Sunday, June 26, 2011

Father's Day Weekend & Washington DC Triathlon

I am an Olympic distance triathlete!  After all of my hard work and training, I completed last Sunday's Washington DC Triathlon in 3:15:42.  The race was superbly organized and lots of fun.  It was also a fantastic way to kick off what would be quite an enjoyable Father's Day!

As I wrote in my previous entry, my dad and brother accompanied me to DC for a father/son weekend.  My dad and I departed South Carolina early in the morning on Friday to be sure we arrived at Reagan National Airport in time to pick up my brother, whose flight was to arrive in the early afternoon.  On the drive up, we listened to the second day of the U.S. Open on satellite radio.  I loved that my dad was so interested in the tournament because, unbeknownst to him at the time, we would be going to the final day of competition on Sunday!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Special Tour

When I signed up for the Washington DC Triathlon last October, my plan was to turn the event into a family vacation.  My wife, my kids, and I would load up the minivan, drive up to DC, and spend a few days sightseeing before the race.  Then we learned in November that my wife was expecting our third child and that she would be eight months pregnant on the date of the triathlon.  We were thrilled with the news, but needless to say, our travel plans had to change because taking a road trip of several hundred miles is simply not advisable so far along in a pregnancy.

With the triathlon taking place on Father's Day, I decided to invite my dad and brother to accompany me to DC and make a father/son weekend out of it.  They accepted the invitation, and I started planning activities for the weekend.  Of course, I made plans for us to visit the memorials on the National Mall, the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Capitol.  We'll probably also go to a Washington Nationals game at Nationals Park.  But I wondered if there was something really special we could do, like play a round of golf at an exclusive club, for example.  Congressional Country Club immediately came to mind.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekly Report - June 12, 2011

"All athletes are disciplined in their training." 1 Corinthians 9:25a (NLT)

I don't have a whole lot to say this week.  I'm just counting down the days until next Sunday's Washington DC Triathlon!  I started tapering this week in final preparation for the race.  I skipped my short run to rehabilitate my broken toe, but I was able to do my long run in decent time taking into account my injury and the heat (it was 93°F at the time).  I also got in an extra swim yesterday, when I confirmed that I am, in fact, capable of swimming a continuous mile without a wetsuit.  That's great news because the Potomac River is practically boiling and has been setting record highs this week, meaning wetsuits will likely not be allowed during the race.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Book Review: The 12-Week Triathlete

Every now and then, I plan on posting reviews of triathlon-related books I have read.  My first review is of The 12-Week Triathlete: Train for a Triathlon in Just Three Months by Tom Holland, which has been my primary training reference for most of the past year.  (Note: This review is of the first edition.  A second edition was released in March 2011.)

What I like most about Holland's approach is that it makes triathlon accessible.  Many training resources are full of complex jargon about heart rate zones and power levels.  This can make triathlon seem too complicated and time-consuming for the average person (like me) with a day job and family who is contemplating taking up multi-sport as a hobby.  However, Holland believes the vast majority of triathletes (i.e. just about everyone but elite competitors) don't need to focus on such technicalities.  Thus, he designed his training plans based on four simple "feel"-based zones: easy, race pace, just above race pace, and hard effort.  I appreciate this because it has made my training less about gadgets and arithmetic and more about swimming, biking, and running.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekly Report - June 5, 2011

"All athletes are disciplined in their training." 1 Corinthians 9:25a (NLT)

There is good news and bad news to report this week.  I'll start with the bad news.  I stubbed--and possibly broke--one of the toes on my right foot yesterday.  It didn't hurt too badly at first, so I just shrugged it off, but by the end of the day it was bothering me somewhat.  I took some medication which relieved the pain, but I still had a limp and even needed my wife to drive our family home after visiting some friends of ours.  Pushing the gas and brake pedals with my foot put uncomfortable pressure on my injured phalanges.  It feels better today, but I'll be modifying my workout schedule to put off any running until later in the week.  Pray for quick healing!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Next Challenge

My first sprint triathlon last summer included a 350 yard swim, a 14 mile bike, a 5K (3.1 mile) run, and approximately 150 participants.  Since that first race, I have completed two additional sprint distance races, one with only three participants and the other with around 400.  This Father's Day--17 days from today--I will up the ante by attempting my first international distance race: the Washington DC Triathlon, which will feature over 3,000 participants from around the world!

Unlike sprint triathlons, for which the distances of the three legs vary from race to race, international triathlons (also known as "Olympic" triathlons) are standardized.  Each race consists of a 1.5K swim, a 40K bike, and a 10K run.  To us Americans, that's a 0.93 mile swim, a 24.8 mile bike, and a 6.2 mile run.  Obviously, those distances are much greater than in my previous races!

By far, the leg of the race that will challenge me most is the swim.  The distance is nearly five times longer than the swim in my first race.  It's also in open water and begins with a wave start, which is vastly different from a pool swim with timed starts.  However, as I proudly proclaimed in my most recent weekly report, after lots of training and with a little Biblical inspiration, I recently reached the point where I can swim a mile in open water with virtually no rest.  But there is one major caveat.