Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Training Year in Review

So 2013 has finally come to a close.  All my 'gaudy' training numbers from the past year will reset back to "0".  Kind of a bummer when you look at your numbers in January, but it is what it is as they say.  Let's not dwell on that, but look at how we did over the past year:

338,564.6 Yards
127 Hours, 39 Minutes
142 Swims
High Week: December 9th 12,800 yards
High Month: December 42,950 yards
Slightly more yardage than last year (337K).  That was a little surprising due to the first part of the year was more drill based than yardage based.  Pushing for more yardage in 2014 because, well you know, I really stink at swimming.

5,087.9 Miles
234 hours, 12 minutes
21.72 mph average
129 Rides
High Week: July 8th 309.7 miles
High Month: July 835.4 miles
Slightly less than last year (5,139) but I had some longer rides, and some more intense rides.  Was psyched to get a 300 mile week in.  Overall speed average was higher (yes I know that doesn't matter and I shouldn't be looking at that, but I just can't seem to help myself.  Hopefully a powermeter will cure me of my speed obsession.)  Can we get 6K in 2014?

1,510.9 Miles
180 Hours, 35 minutes
7:10.3 min/mile
183 Runs
High Week: February 18th 54.9 miles
High Month: March 224 miles
Many more miles than last year (1,031) due to the marathon training.  Also at the beginning of 2012 I was still getting over my hip bursitis.  I felt really good through most of the year and was happy to have such a good run base.  On the flip side, I feel it burned me out toward the end of the year. So I prolly won't be logging so many miles in January and February.

Lift Weights
20 hours, 15 minutes
81 Lifts
Less than last year (23 hours), but the blasphemy of lifting weights will continue!

6,791.2 Miles
562 Hours, 41 minutes (with lifts)
454 SBR workouts
8% Increase in time from last year (521:06).

So that puts me at 14,517 points for the year (using the ST points system).  Next year I definitely want to hit the 15K point mark.  I should be close as I'll probably have more swim yardage and bike miles, but less run miles.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with the year in training.  I guess I'll always be trying to find ways get more rides or longer rides in.  And try to find motivation to swim big yardage come August.  Mentally, I usually hit the swim training wall about then. Hopefully this coming year with the Masters group and Chattanooga it won't be an issue.  So Goodbye 2013, and let's get ready to wreak some Big Sexy havoc in 2014!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013 Race Year in Review

So I thought I'd put down a few thoughts on each of my races from the past year to formally "put it behind me", and get ready for my 2014 Schedule.

01.01 Baxter Trail New Years Trail Run (8M) 1:01:07, 1st Overall (71 finishers)
This was just a fun 13K trail race with pretty low competition.  It was fun and I was happy to win it.  It was a good way to start off the year.

02.23 Charlotte 10 Miler 1:01:00, 1/27 AG, 7/154 Overall Men
Basically a tune up race before Boston.  I was pleased with my fitness level to average 6:10 per mile (short course) and with my ability to fight off people down the stretch.  Gave me a lot of confidence.

04.15 Boston Marathon 3:16:32; 875/1,691 AG; 4,430/10,368 Overall Men
The pinnacle of running.  The experience is everything that everyone talks about and more.  I finally ran a marathon where I didn't crash and burn the last 10K.  I easily beat my modest goal of 3:20 and had a great time.

05.18 Over the Mountain 2:22:19, 1/22 AG, 11/142 Overall Men
My first tri of the year went really well. Smashed my PR on the swim, 7th overall bike time and then hammered the first 3 miles of the run in 6:06's.  I easily won my age group and almost cracked the top ten.

06.15 Slide Into Baxter Sprint 1:04:45, 1/70 Overall
The local sprint tri.  I've done this race all 4 years of its existence, but this was the first time I won it.  It was the first time I won any triathlon, so that was awesome!

07.04 Wawasee Flotilla Road Race (8M) 47:23, 1/? AG, 7/? OA
The annual Fourth of July road race at my parents summer place in Indiana.  Small race, but was pretty happy with my run fitness to crank out 5:55's for the 8 miles.

08.04 Stumpy Creek 2:23:51, 2/38 AG, 15/208 OA
A bit of wake up call for my swimming ability, as I couldn't make up for my swim time.  Still, I felt OK as I had an "off" day and still took 2nd in the AG.

