Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Olympics Viewing Guide

The fact that the Summer Olympics only come around every four years makes them even more special. If they were held on an annual basis, it was take some of the luster away. I have always loved the Olympics and have some very fond memories dating all the way back to the 1984 games. That year Carl Lewis dominated the track and Greg Louganis owned the diving competitions. Louisville's very own Mary T Meagher took home two golds in the pool. Of course the most famous star of the '84 games was little Mary Lou Retton.

I remember little pieces of every Summer Olympics over the last 28 years and I'm looking forward to seeing what special moments come from this year's Games!

I will watch as much of the Olympics as possible. I even recently added NBC Sports Network to my Dish lineup so that I could watch more events live. Of course, NBC will have a prime-time recap every night that I will also watch. Hopefully Jessica will get into the games a little bit so that she's not annoyed at me every night for the next two weeks!

Here are the events that I consider "must-see":

Friday, July 25th - Opening Ceremony
NBC - 7:30pm to 12:00am EDT (no live broadcast)
I've heard rumors that they are going to create artificial clouds and make it rain during the Opening Ceremony. I'm not really sure if that's possible, but if it is, and they pull it off...I'm sure some farmers in the US would like to have some details on how to make that happen!

Wednesday, August 8th - Men's Basketball
Team USA will play five games before this day, but this is when the medal round starts. Quarterfinals are on the 8th, semifinals on the 10th and the gold medal game is on Sunday the 12th at 10:00am EDT - the final day of the games. Team USA should win the gold, but don't be too shocked if they don't. Several other teams have multiple NBA players on their rosters...and this isn't the '92 Dream Team!

Wednesday, August 8th - Women's Beach Volleyball Gold Medal Game
NBC Sports Network - 4:00pm EDT
No explanation needed here.

Saturday, July 28th - Road Cycling
NBC - 5:00am EDT
The road race is 250K (155 miles) for men and 140K (87 miles) for women. There is also a 44K (27.3 miles) Men's Time Trail and 29K (18 miles) Women's Time Trial. The TT races are on August 1st.

Thursday, August 2nd thru 7th - Track Cycling
NBC - 12:30pm EDT (Men's Sprint Finals)
There are a total of 10 cycling events on the indoor track. Some individual, some team competitions. These are done on fixed gear bikes and being fast and aerodynamic is the key. Very exciting and fast sport!

Saturday, July 28th thru Friday, August 4th - Swimming
NBC Sports Network - various times
There are way too many swimming events to list them all. Just know that you will get to see some swimming action almost every day during the first week of the games. NBC loves their swimming, so you will no doubt see lots of coverage in prime time. Look for the Phelps vs. Lochte battles to be highlighted. Don't be shocked if none of the world records are broken. Remember at the 2008 games when everyone was wearing the full-body suits and records were falling in almost every race? Well, the suits have been banned now, so if you see a WR this year - be very excited!

Saturday, August 4th - Women's Triathlon
NBC Sports Network - 4:00am EDT
I'll be up to watch this one live. New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt is probably the favorite to win gold, but USA's Sarah Groff has been racing really well lately and has a great chance to bring home a medal. Gwen Jorgensen has also turned in some impressive races this year and could be in contention as well. USA won Bronze in the 2004 games and I like our chances this time around.

Tuesday, August 7th - Men's Triathlon
NBC Sports Network - 6:30am EDT
Team USA Men's team has some good stories, but neither Hunter Kemper nor Manny Huerta have a very good shot at a medal. After watching several ITU races this year, I don't see how anyone can beat the hometown brothers, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee. Baring and injury or crash, these two will be battling it out for gold and silver. 

Sunday, August 5th - Men's 100M Finals
NBC Sports Network - 4:50pm EDT
This is probably the Track and Field event that gets the most publicity. This year's race is being touted as the best ever! Everyone remembers Usain Bolt's dominance from the 2008 games, but he's going to have some stiff competition this time around. Fellow Jamaican Yahan Blake, who beat Bolt at the Jamaican Olympic Trials will be there, as will American's Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay. Let's just hope no one goofs up and that all four of these guys make the finals. If they do, it might very well be the best 100M race the world has ever seen.

Thursday, August 9th - Men's 200M Finals
NBC Sports Network - 3:55pm EDT
Lots of the same guys as the 100M race. Bolt and Blake will be the favorites with the USA's best hopes for a medal being Wallace Spearmon and Maurice Mitchell.

Sunday, August 12th - Men's Marathon
NBC - 6:00am EDT
Two reasons to watch this race - American's Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall.

Thursday, August 9th - Men's 800M
NBC Sports Network - 3:00pm EDT
American Nick Symmonds knows how to run around a track twice. He has dominated this event in America since 2008. Kenyan David Rudisha holds the world record at this distance. As fast as Symmonds is, Rudisha is on another level.

