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Lake Lanier Islands Triathlon 2014

Sunday, September 28th was the 10th annual Lake Lanier Islands Triathlon. It’s been eight years since I last ran this race. I dug out my Emerald Point Triathlon Race Recap after the fact to see how I did and how much I have evolved (or devolved!). In short, I’m eight years older and roughly 10 minutes faster.

Not much has changed at this venue since my last visit:

  1. Participants are now required to check their bike in the day before. Kind of a pain, but with 1000 folks at a small venue, it’s really a necessity.
  2. Body marking is gone. I guess this has been phased out over the past couple of years, but this was my first in a couple of years, so I was a bit surprised to see those temporary tattoos.  They are a real pain to remove too – baby oil is definitely required.
  3. The resort has created a marina in the area that was once the swim exit.  The huge climb up to transition is still there, but now you have to run across a long pier begin that climb.

Swim

I felt really good on the swim. It’s been awhile since I raced in open water. I felt like I sighted really well the whole way and kept an even stroke. Once I turned right at the first buoy, the field opened up a bit and I was able to swim my swim. My split was a bit disappointing because the chip time stopped at the mat in the transition area. It included the run across the pier and up the hill. Of course I took it easy here to avoid getting my heart rate up. I would’ve gone harder had I realized that was still part of my swim time. There was a mat at the swim exit, but I think that was just checking us in to the race.

Course and elevation profile of the Lake Lanier Islands triathlon.

Lake Lanier Islands Triathlon bike course

Bike

Regardless of what the literature says about flatness with only 1 real climb, the course is hilly.  You’re in North Georgia. It’s going to be hilly.  I executed the bike course really well, with an IF of 1.05.  Any more than that would’ve screwed my run, and even that may have negatively impacted my run a tiny bit.  My Garmin 705 had issues with the distance, registering a total of only 9.6 miles instead of the 12.5 – 13 that the course really is. Not sure what went wrong there. At least I have my power numbers – that is the most important part.

 

Lake Lanier Islands run course

Lake Lanier Islands run course

Run

I had a pretty easy time finding my pace and getting out on the run course. Like the bike, there were a bunch of hills to deal with on this course, but only 1 of them was really of any significance that began in the second mile and was about 1/2 mile long.  I walked the hills which I think may be a result of cooking the legs a little too much on the bike. Or may just have been mental. Who really knows?  Once I hit mile 2 I was moving the whole way and passed a couple of folks in my a/g.  The finisher chute had started to deflate, but some kind folks were holding it up as I crossed the mat.  1 hour, 27 minutes.  Not too shabby for being older and not training nearly as much as I used to!

Transitions

My transitions went really well. I had staged things well, and have Yankz on my running shoes. I could probably shave a minute off of each. It has been awhile since my last sprint tri, so I will just be content with it as is.

In summary, it was a great day. I had a lot of fun not only racing, but also in training the 8-10 weeks leading up to this event.

2012 Publix Georgia Marathon Race Report

The 6th running of the Georgia Marathon followed the course that has been run the past several years. Temperatures at race time were in the upper 50’s, reaching the high 70’s by the finish. The humidity level was pretty high for the first couple of hours. This led to sweat laden shirts, shorts and socks as the air could not absorb the sweat. Later in the race, the humidity eased, but the sun and hot air more than compensated for the lack of humidity.

In terms of race organization, things went pretty smoothly in spite of the hot temperatures. This year’s event was not as hot as the first year it ran, but some of the aid stations still had issues keeping up with demand for water & gatorade. Why they do not go ahead and fill 10000 cups of each at the first two aid stations is simply beyond me. I cringed when I saw runners clamoring at packages of cups to then hold a cup out for a volunteer to fill from a pitcher. Just ridiculous. Also, the finish line had no cold refreshments for the marathon runners. I’m not sure about the half folks, but when I hit the finish line I was handed a hot bottle of water. Yech.