09.08 Ironman 70.3 World Championships 5:06:30, 97/237 AG, 599/1372 OA
The "A" race did not go as planned.  I picked a bad day to have a bad day as they say.  It was still a great experience, and not just a "learning" one.  But now, whenever I race a tough course or conditions,  I can say that at least it wasn't as bad as Vegas.

10.13 Rev3 South Carolina 4:37:59, 3/45 AG, 17/277 OA
I finished up the season on a positive note, grabbing some 3rd place AG swag.  This is a tough course, so I was glad to lay down a decent time.

Now that I look back on it I had a pretty good year.  When your worst race of the year is your "A" race, it's a pretty big bummer.   But now that I've had some time to think about it, I'm pretty happy with how it all went down.  It helped quite a bit when I found out that I again was a USAT All-American.  I wasn't ranked as high as 2012, but still you can't complain about being in the top 5% in the country in your age group.  USAT now does state and regional rankings as well.  It was kinda cool to see that I was ranked third in all of South Carolina in the Male 40-44 age group.  I was 10th in my age group in the entire Southeast Region.  It surely sounds impressive, whether it is or not.

So all in all it was a great year.  I raced the Boston Marathon.  I won my first overall at a triathlon (plus an overall win to start the year).  I raced in the 70.3 World Championships and the USAT Long Course National Championships.  And I made my first triathlon team!  It is definitely something to build on for 2014 as I will do my first swim race, 3 halfs, and my first Full Ironman.  Bring it ON!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Masters Swimming

So last winter I got a swim coach to work on my form.  I only met with her every couple of months.  She'd tell me how bad I sucked, and give me drills to work on it.  There were a few glaring things and once I worked on those, my 100 repeat times in the pool dropped by 15 seconds.  It was pretty impressive, and I felt good.  I even broke 29 minutes in a wetsuit Olympic lake swim.  I was quite pleased. 

At the end of the year, my results were not as pleasing.  I had a couple of non-wetsuit races in which I just got killed.  Then the stark realization of how slow I was swimming set in at Rev3 Anderson.  I swam 40 minutes for a half with a wetsuit.  It was a lake swim much like the one I did at the Try Charleston Half back in April of 2012.  So pretty much comparing apples to apples, a year and half later I was 1 minute slower.  Yes slower in the open water.  My pool times had really improved, but I just wasn't seeing that translate into races.

I decided to mix things up and start going to a masters swim group.  In the mornings they meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  They don't meet until 5:30am and its an additional 10-15 minutes from work.  It doesn't fit into my schedule really well, but I wanted to make it work.  I went on a Friday initially because I typically slide into work later on that day anyways.

The Rock Hill Aquatic Center is quite a nice facility.  The above pic shoes the cool pool in the foreground and the warm pool in the background.  Its kinda out in the middle of nowhere but parking is ample.  Of course you park on the opposite side of the building from the entrance.  Still trying to figure that out.  I first went on a nonmasters day just to check everything out (and get my palm code setup).  There was literally no one in the cool pool when I started.  Only like 4 of us by the time I got out.

I contacted the head master(?) or coach(?), well, the person in charge.  She was going to be out a while and she directed me to Jamie.  Jamie helped me a bunch that first session.  The hardest thing was figuring out what group I should swim with.  I knew I should be on the slow end and she put me a couple lanes from the end.  I swam with Jamie the first few times I went and it worked out well.  The workouts are fair, not crazy hard.  They do a LOT of kicks, which is good for me.  I have the worst kick in the history of organized triathlon.

This last time I went, we ended up doing 3,400 yards.  But it went by really quickly.  In fact I was surprised when I went back through the workout we did and added up all the yardage.  I swam with Barb, who was great.  She really kept us on track with the rest.  When you do a workout by yourself, sometimes you take a little extra rest.  Sometimes you take a break in the middle of a 12x100 and give yourself a minute rest.  Not in Masters.  You get lazy on an interval and come in 5 seconds before the start of the next one, you get 5 seconds rest.  That's it.  It really pushes you.  That's what I need.  I wish I could go more.  For now I plan on every Friday and Wednesday when I can.  I went Wednesday this past week and that helped me get in 11,500 yards for the week.  Not crazy, not my best, but its a start.

They also host a bunch of open water swims when it gets warmer.  I really want to get in on some of those.  I need to practice that more.  Like I said, for some reason I've gotten faster in the pool, but slower in the open water.  Fear is a great motivating factor.  As I told my wife: don't think that the 2.4 mile swim in Chattanooga doesn't scare the ever livin' crap out of me . . . cause it does.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Huge Big Sexy News!

