Saturday, September 26, 2009

a solid week

On Monday and Tuesday I rode 40 miles, all at a very good pace. On Monday I rode to Orinda, then Moraga and over Redwood. On Tuesday I rode down Wildcat, over the backside of Papa Bear and Happy Valley and then back to Wildcat. Both rides burned in excess of 2,000 calories -with my newly calibrated power meter. On Monday I had some trouble with the speed readout as it turned out the pickup unit got mangled between the wheel and the chainstay after I had a flat on the Specialized team ride.

On Wednesday I ran 10.5 miles in the hills (i.e. the Montclair-Shepherd Cyn, Loop). On Thursday I ran 7.25 because I did not have time to go longer. I had originally planned to run 10.5 twice. There was a nice symmetry to my plan. Two days of 40 mile rides and 2 days of 10.5 miles running.

Friday I rode on rollers (without the forkstand) for 1:15 and burned a good 1,033 calories in the process. Today I rode 42 miles completing the South Loop of the Grizzly Century. That took 2,122 calories. Tomorrow I want to ride another 40 and then on Monday I will take a rest day.

In case you wonder, I am not training for anything in particular, but I would like to keep my fitness high so I can attempt a long distance cycling event early next year. As long as the weather cooperates -and if anything it is too hot now- I want to try to ride and run as much as I can.

I am still debating whether or not I will sign up for Boston. If I do it will probably be the last time I go there -it is too far really- and three is a good number. On the other hand, I am already stuck with another Lake Placid and so I am not sure I want to add another remote race to my calendar while I should be focusing on distance cycling.

The other problem is that both Placid and Boston coincide with a major cycling event that Alistair will take part in. Boston is on the same date as Sea Otter and LP happens during Nationals. This year I missed Sea Otter, which was a shame, and I only made it to part of Nationals, which was a hassle and quite expensive to boot.

Added on Sunday: rode 60 miles with Alistair. We rode the "fruitstand ride" starting from our house. Added a few sprints here and there and kept a good pace overall. We stopped in Danville to get some fluids and then again in Moraga. Total time was 3:45.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Much needed rest

Yesterday I took the day off. I haven't done that in a while but I really needed it. Last week was pretty hard. I worked late and did a lot of running and riding on top of it.

On Monday I ran 7 miles in the hills. On Tuesday I rode my mountain bike in Redwood Park. Since they closed the East trail I had to go West (longer) out and back. A total of 22.5 miles. I fell over on the steep climb out of of the meadow and wrecked my front brake. I was able to fix it and get back on but now I need new pads.

On Wednesday I rode 1.25 hrs on rollers and I inserted several intervals at 300W. The weather was great and I wanted to go for a ride, but I was too busy to take out time during the day so rollers were my only option.

On Thursday I ran 8.77 in the hills and on Friday I rode 41 mi to the golf course and back. I rode pretty hard and my normalized power (NP) was 251.

Then on Saturday I rode with Team Specialized for about 20 miles. We rode from Larry's house in Fremont up Palomares and back. I had to work pretty hard up the climb and I could feel that I was in need of a rest day.

Some kids rode down to Castro Valley but I decided to take it easy and turn around. That was just fine and I ended up getting a flat when we came out of Niles into Fremont.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ironman logic

We all know you can't draft in Ironman races. You are supposed to stay 7 meters behind a competitor and when you do enter the "zone" you must pass within 15 seconds. It sounds really good until you do the math. My bike measures 167 cm from the edge of the front wheel to the edge of the back wheel. Add a little safety margin and a bike plus its drafting "rectangle" takes up about 9 meters.

For simplicity's sake let's concentrate on a one loop bike course (not very many of those left). Now take 2,500 competitors, or about 100 less than the most recent Ironman Canada (where there is a one loop course).

2,500 competitors all riding "legally" would take up 22,500 meters or 22.5 km on the road. That is 14 miles of roadway, all filled with racers riding just within the legal boundaries allowed. Assuming the first competitors left the water at 55 minutes, went through transition in 5 minutes and rode 28 mph, that would mean the last competitor could exit the water at 1hr25, take a 5 minute transition and get on their bike.

The whole road would then be filled with a continuous 14 mile train of riders.

The reality of course is a bit different. People do not come out of the water one by one with a nice and constant spacing. At the most recent IM Canada, 2,250 people exited in the first 90 minutes, but they were far from evenly spaced. 1,000 came out at between 1 hr 15 and 1 hr 30. If you study the data you can find many such clusters.

