Friday, November 30, 2012

The "Rules"...

I totally stole this from the guys over at Karbon Speed but it is SPOT ON! 

#1. Not everyone thinks what you do is awesome. Most think you’re a bit nuts, and they’re right. Remember that at your next cocktail party.
#2. No race jerseys of races you haven’t raced in, especially if the distance is longer than you’ve been. T-shirts are exempt. If you roll up in an Ironman France jersey, be prepared to explain how you handled the Col
e de I’Ecre.

#3. Only refer to courses/segments/people by their nicknames. Highway 19 is unacceptable. It’s called the Queen K, and Crowie owned it. And Macca before him. Don’t let this happen again. Pay ‘N Save Hill. Look it up.
#4. Training in rough conditions makes you tough. A little rain or heat won’t make you melt, buttercup.
#5. A reality check should be performed once per year. MIT is not going to test the effectiveness of brick workouts. The rolling resistance “expert” uses a 100 pound sac in his garage for testing. Not all wind tunnels can even record data at the slow speeds we ride. Not everything that glitters is gold.
#6. Gadgets are strongly encouraged. An old pair of shorts and some Keds are not our gig. You absolutely need every item that is out there. Afterall, we invented aerobars. If we stop with the gadgets, who the hell would cyclists copy?
#7. Feelings are for Oprah, use your data. If you own a heart rate monitor and/or a powermeter, yet train just by RPE, then you either don’t know how to use it or you’re embarrassed by what it’s telling you.
#8. If you’ve raced the distance, it counts. If you’ve trained the distance, it doesn’t. Nailing a training day is one thing, nailing a racing day is quite another. Please don’t confuse the two. Ironman/marathon/etc. only counts if you are in there mixing it up. I’m the heavyweight champion of the world if we don’t have to actually compete.
#9. The number of logos allowed on a race kit are equal to that of NASCAR. In other words, go nuts. Only Wimbledon and the ITU restrict logos to the point of communism.
#10. Ironman tattoos are perfectly acceptable. You just finished one of the toughest days of your life. A bit of ink is just fine. Don’t let douche bags rain on your accomplishment.
#11. No buckets. It’s doesn’t matter how well thought out your transition is, don’t bring a bucket unless you plan to paint parking lines on the concrete or are going fishing after the race.
#12. Shave. You’re representing a group of people generally regarded as some of the fittest in the world. It’s a hot, sweaty, sometimes muddy sport, that keeps clothes to a minimum. Hanging out all day with gorilla legs and a hairy back does not make you a good steward of the sport. Clean it up.
#13. Learn who the pros are. In this sport everyone likes to think they’re the next big deal. Do yourself a favor and learn the names of those who actually make a living at being a badass.
#14. Support the sponsors. They pay money so you can have a great time. Don’t spend 45 minutes picking their brain and then head to the ‘net so you can save 3 bucks. That will get you flogged.
#15. Exaggeration of training is perfectly fine. Just keep in mind that Rule #39 is still in effect at all times.
#16. Drinking and triathlon are first cousins. Embrace your first cousin. There’s a reason beer is offered at 9 am at the race. Because we love it. Science has actually shown that a buzz and runner’s high is very similar, and endurance athletes drink more than your average bear.
#17. It’s a transition area, not your hotel room. Spreading out all your stuff for transition beyond 1 small towel is not acceptable. 1 bag limit.
#18. White race kits are only allowed if you know your body well. Really well. If you’ve ever worried about poo leg on a long run, then white is not for you. Ladies, if you are expecting a visit from your “Aunt Flow” then white is not for you. I don’t think I need to say anymore.