Huge announcement this week as Chris McDonald announced his 2014 Amateur Elite Triathlon Race Team: Big Sexy Racing.  You know Chris McDonald: Six time Ironman Champion, Winner of BOTH Ironman Louisville and Ironman Lake Tahoe in 2013, nicknamed Big Sexy.

Chris posted a thread on Slowtwitch with a link to the 2014 online application.  The thread didn't get too much run, but it was enough for me.  I checked out Chris, his team, and his sponsors, and then really started to get excited about it.  I was hoping my stellar race resume and my just freaking stinkin' awesome 2014 race schedule would be enough to offset my ineptitude in the water.  His is Australian you know (meaning they all swim like freakin' fish).

So I applied right away and a couple weeks later I got a congratulatory email from Chris!  It was awesome.  I humbly accepted immediately.  On that Sunday Chris created a facebook group and the thing was blowing up all afternoon with people introducing themselves, and friend requests flying everywhere!  It was pretty cool. Official announcement here.

So why join a triathlon team?  For me its about the community.  I used to mostly train by myself.  This past year, I began biking with some guys every week and I really enjoyed it.   I've started swimming with a group and have enjoyed that as well.  Team BSR has already been a great way to connect to people in the triathlon community.  Plus getting some race apparel is sweet and supporting our sponsors is even sweeter!

Check out this lineup:

Plus, Chris promises more to come in 2014.  It is shaping up to be an incredible year. You can also check out our Facebook Page, and give us a Like!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Finally a Bike Fit

I had been wanting to get my bike fit checked for a while now, for various reasons.  I never really had a true bike fit.  When I first got my bike, they spent about 5 minutes adjusting my seat height and that was about it.  I wanted to get lower on the front end and hopefully reduce the numbness I get in my toes after 45 minutes.

I talked to Inside Out Sports James about it for a couple of weeks.  Basically picking his brain about several things.  I sent him my side view pic from Rev3 South Carolina, and he agreed there definitely was some work that could be done.  We setup a time for me to come in and made sure it didn't interfere with his training (that's a joke). 

Starting Position
This is my initial position.  Not too bad.  Forward on the seat.  I've always been pretty comfortable.  So then the first thing we did was flip the stem which brought me down a little:
Flipped the Stem
I still felt pretty much the same.  I mean I could tell a little bit, but overall it didn't seem to change much.  Next we were going to put a smaller cap between the head tube comes and the stem.  When we took the cap off, we saw it was actually on top of another cap.  That cap size was pretty small.  This was pretty cool since we didn't have to put a new piece on.  Taking off that cap was at least a centimeter more of drop.
Close Up View of the Stem

Removed the Cap
Now we're getting somewhere!  You can see now my back has really flattened out from the middle up to my neck.  James suggested we move the pads (and extensions) forward to give me a little bend in my arms.  As we move down, my shoulders come forward more on top of the armpads.

Pads Forward
Now with the pads forward, I have a nice arc on my back.  I'm lower but feel less scrunched (i.e. able to generate similar power hopefully).  At least that's the way it feels.

Then we tried a few different saddles.  James thought the issue with the numbness in my toes is mostly due to some blood flow restriction from my stock saddle.  I have the same saddle that came with the bike 3 years ago.  I don't really have any uncomfortableness, but the toe thing is pretty annoying (and can be painful most of the times).

James definitely turned a lot of allen keys:
James GTWD
We tried the ISM Adamo Road and Breakaway as well as the Specialized Sitero.  The idea was to find a split nose solution.  The Breakaway felt too stiff.  Either not enough padding or not soft enough.  The  channel or groove in the Sitero wasn't really deep enough to help not put pressure on the center.  I liked the Road the best.  I tried that one first, then the other 2, and then back to the Road.  It definitely felt the best, so they let me try it out.

So here is the final side by side start to finish comparison:


It may not seem like a lot, but these changes will (hopefully) translate to minutes of savings over 112 miles.  And that's really what it is all about.

We definitely have some serious DROP:

We also talked about crank length.  I'm looking at getting new cranks in January, so that's a good time to check out a different length.  James thought I could go down to a 165mm.  I'm at 172.5 now, but just because that is what came with the bike.  We spent about an hour and 45 minutes going through everything (before we just started talking about next year's races).