The clustering is part of any North America IM race. 1,000 or more racers enter the bike leg in a space of 15 minutes or less. 1,000 racers need 9 Km (or 5.6 miles) of roadway to sort themselves out. One has to ride 22.4 mph to cover that distance in 15 minutes. Clearly, unless many are forced to wait, it is not possible for all these people to fit in properly and obey the strict no drafting rules set up by the race directors. They simply can't do it.

Indeed what we see in a race is that most mid-packers ride in dense groups. They do not necessarily do so because they want to cheat -although some undoubtedly do- but because they have no alternative. They cannot physically fit into the space available without wasting valuable time. And so we have something analogous to a typical "California freeway" situation.

In California, nearly everyone drives faster than the speed limit, but only a few unlucky souls get tickets. It is not a good situation as it allows the CHP to pick and chose whom to punish. The same, unfortunately, appears to be true for Ironman races. The referees can arbitrarily pick people to give penalties too.

If you are a slow swimmer and a fast biker, you are very likely to get such an undeserved penalty. In Canada I got a "yellow card" for riding over the centerline while trying to pass a group of riders. I did not intend to cross the centerline, but the racers in front of me slowed down on the hill and I had to swerve to avoid crashing into them.

Never mind the fact that some Ironman races are run on open roads and that the rules then specify that the drafting zone behind a car is 35 m (IM rule book). If more than a few cars are on the road, we'd have to stop the race repeatedly to make it legit. In Canada for example, there are often long lines of cars on the "backside" of Richter pass, all trying to get past groups of riders. Many cars are filled with spectators and family members, but there are also trucks and other vehicles on the road. These vehicles are often backed up and forced to drive slowly in long lines.

Ran 7 miles in the hills today. Yesterday I rode on rollers for 1.25 hrs. On Saturday, I ran 6.25 in the hills.

Friday, September 11, 2009


The power graph from IM Canada. Power in Watts is on the right. Speed in kph is the blue graph and reads out on the left. Never mind the high power numbers, the meter was not calibrated. It appears the values are at least 50% too high. Values around 200-230 are more like it. I would expect the first 50 Km to hover around 220-230 based on previous experience -with a calibrated meter that is.

I rode 36.56 km or 22.72 miles in hour 1. Hour 2 was at 69.17 km or 42.98 miles. Hour 3 at 96.87 or 60.19 miles. Hour 4 was 126.78 or mile 78.78. Hour 5 at 153.71 or 95.51 miles (speed dropped to 19.1). The total bike was 5:49:50.

The altitude profile is in green. You can see Richter (the first climb) and Yellow Lake (the second one). You can also see KM 120 where special needs was. Both speed and power decrease over time and you can see that the drop on the "backside" of Richter is for real.

I calculated a moving average of power (the black line) to make the drop more obvious. You can also see some recovery on the Yellow Lake climb (after I ate). Power increases for a while as expected because the course climbs towards Yellow Lake. But overall power output stays below the initial segment.

Power drops to zero on the descents or when I stop pedaling.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ironman won't die

Just as I made up my mind not to compete in Ironman again, I received an email from the BAF indicating they had secured 10 slots for the 2010 Ironman Lake Placid. The email also asked about what hotel I would prefer to stay at. So much for that...

And here is another Ironman tidbit. I just downloaded the power file from Canada and it confirmed my suspicions regarding not eating enough. One can clearly see how my power drops as the race goes on. With a very slight uptick some 10-15 minutes after the 120 KM mark, where special needs was located. There I grabbed a bagel and drank a Red Bull, and shortly afterwards I noticed how easy the climb to Yellow Lake was. I was cruising at a fairly good clip for about half an hour or so, and then the power and speed drop returned in force.

I remember how sluggish I felt once I crested the first climb and had to ride to Twin Lakes. Then further declines as I rode along Skaha and into Penticton. There were no more aid stations along the way, and I was running really low on energy.

I was looking at some endurance cycling events and the 12/24 hours at Davis (in May) looked really appealing. Something I ought to try. The 24 hours is a RAAM qualifier to boot. The only drawback here is that one needs a crew, and the entry fee for RAAM is a pretty hefty expense too. Not that I feel ready for RAAM, mind you. Maybe RAW, a 1,000 miles-- if I felt really brave. But RAAM is a bit too much for now.

