Get a little inspiration this morning

You can watch Boston coverage live:
http://watchlive.baa.org/

[edit:] Wow, Rita Jeptu broke the Women’s Boston marathon record with a 2:18:57! She ran about 5:18 per mile. 8th fastest Women’s marathon ever run (and this was on Boston’s hilly course!)

Also, Meb Keflezighi looks like he’s digging DEEP for a strong finish. He’s not far out.
Go Meb! He’d be the first American champion since 1983! It’s going to be very close though…

[update] Aaah, he’s putting up a valiant effort, but he only has a 10 second lead. 7 minutes to go.

[update] IT’S ONLY 8 SECONDS!!!

GOOOOOOO!!!!

meb

Come on Meb!

HE’S DOING IT!!! YES!!!!

MEB MEB MEB MEB!!

That was awesome. Perfect tribute to the race, couldn’t be better for Boston, America, and runners everywhere. Wow, men’s and women’s races were both fantastic.

Also, Shalane Flanagan set a new US Women’s record. Fantastic!

Estimated Kona Slots for IronMan Texas 2014

For you crazy people who love hot and flat, I present an estimate of the Kona slot allocation for IM Texas 2014. It’s going to be super-competitive so hats off to the tough men and women able to snag one of only 50 IronMan World Championship slots available in Texas this year! There are only 50 to go around, and 2,826 people that want one.

So, here are the total by age group:

Women
Age Group Count Spots Time Last Year Numeric Odds
F18-24 14 1 12:01:48 7.1
F25-29 71 1 10:34:27 1.4
F30-34 124 2 10:55:00 1.6
F35-39 106 2 10:36:54 1.9
F40-44 131 2 10:36:31 1.5
F45-49 102 2 11:01:10 2
F50-54 66 1 11:18:37 1.5
F55-59 24 1 11:24:55 4.2
F60-64 9 1 12:11:17 11.1
F65-69 4 1 16:07:22 25
F70-74 1 1 any 100

Men
Age Group Count Spots Time Last Year Numeric Odds
M18-24 54 1 10:24:30 1.9
M25-29 182 3 9:40:46 1.6
M30-34 321 4 9:18:06 1.2
M35-39 381 5 9:53:03 1.3
M40-44 529 7 10:10:53 1.3
M45-49 337 5 10:01:06 1.5
M50-54 202 3 10:44:52 1.5
M55-59 93 2 11:25:07 2.2
M60-64 48 1 11:27:50 2.1
M65-69 16 1 11:54:01 6.3
M70-74 6 1 14:27:37 16.7
M75-79 4 1 any 25
M80-84 1 1 any 100

To calculate the Kona spots you take the total available (50) assign one to each age group represented, then divide the others proportionally.

The “time last year” shows the time raced last year for the number on the bubble this year. And, the “odds” column shows the percentage of participants in that age group who will qualify.

These will change on race day depending on the proportions of actual starters. Last year, for instance M75-79 had registered racers, but no starters. In that case, the slot will roll to the next most appropriate group in the same gender based on proportionality.

The age groups that would potentially pick one up would be M35-39 and F50-54.

A large group from Utah will be trekking down to the Lone Star State for the race. Good luck everyone!

Review: AudioFlood WaterProof iPod and Headphones

Recently I’ve been struggling to re-build my motivation for swimming. Last year in the build up to IronMan Coeur D’Alene I’d put in the effort and built a fairly good swim base. And, it paid off with a PR swim (Imagine that, hard work = results!).

While I like swimming, if I had to choose between swimming, biking, or running, swimming would lose every time. The tedium of staring at that blue line gets to me and makes it hard to do a solid solo workout. So, when AudioFlood asked if I’d like to try out their waterproof ipod shuffle I was all for it.

Contents of the AudioFlood box -- the ipod & headphones, the waterproof headphones, a pouch, and alternate ear bud sizes.

Contents of the AudioFlood box — the ipod & headphones, the waterproof headphones, & some extras.

When the product first arrived, I was surprised at how “normal” it looked. Other than a small bit of plastic I could see near the on/off switch, it really didn’t look any different from a regular iPod Shuffle. It’s not obvious that it is waterproof.