I’m really proud of my accomplishment and need to reflect on the training that got me here. This wasn’t my best, but was far from my worst. And right now I’m just not happy with my physical appearance, although my physical conditioning appears to be spot on. Here are the objective details of my 6th Georgia Marathon / 18th marathon in general:

 

 

Michael Schubert #204

Age: 38 Gender: M
5:07:56
Distance MAR
Clock Time 5:14:45
Chip Time 5:07:56
Overall Place 1378 / 1868
Gender Place 962 / 1232
Division Place 172 / 220
10K 1:07:05
Half 2:22:34
22 1Mi 4:07:01
Divtotal 224
Sextotal 1260
Pace 11:46
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2012 Georgia Cup Resolution Run Race Report

Happy New Year!

This year started the same way that 5 others in recent memory have, with a 10k run under the moniker of New Year’s Resolutions. This event was a Georgia Cup series event, and I believe was the first year of its running. I have competed in the Atlanta Track Club Resolution Run a number of times, but found myself on the wrong side of a registration deadline. What was once a no-frills, $5 race is now an event that requires pre-registration (and $30!) several days in advance. So, I found myself racing closer to home in Norcross today.

It certainly did not feel like January 1st in Atlanta. The temperature was in the 50’s when I awoke and warmed up to around 60 under cloudy skies. Following the event, the sky opened up and then the winds came in. But as far as the race was concerned, the weather could not have been better. I raced in shorts and a short sleeve shirt and worked up quite a sweat on the hilly course.

The race was run well. I initially questioned the presence of merely 2 port-a-johns, but the line was never horrendous as only a couple of hundred folks were racing. The course itself was well marked and meandered through Technology Park. Police and/or volunteers were at intersections and the turn around points and kept us safe from what little traffic there was. There were plenty of water stops to keep runners hydrated. Sports drink would have been nice on the course or at the finish, but this is really my only complaint and it’s a minor one. The finish line festivities had more water, pretzels, bananas, Oreos, etc. – the usual fare. Results were quickly posted and traffic seemed to be a non-issue.

Here’s a look at the course for those of you who are interested. It is different than the one posted on the Georgia Cup site. In fact, it felt shorter (and my Garmin measured shorter) than a 10k. We’ll have to wait and see whether there is any official word on course length. No big deal either way – everyone ran the same course, it’d just be nice to know.

In all, it was a great day and felt really great to put on a number and run after nearly 6 months without doing so.  My final time was just over 54 minutes, and I came in 4th in my age group. My next race is likely another 10k in early February. I need to set another qualifying time for the Peachtree.

Happy running, folks!

2010 Ironman Augusta 70.3 Race Report

This race marks my fifth race at the 1/2 iron distance triathlon, but my first of the Ironman-branded variety. I personally had a tough time with this some years back, because an Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. But there are some people that do these Ironman 70.3 races and then call themselves an Ironman. Whatever – that’s between them and their conscience. With Lake Placid and Wisconsin in my rear view mirror, I decided it was time to take advantage of the big crowds and support crew of these bigger 70.3 races.

This race also marks my first under a new coach. I hired him last month and have only been through roughly 4 weeks with him, so I assured him that if this race resulted in a poor outcome that I fully accepted the responsibility. Once this season ends in late October, I will post more about my thoughts on my coach and the future. But let me say that his past experience at this race greatly helped keep me focused on what I needed (and didn’t need) to do in the few days leading up to the race.

I arrived at the race site on Saturday afternoon and was greeted by a huge line for athlete check-in. The line was occupied by many non-athletes, but once you reached the actual check-in point they weeded all those folks out so it wasn’t congested where the actual work was taking place. It is funny what a matter of a few minutes makes – at 4pm the line wrapped around the corridor. At 4:45pm it was about 1/3 its size. After picking up my packet, I took my bike down to the transition area (roughly 1 mile away) and checked it in. The logistics of this race really bothered me up until I went to sleep Saturday night.