Today I rode 40 miles in the hills. Good speed too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ironman OD

It's official. I need a new challenge. I am OD'd on Ironman. This year's poor results clearly show that it is time to find another fitness goal. All in all I am quite happy with my triathlon/Ironman experience. I (almost) reached all of my major goals and the differences are for all practical purposes, in the noise.

My first and most far-fetched goal was to qualify for Hawaii. I never seriously thought I could make it given how poor a swimmer (and runner) I was, but I nonetheless managed to get tantalizingly close. In Canada in 2006 I came to within 4 minutes or one slot, and if that isn't in the noise, what is? But in all fairness, someone who swims as slowly as I do is not really a top 5% performer in triathlon. So it is just as well. I probably would have been dropped in Kona.

Furthermore, while it used to be fairly easy to get in (in the nineties it was trivial), it is getting harder each year as more competitors enter and more races are competing for precious spots. So in essence I am losing ground when it comes to Hawaii. My best chance was probably Canada '06 and it seems unlikely another chance will materialize unless I dramatically reduce my swim time. And that is not something I want to concentrate on now.

My second, and perhaps more realistic goal was to improve in a significant way over time and hopefully reach a finishing time that read 10:something. I consider that goal met, even though my true best finishing time was 11:04:55. We'll call it a rounding error. What matters most here is that I performed consistently and got better over time.

I managed to solve nearly all my problems (and if you add in Canada of '09, even my swim eventually budged) and that is great. It shows my training work formulas work and I am on the right path. It also shows that improvement in the over-50 age group is possible. The fact that I set a PR in the Boston marathon this year further confirms that the trend is real and durable.

So now I want to concentrate on something I really like. Something that does not involve swimming and may not even involve much running. Something I would do if I had a chance to pick what I genuinely like best, i.e. cycling. I will find a endurance challenge in cycling and concentrate on that for 2010.

My "theoretically" best ironman. These are actual times:
Swim 1:18:33 (Canada 09)
T1 2:47 (Switzerland 06)
Bike 5:21:04 (Arizona 08)
T2 2:59 (Arizona 08)
Run 4:00:34 (Canada 07)
Total: 10:45:57

Ironically that would have been enough for a top 10 finish and a slot for Hawaii in Canada 09!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Last swim at the pool

I swam 1.25 miles today. It was better but far from perfect. I can breathe on both sides now and breathe on alternate strokes, but I still run out of air. But my balance is better and I get more air so I think it is only a matter of time and practice now.

Although my swim time improved significantly in Canada, and a 1:15 now looks feasible, I have decided to take a break from triathlons and ironman. I am looking for a new challenge. So forthwith I canceled my pool membership. It no longer makes sense. The kids never really want to go to the pool and I won't be swimming much in the near future so why pay the monthly dues? Maybe if we all take a break we'll feel better about it and want to do it again at some time in the future?

My bee sting is recovering nicely and I think I really know how to deal with these issues now. That is quite a relief because having a swollen limb for 5-10 days is both unpleasant and quite incapacitating. Hopefully that will no longer happen.

I plan to concentrate on distance cycling in the near future. I rode several times since the ironman. Last Wednesday I rode 23, then on Sat I rode 40, on Sunday I wanted to do 40 but had to stop at 33, and yesterday I rode another 40. All going very well and I am in good shape. I will try to build up a road bike and go to some races before the season ends or maybe try a double century somewhere? Who knows?

Then if things work out, maybe a cross country trip is the stars?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bee stings

On Sunday, while I was descending at fairly high speed, a yellow jacket ended up in the space between my thumb and my index finger and being stuck there, stung me. The sting went right through the glove. I am moderately allergic to bee stings and the prospect of spending another week with a swollen hand caused me a lot of concern.

As a kid I got stung many times but I never developed an allergy. Nobody in my family is allergic to anything and so it never occurred to me that I might one day become a victim. That day happened more than ten years ago when I got stung on the upper lip while on a bike ride. My lip turned into a bright red, ready-to-burst sausage that disfigured my face for almost two weeks. Since then I have gotten stung in my right arm once, resulting in an equally grotesquely swollen tube that kept me out of circulation for another ten days.

Then one day, something remarkable happened. I got stung in the eyelid while at the SJ international triathlon. Thinking my race was over I hurried to the transition to get help. However, it took quite a while for me to get there and by the time I did I had all but forgotten about the sting. I went through transition and ran a 10K without ever thinking about the bee again. I finished, took a shower, got dressed and was walking though the remnants of the expo when I suddenly noticed that there appeared to be a curtain hanging in front of my eye. It was strange. At first I did not know what was happening.

