area to give the shirts to the EMTs so I made my way over to the box and just took a blue one. Tragically all they had left were mediums so it doesn’t even fit me that well.

But then, in possibly a true moment of karma, as I got back to my car, I realized that I had gotten a parking ticket. Though the ticket was given at like 6:15 a.m., so maybe it was post-dated karma. Or should that be pre-dated karma? In any case, it is in fact a ticket. In doing a bit of research, the first street says no parking without a city of Oxford permit, which I had assumed was just for Mon-Fri to prevent college kids from parking there, but after driving around, it looks like the 2nd and 3rd streets are that way (only Mon-Fri) whereas this first street is all the time. I’m not sure why that is but it’s annoying. And it’s $25, which is right in the sweet spot of just pay it to not deal with it. I mean if it was like $100 you might be like “No way I’m paying that – that’s bogus!”, but when you get down towards $25 you start thinking like “Well I’ll just pay it so I don’t have to deal with it later…”

So that concluded the racing part of this report. I did manage to bust out just over 30,000 steps on Saturday, though that required a bit of walking around the house at the end of the day.

And then I waited for the official results, which were promised “probably by Sunday, definitely by Monday.” They had posted preliminary results right after the race, and my unofficial time was 1:27:59, which I thought was a great time. Not only did I beat my goal time by over 2 minutes, any time your time ends in 59 seconds, you know it’s good times. That way I can just say “Oh yeah I finished in an hour and 27 minutes. I’m not sure what the seconds are….” :-)

But then, when there were still no results on Tuesday!, I emailed and was told that there was a technical malfunction and the split times were lost. Which completely and totally blows. So I am forced to estimate, which I will do as 11:16 swim, 1:36 T1, 49:03 bike, 0:31 T2, and 25:33 run.

All in all, it was fun, but all these negative things are definitely making me reconsider if I want to do it for a 4th straight year. I definitely want to do *a* race, but I’m not sure if this is the one. Seems like there are bound to be ones closer to town that I could do, which would also have the added bonus of maybe the fam being able to come watch.

My awesome goaly wife

I just wanted to let it be known that my wife is doing awesome at her goals.

She is exercising like a champ.

And she is doing very well on eating only 1 thing of sugar per week. I think she would have caved yesterday if we had only had eggs in the house to make some sort of decadent dessert. And tonight she is probably gorging but it’s okay because it’s her one time for the week at her book club.

But I just wanted to support her and tell her how awesome she is

Being a doofus

So it’s always fun finding out that you’ve been (or are being) a doofus. Thankfully it doesn’t really happen to me TOO often (he says with all humility). I mean, there are certainly times when I’ve been wrong on things but not often to the level where I sit back and think “Man that was REALLY dumb”

So I have been going out to the Y to exercise pretty regularly since the new year (I know, me and everyone else). I’ve been training for the triathlon in April. Mostly running, a bit of biking and I haven’t gotten back to the swimming though I definitely need to. But I’ve also been trying to do some weights.

Now, I have almost never done any weight training. I am pretty much a certified wuss in the weights department. Except for legs – for whatever reason, whether it’s playing lots of basketball or always running around the living room trying to jump and touch the ceiling, my legs have always been pretty strong.

So after talking with a few friends of mine that do know a bit about weights (and probably mishearing and misapplying their advice), I have decided to do some of the weight machines in reps. I try to do 15 reps on a particular machine / weight, then rest for a bit then do 10 then 5. Since I’m new, I am still trying to figure out how much weight to do on each machine. Luckily they have cards that you can take and fill out so you can remember from time to time how much weight on each machine. My thought was once I could do 3 reps of 15 on 2 straight days, that meant I was ready to move up to the next weight.

As an aside, these cards are just 8×11 sheets of cardboard-y paper with spots to write down which machine and how many reps. Then you put them in various giant folders, one for each letter of the alphabet. I think the idea is that you put it in by your last initial. Well, as you can imagine, the ‘M’ folder is giant, so it makes it near impossible to try and find your sheet again the next day. So, for purposes of the Y, I am Dan Zmiller :-) . I figured that was best since X is lumped with Y and there is no Q.

