Thursday, May 9, 2013

2013 Ironman Augusta 70.3

I've decided to do the 2013 Ironman Augusta 70.3 triathlon on September 29th.  This will be my third attempt at this race.  I participated in the 2010 race completing the course in 5:01:54.  It was my first 70.3 triathlon and my best 70.3 finish time to date.  I competed again in 2012 when I had a less than stellar performance.  Actually, I was doing very well until the run when things just went to hell in a hand basket.  I finished in 5:11:12.  I don't look back at my 2012 Augusta performance favorably.  I took a 10 minute surplus coming off the bike and turned it into a 20 minute deficit during the run.  I think I've learned from that experience and the two other 70.3 triathlons that I've done since then.  The others were the 2012 Ironman Miami 70.3 race and the 2013 Try Charleston race.  Neither of which were great races for me but, especially following Charleston, I had plenty left in the tank.  Wait, that might be an overstatement.  My tank was actually empty since I threw-up but physically, after throwing-up, I felt great.

My 2013 Augusta plan is all ready to go.  Since I'm already planning on doing the 2013 Ironman Florida race on Saturday, November 2nd adding the Augusta race a month before shouldn't be a big deal.  This will be my second IMFL race.  I competed in 2011 too.  They say Augusta is a good warm-up for the full 140.6 race.  I hope that's the case.  Unfortunately, I'm another year older and there's a whole new crop of 50 and 51 year old guys to contend with.  Ah, youth!  It's all about perspective I guess.

This year the Southern Crescent Cycling club will be well represented at both the Augusta 70.3 and the  IMFL 140.6.  This is good because it gives me plenty of people to train with and to push me.  My 20-week Augusta plan will start on May 13th and my Ironman Florida plan on June 16th.  Either way, 20 or 24 weeks out I should be ready for the full distance race when it arrives.

So, the plan is ready and my body feels fine.  What about my equipment?  I've been thinking about that a lot lately.  Where can I gain the 37 minutes I need to get to Kona?  I think it's gonna have to be a little here and a little there.  Clearly, I've improved my cycling.  My average speed on what might have been a course slightly shy of 56-miles was 21.9-mph, bike time 2:33:24.  Although the course was pancake flat that's considerably faster than my 2010 Augusta 70.3 bike time of 2:43:26.

2010 Ironman Augusta 70.3 results

2011 Gulf Coast Triathlon 70.3 results

2012 Ironman Augusta 70.3 results

2012 Ironman Miami 70.3 results

2013 Try Charleston 70.3 results

I think I can expect to cut 15 minutes off of my bike time from 2010 or 5 minutes off of my 2012 time of 2:35:34, barring any mishaps of course.  The run will depend upon the weather and whether or not I've spent all my energy on the bike.  I know I'm capable of an 8 minute/mile run pace off the bike.   The swim, there's plenty of room for improvement there but I don't know how much effort I should put into it.  Especially, knowing that just so long as I can make it out of the water in close to 28 minutes I'm good for the day.

We'll just have to see what 2013 has in store because when it's all said and done Augusta is just a training day.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Swim Across America OWS

The 2013 inaugural Atlanta Swim Across America Open Water Swim (OWS) event in Lake Spivey is done.  The event featured a 1-mile, 5K, and 10K swim course.  The 10K swimmers must have done 2 loops of the 5K course.
The swim courses
Volunteers assemble the ramp for swimmers to exit the water
The Lake Spivey Civic Association supported the event which raised money for the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  The goal of the event was to raise $250,000 for cancer research.  I think they met their goal.

I didn't swim, nor did I volunteer.  It just so happens that the Sunday, May 5th event fell right in the middle of my work week.  Susan and I did donate our two kayaks for use during the event and I did stop by before work on Sunday to take some pictures.
A volunteer monitors the swimmers on the course
The weather had been terrible on Saturday and for weeks before the event.  This spring was unseasonably cool which hadn't allowed the water temperature to rise in two months.  Fortunately, on Sunday the rain stopped and by around noon, when the event was pretty much over, the sun came out and it was beautiful.  I don't think the swimmers noticed the cloudy skies but I'm also sure that they didn't expect the cold water temperatures this late in the year.
The water temperature on April 7th
The water temperature on May 4th
The water temperature on April 7th was 62.5-degrees.  It was the same temperature on the Saturday, May 4th.  I'd bet that it was a degree or more colder by the time the swimmers hit the water on Sunday.
A swimmer just passing over the timing (did you make it back alive) mat
Wetsuits were a must for most of the swimmers but there were a few brave souls who swam without one.  There was one swimmer who started with a wetsuit and decided to remove it about a mile into the 5K swim.
Swam the 5K course without a wetsuit
At least one swimmer was treated for hypothermia
The event was dominated by swim teams and individuals from all over metro Atlanta and beyond.  Many of them were triathletes as well.
Clayton County EMS folks were well represented at the event, just in case
I can swim but I'm not a "swimmer".  This was my first swim-only event to ever watch and I learned a lot about how they are organized although, I wasn't a part of the organizing committee.  One can glean a lot just from watching.  Obviously, many of the participants and the Swim Across America folks were well aware of what was needed to pull off this type of event.  Kudos to the Lake Spivey Civic Association, the local LSCA committee members that helped, Olympian and Lake Spivey resident Steve Lundquist for bringing the event to our lake, and to the SAA folks.  I know that even in the best of conditions events like this can be daunting.  The thought of shepherding an army of volunteers, safety personnel, participants, and vendors is not one I relish.

I can't wait for next year's event.

Thanks for reading.
Swim Across America OWS

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Alligator Snapping Turtle

Update (5/11/13): After some review and much discussion with my Swamp Logger and Swamp People TV reality show watchin' friends, apparently my knowledge of the world of repitles is less accurate than I thought.  The turtle below is just a Common Snapping Turtle and not an Alligator Snapping Turtle, the later having a more bumpy shell.  Either way that was one mean turtle.


I was headed to the bike shop on Tuesday for a club group ride when I passed by this cute little fella.

He was about a foot out into the road trying to bite the tires of the cars that raced by.  Usually when I pass by a turtle it's too late.  It looked like I might be able to save this one so, I quickly turned around.  I pulled my truck over the side of the narrow road and put on my flashers.  I popped out of the truck and surveyed the situation.  He was bigger than I thought.  I could tell right away that it was an alligator snapping turtle, and I suspected it was a male.

I carefully grabbed the edges of his shell and lifted him up off the road.  He popped his head out of his shell like a jack in the box and tried to take my hand off, so I promptly dropped him the short distance to the grass.  I picked him up again and he tried to bite me again with the same result.  On my third attempt I was able to put him in the back of my truck.  I headed toward the bike shop again.  My route took me by a small creek.  I stopped and carefully removed my passenger from the bed of my truck and placed him near the creek.

Have a good life Mr. Turtle!

Thanks for reading.