Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 Gunstock Winter Triathlon

I tried something new yesterday and competed in the Gunstock Winter Triathlon.  It was tough - much more so than I expected.

I had signed up for the championship course - 4K run, 7K mtn bike, 6K ski.  As the race approached, I had 2nd thoughts about my ski ability, so changed to the "short course", which was 4K run, 3.5 K bike, 3K ski.  Good thing, as I was plenty challenged by the "short course".

The day was cold, with the temp around 15F at the start.  No wind, though, and I really did not feel cold during the race.  I didn't do much of a warm up, but did ride my mountain bike briefly to make sure my seat height was OK.  I had never really ridden on snow before, and my very brief warm up ride showed me it was going to be harder than I thought.

There were about 60 competitors who lined up for the start.  For the run portion, I wore my Icebugs, which are running shoes with spikes.  They did help with traction.  The run course was two loops of about 2K.  It was quite hilly.  There was a guy in front of me who would walk on the really steep parts, but I was moving so slowly I couldn't catch him.

After the run, I changed to mountain bike shoes & shed my sunglasses (I was sweating a lot even with the low temperature).  Since the mountain bike leg followed some of the same trails as the run, I knew it would be tough.  Also, the first couple of bikers had passed me on my 2nd run loop, and even the front guys were having to get off their bikes on the steep parts.  So, my bike loop was really tough.  I think I was off the bike as much as I was on it.

When I came into the transition area, I was really glad I didn't have to do a 2nd lap.  I changed into my ski boots and started the ski leg.  The 1st portion was pretty steeply downhill, which worried me since I am a very bad uphill skate skier.  Sure enough, it was again a hilly loop.  I was stressed out about getting in the way of stronger skiers on the uphills, especially since some areas of the trail were pretty narrow.  There were only a few areas of relatively level trail where I could get a decent rhythm going on the skis.  As I neared the finish, there was a slightly tricky downhill, followed by an uphill into the finish.  Embarrassingly, I managed to fall right there, 50 yards from the finish, and had some trouble getting back up on my skis.

I finished in 1:33:34, which seems to have been 8th of 14 in the "short course".

This am, I am sore from the unusual muscle activity, although my left knee feels only minimally sore (and no swelling).

All in all, I actually enjoyed myself.  I am tentatively planning to try the Weston Winter Triathlon on 2/13, which is a whole lot flater (but there's not "short course" option :-)).  Before then, I have the Super Sunday 5K/10K on my schedule.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Needham New Year's 5K

I ran the Needham New Year's 5K race yesterday.   It was similar to my other races since starting back to running: kind of slow and tough.  I went out too fast, running the 1st mile in 6:52.  My final time was 23:36, which was kind of disappointing.

On review of 2010, I ran a total of 186 miles, so there's a lot of room for improvement there.  On the plus side, I had 36 miles for December, which is my highest monthly total since my surgery in 4/07.  I also rode 2775 miles in 2010. a bit more than in 2009.

I've had a bit of a nagging problem with my right knee (which is the "good" one).  I have pain behind the knee, which I'm assuming is a muscle pull.  It doesn't really bother me when I run, but feels tight/stiff afterward.