Saturday, August 11th - Men's 4x100 Relay
NBC Sports Network - 2:00pm EDT
The USA will go up against Jamaica in this very fast relay race. Team USA didn't even medal in this event in 2008 - it's time for redeption!

Thursday, August 8th - Men's Decathlon (day two)
NBC Sports Network - All Day (final event, the 1500m, is at 4:20pm EDT)
This event crowns "the world's greatest athlete". Over two days, these guys will compete in 10 events. All involve running, jumping or throwing. The USA has had some awesome decathletes over the years (Bruce Jenner, Dan O'Brien, Bryan Clay), but two guys on this year's team are even better - Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee. Eaton broke the world record in this even just a few weeks ago at the US Olympic Trials...and there is a real possibility that Eaton and Hardee will win gold and silver in London.

Sunday, August 4th - Women's 100M Finals
NBC Sports Network - 4:55pm EDT
Allyson Felix got a lot of press after the drama surrounding her photo finish at the Trials, but as in the Men's 100M race, Jamacia will send the favorite. Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce is the fastest in the world at this distance (10.70s). Team USA's best hope is Carmelita Jeter, who ran a 10.92 at the Trials.

Wednesday, August 8th - Women's 200M Finals
NBC Sports Network - 4:00pm EDT
American Sanya Richards-Ross has the Olympic experience but Allyson Felix won this event at the Trials. With Carmelita Jeter in the mix as well, the US could take 2 out of the 3 medals in this one.

Tuesday, August 7th - Women's 100M Hurdles
NBC Sports Network - 4:00pm EDT
Lolo Jones gets all the press, but as much as I like her, I will be surprised if she makes the finals. Dawn Harper is America's best hope to medal, but they will all be chasing Austrailia's Sally Pearson.

Sunday, August 5th - Women's Marathon
NBC - 6:00am EDT
Shalane Flanagan is a 10K runner. She is a three time USA Champion at the distance. After winning bronze at the 2008 games in the 10K, she has decided to change her focus to the marathon. In only her second marathon, she posted a 2:25:38 at the Trials. To no one's surprise, a Kenyan, Mary Jepkosgei Keitany will be the favorite.

Believe it or not, that's not even all the events that I want to watch...I just got tied of typing. Enjoy the games and Go USA!!

Full Olympic Schedule:

Team USA site:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Buckhead Border Challenge Race Report

This disaster of a race started with a text at 11:22pm the night before. It was from the race director and it woke me up...then I couldn't get back to sleep. Things only got worse from there...

But instead of making this a post about all of the things that went wrong yesterday, I will flip my frown upside down (yes, I said it) and tell you about all of the good things that happened.

The race was delayed an hour because they were waiting on EMS, couldn't figure out where to put the swim buoys, ran out of buoys and had to move them to the Sprint race, were waiting on Bill Marks to get to the start line. No one really knows what the problem was, but it was good to sit around and chat with all of my triathlon buds...something that I don't get to do that often.

This was the worst swim I've ever had in a race. I was completely lost and the lack of buoys made it impossible to get back on track. But, I did get in a nice 30 minute swim at race pace. I probably ended up swimming somewhere around 1,750 meters between all the back and forth I was doing across the rive.

1500 meter swim 
30:47 (2:03/100m)
13th out of 20 in my Age Group
113th out of 219 Overall

Swim exit - thanks to Jeremy Brown for the pic

I had a very fast T1 and had no trouble getting my new Aero helmet on quickly. I even got to see Jessica and the kids and gave them a quick wave and yell.

2nd out of 20 in my Age Group
8th out of 219 Overall

Great flying start on Flash and I was on my way. Despite my bike computer deciding not to work, I had my fastest Olympic Distance bike split ever. With no computer, I had to ride by feel...which means I pushed it pretty hard. I knew that my swim was going to prevent me from getting the top 10 finish that I wanted and most likely keep me out of a podium spot in my age group, but I just started picking off riders one at a time to see how much ground I could make up.

40K bike
1:02:17 (23.9 mph)
3rd out of 20 in my Age Group
21st of out 219 Overall

Thanks to Josh Couture for the pic

I was really excited to see my bike split, but due to the lack of a volunteer or sign indicating where the dismount was, I had a bit of an "incident" getting off of the bike. I ended up cutting my big toe open. 
I sped trough T2 and knew that my goal of a sub 2:25:00 race was attainable.

1st in My Age Group
14th of out of 219 Overall

I was surprised to see Jessica and the kids again as I started the run. It was a nice little boost to get me started. I noticed the pain in my toe almost immediately, but I tried to block it out. I was running 7:40-7:50 miles for the first 3, which is slower than normal. My legs were feeling good, no cramps like last race, but that toe was killing me. I looked down at my shoe at the two mile mark and noticed the bloody mess. At the turnaround, I started doing the math. Finishing under 2:25 was going to be close...just like last race. It was all I could do to maintain an 8 minute per mile pace at this point. Miles 4 and 5 were in the 8:20 range and when I was passed by two guys with about a mile and a half to go I decided it was time to dig deep. I made it a goal to keep them close and then pour it on at the end to try and catch them. With about half a mile to go, I knew that I could reach my PR. I put my head down and sprinted (it probably didn't look like a sprint, but it was all I had left). I passed several people down the stretch, but just couldn't catch one of the guys that had passed me earlier. He bested me by 3 seconds (the picture below is about 20 feet from the finish line - note the effort on my face - I kicked too late). As I crossed the finish line I knew that I had set a PR for the distance and despite all of the things that went wrong, I was able to find that extra gear at the end to reach me goal. 