I rode 40 miles on Saturday and it felt pretty good.  I could feel a little soreness in the back of my neck, having to look up more to see down the road.  My shoulders and arms were fine.  My toe numbness was better, but not completely gone.  It all definitely feels like things I can get used to rather quickly.

So watch out.  Green Lightning just got a little bit faster!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rev3 South Carolina Race Report

It was finally here: The Last Race of the Year!  I decided to do this race partly because it served as the USA Triathlon Long Course National Championships.  The choice was made easier as I got a free entry to any 2013 Rev3 race by winning my age group at the 2012 Rev3 Florida Race.  In 2011, the inaugural year for this race, I did the Olympic distance (and won my age group with the fastest oly bike split of the day).  Because of that I was a little familiar with the course.  The swim is obviously similar and the first 10 miles or so on the bike is the same.  The run course has changed somewhat since 2 years ago, but luckily, it changed for the better.

Hot Air Balloon Time
The boys and I drove down in the morning.  We ate lunch across from the convention center at Subway, and then headed over to the expo to get my Packet.  One nice thing about this race is the huge parking lot that the convention center has, so there was plenty of room to park the Explorer with the popup camper.
Entrance to the Expo

We cruised around the expo and there were not a lot of people there.  This was about 12:30pm or so.  I went to the packet tent and they had the bib numbers posted, so you knew which line to get in to get your packet.  Got my wristband and all the numbers and headed over to the timing chip station.  There they took your picture for the finish line jumbotron.  Then it was over to the Rev3 merchandise tent to pick up the free Rev3 visor.  Just a generic one this time, not the race specific ones I got for Rev3 FL last year or for this race 2 years ago.
The Rev3 Expo

Finish Line
Awards Stage
We checked out the bouncy obstacle course for a little bit.  Then checked out transition.  Then we headed out to the campground.
Bouncy Stuff!
Entrance to T1

My Spot

We stayed at Sadler's Creek State Park 2 years ago when I did this race.  There is a KOA that is closer, but I kinda like the scenery of this park nestled into Lake Hartwell on the Georgia border.

Scenic Campsite

So after we setup camp, I checked out all the stuff in the bag.  I put my stickers on the helmet and the bike (they did not have a stem sticker as most big races do).
All the stuff in the bag.

Ready to Rock

Custom Cut Bike Sticker

Then I had to put on the Rev3 temporary tattoos.  Rev3 doesn't do race morning body marking.  You put on these temp tats that go on pretty easy and look very cool.  The only downside is that they are a major PITA to get off.  Washing and scrubbing with soap will not do it.  You need to scrub with alcohol.  Even then, it takes longer than a scrubbing off a regular marker.

Right Hand with wristband

Branded as an Old Man.

Shoulder Tat (and GL with the photobomb!)
After I got everything ready to check the bike, we loaded up Green Lightning and headed over to the pavilion and play area of the State Park.  The boys played on the playground for a while with some other kids, and then played down by the water for a while.  Soon it was time to head over to T1 to check in GL.

Set in my Spot

Not too big.  Only 567 people in all the races
It was much nicer this year in that they allowed us to drive into Darwin Wright Park and park your car.  Last time they made everyone park on the road and walk your bike (quite a ways) to T1.  So it was the normal chaotic T1 bike check with cars and peoples and bikes, some trying to get in while others trying to get out.

Is this enough "culture"? #ironman #boston #betterthanyou
So then I did a little scoping on the swim venue.  I checked out the finish and up into T1.  It looked a little different on the map online, but in reality it was the same.

Swim Finish (My Fav)

Far Turn Buoy (With Balloon)

Beach Start
We then headed over to Fatz for dinner.  I had the Calabash Chicken Salad.  Ransom had all-you-can eat ribs, and Reece had popcorn shrimp.  It worked out pretty well.  We got back to camp and I got the rest of my gear ready for in the morning.  I put everything into my morning clothes bag and my swim-to-bike gear bag.  With a 2 transition race (T1 at Darwin Wright Park on Lake Hartwell, and T2 at the convention center) you are given a bag to stuff your morning clothes into, and another bag to stuff all your crap after the swim into.  Both are transported back to T2/Finish to pick up after the race.

Sunday (Race Day)
I woke up at 5am and threw my clothes on.  My wife had driven down Saturday night, so we had two cars.  I grabbed my water bottle and headed down to the convention center.  Its about a 20 minute drive at that time of day.  I parked near the end of transition close to the shuttle buses.  I put my shoes, socks, visor, and number band into my spot in T2 and covered it with a plastic bag.  It was supposed to be nice all day, but you never know.