In the case you get :

  • The iPod in its original apple case, including the non-waterproof earbuds.
  • A set of waterproof earphones.
  • Some alternative earphone plug sizes.
  • An Underwater Audio swim cap.
  • A small tube of crazy glue to attach your plugs.
  • A small nylon bag.

I loaded up some music and set off to my local rec center for only the 3rd time since CDA (I know, so bad!) for a workout. I listen to a lot of podcasts but swimming seems to call for something a little more rhythmic, so Daft Punk it was.

The supplied earphones (their “true short-cord headphones”) at first have a medium sized earplug. I found those to be a little too small for me. I have some kind of freakishly large head and hands, usually wearing large gloves and hats but small/medium shirts/pants. Other than a little water leaking in my one ear the plugs generally stayed in place. I really like the length of the cord, it’s just long enough to reach from your ears, down your back to the ipod on your waist — not too long and not too short. Coils near the ears take up any extra slack.

The audio quality is OK. It’s not not going to be replacing your Beats Audio headphones any time soon, but try taking those in the pool! If water gets in your ear while swimming, obviously the audio stops working in that ear until you re-seat the earplug. I switched to the larger size on a second trip, and they stayed secure.

The iPod itself worked just as advertised. Just put it on and go, you already know how it works. I liked the small size, and it really wasn’t noticeable while you were swimming, which is great. They definitely put some good thought into the cord, it’s really nice the way it stays out of your way. You can buy the ipod alone or with the headphones. Bundled, the headphones are only $15 more than the iPod alone, so probably worth trying them first.

The Verdict: This tool will find a permanent place in my swim bag. With a little practice I can hopefully sing along in my head and accurately count my laps. I might have to start wearing my Garmin for long steady swims — just get in and swim to the rhythm.

Product: Audio Flood Waterproof iPod and Headphones
Price as Reviewed: $140 (iPod only for $125)
Website: http://www.audioflood.com/

Disclaimer: I was provided this product for free, but I’m not receiving any other compensation for my review. If you’d like me to review your product, feel free to contact me.

And now, lose yourself to dance:

Maybe there is something to this strength training thing…

You know I’m basically a sucker for any story where a person’s attitude belies their age. So, check out this story of Sam Bryant Jr.

2013 IronMan Coeur D’Alene Race Report

For this race report, I’m going to write it in short sections. Kind of like the really fun and interesting audio book we listened to on the way to Coeur D’Alene, called The Sex Lives of Cannibals — except this won’t nearly as long, or be as funny, or as interesting.

I was going into the race this year with high expectations. My training had gone well. And, this being my 4th IM I felt like I knew what was in store — I was ready to race this race. But, the final story of each IronMan is, in the end, written on the day and not before.

Chapter 1. Race saved, before it even started.

Sometimes this guy can be your very best friend:

Cars why!?!? This guy saved me at CDA.

Cars, why!?!? This guy saved me at CDA.

Continue Reading…

Great Comic About Running

oatmeal

I’ve seen The Oatmeal off-and-on for a while now, but this new one on running is pretty great. Applies equally well to triathlon. It’s all about the author’s motivation for running. Both funny and true — check it out, I’m sure you’ll find something to identify with.

I particularly liked Part 6.

(BTW, I will be posting a CDA race report. Eventually.)

IronMan Coeur D’Alene: Go Time!

[ Update: Here's the tracking link on IronMan.com (bib number 2215). See you all tomorrow! ]

The CDA host hotel. The swim course is just beyond the marina.

The CDA host hotel tonight. The swim course is just beyond the marina.

We’re here in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for Sunday’s race. This will be my fourth IronMan, and while I of course wish I’d done this-or-that differently/better/more in my training, I feel like I’m going to PR this thing!

I’ve been training since February, and I’ve logged more running, more biking, and more swimming than any other year. My hip issues are mostly behind me–it’s feeling good. I know the course, I know my equipment, I know how to deal with my nutrition for an IM. I’m at a perfect race weight. The weather, it’s been raining for days, is now looking perfect for race day. So, basically it’s all coming together.

Here's about what you see on the swim. Point to a landmark and just keep going!

From the swim today. Here’s about what you see. Point to a landmark and just keep going!

I swam today and yesterday, and what a difference a day makes. Yesterday, wind, rain and waves. Today, beautiful sunshine and happy people.

