Tri the Kenai

So, a few months ago when Marnie and I decided we were going to come to Alaska for a vacation I couldn’t help but to see if there were any races going on. I really didn’t expect any triathlons to be happening as it is chilly, even in June, but lo and behold I was wrong!! There were two during our trip. One was the day we left and although I would have liked to do that one since two of my friends were it wasn’t gonna happen. The second, which was further away, was right in the middle of the trip. To make things even better it was just about halfway home from Homer, AK, where we would be visiting my grandparents. I figured this would be a way to end a trip down the Kenai Peninsula. So I looked into Tri the Kenai sprint triathlon.

I’ve found that if I ask the race director if they do anything for military they usually will either not email me back or will tell me no. Which is fine, it never hurts to ask especially when I’ve been put on a race budget by The Boss and I’m trying to get in as many races as possible. This time I lucked out! Not only did they do a discount, but that discount was a complete waiver of entry fees! I quickly consulted The Boss and she said it wouldn’t be a problem.

Marnie AKA “The Boss”

Now, I asked the boss if I could bring my speed machine up to Anchorage, but due to the unreasonable fees airlines charge to fly a bike even if it is under 50 lbs and your only piece of checked baggage I quickly received a “NO” from The Boss. All was well, when the RD emailed me he mentioned he would have a bike I could borrow as long as a 56 cm would work. It’s a few cm above what I ride right now, but that would work. He also told me that I could adjust the bike as I needed to make it work. When I got there and made the adjustments I was truly grateful. It was an older bike, but it was very well maintained! Even had Ultegra and Dura-Ace on it! Wheels were as smooth as butter!

Race day:
We woke up around 7 since the race didn’t start until 10 ish for me. We had about an hour and a half of driving from Homer, AK to get into Soldotna, which gave us plenty of time to get Genevieve up and into her carseat and soundly back asleep by the time we’d gone 5 miles. The Boss was hungry, so we stopped at a gas station to get food. Good chance for me to get some proper nutrition and fuel for the sprint… A Honey Bun and a soda… Cause, you know… Gotta be healthy! We stopped a few times so Marnie could get pictures of the two volcanoes on the other side of the Cook Inlet. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself!

We got there about 20 minutes before packet pickup and the transition closed, which gave me more than enough time to make adjustments and set out my shoes before heading into the pool area. When I pulled out my packet and got my swim cap out The Boss asked me if they knew I was a boy… We looked around and noticed everyone had bright pink race caps

Sweet, pink swim cap! This was a few days after when packing to come home.

Swim:

I hadn’t been in a pool for a little over 6 months, so I was a bit anxious about how I’d do with the swim. I knew that I wouldn’t be doing any flip-turning. Once in I relaxed a bit and just went for it, after all it was only a sprint. I was pretty pleased with my ability to keep pace and ended up avg at 1:30/100m. Definitely room for improvement, but not sad about it.

Putting on my sweet race cap before I got in the pool.

Time – 7:30 – 1:30/100m – No placing as results were total time and did not have any splits
T1 – 2:08

Bike:

WOW HILLS! I hadn’t really anticipated the size of the hills that were on this course. It reminded me of Branson, MO 70.3 last year. Luckily this was only 10 miles and not 56. As I was right after “elite” men there weren’t many people ahead of me to catch. I was able to catch a relay biker and another of the males, but there was no way I was catching any of the “elite” females as they were 10 minutes ahead of the “elite” males. For being so hilly I was pretty pleased with my time. Generally I focus on having good cadence, especially for grinding up hills, but without any indicators other than what I felt I did this all on PE.

Time – 29:47 – 2:58/mi – No placing as results were total time and did not have any splits
T2 – 1:11

Run:

Also super hilly. I was very happy with this course! Instead of using paved roads like most sprint tri’s they had access to the cross country ski trails behind the high school. It was comprised of one short loop and then a long loop. The breakup was late this year so the middle of the trail and some of the lower points in the trail were a bit muddy. It just added to the fun. My legs felt pretty good, they were a bit shaky the first uphill, but as soon as I got up the hill they got their power back and I was able to set into a decent pace. Not as fast as I would like, but the speed will be back by the end of summer.

Feeling great after the first short loop.

Time – 25:05 – 8:04/mi – No placing as results were total time and did not have any splits

Total time – 1:05:36 – 18/115 Overall –  2/3 Age Group (HAHAHA)

Thoughts:
Good:

-First triathlon of the season
-PE on bike was good, especially with all the hills I was able to maintain above 20 mph
-Great race!

Needs improvement:
-I need to get in the pool more often!
-Get out there and put more speed into my runs!
-Cut out the excess weight

Marnie told me that this chick was more badass than I was… I agree. Way to go!!
She also sent me this with the caption “My dad is so awesome!!!”

A huge thanks to Tony Oliver in Soldotna, AK. He hooked me up with free entry to the race and then went above and beyond when he lent me his bike to race on. I hope that I’ll be up there racing again sometime in the next few years!

Advertisements

Leon’s Triathlon Relay RR

So, a few weeks back I was talking to one of my friends, who was having a minor freakout about having signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon as her first race. She has a problem with this because she starts every year with a sprint distance, then Oly, then half-IM… I dread the year for her when she decides to do a full-IM haha!

Anyways, she told me she was thinking of splitting it to a relay and was wondering if I wanted to do the bike. Having just built my custom race bike and having been focusing on my bike speed it really was a no-brainer for me. Of course I would do the bike leg.

Before the race I started getting interested in Team Red White & Blue. A friend who is prior-service Army had talked to me about them and I decided I would check them out. If you haven’t already, you really should check them out. They focus on helping veterans overcome they’re injuries by bringing them to athletics, which is such a powerful tool in curing depression, PTSD and many, many things that plague our veterans today. As a part of Team RWB I was invited to a dinner with the team members who were going to be racing the next day. It was pretty great to meet everyone and to hear a little about what their goals and experiences were. I had given Marnie the day off of mom duties, so Genevieve was with me and immediately made friends by tasting their fingers.

Caroline Gaynor of Team RWB and Genevieve

This morning I got up around 4:50 because my daughter wanted to be fed and then continued to get ready. I haven’t really paid attention to my nutrition in the past with races, so I made a point of going for micronutrients that would give me an overload of healthiness. I’ve started juicing every morning and I feel great. My buddy Jeff met me at 5:30 so we could make the hour drive into Hammond, IN again for the race. We were expecting nice(not) weather. It was supposed to be cloudy with a 20% chance of rain. When we got to the transition at 6:30 we actually had sunny skies… 30 minutes later it was completely cloud-covered. And just as the opening ceremonies started a frigid wind came in and knocked 10 degrees out of the air. It was FREEZING. And I had to wait almost 2 hours before I would get my chance to warm up. Then it started to drizzle and mist making things way colder and more miserable. Once on the bike I was able to hammer out pretty good times and keep my hr around 170 to stay warm. I knew I didn’t have to run afterwards, so I wasn’t worried about fresh legs for the run.

At the halfway point before I overtook these two.

I ended up completing the bike which was on my Garmin as 25.3 miles in 1:08:20 maintaining an avg speed of 22.2 mph. Pretty happy with everything overall… I especially loved all the people on super aero expensive TT bikes with aero helmets and how I blew past them.