Anyway, so I was working on this one machine and I was on a 30 lb. weight. Now I know that sounds incredibly wussy and I’m sure that it is, but this is a machine where the weights are a bit lower. It’s not like the leg press or whatever. But I’m sure it’s wimpy just the same. But that is neither here nor there. What is both here and there, is that on my Zmiller sheet, last time I had done the 3 reps of 15, but this time I was only able to do 10 on the first time. I thought that was weird but just chalked it up to having done another similar machine or being tired or whatever.

But then, as I was walking around the machines, I noticed the additional weights that you can put on. Now those of you who know your way around a weight machine will know this of course, but there are additional weights that you can put on each machine. So, although the weights go (for example) 15, 30, 45, etc. there are also 2 5 lb. weights that you can add. So if you want 25 lbs, you can put the 15 lb. weight on and both the 5 lb. weights for 25. So I went back and it was not 30 lbs, but 40! 10 lbs. isn’t a whole lot, but in this case it is 33% more weight.

I always knew about these but just never thought about them. But now I will know to check them each time before I sit down!

Bike ride home

So I rode my bike home yesterday. Savvy TPMTHDM readers may have noticed the exercise widget over to the side of the blog finally being updated (for the first time since early May). After just being very exhausted from working non-stop on 2 houses for weeks / months, I gradually just got lazy with the exercising (as has happened before).

But I’m back with a new batch (and a hatchet that I borrowed from scratch – a hatchet – a hatchet!). I have brought out the bike and yesterday was my first bike ride home from work since the move to the new house.

With the new location, I am not so conveniently placed near the Little Miami bike trail, so I had to plan a new route that was entirely on road. After hemming and hawing over various options, trying to balance route shortness with good bike riding / low-traffic roads, I came up with the following route

It grades out at 16.0 miles, though my ride yesterday actually ended up at 16.4 miles on my odometer, probably mostly due to the fact that I made two wrong turns. Actually I made one wrong turn and one wrong not-turn (where I should have turned but didn’t). That compares to 16.78 miles to my old house (world record of 1:05:15).

Started out pretty well. I got a ride in to work and brought my bike (still trying to score a place to shower at work). I was trying to decide the optimal time to leave to best avoid traffic, but various meetings and such got me stuck there till about 5:15 p.m. The first part of the route was familiar – actually the first mile or so is exactly the same as my old route. Upon reading Socialville-Foster road, instead of turning left (and dealing with the huge backup of cars waiting at the light on Columbia), I turned right onto some open roads. Traffic was light and I made my way up on to Irwin Simpson. When I got up to Mason-Montgomery, I slowed due to an impending red light. And what did I see upon looking down at the road? 2 NICKELS!!!. I slammed on the brakes to try and get them, but they looked to be kind of stuck in the asphalt and just then the light turned green. But they will be mine – oh yes, they will be mine.

I pulled an audible shortly after crossing. When I had pre-driven this route the other day, I noticed that SB traffic on Wilkens road backed up at the 4-way stop at Irwin Simpson. So I cut through the Regal Cinema there on to what I guess is called Deerfield Road, so I could continue straight and continue on Irwin Simpson. Make sense?

After staying on Irwin Simpson I made my first wrong turn. I was looking to turn left into a development and loop around the back of Cottell Park at the corner of Irwin Simpson and Snider. But I had it in my mind that there was a street before the one I wanted to turn on so when I saw it, I kept going straight. Then I saw the park and realized I had missed my turn. I ended up cutting through the park multi-purpose trail to miss the stoplight. NB traffic on Snider was pretty heavy but I cut through the stopped cars and waited for an opening and continued SB.