I hit the port-o-let and then jumped on the first shuttle bus out to T1.  The ride isn't very far, but they went pretty slow.  We go dropped off at the Huddle House and then had about a 1/2 mile walk to transition (I should have turned on my Garmin to record it).  So priority one in any race that you have to check your bike the day before is getting your tires pumped up.  They had several pumps at bike tech, so as soon as I got to my bike I dropped my stuff and took the bike to get it pumped up.  I only had to wait in line behind one person, so I got it done rather quickly.  I'm glad I did, because the rest of the morning, the line just kept getting longer and longer.  I usually get to transition on race morning early.  Not because I need the time, but to beat the crowds.

They announced the water temp as 76.7 degrees.  That's perfect for me: warm but still wetsuit legal.  After I finished my bagel with peanut butter, (2) bananas, and (4) fig newtons, I headed out of transition.  I found a picnic table and got on my wetsuit.  Dropped my morning clothes bag off, and headed for the beach.

Multisport Ministries did a quick prayer that I participated in.   Then I did a short warmup swim.  Then came the national anthem, then it was time to corral.

40:33, 27th of 45 Age Group, 171st of 277 Overall Men
My Garmin had 40:03 as I stopped when I first got out of the water and 1.30 miles.  That distance is pretty typical to most half races, so I don't think the course was long.  This is the only race that I've done with a beach start.  The gun goes off and you run into the water.  It's not really as crazy as you might think.  In fact it was pretty calm, as only a few guys were running.  I went off to the right and dove in.

My ranking wasn't horrible (60th percentile) just bad.  Better than the bottom 5% in Vegas!  I tried to push, and it seemed like I was going hard, but in reality when you average 1:54 per hundred yards in a wetsuit, you're really not going very fast.  I honestly don't know why I'm so slow.  Most of the swim was pretty clean as far as contact.  The dark red turn buoys were pretty difficult to see with an overcast sky and blue tinted goggles.  When I saw the 2nd to last red buoy, I thought it was the last one, so that bummed me out some.
Mapping shows the beach start

When I did get past that last turn buoy and I was 200 yards from the finish, all of a sudden the swim got super crowded and there were people everywhere.  Some were from the wave that started ahead of me (I know, it doesn't seem possible but it's true).  It was crazy.  I got bumped around more that last 100 yards than the start of any race I've done.  I got kicked in the face really hard, and I have a nice upper lip bruise to prove it.  That knocked my goggles off.  So I went onto my back and had a heck of a time getting them back on without being full of water.  After that I literally couldn't take a stroke without hitting or kicking someone.  I was glad (once again) to get my feet back on solid ground.

2:16 Officially
I had a little trouble getting the wetsuit off my second foot.  I hadn't worn the thing in 5 months.  Other than that I was pretty smooth.  Got everything stuffed in my bag and I was off.

2:28:04, 4th of 45 Age Group, 19th of 277 Overall Men
My Garmin had a 22.3 average.  I had wanted to average 23, but I really didn't push it in a few spots. In the back of my mind I didn't want to blow up like I did in Vegas.  I had heard this course was hilly and had a lot of turns.  It did not disapoint.  I had 3,566 feet of elevation gain, which is pretty good.  It's definitely more than what I typically train on.  The big difference here is that there were plenty of rollers.  You didn't have to totally exert yourself on every hill.

What I didn't expect as much was all the rough and bumpy roads.  Doesn't make for a lot of fun.  It played havoc with my Torpedo mount.  I had to constantly reattach the velcro straps that kept coming off.  Dear X-Lab: The straps you provide are not long enough.  It gets a little interesting when you hit a bump at 40 mph and end up holding your BTA bottle because 3 of the 4 straps came off.
Yeah, Turns.

Yeah, Hills.
I definitely biked 'within' myself.  I didn't push extremely hard, but I was passing people constantly.  And no one passed me, so I felt good about that.  As you can see, the course is pretty much constant turns and constant hills.
Definitely didn't kill myself

I took a gel at the 15M and the 45M aid stations.  The volunteers were great.  At 45M, I yelled 'Gel!' as I came up to them and they communicated it down the line to the gel table.  Then the lady kinda ran along with me for a good handoff.  The first 15 miles seemed to take a while, but then it seemed all of a sudden I had less than 10 miles to go.