#19. Qualifying for Kona and your local “wellness” or “anti aging” clinic do not go together. If by some coincidence you decide your wanker doesn’t work right the exact same time you’re trying to get to Kona, stop everything and look for a new sport. Getting HGH, Testosterone and EPO shots in the name of ‘aging’ or wiener health won’t fly here. There are sports where cheating seem to be acceptable like here and here, so try those sports. This isn’t one of em.
#20. This sport has a history, learn some it. If you don’t know who the Big Four are, unfamiliar with the ’82 Moss Crawl, or think the Ironwar has something to do with the Industrial Age, then you got some reading to do.
#21. No “trunks” in the pool. Look, we get it that you’re a little self conscious wearing a skin tight swimsuit. Get over it. I promise you that you will get 10X more comments trying to swim laps in basketball shorts than you will a jammer.
#22. It’s OK to hate swimming, but you still have to do it. It’s not OK to use your wetsuit as a life preserver. Learn to swim. If you don’t there’s a sport called duathlon just waiting for you.
#23. Learn to circle swim. You really don’t need the whole lane to yourself. Stay to the right.
#24. Complaining about the water makes you look like a sissy. This is a tough sport. The distances are tough, the conditions are tough and the people are tough. Whining that the water isn’t as clear as your last trip to Grand Cayman isn’t winning you any cool points there Nancy.
#25. Learn Flipturns. You can pick the person out racing in high-tops right away. You get the idea.
#26. Obey the law – Nothing gives us a worse reputation than someone blowing through a red light like he’s above it all. The law applies to vehicles. You’re on a vehicle. Don’t be a douche. Obey the law.
#27. Don’t ride with headphones. Save the Rocky Soundtrack for your run. Your ears are needed to help keep you alive on the bike. Plus, depending on your state, it’s illegal. See Rule #26
#28. Support yourself. Others should not be obligated to babysit you on your ride. Flat tires should not take a village to fix.
#29. No aero helmets in training. While you might ride a whopping .2 mph faster, you will look like an absolute dork.
#30. Save the race wheels for the race. Yes, the bike does look cooler with $2,000 wheels, but your wallet will be thinner when a pot hole or rock crack that carbon. Leave some sizzle for the race.
#31. Learn to ride in a group. Wobbling down the road being afraid of anything around you is no way to go through life.
#32. Hold your line. Erratic movements in a group ride will take everyone out. Tighten it up.
#33. Don’t make accordions. Taking a turn up front is expected and appreciated, but not if you floor it the moment you take the reins, The guy 20 people back is going to get dropped by moves like that. Accelerate slowly so everyone can play.
#34. No shorts over your cycling shorts. Sister to Rule #21. Dress like you know what you’re doing.
#35. Learn to pee on yourself. You’ll spend $5,000 dollars to shave 55 seconds but won’t pee down your leg to save 3 minutes?
#36. The engine always trumps the rig. Always.
#37. Be on time, but don’t leave early. If the group ride or run is scheduled for 7 am, courtesy allows for 5 minutes. That means that sometime between 7 and 7:05 the wheels start rolling. If you roll up in your car at 7am and think everyone should wait for you to assemble your bike and pump up your tires, think again. Likewise, convincing the group to leave at 6:54 because you have a t-ball game is just bad form.
#38. No tan-lines allowed. This is not cycling. A farmer’s tan doesn’t make you look cool in anyway. The only exception is cycling short lines. Those are permitted, but need to be laser sharp.
#39. If you decide to talk the talk, be prepared to walk the walk. See also Rule #15. If you claim 3 hours at 300 watts, you’ll be expected to prove it.
#40. Crawling is an acceptable mode of transportation. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done, and this sport is about getting the job done.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The 2013 USAT Championship Schedule is out