And sure enough, within 10 minutes, my eye was swollen shut. It was as if the whole reaction had been delayed for an hour or more, while I finished the race. Now however it was in full swing as if the clock had been reset. The swelling lasted for 5 days.

Taking some lessons from that episode I knew that if I removed the offending insect carefully and kept riding, the reaction would be postponed. I would get home in time to do something about it.

The problem was that soon afterwards my left crankarm came loose and I could no longer ride. After some manual adjusting I made it to a Round Table pizza place where I could call for help. They also had a soda machine there that dispensed ice. I used it to keep my hand cold and elevated until my ride arrived. The swelling was moderate and nicely under control, and the pain was less too.

When I got home I kept the hand elevated and applied many layers of a strong (prescription) steroid ointment. I put the hand in a glove to keep the ointment from rubbing off. I also took two Benadryl. And I am happy to say the remedy worked like a charm.

Today I have a kidney-bean-size swelling with some very mild edema in the surrounding tissue (but not much). The "bean" itches a bit but nothing dramatic. One can see that the reaction is still abnormal because no red elevated spot formed (that I take to be the hallmark of a normal sting reaction). Instead the sting site is hard to see and somewhat lost in the surrounding tissue swelling. But the result is spectacular to say the least. I think I finally found a way to deal with this.

Here are my recommendations (for mild allergies--no respiratory symptoms):
-carefully remove the stinger and poison sack --do not squeeze
-if away from help, keep your exercise level high. The adrenaline will postpone the reaction. I.e. don't stand around.
-as soon as possible, apply ice and keep the limb cold and elevated. The ice will cause vasostriction which will prevent edema and prevent uptake of the poison.
-as soon as possible, apply steroid ointment and reapply often. Keep area cold until you can get medication.
-take antihistamines.

I have followed these procedures twice now and the results have been encouraging, preventing major swelling from happening and keeping symptoms under control.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Looking for a new challenge

I was reminded this morning of the Cal triathlete who put his tribike up for sale, "so he would not be tempted to do another asphalt triathlon." He was going to focus on XTerra events instead. I too am yearning for a new challenge. Ironman is all good fun but it is expensive. Now that my immediate family members are no longer interested in joining me there, it is inconvenient too.

Speaking of triathlon, the event I enjoy the most is the bike. Biking is my favorite sport and it is the one thing I truly enjoy doing at all times. Although I have come to like running better than before, the fact that I sweat so much makes running a loss less enjoyable for me. To say nothing of being prone to aches and pains.

As for swimming, I have to admit, it is rather boring. I am not very good at it, and I do not seem to improve much. It is somewhat ironic that I say that at this point, now that I just made a significant step in the right direction. The truth is I do like open water swimming (although maybe not with 2,000 of my best friends), but there are few opportunities for it where I live.

Lake Temescal is the best option, but there you have to pay and you have to swim in a small rectangle under the watchful eye of aspiring life-guards who always feel the need to make one comment or another. The other issue with Temescal is that the water is murky and foul tasting. Not ideal. Anza is close by too, but Anza is pretty much the same story if not worse. It tends to get very crowded to boot.

I feel I can live without swimming, but I have been thinking about the Boston marathon. The signup starts next week and I am not sure whether or not I should do it. It too is rather expensive and inconvenient -although I can still persuade the kids to come-, but I had committed to run three and this would be my third one. Three is a nice number. You could argue I should do 12 ironman races, but 11 is quite good too, and maybe I should have stopped at 10?

This morning I was looking to find out more info about the Great California Landrush. It is a two day double double century from SF to LA, that I did in 1990 or 91 and enjoyed greatly. It was organized by a group in Glendale called Wandervogel and they did a great job supporting it. Unfortunately, they stopped doing it in 1997 and nobody picked up on it.

I would love to ride across America. It is something that always intrigued me. I used to follow RAAM closely and dreamed about doing it one day. But the logistics are too complex. Logistics is one of my least favorite things and I am very poor at it. Organizing a RAAM entry would not work for me.

Last year I toyed with the idea of riding across the country with Alistair. Then I thought about crossing California (shorter and less logistics). But neither materialized and I ended up doing another Ironman instead; even though I had vowed to take a year off.

