Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Bourbon Chase Preview

Despite only being 3 years old, this race is hugely popular. The race sold out quickly this year and consists of 288 teams! Runners literally come from all over the country to experience a race that combines two of my favorite things...running and good bourbon! 

The Bourbon Chase is an overnight relay road race that covers 200 miles of the historic Bourbon Trail. The race starts at Jim Beam and sends runners past Heaven Hill, Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey, Four Roses and Woodford Reserve Distilleries while traveling along the beautiful back roads of central Kentucky. 

Each team consists of 12 members. The teams are divided into two groups of 6, with each group having their own van. My group will start and will run legs 1-6. Then the other van on our team takes over for legs 7-12. Then we are up again for legs 13-18. The process repeats until we have completed all 36 legs of the race...which will take us around 28 or 29 hours. Yes, you read that any given time from 2:00pm on Friday until around 6:30pm on Saturday, we will have someone running.

I am runner #5 on our team. Here's a look at the three legs I will be running:

Leg #5 - Little Pottershop of Horrors, the Sequel
4.7 miles
Rating: Difficult
Projected Start Time - 5:05pm
This run starts out downhill...for half a mile...then reality sets in.  The next half mile is literally straight up a hill. The 5-6% grade is no joke. I get a little break at the top of the climb and then it's back up a small incline around the 1.5 mile mark before a long descend. Running downhill (-10% grade) is actually harder on your legs than running uphill. I'll have about two miles of reality flat road to finish out this leg, but my muscles are going to be angry! Route goes down Pottershop Road (south of Bardstown, KY) to a little town called Manton. Here's the elevation profile:

Leg #17 - Traveller's Rest, but not for Runners!
8.6 miles
Rating: Difficult
Projected Start Time - 2:35am 
This run will be fun. I love running in the dark and I hope that adrenaline will get me through this one as I know I will be tired and going on little or no (more likely) sleep. I start out just outside of Stanford, KY and once I'm out of "town", things will get quite and very dark. Looks like lots of narrow country roads and tight curves as I wind my way the Traveller's Rest State Historic Site in Junction City, just south of Danville, KY. A few big climbs on this one, but nothing like Pottershop. The grades here are only around 3%. Running past a cemetery in the middle of the night that hold's Kentucky's first Governor should be interesting!


Leg #29 - Going to the Chapel
5.0 miles
Rating: Easy
Projected Start Time - 11:55am 
This leg will take me out of Versailles and into some beautiful horse country. I lucked out getting this one, but I deserve it after my first two very difficult runs. This run is almost all downhill and even features a stone bridge. The five mile trek ends at Glenn's Creek Baptist Church (typical small town church name), which was established 211 years ago! I'll hand off the baton for the last time, the van will make a short trip up to Woodford Reserve Distillery and I will start my celebration!

I'll be seeing a lot of this on my final leg!
If you are interesting in tracking us as we run, you can do so at the link below. Hopefully we will be able to stay on pace. We've had a runner or two change out since we sent in our approximate running paces, so who knows. Either way, we are guaranteed to have a good time! I can't wait to write the race report for this one!!

Follow us here:

Team # 485 (Louisville Landsharks Team 2)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Landsharks Triathlon Race Report

Subtitle: You get out what you put in!

I thought maybe all the training I did up until the beginning of August would be enough to carry me through. I thought maybe I could cheat a little on my diet and still be able to slim down enough the week before the race. I knew better...but I thought it anyway.

After my last triathlon, the Tom Sawyer Sprint, on August 5th, I kind of "mailed it in" for the season. I wasn't even sure if I was going to do the Landsharks Triathlon because the date had not been finalized. I knew that I had a vacation coming up and I wanted to start getting in an extra run or two each week leading up to The Bourbon Chase (200 mile running relay race), which is at the end of September. My bike training in-particular has been very lackluster. I've only been out on the road once in the last month and my Trainer workouts haven't exactly been tough. Keep all of this in mind as you continue reading.

I am a creature of habit. This is never more true than on race morning. I pack all my gear the night before so I don't lay in bed thinking about what I need to do in the morning. I get up, visit my porcelain throne, eat a plain sweet potato, and hit the road. I always get to the race site way too early and take my time setting up my transition area. This race was no different.

With the water temperature announced at 78F, that meant that the race was wetsuit legal. I don't mind swimming in cold water, in fact, I actually enjoy it. But I will always wear my wetsuit when given the chance, for it's added buoyancy. Jessica and the kiddos showed up just before the race, so it was good to see them before I entered the water (I think Daddy is a little scary in his wetsuit, swim cap and goggles!).

Bill Marks and I before the race

The swim was two loops of a 750m course in Taylorsville Lake. I planned to stay with the lead group as long as possible. I went out hard and managed to stay on someone's feet until the first turn (around 400 meters). For a long time after that I was all alone. I could see swimmers up in front of me, but I knew that I couldn't catch them, so I just focused on maintaining good form and sighting often enough to not drift too far off course. On the second lap, I was caught by someone and I managed to slip in behind them and draft for a good while. At the final turnaround, I saw Mike Purvis (eventual race winner) on my left side. I decided to try and hang with him, which I did until we exited the water. I came out of the water in just over 25 minutes, which is my fastest 1500M swim time in the lake.