Yes, I know there are plenty of other places you can find this info (the USAT main site being the primary) but I wanted to put it on my blog as much for me as anyone else. Now I have a quick place to find it.

2013 USA Triathlon National Championship Schedule:

Date  National Championship  Location  
Jan. 27 Winter Triathlon National Championships (Powder Hound Winter Triathlon) Butte, Mont.
April 12-13 Collegiate National Championships Tempe, Ariz.
April 20 Club National Championships (ITU World Triathlon San Diego) San Diego, Calif.
April 28 Long Course Duathlon National Championships (Mount Rainier Duathlon) Enumclaw, Wash.
May 27 Paratriathlon National Championships (Capital of Texas Triathlon) Austin, Texas
Aug. 3-4 Youth and Junior National Championships West Chester, Ohio
Aug. 4 Aquathlon National Championships (Lake Logan Aquathlon) Canton, N.C.
Aug. 10 Olympic-Distance National Championships (Age Group Nationals) Milwaukee, Wis.
Aug. 11 Sprint National Championships (Age Group Nationals) Milwaukee, Wis.
Sept. 15 Off-Road Triathlon National Championships (C Me Dirty Off-Road Triathlon) Grand Prairie, Texas
Oct. 13 Long Course Triathlon National Championships (Rev3 South Carolina) Anderson, S.C.
Oct. 13 Aquabike National Championships (Rev3 South Carolina) Anderson, S.C.
Oct. 26 Duathlon National Championships Tucson/Oro Valley, Ariz.

Now the bigger questions is how do I get qualified to race at any of these events. Can anyone give me some help there?

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Thanks4giving 10k...who new a race could be fun?

I’ve been taking it easy when it comes to running since the Army 10 Miler. Ya, it was a PR but it didn’t come without injury so I’ve been laying off running and focusing instead on cycling, swimming, weight training and pretty much relaxing. But, I’ve run the Thanks4Giving 10k for the last 3 years so there was no way I was gonna miss out. J has been running it as well as was looking to set a PR so I figured I’d offer up myself as a pacer. That way I can still run, have no self induced pressure for a PR and I could actually help someone else on a run for a change.

I have to admit, there is something great about showing up for a race with NO expectations. Yes, I considered if I felt good in the first mile or two I might shirk off my pacing duty and race but I knew that the better way to go was be a pacer and use it as a training run. Not to sound like a smartass but there’s a big difference in the people around you at the middle to back of a race. They seem more laid back, chatty and chilled out. Up front, where I normally line up, it’s completely different story…its tense, racer eye balling each other to assess who the competition is or how good they are. Racers are looking at their watches/GPSs/Heart Rate monitors and are just waiting for that moment for the gun to go off and to click on start button. Here I am, in the middle of the pack chatting with J and my friend Matt and I don’t even hear the start…I realize it as the herd of people started moving.

So we’re off. I look down at my Polar RC3 to see what a 9:00-9:30 pace feels like, that was the pace J was looking to run, and I’m chatting away. Yes, chatting! Normally, by a quarter mile in I’ve set my jaw, hate the world and am focusing on breathing to get me through the next 5+ miles. Not today. I’m chatting, kidding around, making jokes and even took time to applaud a fellow runner on her turkey costume (she had a tail feather wardrobe malfunction that was quickly repaired a nice spectator). I know this course like the back of my hand having ran or ridden at least 15 or 16 times over the last few years so I focused on previewing what was to come on the course and repeating the mantra out loud that’s normally in my head “deep breaths, open arms, shoulders down, upright body, strong kick and relax” for the race. I thanked every volunteer, cop and spectator on the course. I pointed out funny things (the dead opossum by the traffic cone) on lookers and just tried to yuck it up. Who knew racing could be fun?! The course was a double loop (one loop is the 5k and most of the runner’s were doing that race) so when we hit the 2nd loop it was time to turn on the speed a bit. It was funny to say out loud what is normally in my head “there’s a slight hill coming up time to dig in, get to the top and there’s a break before the turn, now you’re on the flats, time to empty it out”. Most races are a blur but I guess I really do think about stuff when I run. My goal was to talk the whole time, keeping J’s brain occupied so she could just focus on sitting on my shoulder and running the race. I guess it worked because while her goal was to try and take 60 seconds of her PR, she ended up taking 90 and was pretty happy. And I ended up crossing the finish line with a huge grin on my face and cutting up. I was grabbing water bottles for folks, saying good job, high 5’ing people and all sorts of craziness. Me, in a good mood after a race? What?! And it didn’t go unnoticed, friends that I normally race with all commented about how nice “this Dutch” is (note to self, work on some semblance of this for when I “really” race in order for people not to hate you at the finish). It dawned on me that my friend Jen was also racing so I quickly ran out to pace her in…only to find her stroking into the finish at her 1st 10k! And my friend Joe ran a 44:49 after having done his first 140.6 just a few weeks ago. Nice job all around everybody!!! And with that, the 10k came to a close and it was off to the house to deep fry a turkey and enjoy a well deserved meal. Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Shower Pill...why, its not a pill at all...