Traffic was pretty heavy on Snider and the road isn’t that wide. I could cut through a neighborhood here for an extra 0.5 miles – I may do that next time. Turned right on to Fields Ertel and then left onto School and then left onto Solzman before turning right on Kemper. Kemper was a very big road but luckily not a whole of traffic. The only problem is that I have to stay right for optimal safety while biking, but after 1/2 mile or so, then cut across 2 lanes of traffic and into the left turn lane to turn left onto Baen Rd. Wasn’t really an issue for me yesterday but might be more challenging with more traffic. I may decide to turn onto (a different) Deerfield Rd instead of Baen next time to avoid having to stop at the intersection of Deerfield and Baen.

Deerfield Rd. was fine but at Cornell I made my 2nd wrong move (this time a wrong not-turn). I was supposed to continue straight, going on to Creek Road to Kenwood but instead I turned right. Cornell had some traffic and I almost missed Kenwood Road. I knew it was coming up soon but the signs were hidden and I had to brake at a red light and then cross in the crosswalk. I continued for a bit on the sidewalk till I could get back on the road, but not before a lady coming out of a shopping center completely did not see me and just pulled out right in front of me. I gave her a friendly wave.

Then came the long stretch on Kenwood Road. One thing I noticed here was the differing in behaviors approaching a red light. I would see a red light ahead and I would think I should slow down to approach the red light (being used to approaching in a car). But then I would realize that wait a minute – if anything I need to speed up! because the light is likely to be green and then red AGAIN by the time I get to it at bike speeds.

Kenwood had some traffic but it wasn’t bad because for the most part it was at least a 3 lane road if not 4 or 5 lanes. So I can ride in the right lane and cars have plenty of room to get around me. From the YMCA to Shawnee Run there were a couple of really good hills though – best one was from Galbraith to Montgomery right by the mall. So you know at mile 14 or so – it’s time for a grueling incline!! I am at least grateful that the final grade towards my house is no longer a steep uphill, but instead a gradual decline.

Final time was 1:11:49. Whaddaya know – it’s a new world record!!!!

Virgin HealthMiles

So last week, my company started this new health initiative called Virgin HealthMiles. It’s apparently run at least somewhat in conjunction with our health insurer. Anyone else ever heard of this?

The basic idea is that you wear this special pedometer that tracks the number of steps that you do in a given day. You get points (they call them “miles”) for doing various things, chief of which is different activities, like getting at least 7000 steps in a day. Once you reach certain levels of miles, they give you money. The more you do, the more you make. The pedometers come with a USB cable and some software that automatically uploads your steps to Virgin’s website.

My company was giving out these pedometers to the first 400 people that signed up (normally they are $24.99 each) so naturally I scored one. You can get up to $150 a year by doing this. There are 5 levels and you get different amounts of cash for reaching each level. Level 1 is where you start out and is worth $0, then $25, $25, $50 and $50 I believe. It looks like the 5th level might be a bit hard to get, though we shall see.

They also have an “upgraded” membership which you can sign up for $6.99/mo. With that membership, you can earn up to $500/year. I think the levels are $0, $25, $125, $175, and $175. So if you can make it to level 3 (which is 12,000 “miles”), the upgraded membership pays for itself. After like a week, I’m at 3910 miles, though they give you lots of bonus miles when you first start out so I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up that pace. Still, Level 3 seems pretty reachable. I’m already almost to Level 2 (6,000 “miles”). You have up to 60 days to convert your membership so I’ll be seeing where I’m at around Day 58 but I expect that I’ll be upgrading at that point.

The other thing is that a few of us here at work that got the pedometers are having a little step-competition. We were trying to figure out what kind of ground rules that we could make to discourage cheating. It turns out that the website lets you set up challenges. These challenges allow you to set up teams as well as handicaps (to allow people at different step levels to compete on even ground). We have set one up but the system doesn’t seem to be working correctly.

I’m not sure if this is open to the general public or not – you’d certainly have to pay the $6.99/mo and the $25 for the pedometer, but even still, if you’re moderately active, it could be worth it. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

2008 Miami Triathlon report

Woohoo it’s exciting triathlon time again! Just like last year I am racing in the Miami University Student Foundation triathlon.