1500m swim
26:35.5 (1:46/100m) - includes run up the boat ramp to T1
2nd out of 3 in my Age Group
11th out of 36 Overall

Exiting the water. Thanks to Carlos Mendia for the pic.
I had a pretty fast T1 considering I had to strip off a wetsuit.

1st out of 3 in my Age Group
7th out of 36 Overall

I got my feet into my shoes before I hit the first big hill (which is always tough to do on this course). My breathing and heart rate were through the roof by the time I reached the top of this hill. I did my best to get into a gear where I could get things under control. I managed to reign things in before I exited the park (around mile 3). As usual, my goal was to set my sights on riders ahead of me and try to catch them. I was picking off people pretty steadily all the way to the turnaround. Right after the turnaround, there is a long (nearly 2 miles) climb. The whole course is hilly, but this climb (2-3%) is brutal. The lack of riding, and specifically hill training came back to bite me in a big way once I started this climb. I was with a friend of mine, Bill Marks at the turn around. As we started up the hill, he left me in his dust. I was pushing hard but my legs weren't there. I was passed about half-way up the hill and began to get angry. I hung with this guy (Gary Morris), for a while, but eventually he pulled away. After I crested the hill, the rest of the ride was equally as difficult. My quads were useless and I was just trying to get back to transition.

40K bike
1:17:44.1 (19.2 mph)
2nd out of 3 in my Age Group
7th out of 36 Overall

Finishing up the bike. Thanks for Carlos Mendia for the pic.

I quickly racked my bike and grabbed my hat and race number belt once in T2. I also grabbed my Garmin GPS watch. With the exception of Ironman, I've never worn my Garmin during a race. I knew that this run was going to be tough and that there were no mile markers, so I wanted to know what kind of pace I was (or wasn't) holding.

1st in my Age Group
9th out of 36 Overall

Just like the bike, the run starts off with a big climb. I did my best to keep my cadence high and just make it to the top without walking. My legs were already in pain and I was curious to see how this 6.2 mile run was going to go. I tried to block out the pain and hold a pace close to 8 minute miles. I've run 7:30's on this course before, but I knew that was not in the cards on this day. I caught up with Bill and Gary as we approached the turn around. Shortly thereafter, my legs really began to ache and I was slowing down. Both Bill and Gary ran past me around mile 4. I was determined to stick with them. I was in some serious pain, but I knew that this was my last triathlon of the season and I didn't want to sit around all winter wishing I had pushed it harder. I kept them both within range and with about a little over a mile to go, I decided to "empty the tank" and run as hard as I could. I managed to catch Bill and was gaining on Gary. As we crested the last hill before going down the descend to the finish, I was only a few seconds from catching him. I was sprinting, but just as I was closing in, Gary turned around and saw me coming. He started to sprint and I couldn't gain anymore ground. He ended up beating me by 10 seconds.

10K run
49:19.10 (7:56/mile)
2nd out of 3 Age Group
14th out of 36 Overall

Final push at the end of the run. Thanks to Carlos Mendia for the pic.

This was my slowest run on this course, but I kind of expected it. Despite all of the extra running that I've been doing lately, the bike shredded my legs to the point that I couldn't run the pace I wanted. Mile splits from my Garmin - 8:38, 8:03, 8:07, 8:38, 8:20, 7:28

 Total Time
2nd out of 3 in my Age Group
9th out of 36 Overall

I've done this exact course almost 6 minutes faster in the past, so I am a little disappointed in my race. A podium spot in my Age Group and a Top 10 Overall finish is always my thanks to the small race size, I walked away with hardware.

Gear used:
2XU C:2 wetsuit
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) GU Chomps - ate about 30 minutes before race start
  • (1) 24oz. bottle of water
  • (2) GU Roctane gels (one at 20 minutes, one at 40 minutes)
  • Water at every aid station, HEED at last two aid stations

This is what running in pain looks like (doesn't this look fun?!?!):


Friday, September 14, 2012

Landsharks Triathlon Preview

This weekend will mark my final triathlon for the 2012 season. After racing nearly every 3 weeks since the beginning of the year, I'm excited to get back out there - it's been a whole 6 weeks since my last race!

The Landsharks Triathlon is an Olympic distance race (1500m swim, 40K bike, 10K run) on a very hilly course. The race is called "Landsharks" after our local multisport club, The Louisville Landsharks. I've been a member of the club for three years now and have served on the Board of Directors for the last two. With close to 250 members this year, we are one of the largest clubs in the region. The club is full of awesome people that compete at all levels of triathlon (from rookies to pros). We have socials every month and lots of group workouts to keep each other motivated. If you live in the Louisville area and are not a member...what are you waiting for? Follow the link above to get more info on the club.

