Monday, August 17, 2009

2009 Pleasant Prairie Triathlon

Pleasant Prairie Triathlon
Pleasant Prairie, WI
August 16, 2009
Olympic Distance

Matthew Amman 2nd OA
S 19:47 B 55:18 R 38:57

This was the race to finish off my IM Build. I'd never done a race at this location and looked forward to a semi-flat bike and flat run course. In the past a number of "fast" people come to win money. Pay-outs were for the first three overall.

Without an elite wave, Scott (Bowe) and I started in wave two with Jelly Belly Pro Daniel Bretscher starting in wave 1. The water was clear and I swam comfortably on Scott's feet for the first 1/3. The triangular swim course was nice because we made only two turns. One guy in our wave smoked us with a low 18 swim, I exited the water about 30 seconds behind Scott.

Transition went fairly smoothly for me minus having to rethread my right shoe strap. Scott had issues.

When you start biking, we have a good vantage point to see who's in front. Scott was nowhere to be found. I figured my T1 must of been slower than I thought and he somehow put out a herculian effort to be out of sight. Turned out I was wrong. Scott delayed exiting T1 to rearrange his race belt and then while biking, his rear brake was rubbing for loop 1. I had simply exited T1 before him.

Loop 1 was uneventful. I rode fairly even and upon starting loop 2, I saw the leader and calculated that I was 30 seconds behind. Not too bad, but I didn't have the motivation to push any harder. Suffering to catch and overpass someone is fun, but to do it as a solo effort wasn't going to happen today.

I came into T2 and put my socks and shoes on. After exiting, I was informed that I was in third. The run was hard. I struggled with the side-stitch from the start. At an out and back section, I saw the leader and he was cruising sub 6's. The guy in second had a CC shirt on with running shorts, obviously a relay team. By mile 3 the stitch had become manageable. I ran even paced until the end for second place.

1 6:15
2 6:19
3 6:16
4 6:23
5 6:25
6 5:57

The time difference between first and second was almost 5 minutes. Where can I make that up? First would be my transitions. Up to now, my bike shoes are off the bike. It seems that the faster racers are keeping them on their bike and slipping into them after the bike mount akin to the racers in ITU racing. I'm going to start doing that next year and try it out at Devil's Challenge Triathlon. Second, transition 2 is a little slow because I put socks on. With IM coming up, I was hesitant to get a blister. Third, raise my running performance. Between these three things, I might be able to make up the difference.

- 1 Gel and Red Bull for breakfast, worked fine (race start was 6:30)
- Carried a spared tubular, probably carry Pitstop in the future
- No socks for Olympics triathlons
- Running with race belt in hand for 1/4 mile felt good
- Side-stitch strategies remain effective
- Liberal use of Vaseline for the unit, worked good
- Nasal strip, aero-helmet, Team GG kit, visor
- Tire pressure F-115 R-117

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2009 Camp Whitcomb/Mason Triathlon

Camp Whitcomb/Mason Triathlon
Hartland, WI
August 9, 2009
Sprint Triathlon
1/3 mile; 22 mile; 5K

Matthew Amman 1st OA
S-8:35 B-53:42 (24.6mph) R-19:43

The original plan was to do a massive workout on Saturday before the race (5hr ride, 1hr run) and then show up and humilate myself at the CWM triathlon. Well, the weather was terrible on Saturday but I managed to sneak in a 2.5 hr ride.

Sunday morning was sunny with a slight breeze. Like usual, I had to sign up race morning. Big problem. Upon registrating I was informed that they weren't allowing anybody in the elite wave. Huh! Two years ago I signed up race morning and was allowed into the elite wave. In a huff, I told the volunteers to hold onto the forms while I chatted with the race director. After pleading my case to both the RD and the head timer, the official response was NO! At this point I wasn't sure I wanted to play; besides Scott and I had a monster workout planned immediately after the race (3.5 hr bike, 1 hr run). After fuming for 15 minutes, I returned to the registration table, coughed up the $100, told the ladies that I'm going to win the race and not come back again. They just smiled.

Scott (Bowe) with the rest of the elite wave took off while I watched. I was stuck in wave 7--the last wave. The previous time I did the race, I swam with a wetsuit and found myself overheating. With similar conditions, I opted to go without it this time. It was the right move. I had a lot of swim traffic to manuevre past and made sure to be courtesy. After the recent triathlon related deaths, I didn't want to hurt a newbie by swimming over them.

Two years ago I raced CWM differently. It was my first time trying to win a triathlon. Between Michael Boehmer overtaking me on the bike coupled with trying to hold off Phil Bzdusek, I rode every hill all out (akin to MTB racing) and prayed that I wouldn't die. It worked that time to take 2nd OA and a big mental booster.

This time without the hype of "being in the front" when starting the bike, I simply kept my effort consistent never digging deep on the hills or making a tactical move.