10K run
49:57 (8:02/mile)
6th out of 20 in my Age Group
35th out of 219 Overall

Thanks to Josh Couture for the pic
I was a little scared to take my shoe and sock off to access the damage. It didn't end up being too bad and all the blood made it look worse than it actually was. I have about a 1-1/2" long cut right up the edge of my toenail and onto the end of my big toe. It will heal in a few big deal.

My shoe isn't supposed to be red on the end

Overall Time
6th Out of 20 in my Age Group
28th out of 219 Overall

The most disappointing thing about my race was that with even a decent swim, I could have moved up into the top 20 overall and been in contention for a top 3 spot in my Age Group. I learned a valuable lesson yesterday...never leave the large group that you start the swim with, even if you think they aren't taking the most direct route. Being all alone in an open water swim is never good...unless you are out front!

Gear used:
Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles
Louis Garneau Elite Lazer Tek Suit
Tifosi Dolomite sunglasses
Argon 18 E-112 Triathlon bike
Bike Javelin aero helmet
Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 7 shoes

Nutrition used:
  • (1) Medium Sweet Potato
  • Water bottle with NUUN tablet
  • (1) Clif Chot Blocks - ate about 30 minutes one hour before race start
  • (1) 24oz. bottle of water
  • (2) GU Roctane gels (one at 15 minutes, one at 45 minutes)
  • Water at every aid station, Gatorade at last two aid stations

Friday, July 13, 2012

Buckhead Border Challenge Race Preview

This Sunday is the Buckhead Border Challenge Triathlon. It's an Olympic Distance race that takes participants across the border from Kentucky to Indiana. This is the second year for the race, but at this time last year, I was training for I skipped this race in favor of a longer half-IM one.

This season has been a little weird in the fact that I haven't had an "A" race that all me training has been leading up to. My first full season on doing triathlon's was 2009. That year, my priority race was Tri Indy, an Olympic Distance race in August. My "A" races in 2010 were both half-Ironman races, one in May and one in July. Last season it was Ironman Louisville in August. Having a race or two that all my training is gearing towards is an easy way to set up your training. This season I didn't have a particular race that everything was building towards. So my training has been pretty steady all year. 

Based on several factors (this race has a fast course, the season is winding down, my training has been going well recently and I'm very motivated to get revenge), I've decided to make this my "A" race for 2012. With it only being an Olympic Distance (as opposed to a half or full Ironman), there was really no need for a several-week taper, so making this last-minute decision won't be detrimental.

This race is unique in the fact that participants will have to take a shuttle across the Ohio River to get to the swim start. Transition areas will be on the Indiana side, but the race starts on the Kentucky side of the river. As you can guess, the 1.5K (0.93 mile) swim requires you to swim across the river. This is no easy task since the river has a pretty steady current. Due to the current, it's impossible to swim straight across; so the course will have us swimming at an angle. It's supposed to rain for the next few days, so hopefully the current won't get too fast to make staying on course difficult!

After exiting the water, the 40K (24.9 mile) bike course will consist of two loops of a 12+ mile course. The route is very flat and should be fast. I will once again cut down the weight on my bike to only the essentials. I think I'm going to switch back to gels as opposed to the Hammer Perpetuem I used during the Southern Indiana Tri. My legs just ran out of juice last race and since I never had that happen with gels, I'll try switching back. The reason I went with liquid fuel was to make my bike more aerodynamic by removing the gels I typically tape to the top tube. I'm not going to tape them there, but I need to find a place to store them...somewhere on my body.

The 10K (6.2 mile) run was supposed to take racers back into Kentucky across the Second Street bridge. But due to the never-ending construction on Interstate 65, they could not get the bridge closed for the race. So we will instead take and out and back course along the Indiana side of the river. Scenery should be beautiful and will help to numb the pain. I like out and back bike and run courses because it lets me count racers and see what position I'm in. 

Goals for this race are the same as the last one:
1) Set an Olympic Distance PR (under 2:25:11)
2) Top 10 Overall Finish
3) Top 3 Age Group Finish

I've been off of gluten for two weeks now and I'm feeling pretty good. I'm taking probiotics twice a day as well as L-Glutamine before bed to help heal my gut. This, in addition to putting in some good workouts over the last three weeks has me pretty confident heading into the race this weekend. I'm really excited to get out there and see what I can do!

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