1:00 Officially
My dismount was flawless and I even got a "Wow" from one of the spectators on that.  Pretty happy with my time given that I had to put my socks on.

Relatively small transition

1:26:07, 2nd of 45 Age Group, 10th of 277 Overall Men
I kept telling myself to slow down that first mile. I usually feel so good coming out of T2 that I blast that first mile and kinda kill myself.  I kept looking at the pace on my Garmin and slowing down as much as I could.  Even then I ran a 6:28 first mile.  But I felt good.  2nd mile was 6:35 and I felt like I could run that all day long.

2 Lap Out and Back Course
 I just kept telling myself to focus and crank some miles out.  I took a gel around the 3 mile mark, and threw my shot bloks in the trash.  The gels just seemed to be working for me.  Plus playing Gel Flavor roulette is kinda fun.  What's it gonna be this time?  Vanilla? Berry Blast?  Please, not the Chocolate!  I came back through the finish line area on the first loop feeling and looking strong.  Through 8 miles I was averaging 6:34.6's per mile.

The course was pretty much constant hills.  I had 904 feet of elevation gain.  Actually less than what I usually run on.  They were shorter hills (not 2M long like Vegas).  You could get some speed on the downhills and attack some of the uphills.  Even so, as I approached the 9 mile mark, I really started to feel terrible.  I has halfway through an uphill, and I could feel my pace falling off.  I hit the mile split and it was 6:55.  I thought, oh crap.  I had flashbacks to Vegas where I averaged 8:28 miles for the last 4 miles there.  So a 1/3 of a mile later I was at the crest of a hill.  I told myself: I not going out like this.  You can hold this pace.  Last race of the year, don't blow it here. 
Just a hill every mile or so

So I took off on that downhill.  I concentrated on picking my legs up and having long strides. Just before the 10M mark I grabbed another gel and stuffed it in my pants.  My next mile split was 6:42 and I thought man, I can do this!  I struggled a little to get to the turnaround (highest point in the course), took the gel just before the 11M mark and split 6:50.  But then I just had 2 miles to go and I just pushed and pushed.  I closed with a 6:35 and 6:40, to average 6:42's for the last 4 miles.  
That last hill by the hot air balloon field was excruciatingly painful.  I was happy to finish with a 1:26 run and average 6:38's.  This may have been my best run in a Half Iron tri yet.  Yeah, I was 7 seconds per mile slower than Augusta, but Augusta was pancake flat.  My HR graph shows I was able to steadily push the whole race.

4:37:59, 4th of 45 Age Group, 17th of 277 Overall Men
I was pretty happy with my time.  Even happier when I found out that the overall winner was age 42.  So that bumped me up to the 3rd place age group award! Full Results here.

Free Stuff !!

So that netted me an AG award medal (in addition to the finisher's medal), some Blue Seventy goggles, a Fuel Belt hand bottle, a box of protein bars, and a box of recovery gels.  The finisher shirt is pretty snazzy as well.

As I live in South Carolina, I think the SC on the arm is pretty cool.  After the race we kept our tradition of eating the post-race meal at a local (non-chain) restaurant.  Here we ventured into Patron's Mexican Restaurant near MLK and Main Street.  The Pollo Fundido was excellent and the Coronas were even better.

So I feel good to close out the year this way.  Vegas left a pretty bad taste in my mouth, so I was happy to redeem myself.  Hopefully someday I will swim faster.  I think I could have biked faster on the day as well.  The guys in my age group ahead of me all biked much faster than me.  The two guys immediately ahead of me both biked right around 2:23.  (The overall winner just killed everyone as he finished the race in 4:12!!).  So those two guys were 5 minutes faster than me on the bike.  But looking at the run, I beat one of them by 9 minutes and the other by 12 minutes.  So between the bike and the run I beat them by 4 minutes and 7 minutes respectively. 

As I said, I could have biked faster, but would I have blown up like those two guys did and my overall time be slower?  It's not out of the question, and that makes triathlon races interesting.  I ran the last 4 miles here 7 minutes faster than Vegas.  So I know what it feels like to hammer a hilly bike course only to blow up on a hilly run course.  Pacing the bike is something I have to delve deeper into as I embark on my first full Ironman next year. 

Now I'm ready for some time off.  Looking forward to eating a ton of wings and drinking some beers!