Here is my race report. First of all, I am going to be going by my watch time. I did get the official results from HFP and they are 2 minutes slower than the time I had on my watch. I could understand a few seconds discrepancy but 2 minutes? My friend PJ also had a watch on and his time was also 2 minutes or so slower on the “official” results. So until that gets resolved, I’m calling shenanigans.

So, looking back at last year’s report, my first big dilemma came at a wake up time. This year due to the large number of participants (over 600!) they moved the start time from 8:00 to 7:30, and then to 7:15. I decided to wake up at 4:30 a.m. I didn’t sleep all that great and ended up waking up on my own at 4:18. I packed the car and set off.

The second big dilemma, upon review, was which route to take to Oxford – Cross County or 275. I was disappointed to find that no empirical data existed from my choice last year. How else was I supposed to determine the best way? I’m a scientist!. I need the data.

So here’s the data from this year’s route – where I took Cross County.

Time: 28 minutes from my house to the intersection of US-27 and 275.

Or should I say, 28 minutes from my house to ALMOST the intersection of US-27 and 275, AT WHICH POINT I GOT PULLED OVER BY A COP!!!!!.

Yeah, I got pulled over at like 5 a.m. by a Colerain Twp. police officer. He comes up to the door and asks the classic cop question “Do you know why I pulled you over?” I, of course, follow Rule 1 of being pulled over by a cop which is “Never admit to anything”. I knew I wasn’t speeding – that was for sure – I was hypermiling :-) . So I say no, and he tells me that I have a headlight out. I was aware of this as Carolyn has been telling me to get this fixed for some time now. But the first words out of my mouth (had I not followed Rule 1) would have been “because my license plate sticker is expired?” I thought for sure he was going to bust me when he ran my plates but he either didn’t notice or didn’t care. He ended up just giving me a warning, and then asked where I was going and we talked a little triathlon. It was refreshing to meet a cop who wasn’t a complete jerk. I even tried to go out to RateMyCop.com to give him a positive rating but they don’t have Colerain Twp’s department online yet. But hey let’s hear it for buffer time!!! Carolyn kept wondering why I was leaving so early.

I’ve written (and you theoretically have read) this much and I haven’t even gotten to Oxford yet? Hoo-ee this is going to be long.

The rest of the drive was fairly uneventful. I spent a couple of minutes trying to remember the name of that town between Cincinnati and Oxford. I also had a car pass me with a bike on the back (I guess also going for the triathlon). The bike had saran wrap all over the bike seat and handlebars. I thought that was an interesting way to try and combat the rain (forecast was for rain all morning). But then I thought it would be extra time during transition to try and pull that off. I didn’t see them at the race itself so I don’t know if they pulled it off before the race or not. Anyways, once I got to Oxford, I missed the turnoff and had to turn around.

I got there at about 5:30 or so. I went up and registered and then took my bike into the transition area.

As you can see from the picture above, I got the prime “end of row” spot on the rack. Yet another reason to get there early. You come down that row after the swim, so being right there on the end is worth AT LEAST 5 seconds or so :-) .

Here is a picture of PJ and I. I was wearing my shirt from last year’s race; trying to “intimidate” everyone else by letting them know that yes, I’m a veteran. PJ said that he opted for a blank white T-shirt to let potential advertisers know that he was available. We talked about sponsors and I commented that really, advertisers were wasting their money sponsoring any of the front runners – after all, I’d be on the course for MUCH longer, giving them much more bang for the buck! Notice too my ultra tight super streamlined racing swimsuit.

One of the things that I had done this year was bring a 2nd towel. It was time for some strategic placing. I left one towel out in the transition area. And then, I made my way poolside.