Now I have to admit, when I heard “Showerpill” I was envisioning some cool George Jetson-like pill that I could take that would immediately have me feeling as if I’d just had a refreshing, cleansing shower. That was not to be the case but it is still a pretty good product nonetheless.  

The ShowerPill is not a baby wipe, this thing has the heft of a washcloth that makes it easy to use all over your body and its durable enough to last head to toe. After a race and wanting to head out for a meal with friends or that lunch run/ride go a little longer than you expected/ Then this is just the ticket in lieu of a shower. It kills 99.99% of common germs in 30 seconds (that was one of the issues I had, it says on the package to spend 30 seconds on each body part…totaled up, that’s not really fast enough for quick “wipedown”), but gentle enough on your sensitive skin because it contains moisturizing Aloe Vera and Vitamin E.  There’s no rinse needed, it dries quickly and while it does have a smell, its more soap-like than perfumy (yes, I just made that word up).

Yes we’d all like to take a long hot shower after our sweat creating workout of choice but sometimes we just don’t have the time…or the energy. If you’re looking for an individually packaged, self contained “shower in a pouch” to keep in any of your training/racing bags…then this is the product for you (and me). I like them because one package will clean my whole body (I’ve always ended up using half a tub or package of baby wipes to feel clean…and then I smell like a baby) and I can throw them anywhere (a spare or two in the glove box is a must). At $9.99 on Amazon for a box of 10, the Showerpill is an affordable addition to your athlete “must haves” list. And, and, and…Showerpill is offering a deal for Black Friday! They are having a buy 2, get 1 free sale. All you have to do is place 3 boxes of ShowerPill in your shopping cart and enter the code: “SPFRIDAY” to receive the 3rd box free.  This offer is valid from 11/23-11/25 (Friday-Sunday). So...great product…more than affordable…and now you have a gift idea for you or the athlete in your life…BOOM!

I received this product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Army 10 Miler…it certainly felt longer…

I knew my season was coming to an end…partly because of the calendar and partly because my injury was in dire need of some rest/recovery…but I HAVE to do the Army 10 Miler. I’m so bummed that for the past 10 years I’ve been in DC that weekend for work and DIDN’T race it (because I was an unmotivated fat body) but once I finally did it last year, there was no way I miss another one.

I will say that I went into this year’s race with no expectation. Finishing wasn’t an issue but finishing in a decent time was. I had no aspirations or vision of beating my PR, I just wanted to get through the race and be in decent shape when it was over. Luckily, this year (on J’s suggestion) the hotel I stayed at was only a 5 minute walk from the start of the race. A quick trip to the expo on Saturday (once you’ve been to a major expo like Boston or Chicago all the other expos are kind of lackluster) and then a chill day off the legs.

I never thought I’d say this, nor did you ever think you’d hear me say this, but I got to the race…too early! Since I stayed so close, it really only took 5 minutes to walk over to the start. I mean ya, it was great to be able to hit the porta-potty one more time but I literally had 40 minutes to stand around and wait. See the waiting part is what drives me insane (idle hands and all). As I moved up to my corral, not having anyone to chat with, I just kept thinking about the race “will it be slow?”, “how slow?”, “will I be upset with the result?” and my personal favorite “why didn’t I just stay in bed?”. Well, nothing to do now but wait for the cannon to go off and see how I felt.

Finally it was my corral’s turn and I made across the start. Even though there were somewhere around 30k runners, my corral seemed to get off without issue and I settled into a decent pace. Well, a little faster than decent…I glanced down at my watch at the ½ mile mark and saw I was running on a 6:35. Whoa, that is not a good idea. I keep this up and it’s gonna be a tough day and no sooner did I say that to myself did it feel like a hand grenade went off in my lower back/pelvis. Sonuva! Really?! The injury had to flare up now, not even a mile into this race?! It’s not like I can quit, or like I’m gonna. I’m at the start of a huge race filled with other former and current Soldiers, not to mention Wounded Warriors. Suck it up buttercup and keep running. The one “hill” of the course is running up the on ramp onto Arlington and then it was time to find a zone and run…and by find a zone I really mean “zone out” and try to get the run done. I figured the best way to go through the race was to see it in 3 mile chunks and then if I have anything left in the tank lay it out on the last mile.

