26 May, 2010

Changing It Up

Category: Annoyances,Exercise — Moose @ 8:59 pm

Tonight’s swim was annoying. I couldn’t ever get down into a true groove because the pool was unusually crowded. Kids, splashy mcsplasherson in the next lane, swim lesson in the other lane, lots of waves in the pool, and generally annoying all over. So, I suppose it’s time to switch my swim and run workouts, doing the swims in the morning and runs in the evening. I’m not fond of running after work, but it’s easier to dodge tourons on the waterfront than kids in the pool. And it’ll start me acclimating to a run in heat, and I can stop having to get up at 4 on Wednesdays to do a long run. I’ll give it a try on Friday and see how it goes.

23 May, 2010

Columbia Triathlon 2010 Race Report

Category: Racing,Triathlon — Moose @ 9:11 pm

The day started with a bit of lightning.

A storm moving through the area woke me a bit earlier than planned, so I went ahead and got up around 2:30 to start getting ready. Got the car loaded up and took a slower than usual and much, much wetter than usual drive through the storm system up to the race site, where we parked on a sort-of grassy-sort-of-muddy field. Grabbed the one bag, got it down there and unpacked, took it back to the car, then brought back the pump to inflate my tires, then back to the car and off to the club tent from there. Got there with oodles of time to spare, so was very glad I had my portable chair for under the tent. The rain continued as we lead up to the swim start, and the weather report was threatening more as the whole race went on.

The water was particularly muddy once we got in, lots of feet having churned up the start area, so the beginning of the swim was like plunging into utter darkness. Where normal lake water lets you see to a little bit past your hands, this seemed to cut off around the elbows. It cleared up after a short bit, but it was a freaky way to start a swim, even for someone used to doing open water swims.

Only managed to get kicked once, going around a buoy. Otherwise I did fairly well with a steady-ish pace. Did tend to pull to one side or the other, and couldn’t quite get into my head which way I was pulling at any given time. In any case, the steadyish pace paid off in terms of coming out of the water not completely sapped of energy, and with a swim PR for the Olympic distance, 32:54.

The bike. Lord, what a mess. It was cold and wet, and as I believe I’ve observed before, drizzle stings at 20+ miles per hour. I had determined based on the rainy conditions that I’d focus on the swim and run and let the bike fall where it would. I did try to use downhills to the extent I could, and I suspect most other age groupers were riding fairly conservatively as well. Only one freakout moment, where a guy I was pacing down a hill veered suddenly off to the left in front of me (and I suspect may have gone down – someone did around that area), leading to a bit of “holy shit” on my part. Made it through okay, and the rest of the ride was without incident.

As I came up toward the end I glanced down at my time to see how I was doing, and was quite surprised to see that I was coming in faster than my previous top bike time on this course, and a good bit faster than I’d rode it in practice a few weeks earlier. Got a huge grin on my face and started laughing as I came up to the final turn, then into transition and another PR, though only for this course, 1:26:56, about 9 minutes faster than my previous best, though not as quick as the very flat Nations course. Still, I came into transition feeling pretty darned good.

The run out went pretty well, keeping a relatively quick pace for the first mile as the rain died out (not to return during the run), then gradually slowing with some walks on most uphills. Ran every downhill on the course, keeping to my new mantra courtesy Ken Mierke – “downhills are free speed” (use it on the bike, too, but learned it in the run context). I need to practice hills more, but as I came up to mile 5 I realized I could take almost 18 minutes to finish the last 1.2 miles and still meet my prior run score. Final score, another Olympic distance PR: 1:03:52.

Finished the entire race in 3:12:52. Overall, I shaved 21 minutes off my previous PR at the Columbia course, and about 4.5 minutes off my previous Olympic distance PR at Nations last fall. Completely not what I had been expecting out of this race, but I’ll take it!

This means so far I’m three for three this year for PRs at the distances I’ve gone. Barring a DNF next month at Eagleman I know I’ll PR there as well (simply because I was so unprepared for Diamondman that I have to do better than finishing third from last!). Pretty good way to spend this race season, I have to say.

22 May, 2010

Fairly Prepared

Category: Mood,Racing,Stuff,Triathlon — Moose @ 4:43 pm

With five seasons under my belt, I think this is the most prepared I’ve been this early. Packet pick up is done, the bike has been dropped off in transition. I’ve put my folding chair, the floor pump and the cookbooks I’m lending to my friend John in the car. My tri suit, chip and heart rate monitor strap are laid out with body glide for the morning. Transition towels, bike shoes, socks, nutrition, helmet and gloves are in the bag, as are my running shoes and socks, race number, run nutrition, and hat. Wet suit is hanging at the ready. Water bottles have been cleaned and are drying for the morning. A change of clothes for cleaning up at John’s place after the race is good to go. Coffee’s brewing so it’ll be there tomorrow morning to be zapped (takes too long otherwise). All that’s left is setting the alarms tonight and crashing later. Then in the morning it’s up, pack the car, get up to the race site, set up transition and get going. My wave starts at 7:16, should be done somewhere before 10:50, heaven willing. Fun day ahead, and I’m looking forward to it.