This picture is taken right at where you start the swim. You start right in that bottom left corner, and then do a serpentine swim down one lane and up the other, until you make your way through the 8th and final lane, exiting the pool at the 8th lane, in the top left corner of the picture. Notice PJ there in the background.
Here’s a closeup of the area right next to the pool exit. You can see that I stuck my 2nd towel there. That way once I got out of the pool I could grab a towel and dry off as I made my way to the transition area. Again, saving me the CRUCIAL 5 SECONDS THAT WILL GET ME INTO 1ST PLACE! PJ wanted me to point out that he too put his towel there but it’s not in the picture simulating how he was already out of the pool before I got there :-)

We kind of hung around for the next hour or so, making a few trips back to our cars to get everything ready. They had the mandatory pre-race poolside meeting at about 7 and midway through I decided to head back to the transition area to make my final adjustments (dump the shirt and flip-flops I still had on). As we were heading back there we heard an announcement “Final warning to clear the transition area before we turn the timing mats on”. We made it just in time.

Sat in the bleachers for about 40 or so minutes while the first 300 or so people started their swim. Then we made our way back down. Unlike the 3 Pigs last year, I got my goggles in place with no mishaps.

Then it was time for the swim. Even though I promised to cannonball into the pool if I did it this year I didn’t. PJ did and got a few laughs from the people around.

When I started swimming it seriously felt like there was a current pushing against me. I don’t know if I was just imagining it or if it was some sort of byproduct of all those people in the water or what. I had just read about this attachment to pools that let you use a regular family pool as a lap swimming pool by pushing a current back at you and that’s what it felt like.

My goal was to try and pass more than the 2 people I was able to pass in the swim last year. I knew people would pass me, especially since I had put in an overly optimistic swim estimate of 9 minutes. Turns out 10 people passed me while I did not pass anyone. I did manage to swim freestyle the whole time without stopping. A few people hit my feet as they were coming up on me; I gave them some extra hard kicks. Then one guy was passing me like right on top of me; getting all in my way (rather than passing on the left where there was plenty of room). I gave him an elbow. Other than that, not much happened.

Got out of the pool and grabbed my clandestine towel. Unfortunately I forgot to hit the lap button when I did so I’m not sure of my exact time. By the time I got into the transition area and hit it, it was 11:31. So I’m guessing about 11 minutes or so.

Transition was fine. Not much to do and I made my way out – 1:52 on my watch plus whatever time due to not hitting my watch on time. Again, let’s say 2:23. I left the transition area right behind PJ who managed to not take forever like he did last year (3:39!) :-)

The bike course was different this year than it was last year. I had set my internal goal at 50 minutes, and figured that would need about 15.5 mph. So I decided to aim for 16 mph on the flat stretches. Because I’m a total nerd, one of the things that I do as I ride is calculate miles per hour and stuff in my head as I ride. So I figured that I should be aiming for a mile every 4 minutes. At the 4 mile mark I was only at 15 minutes (1 minute ahead of pace) and I thought “Wow I’ve got this!”. Then I told myself “Well, maybe I should wait until some of these big hills before I start congratulating myself :-)

As the bike course started I was keeping track of how many people I was passing. I am nothing but devoted to my faithful readers who I knew would be hanging on every detail such as this. I almost stopped counting the people that passed me (because there were a lot right at the beginning) but then a funny thing happened – people stopped passing me and I started passing people!

Shortly after that I looked up and realized I had gone off the course. At least I thought I had – I had just passed a road off to the left and gone straight. But I couldn’t see any course markings or any bikers ahead of me. Just as I was about to start panicing I did see some race officials in the distance.

And they signalled the start of the first hill. It was brutal. I immediately passed 3 people who were walking their bikes up. I managed to ride all the way up but it was slow and very hard. I had noticed from the course topo map that there were 2 big hills, so when I got to the 2nd one I thought “Wow this one wasn’t even close to that first one”. Then I realized that was just a fun intermediate hill. The 2nd hill was also pretty big though not as bad as the first one.

After about mile 9 or 10, the rest of the course is fairly flat with a slight downhill back to the transition area. I was hitting about 20 to 25 mph. The final totals were passed 32, passed by 26 (net +6 for the bike). Time for the 20.5K (12.7 miles) was 51:16, or 14.9 mph.