Miles 1, 2, 3 – 6:47, 6:42, 6:35

I know the 1st mile went by too fast but after “zoning out” and focusing on just running…I noticed that I hit the 2nd and 3rd mile markers on a 6:42 and 6:35 pace respectively. Ok, maybe this isn’t too fast after all and I can hold this. Either the injury got better or I got numb to it but I started to feel ok.

Miles 4,5,6 – 6:42, 6:47, 6:42

As I kept glancing down at my watch I noticed that I was running a sub 7 pace…and then I had that conversation with myself. Yes, I might feel like garbage but…I might be on track for a PR. I couldn’t remember exactly what I’d run it in last year but I knew I hadn’t run sub 7’s. Really? My season has been ending on a bad note and I could set a PR at the Army 10 Miler? Ya, I hurt but not enough to lay off the gas and not shoot for a PR. I hit the 4 mile marker and saw that my GPS read 4.3 miles. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, that .3 miles difference would throw off my mile/pace for the rest of the race but since I’m dumb and can’t do math I just forged ahead thinking I was knocking down a sub-7 minute mile and was gonna crush this race…unless the wheels fall off and my back exploded (on a side not, while I notice very little when I race I DID notice that gas was $4.69 at a gas station I ran by…good lord that’s expensive!). At the start, I did see some guys I served with back in the day. I didn’t say hello because I hadn’t seen those guy in over 10 years and I thought it would be awkward to just walk up and say hello…but I could’ve sworn I heard one of the yell “pick it up Dutch” when they went pace me at the turn at 6.5 miles. Well, I’m sure not gonna slow down now.

Miles 7,8,9 – 6:49, 6:51, 6:56

The way the course was laid out, you run by the 6 mile marker, hit the turn and then hit the 7mile marker. Although the morning was brisk it was now the sun was out and it was starting to get warm. Especially since there was no shade and that light Under Armour shirt I had on was making me even hotter. Well, good reason to run faster now…I wanted this to be over. At the next water station I grabbed a cup of ice water and poured it down my back. Sonuva that was cold! But it had the desired effect of cooling me off and it woke me up to boot. Now the last 3 miles of the race is on Interstate 395 approaching the Pentagon. It is boring, hot and on a highway that’s a steady climb but you can see your destination off to the right. I was excited to hit the off-ramp from I-395, the 9 mile marker and the turn onto Jefferson Davis Highway into the finish.

Mile 10 – 6:53
The last mile of the 10 Miler is not a fun one. You come off the “downhill” of the off-ramp and then have a climb back up to the last turn into the finish. While I thought I was pushing harder and running faster, the pace/split shows the opposite. I saw the speaker stand and ran as fast as I could thinking I’d finally hit the finish…only to realize that this year they moved the finish back a few hundred meters. I literally crossed what I thought was the finish line and slowed only to look up and see the finish in the distance and had to pick it up again and run to it. As run under the finish I saw I’d run a 1:12:01, a 7:11 average pace. I guess that .4 miles difference really threw off pacing. And really….1 second?! Crap that’s gonna bother me until next year! But…another race in the bag and a PR to boot. Unfortunately, once I crossed the finish I could barely stand and walking wasn’t particularly enjoyable. I guess all the adrenaline wore off as I crossed the finish and it felt like somebody punched me in the lower back wearing brass knuckles. I was in pain…but I was happy (as that picture can attest) and I could easily muster the walk over to get my finisher’s coin. I came into a race merely wanting to finish and not embarrass myself with my time and I knocked 1:30 of my 10 Miler PR. Not bad! I gladly spent the rest of the day prostrate, eating pizza, sipping coke and chewing on Advil. I have a few races left in the calendar year but I’ll be laying off running for a month or so and I’ll focus on pacing other people for those races (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself right now…).