We had a chance to catch up with many friends from Salt Lake up here to do the race today. I’m excited to see how they do — I can think of at least six who are primed to do the best races of their lives! Can’t wait to see that.

One unusual thing — I had a mechanical on my pre-race ride! I’ve been really lucky with my gear generally, but today I went out to ride the run course and my rear derailleur was REALLY stiff. It would go really easy shifting from low to high gears, but I had to sit up and crank the lever to move to lower gears. So, at about 4:00 I rode it over to the bike mechanics in the expo — they spotted the problem (or a problem) right away, will fix it overnight, and have it ready by 10:00 AM! What a great service. And, goes to show the importance of doing your pre-race test ride.

So, tomorrow, one last day of relaxation before the race on Sunday.
Then, it’s go time!

Interesting new idea: Clip on aerobars and adjustable seat post.

Most triathletes have bike issues. Issues with having too many bikes that is. You did your first tri on a mountain bike, and while you had a great time, watching everyone else whizzing by all day had you shopping for a new bike.

Pro bikes at the 2012 IronMan St. George

Pro bikes at the 2012 IronMan St. George

But, what to get? Going for a tri bike may give you an edge in races, but also a chronic case of aero-position-neck. Or, a road bike that offers comfort, versatility, and safety — you could go ride with your roadie friends without them saying “you brought your tri bike?”.

Ideal number of bikes = n + 1
(where n is the number you currently own…)

Of course, the answer is both! But, for many without the resources (or burning desire to spend more on bikes than their car) that may not be an option — at least until the tri addiction grows to become completely unmanageable. And, the truth is, in the age of shaped carbon tubes, a nice road bike loses very little to a tri bike. The main problem is position.

One of the reasons tri bikes help your performance, is that they tend to rotate you forward to a steeper seating position. It’s more aerodynamic, and you can rest your weight on your elbows. It’s like a climber that “goes skeletal” letting his bones hold him up instead of his muscles. I’ve also heard people say the steeper angle will save your hamstrings for the run, but really your hip angle will be about the same, so I’m not sure about that. But, either way, the end result is you burn less energy, to go faster.

Well here’s an idea, make your seat post angle easily adjust between road bike postion and a steeper tri bike position. And, how about some aerobars with a quick release? That’s the idea of the Switch Aero System. They’re currently raising money (and it’s going quite well) to make this prototype a reality.

seatpost_and_aerobars

Honestly, this sounds like a great idea to me. Take the extra $$ you save by skipping a second bike and get a better road bike. Add on some nice aero wheels (that you can now afford) and I think the dollar-per-second saved equation starts looking pretty good.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting idea. Check out their kick starter campaign here.

IronMan CDA : 45-49. Who’ll go to Kona?

A couple months ago, I did a little research into the top 7 guys in my 45-49 age group at IM 70.3 St. George. It was a fun exercise, and turned out that I did call 4 of the top 7. So, I thought I’d take a peek at the numbers for IronMan Coeur D’Alene. Unlikely that I’ll get one, but fun to see just how unlikely.

I took the CDA participant list, and cross referenced it from last year’s USAT rankings for everyone 40-50 to get the top seeds for my age group at CDA. My age group will have only about 4 potential qualifying spots for the IronMan World Championships in Kona. Last year, #4 did a 10:08.

So, here are my top 5 picks for the 45-49 qualifiers (only 4 will get slots!)

Continue Reading…

CDA bibs are out! + Kona slot update

The bibs have been released on the IronMan Coeur D’Alene website! It’s getting real now. Looks like I’m lucky number 2215.

Interestingly, the difference between the registered numbers, and the numbers that received bibs, decreased by the same percentage for both men and women. Each came down by 6%.

Below I’ve updated my Kona slot estimates. But, take these with a grain of salt — they’ll be close, but as we’ve found out lately there is a great mystery surrounding the actual allocation of Kona slots. No one actually seems to know the exact formula used for allocating the slots, and there are several alternative methods for allocating slots proportional to age group size (as WTC says they do). And, there seems to be some inconsistency between events as well. Will be doing more investigation on this.

In the meantime, here are the new estimates. The only change from the previous, is that M60-64 looks like it picks up a slot, and F30-34 loses one.
Continue Reading…

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