After meeting Seth in Penticton and discussing a major event like riding across America with him, my interest is re-awakened. It is something I would love to try. Another friend of mine is doing an organized trek across country right now, but his takes 45 days and that is not something I can afford to do. Furthermore I am not sure I would like it, the speed is too slow for me and there is no competitive angle. There needs to be a goal of sorts, a time limit, a cutoff, something.

That was what was fun about the Landrush. You could do it leisurely -although you had to make the flight on day two, but you could also aim for the "brevet" cutoffs. And although I did not sign up for those -I was unaware of these beforehand-, I did make all of them easily. And that made it fun!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Post-mortem: a basic mistake in Penticton

When Alberto Contador cracked on the Mont Ventoux and lost Paris-Nice, he said he forgot to eat enough during the race. The papers had a field day. An experienced racer like Contador falling for a beginner's mistake. But it is more common than you think. Johan Bruyneel describes one instance where Lance almost lost the Tour because he ran out of energy-- I am sure there were more-. The reason: Lance had forgotten to eat while chasing Ullrich.

Granted I am not Armstrong or Contador, but I do have a lot of experience with endurance racing. Running out of energy for lack of food is a beginner's mistake. Not one you should make after 10 ironman races. Furthermore, eating during Ironman is easier than during the Tour, where an attack at the feed zone may distract riders. In Ironman, all you have to do is to make a plan and stick to it.

Unfortunately, I did not make plan for either race in 2009 and the results were catastrophic.

First, I have to admit that my 2009 Ironman season was plagued with motivational issues. You could say my heart wasn't in it. There are various reasons but I really did not want to go to Placid, and after returning and realizing how much money I spent there, I did not want to go to Canada either. I ended up going to both.

Placid I did because I felt compelled to help the BAF; Canada for old time's sake. Neither was good motivation. I sabotaged my chances at success, maybe not consciously, but sabotaging I did.

If you read this blog you know about Placid. I did not train enough and I paid for it. I had cramps on the bike and I was exhausted riding into transition. Then I had more cramps on the run and I ended up finishing in 12:16, my time worst ever. It is obvious training and lack of motivation was to blame. I did only a few long rides before the race and I trained 87 hours in the 8 weeks prior to it, compared to 111 for a "normal" race. It wasn't enough. But what about Canada?

First, I thought I did not have enough time to recover from Placid. That seemed to make sense except for a few bothersome observations. It all came to a head last night when someone remarked that they could not understand how I could ride hard three days later and feel fine. I had to admit, it bothered me too. And so did these:

One, I felt good prior to the race and my swim was better. Swimming normally takes it out of me but here I felt fine.

Two, I rode well on the bike and although I experienced periods of no power, these were followed by strong sections where the power magically returned. When I look back, the "strong sections" happened shortly after I ate something. The best example was Special Needs at KM 120. I was depleted going in but shortly afterwards I was riding 20+ mph uphill to Yellow Lake. Shortly after hitting the top, I was once again depleted. Since there was no more chance to eat, I suffered all the way home.

Three, no cramps. Unlike what most people think, cramps have little to do with dehydration (I and many others were severely dehydrated in Penticton), but cramps are the sure indicator of inadequate training. I had leg cramps in Placid and it started on the bike. Whenever I have cramps on the bike at around mile 85, it is because I rode hard but did not train enough. Here, no cramps, just empty.

Four, the Pepsi on the run tasted fabulous. I normally only drink cola in the last third of the marathon, but now it looked so good at mile 3. And the taste !! Better than a vintage Mouton Rothschild. I could not stay away from it. Taste, like all senses is very context dependent and when something ordinary tastes better than a three star Michelin restaurant, it is a sure indication that your body is in desperate need of it.

Four, I was able to ride yesterday with Alistair and I rode well and felt strong. Clearly I was fully recovered and such a speedy recovery is the hallmark of good training. Today I ran and to prove my point, I ran 10.5 in the hills, in the heat, and at a good clip. All without problems, clearly I am recovered. Every time you recover quickly it means you were well trained. Placid was good training.

This morning, I finally sat down and wrote out a detailed race report. I thought about every section and what happened. And then it occurred to me that I was "missing" 700-800 calories. Try as I may I could not find them. Let me explain.

I normally fill 2 gel flasks with gels and consume those on the bike. One flask is 450-500 calories.

This time, I left my flasks at home. I did not want to buy new ones, as I felt I already overspent by a large margin. So I took a few gels in a ziploc bag. I actually took 3 and a Clif bar. That is 500 calories versus 900-1,000.