Alright, enough of my sales pitch...back to this weekend's race.

To say that I'm familiar with this course is an understatement. By my count, I've done one Sprint, three Olympic and two half-Ironman triathlons on this course. The swim is in Taylorsville Lake, which should be a very comfortable temperature. The out-and-back bike goes a few miles through the state park and then out onto the main road. It's basically one hill after another. The run also follows an out-and-back route that goes off pavement onto a gravel/dirt road before turning around.

I would like to finish the season on a high note, but considering that I'm coming off of a vacation, I'm about 5 pounds over my typical race weight (thanks to the vacation), and my training has been all over the place lately - I'm just going to go out there and have fun. My previous Olympic distance times on this course are 2:56, 2:35 & 2:29. So I'd be happy with anything in the 2:30 range.

I mentioned that I was on vacation recently. My wife and I took a "babymoon" to Indian Rocks Beach (Tampa/St. Pete) this past weekend (Fri.-Tues.). We had lots of fun relaxing and eating! I attempted to get in a few workouts while we were there, but had minimal success. With 25-30 mph sustained winds coming off of the Gulf, I learned a few things. 1) Running with the wind at your back is fun. 2) Having to turn around and run with the wind in your face is not fun at all. 3) Trying to swim in the Gulf of Mexico when there is a rip current warning is a bad idea. I my defense, I didn't know about the rip current until after I got out of the water. Here's a video of what it looked/sounded like:

The winds died down enough for me to get in a swim on Monday. I've never done a triathlon that started on a beach, but fighting the waves going out and then doing "dolphin dives" coming back in to the beach would be an added adventure...not to mention the 3-4 foot swells that make sighting difficult and the salty taste that it leaves in your mouth! I have a new appreciation for anyone that does a race in these conditions! The water temperature was also 85F...which is way too warm to swim any distance in!

I also got in a good 6+ mile run on Monday with minimal wind. I saw a dolphin swimming in The Narrows and ran the last mile on the that's definitely something that I don't get to do often! Here's a map of my route. Awesome views!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Thoughts on Lance Armstrong

I'm about two weeks late on this, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the whole Lance Armstrong fiasco. For those of you that live under a rock, I'll bring you up to speed...

June: The USADA (United States Anti-Doping Association) officially charges Armstrong with doping and trafficking of drugs, and was suspended from competing in cycling and triathlon.

July: Armstrong files a lawsuit in federal court in Texas against the USADA, but a judge threw it out the same day. The next day, Armstrong refiled the suit, while three former U.S. Postal Service cycling team associates received lifetime bans.

Aug. 20: A federal judge throws out Armstrong's revised lawsuit, leaving him three days to decide if he would head to arbitration to fight charges.

Aug. 23: Armstrong announces he will not go to arbitration. "The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today - finished with this nonsense," he said in a release.

These are just the most resent events in the Lance/doping saga. Since he won the fifth of six straight Tour de France titles in 2003 he has been up to his ears in controversy. It started with a French newspaper saying that blood samples taken after the 1999 title were retested and showed EPO (a performance-enhancing drug). Since this initial report, many, many former teammates (and some of their wives), other riders, personal assistants, and anyone else that was asked has said that they either saw him take the performance-enhancing drugs or heard him say that he did.

Despite all of this circumstantial evidence, he has NEVER failed a drug test. By his count, there have been over 500 of them throughout his career.

I've never been a huge Lance fan (he comes off as pretty smug sometimes), but I feel like this is a witch hunt. For whatever reason, the USADA, professional cycling, everyone in France and most of his former teammates want to see him get busted...and they have all tried their best to bust him for over 15 years now. With no positive tests on record, they have continued to dig up all of these former teammates and personal friends to try and get enough people to say he cheated that it becomes assumed.

I don't know what I believe. If he didn't cheat, why would all these people say that he did? Because he was a jerk to them? Doubt that's motive enough. If he did cheat, then where are the positive tests? In a sport where literally hundreds of riders have been busted cheating through blood samples, how did Lance beat the system when so many others couldn't?

The USADA stripped Lance of every title that he won since 1998 and banned him for life from cycling. What I'm really sad about is the fact the USADA has also banned Lance from competing as a pro triathlete. I remember all the excitement surrounding the sport when Lance came back to triathlon.

Armstrong made his return to triathlon in the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Panama race, on February 12, 2012. He raced as a pro, finishing with a time of 3:50:55, 2nd overall. He also entered half-Ironman distance races in Texas (7th) and St. Croix (3rd) before breaking through with victories at Ironman 70.3 Florida and Ironman 70.3 Hawaii. Armstrong had planned to race Ironman France in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 World Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii. There is little doubt that he would have qualified.

As you can see, he was doing big things in the sport and was about to take it to a whole new level of media coverage. There were even rumors of LIVE coverage of the Ironman Championships this year...that won't happen now that Lance isn't racing. I guess we're back to only being able to watch live triathlon's streaming online, and then having to wait months for them to appear on a random Fox Sports TV channel.

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