Here’s a briefer update on what's been going on: training, 2 recent races, what the early season holds, and an intro to a series of posts that I think will be interesting, informing, entertaining.
Last post I said that I’ve been running. That has not changed, the focus is on the run. Let it be known, among many other going-ons, that 2017 was the year Luke became a legitimate runner. The last 6 months has been phenomenal, and I’ve moved into a new regime of fast running. I am still on the up and up, and I may one day be silly fast on foot. But I can say that I am now a truly legit fast runner.
Chilly Cheeks Duathlon
February 25, 2017
Denver’s Chilly Cheeks Duathlon was my first multisport race of the year. So it hasn’t been all running. To be precise, I have raced my bike 11 miles this year.
Being so early in the year, weather and surface conditions are far from guaranteed. However, on the Wedneday before this race, the pavement was dry and the forecast looked stable, so I went ahead and signed up for the Saturday race. Then the skies opened up and dumped snow in Boulder all Thursday afternoon, all Friday morning, all Friday afternoon. It was warm, but 3-6” of snow still accumulated. The temperature was right on the border of freezing, so not much stuck to the pavement - the roads were clear in spots and icy in spots.
I detail all of this because it led to me riding this bike, mud and all:
Instead of this bike:
I decided not to bring out my time trial/triathlon bike, instead opting for my cyclocross bike. I figured 3 things were better about the cross bike – the tires have a bit of tread, you ride in a more stable/balanced position, and if I fall, it will be at 20 mph instead of 30 mph.
It turned out that it had been warmer in Denver than Boulder. So when we drove down for the race on Saturday morning, there was zero snow accumulation and the pavement was 100% dry. The tri bike would have been totally appropriate, but it didn’t matter any more. The only bike I brought with was my cyclocross bike and I was excited to ‘spin the cranks off’ that thing.
The race: 10.8 mile bike, 4.1 mile run. 110ish participants. Great variety in participant skill and equipment levels. Mostly road bikes, a couple mountain bikes, one or two dozen tri bikes, a few cyclocross bikes. 30 degrees, sunny.
The plan: Ride the 10.8 miles as fast as I can. Pretend that it’s a 12 mile bike race. Get off the bike, run as fast as you can, and just hold that pace.
The story: The race started in ‘wave time trial’ fashion. That means that every minute a wave of 4-5 athletes would start. I started in ‘Wave M’ and shot off the starting line. I cranked 99% as hard as I could and probably looked a little overly-keen. ‘Come on, we’re here to race, baby!’
Time trialing on the bike is a special thing. The question that I repeat again and again is ‘could I be trying any harder at this moment?’ If the answer is yes, then I crank that much harder. This kind of effort is incredibly uncomfortable. But it only lasted 28 minutes. I rode 23.0 mph, the 5th fastest ride of the day. Pretty good for riding what I’ve previously called ‘the slowest dang bike in the world’.
Then I ran. I thought I was uncomfortable on the bike, but running brought a new level. After about 400 yards, I vowed that this was good enough - I never needed to be any better or faster or try any harder at triathlon. Thankfully, this uncomfortable state and this vow did not last. Something happens – I don’t know if it’s your blood flow or what, but the first bit off the bike is always shockingly unpleasant. But those sensations soon fade, and you find your stride. I ran 6:06 pace miles for the 4.1 miles, the fastest run of the day.
I won the race overall. And with homage and love for our great and beautiful country:
10 Mile Boulder Fast Foot TT
March 4, 2017
This wasn’t a real race. Well, it was. Kind of. The formality was minimal, the entrants few, the spectators less, and the entry fee non-existent.
I met my teammate on this Saturday morning to run 10 miles as fast as each of us could. We regularly work out on a route we call ‘the box’ – it’s all left turns (good, since you run on the left side), reasonably flat, out in the country, and it’s 3 miles around. So we did 3 laps of the box, plus a half-mile out and back to make 10 miles.
‘Should we crack on?’ ‘Yup, I reckon.’ So we hit our watches and started running fast. I’m still not used to running quick for long distances, so it seemed recklessly fast. Reckless, considering I was going to do it for somewhere around an hour straight.
I finished the 10 miles in exactly an hour. Today, my 10 mile TT = 1 hour TT.
No race photographer, no spectators besides some staring cattle. But suffice to say it was a stunning morning to let rip a 10 mile TT on foot out in the grasslands, and both participants walked away quite pleased with their performances, both winning their respective age-group, gender and classification categories.
Other Fitness Recreation
I've been fortunate to lately spend some time on skis, snowshoes and foot exploring the Colorado backcountry. It's not training that's super specific to triathlon, but spending 9 straight hours walking has to build some durability.
May 6 - St George 70.3
June 11 - Ironman Boulder
July 9 - Boulder Peak (Olympic Distance)
August 5 - Boulder 70.3
Future Blog Posts
I’ve been chefin’ (or cheffin’ ?) it up the last couple months. Nothing crazy, but certainly nourishing, tasty, inexpensive, reasonably simple, easy and beautiful food. Food is important and it matters to me as an athlete and as a person, so I put a bit of time into it and pay attention to what I eat. I love sharing food with people, but it’s logistically impractical for me to regularly share the food I chef with most of you. So I thought I’d do a series of shorter posts, each featuring a single meal. A couple pictures, some thoughts on why I eat it, why you might want to eat it, situations that it healthy and practical, situations where it is less healthy, how it’s made, etc. I am pretty enthusiastic about food in general and in particular about what I eat, so I think this will be fun, informative, entertaining. Look for my first ‘Eating The Good Stuff’ post in the next week or two.
Ben and Becky are married. That was last weekend. It was one of my favorite and most special weekends, ever. So happy for, and congratulations to, Ben and Becky Kurey!