Then I dropped my bag on McClean and had to go back for it. Not only did I lose time this way, I also got a yellow card for crossing the midline. It put me on edge.

As a result I did not want to go fishing for the baggie again for fear I would lose it or break another rule. I ended up eating 2 gels plus whatever gels I could pick up. That is about 7-8 short. The one's I pick up don't really count as I usually pick up gels in addition to my flasks anyways.

There is my 20 minutes on the bike. And another 5 in transition where I sat depleted and dazed wondering what was wrong with me.

I am not sure how much I lost on the run because of no food. Normally running is a free-fatty-acid affair and sugar does not matter much. Then there is also the heat. However, I have run when I was tired in the heat before and I always get the marathon done in 4:30-4:35 (even with cramps and what have you). When I feel fine, I run a 4:00 to 4:10.

Five is a bit excessive. I also noticed that there were a few sections, and one near the end, where I was able to run well. Once again these were closely associated with calorie intake (in this case, plenty of Pepsi).

My diagnosis: IM Canada was a failure because I "forgot" to eat.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ironman Canada

First the good news: my swim is improving. For the first time ever I broke 1:20 to finish in 1:18:33 and it felt better too. Ironically enough it started off poorly and I felt somewhat uneasy in the large crowd. Not smooth at all and then at the first turnaround someone kicked off my goggles. But after that things went much better and I felt I could actually out-swim the people near me (at least for short distances).

Then it went downhill. After an easy transition and a good ride to McLean Creek Rd -the first hill- I dropped my gels and had to return to pick them up. Then, after passing the large group that swept by, I suddenly was stopped by the referee who chewed me out for riding on the yellow line. I got a yellow card and a long lecture. At first I had thought the referees had come for the guys in front of me, who had been drafting all along the lake and were riding the hill in a group, but no sir, it was me they wanted. And what for? Just because I had to go wide to avoid traffic on the climb?

Next, coming into Oliver, a guy passed me just as the guy in front swerved on a slight uphill section. This resulted in a spectacular crash that almost took me out too. I actually thought I was going down, but at the last second I managed to avoid the wheel by turning onto the shoulder. Those two guys did not do so well. One flew over the handlebars and the other slid across the roadway for a healthy dose of road rash. I had to stop a few miles further down to report to the penalty tent.

All I had to do at the penalty tent was sign a form and I was free to go. Still, it left an impression. I carefully ascended Richter and did well on the rollers until I hit Cawston, where the extra loop is located. Then my speed started dropping and there wasn't much I could do. On top of it all, I lost one of my elbow pads and so the aero-position was out too. Some said it got really hot for the first time when we hit Cawston. Maybe that is one reason?

I came down Yellow Lake after five and a half hours and there was still a long way to go. 5:29 is my best time for the whole ride. That was three years ago. Now I was 12 miles from T2. Riding through Penticton felt like torture, I had no speed left. It took over 5:51 to finish. Just 5 minutes ahead of Placid.

Unlike Lake Placid, I had no pain in my foot, or no cramps, but I still could not run. My stomach was pretty upset and I felt drained. I had no power. Maybe the heat, or the dehydration, but ultimately just the same: not enough training. I managed to run 3 miles more or less without stopping. After that I "ran" very slowly, stopping often and walking a lot. The first half took nearly 2:30 and the second was only slightly better. I needed several potty breaks as my stomach was quite upset. I also felt like throwing up the whole time. I could not eat and did not want to drink much other than Pepsi with plenty of ice.

The total ordeal lasted 12:22:41, my slowest race ever. But, perhaps even worse, I did not feel good about it. There was no real desire to finish, no drive. In Lake Placid at least I enjoyed my run in some odd way. I felt good about completing it. Here I wanted to stop and on a multi-lap course I probably would have stopped. But I was out by OK Falls and there was no other option.

I knew my time was bad and I did not really care. Call it Ironman overload, but for the first time, I thought about just stopping and going home. This wasn't any fun. It was hot, the air was polluted with smoke that burned my throat, and I knew this was not going to be a performance worth remembering.

All in all, it was perhaps too optimistic to think that I could recover from Placid and make up my training deficit in just four weeks. In the eight weeks prior to this event (and prior to Placid) I exercised about 87 hours. For previous races, I routinely went over 110 hours. The difference is quite significant. Even more so when you look at the types of rides and runs I did. Not enough, and not enough distance either. Maybe better next time ;)