Transition 2 was a brisk 34 seconds, which I note was 26th overall, again proving the adage that although I can not swim, bike or run very fast, I can do NOTHING very fast.

As I made my way to start the run, I noticed that I was going to have to do about 24:30 on the run to hit my stretch goal time of 1:30. It looked like beating last year’s time of 1:38:45 was definitely going to happen, barring some sort of craziness on the run.

So off I went. The first mile was pretty slow – I had a bit of the jelly legs going on. I didn’t see the Mile 1 marker, but at the water station which I think was about there, I had about 9 minutes. I had both passed and been passed by a few people. Somewhere around here, this one person passed me and I decided to try and run with him as long as I could. I figured since he was going a bit faster than me, he’d be good to try and push myself. I ran behind him for most of the rest of the course and we passed a few people. I briefly passed him when he stopped for water but he then passed me right back. My time at Mile 2 was 16:55, meaning my 2nd mile was at about 8 minutes. At about mile 2.5 I started pushing a little harder. I saw that while 1:30 might be tough, I could probably hit 1:30:SOMETHING which I figured I could count :-) . I passed the guy I had been running with as well as a few other people. Once we crossed the street back towards the transition area I kicked and really blew by 2 people there. Final passing totals were passed by 6 and passed 22 (net +16), and a final run time of 25:22, which is an 8:09 clip.

Final final time was 1:30:40, a time I was EXTREMELY pleased with. I improved in all 3 disciplines, leaving me to wonder how I could possibly get better again next year!

Again, like I mentioned, the “official” results have some definite time discrepancies, but here they are.

I’m assuming that the discrepancies are the same for everyone (at least several people I’ve seen have mentioned them), so even though the times are off, the order is probably fairly accurate. I was 285th out of 532, 24th out of 30 in my age group and 3rd out of 3 in the “Miller” division.

The race after party that was so fun last year was completely lame this year, probably mostly due to the rain. It had sprinkled off and on. During my bike it had rained a bit off and on and then when I got back from the bike all my stuff was noticably damp and then it had continued to sprinkle. I didn’t even get any free pizza!! :-) .

All in all it was an extremely fun time and I’m looking forward to coming back next year! And remember, don’t mess with me, I’m an “athelete” [sic] :-D

Some walking adventures

So I have decided to add walking to my list of exercises on my running log. In fact, if you read this blog post in a timely manner, you will see that I did some walking back on April 8th. 4.5 miles as a matter of fact. Why would I do something like that, you might ask? Well… read on.

Red Robin has a free birthday burger that they email you. Well, they don’t email you the burger (that would be tricky) – just a coupon for one. I was going to go on my actual birthday since I was out in the area for lunch, but alas, I had forgotten my coupon, and I didn’t feel like driving back to work to get it. I thought that I could probably have gotten away with it by showing them my license or something but just decided to do it the next day.

So the next day dawned and around 11 or so I decided to walk to Red Robin. I looked it up and it was only 2.5 miles (turned out to be about 2.3 as I cut through an abandoned golf course). It was a beautiful day (about 70 degrees or so) so I thought eh why not. Plus, I had just read an article about hypermiling so I was being all fuel conscious.

I think that had I realized QUITE how far 2.5 miles is (while walking) that I might have reconsidered. I know I definitely rued the long sleeve black shirt I picked out in the morning…

Pretty uneventful. The burger was good, and came with fries. It was interesting in seeing how just because the fries were there, I ate them, even though I’m trying my revolutionary diet, and as such didn’t really want them. I did not eat all of them though, which is unusual for me (I have a big “clean your plate” problem when it has food I like). I ate by myself and then tipped the waitress with a buck or so of change I had in my desk.

At least they didn’t bring me out a plate of nothing but a candle!

I do want to point out that I am not counting this walking time toward my goal of 4 days of exercise. I also want to point out that if you did NOT read this post in a timely fashion (so as to be able to see my walking outing on the exercise widget well then what’s wrong with you? You need your recommended daily allowance of DanMiller after all.