20 May, 2010


Category: Annoyances,Club,Dating,Mood — Moose @ 8:37 pm

Feeling seriously annoyed this evening at the lack of gay men in my chosen sport. There’s maybe two other gay men that I know of in the club, and neither shows up to anything with any regularity, so I tend to be the lone, token fag. And heaven forfend there might actually be other gay men who might want to challenge themselves athletically. And heaven forfend there might actually be another triathlete to date.

We had a club happy hour this evening, and while it’s great seeing my friends in the club, it also drove home a bit of alienation I feel at being the sole out gay man at any of these events, social or training. And mentioning ‘triathlon’ to many non-triathletes ends up scaring them off as potential suitors because they feel like they won’t measure up (the usual reaction is some variation on ‘I could never do that’, ‘wow, you must be really fit,’ or a simple ‘oh’ as they slink off). It’s not like I feel like I have to date another triathlete, but it might at least get rid of the intimidation factor related to the sport.

I guess this is just a long way of saying I’m feeling lonely at the moment and I’d like to have someone else to share some of my life with, in more than just a friendship, who I wouldn’t scare off with my hobbies (we won’t even go into the looks I get when I mention that I knit).

19 May, 2010


Category: Mood,Racing,Stress,Weather,Work — Moose @ 10:05 pm

Earlier this week was a bit crappy. The weather was cool and wet, and that set off a bit of SAD, and triggering my body’s “OMG, it’s winter, must EAT!!” urge. Grrr. Not a happy time. Thankfully I’m feeling much better today after talking my appetite back down. And some sunlight. And winning the general counsel’s annual award for legal excellence.

The office gives out three awards a year, one for a line attorney, one for support staff, and one for management. I won the line attorney award for this year, which was pretty darned snazzy, if I do say so myself. It’s nice to know the effort with the stimulus bill was seen and recognized.

Have a teeny bit of pre-race jitters going on this week, too. It’ll be fine once race day is here, but in the meantime this is normal, and it’ll pass. Got laundry done this evening, and just need to do a little grocery shopping, drop off the bike on Saturday, and then the race. Easy peasy.

13 May, 2010

What’s Going On

Category: Biking,Books,Club,Dating,Exercise,Games,Running,Swimming,Weather,Work — Moose @ 9:30 pm

Keeping myself busy with work and training and attempting to get sleep. Last night was the first good night of sleep I’ve had in about a week and I’m hoping to follow up on it with another good one this evening. Between a weather front that’s been passing back and forth over DC (hot, cold, hot, cold, and always wet) and just being drained at work I was a mess the past week. It seems to be evening out finally (though the oil spill is not helping…), and I keep reminding myself that the work front should be busy but in a different way once the other fiscal attorney comes on board after Memorial Day.

I’m a bit disappointed with where my biking is at the moment. I’m mostly happy with swimming and running. I took a run clinic earlier this month from the guy who wrote the book on the style of running I use and that was enormously helpful. I’ve continued to try and focus on form while I run, and just by that I’ve been a bit quicker than I was before, though I’m having to watch the heart rate. The beepy-thingey has been my constant companion (a metronome like thing that allows me to try and turn the legs over at a certain rate), much to the amusement of other people on the trail I’m sure. Swimming’s been okay, and the changeover I did to 100s, with each one a focus on a particular aspect of the stroke, has also helped. Biking, on the other hand, I feel behind on mostly due to scheduling things on the weekends. Not sure where I’d make it up, though if I keep waking up at 3 am and not being able to crash I might just do it in the morning rather than the weekend. Silly body.

Continuing to read like mad on training stuff. And I’ve started doing some reading into Buddhist notions of the self. Interesting take on things, and one which seems to resonate. Not sure where that will go, but the reading is interesting.

Trying to play through the video game Infamous on both hard mode and trying to play it as the good guy, and it ain’t easy. My old tactics while playing the evil side (blow ’em all to hell as quickly as possible) don’t work; I keep getting an “execution” bad karma hit that throws the entire mission off. Very annoying. But, challenging, and I’m keeping at it off and on. That might go to the side though, I just got a copy of Prototype to try out.

Had a date or two. Trying to decide which way a crush is going. But nothing definitive on that front at the moment. Which may be for the best; once the new triathlete stuff is done this year, training starts to ramp up a lot.