Shredding the gnar, redux

Trees

Last year, I ended the season with an unbelievable day of skiing. Today, it happened again.

Riley, my dad, and I arrived just before open to 13 inches of fresh. Riley, the avid tree skier he is, led the way all over the mountain. Fresh tracks and face shots galore.

We finished with 16k feet of vertical in 14 runs. Reminder to self: increase the DIN setting on my Kilowatts so they don’t fly off so often.

Hood to Coast 2012

20120825-191702.jpg

They call it “the mother of all relays.” I call it another check mark on the list of life goals.

It surprises me how enjoyable the race was, after years of hearing horror stories from my mom.

The team, filled with complete strangers to me save one, was an absolute joy to share the hardship with. As I write this, they’re playing diddies with kazoos someone brought.

Leah, taking over some organizational responsibility for the team, picked up the best possible pre- and post-run food for the vans. Turkey jerky, bananas with almond butter, lots of water, and fruit leather meant we were adequately nourished all of the way through.

Oh, and the running itself. Amazing. Great routes through the countryside, each passing a lot quicker than I expected.

Leg 8 started at 4:30 pm Friday just west of Sandy and ended before Boring. I completed the 4.55 miles in 33 minutes (7:15 pace), roadkilling 11 people along the way.

20120825-191839.jpg

Leg 20 looked like the picture above — up and up and up. And it was my middle of the night run to boot. Fortunately, I slept a few hours. I nailed it. Finished 5.75 miles in 47 minutes (8:10 pace), roadkilling 31 poor suckers along the way.

Leah and I decided to do our last two runs together. Leg 31 and 32 were four miles a piece. These eight miles wound through the coastal basin just before Seaside. Looking back, it may not have been the best idea to double our mileage during the last part of the relay. I’m glad we pulled it off, and also happy we didn’t time it.

Just about time for beach, beer, and burgers!

Race report: Best in the West Triathlon

Today, I happily completed my first olympic triathlon with a total time of 3:13:12. An olympic triathlon is a 1,500 meter swim, a 40 km (24.8 miles) bike ride, and a 10 km (6.2 miles) run. Overall, I finished 36th out of 38. My 37:32 swim put me at 35th out of 38 for the segment, my 1:44:08 bike ride put me in dead last, and my 48:30 run put me at 14th out of 38 (beating my friend David by four minutes too).

The course was spectacular. Sweet Home is a gorgeous area to begin with. The race started with an open water swim in Foster Lake with the temperature at 70 degrees. Our bike segment then journeyed through pretty stellar countryside with only a few minimal hills. The run finished up with a quick out and back near the lake.

What I did right:

  • Trained properly. I’ve been running or swimming up to six days a week for the past several months, regularly far exceeding the distances on the course. Both of those segments were a piece of cake.
  • Hydrated and fed myself well. Not perfectly, but good enough that I didn’t feel like throwing up, have low energy, etc. I ate a big dinner Saturday night so I wasn’t starving when I woke up, and fueled myself with Gatorade and Gu before and during the race.
  • Paced myself. In a race, it’s very easy to get caught up in the energy of the moment and push yourself as hard as you can out of the gate. This generally leads to burn out. I had the mindset that all I wanted to do was finish the race, and it made things much less stressful. I also wanted to make sure I could
  • Sprinted the finish. Not many others could say that about their finish…

What I need to do better next time:

  • Swim in a straight line. This was my first open water swim so I won’t be too hard on myself, but I lost momentum a few times when I veered off course. They even had to send a jet ski after me once to get me back on course.
  • Train on my bike. Biking was the most difficult segment, and it wasn’t made any easier by the fact that I hadn’t ridden my bike for almost a year.
  • Fix my bike or ride a road bike. I have a Novara Buzz urban bike I had shipped back from NYC. Last night, when putting it back together, I discovered the front fork was bent in such a way I couldn’t get the wheel back on. After fixing that with a vise grip, I thought I was back in business. As it turns out, both rims were also bent in such a fashion that the back wheel had a significant wobble and both had the disc brakes partially engaged for the entire segment. No coasting made biking exceptionally painful and slow.
  • Push myself harder. Now that I’ve finished my first, I know what it’s like to complete the entire race. I should focus on improving my time a bit.

This triathlon was an incredibly enjoyable event for me. I’m looking forward to another (half Ironman, possibly?) when the season starts again.