I started running fast to take advantage of the uneven territory. At mile 2 I developed a side stitch. I kept it under control for another 100 yards but then I needed to stop. After resting for 10-15 seconds, I surged forward. One thing I learned that is if I tuck my chin, the stitch goes away. I may look a little goofy but it seemed to work. I finally crossed the finish line in 1:23:59.

I'm taking my ball and going home.

Race safety is always my primary concern. After getting hit by a car in a triathlon earlier this year combined with a record number of triathlon deaths, I'm alittle worried while racing. In this particular case, you don't pay $100 to simply enjoy the morning especially for us competitive guys. To ask an elite to swim over a few hundred people and then bike past them 5-10 mph faster is potentially hazardous. We got lucky this time, but that hasn't always been the case.

Monday, August 3, 2009

2009 Late Season Training

Beesting & Loose Skewer

This past week I finished my first of three Build weeks to set me up for Ironman Louisville on August 31st. I managed to survive, learn a few lessons along the way, and was thankful for the rest days in between. The key workouts consist of:

1. German style 5 hr bike ride faster than IM pace
2. Zone 3 bike ride for 90 minutes followed by 60 minute run faster than IM pace
3. Long hard run

A lot of times when you do really hard workouts like this you don't know what to expect. Sometimes you surprise yourself yet other times you make a few errors. The major lesson so far is pacing.

Workout #1 was designed to be soulcrushing but with poor pacing, I sort of ruined it. I did the TriWisconsin Lannon loop three times ( with a working knowledge of how fast I can ride it per loop. Last week I did two loops at breakneck speed without much trouble. However, this time the wind was up and my stubborness led me to believe that I could still muscle out three loops fairly close to the same pace per loop. I was wrong. My final loop was 11 minutes slower than the first. Not good. And when it came to running 30 minutes afterwards, I struggled. While the focus was the 5 hr bike part and running was simply bonus material, I did not get what I wanted out it, plus I got a nasty beesting while riding. Adding insult to injury, my rear skewer was loose for the ride. Thankfully, I lucked out and nothing bad happened.

Workout #2 was at Crank Daddy's bike shop on a ergmo/computrainer to ride at constant watts to keep my heart rate within zone 3. What I did was ride 425 watts (the thing must be WAY off) for 90 minutes followed by a 60 minute build run. The first 20 minutes were to be easy, the second twenty moderate hard, and the final 20 tempo. It was a challenging workout.

Workout #3 was the long hard run. The goal was to run my usual 2:45 loop faster than usual and see what happened (house down north ave to parkway, parkway to Hawley then back along wells (at Hawley & Wells turn usually takes 29-30 minutes), connect with parkway head north, across bridge to hart park, up parkway to north ave junction (usually takes 60-62 minutes) up parkway to hwy 100 back along other side of parkway, back down all the way to Hawley, same route back to north ave then to home street). 20.5 miles later I finished in 2:30. I had to fight a few mental demons along the way yet I survived.

Workout #1/German Ride
This was a combo workout with Camp Whitcomb/Mason Triathlon followed by 2.5 hr bike ride immediately afterwards. The race went really well (see race report) and the following bike ride was manageable. I was far off IM race pace, but I made it. I also thought about running after the ride, but called it a day. This was my substitution for the week's German Ride.

Workout #2
Long brick workout of 2.5 hr bike (originally going to be 3.5 hr) followed by 2 hr run. The bike was on pace until 2:10 when I was stung by a bee on the right thigh, ouch! I had to stop on the side of the road and was in considerable more pain than last week's episode. After a few minutes, I decided to cut my ride short and head back to the car. Ten minutes later I felt fine at the car, I decided to finish with the long run. I ran strong hold sub 7:30's. I was happy that I kept it together mentally.

Workout #3
Instead of a computrainer ride at Cranky Daddy's I opted to go outside and do the Lannon ride. I rode sub 1:40 for 35 miles with a 7:30 pace run for 45 minutes afterwards.

Workout #1/German Ride
Long ride was 105 miles to Theresa and back in sub 5 hrs (4:56) with a sore throat/head cold. I was supposed to run afterwards but with a late start time I had to get to work. I ran 1 hr later in the day and it was easy. I did, however, check out the legs after the bike with a short jog and felt fresh unlike the previous effort the week before or a month prior when I did the exact same workout (105 miles to Theresa and back in 5:00) but could barely walk afterwards.

Workout #2
Long Run 1.5 hr hard at sub 7:20 pace in the heat. I suffered.

Workout #3
Olympic distance triathlon (see race report).


I followed this with Matt Fitzgerald's two-week taper.


In conclusion, the season has gone by fast. Adrienne and I have done a number of races with the usual drama. We won a few, lost a few, had moments of greatness and moments of failure. Mentally I feel cloudy with erradic motivation but physically things seem to be getting sharper. I believe the build workouts I have chosen for this year will make me stronger to handle the challenges of racing an Ironman.