Sunday I awoke thinking to myself “Self, this isn’t fun any more.” I had always told myself once it stopped being fun I would stop doing it. Of course, saying this to yourself once does not really mean anything. If I said that over and over for a year I would have to give it serious thought. I shaved, showered, packed the Xterra (I wouldn’t be coming back to my room after the race) and began the walk with my transition bag down to my bike. This all went smooth. Light drizzle began to fall at 6:30 as I was leaving the transition area.


Savannah River – Ironman Augusta 70.3
Originally uploaded by Iron Mike Schubert

Swim 1.2 Miles – 30:10

It’s raining now. Not that it matters – I’m getting wet anyway. The physically challenged athletes went off a few waves in front of mine. Of note was a blind guy and a guy with one leg. I saw them both later on the bike course and was thankful that I am able to compete with no physical impairments. This event is a river swim and while you don’t feel it, it is definitely there. There was the usual jostling for the first 1/4 mile or so but then everyone found their place and just swam. The only sighting issue I had was at swim finish. The buoys were still way to the left and it was not obvious that I should be turning right. I think I wasted an extra minute or two here. No big deal though – I’m very happy with my time.

 


My Bike in Transition Area – Ironman Augusta 70.3
Originally uploaded by Iron Mike Schubert

Bike 56 Miles – 2:46:36 (20.2 mph)

It rained. The entire time. The bike course is great – rolling with only 1 or 2 real climbs that I recall. Early in the ride, I hit a hole in the road that was filled with water (that’s why I didn’t see it) and my sippee cup flew off my bars and landed in the road. Evidently I had missed a hole or didn’t double the strap back when securing it in the dark this morning. Of course, that was all my fluids for the first 19 miles, and I hadn’t drank anything yet since I had just gotten on my bike 15 minutes ago. So already I knew this would be interesting.

Mile 19 came and I was very happy to get water and dump in some of my concentrated Infinit. Nutrition began flowing instantly and I was feeling great. I guess holding my mouth open to catch the rain was a good strategy. Had it been warmer that day, I would’ve been screwed. As it was, I was able to maintain over 20mph across the bike course and have good legs to run on.

 

Run 13.1 Miles – 2:09:53 (9:54 / mile)

The run was pretty flat. There was a gradual grade that was virtually unnoticeable. Fortunately, it stopped raining when I hit mile 2. Unfortunately, I did not have dry socks in my bag in transition so by mile 4 my feet were starting to blister. And oh by the way, I found that my Garmin 405 had frozen at 9:25 am while I was out on my bike – so I was flying blind on the run. Yikes! 

When I ran past the finish line the first time I saw the time clock say 4:45:00, so I knew getting in under 6 hours was within my reach. I felt like I was dragging on the run and would be cutting it close. Without my watch, I really had no way to know. The second loop I walked a few times, but once I hit mile 11 I started motoring. When I came around the corner into the finish chute I looked up and saw 5:58:10 on the time clock and knew I had blown 6 hours out of the water. That clock started with the pros and I was somewhere between 20-24 minutes behind them! I was so overjoyed and overwhelmed that I was near tears. After crossing the line, I turned around to look at the clock again just to make sure it said the same thing on both sides!

Overall time – 5 hours 38 minutes 27 seconds. My best at the 70.3 discipline.

Parting Thoughts

A lot of folks sit back in retrospect and look at what went wrong. This race represents a lot that went right for me. Speed work on the track on Wednesday nights. The Thursday night hammer fest in Roswell after work. A decent amount of time in the pool and practicing in open water. And above all else, a well executed game plan. I was concerned that the logistics of the race would stress me out. Losing my fluid & nutrition for the first 19 miles was almost my demise, but a huge lesson learned as well (even that needs a plan B on the bike). Not having a watch to pace my run presented a huge challenge. Having a mental plan (or formulating one on the fly) and then executing to it made me very successful on this day.

Would I race Augusta again? Probably. It gets dogged because of the river current. But fine, add 10 minutes to my swim time and I’m still well under 6 hours. Triathlon is about more than just the swim. I still had to propel myself over the open road by bike and foot.

Do I love this sport? Definitely. I shouldn’t take myself too seriously at 4:30 on a race morning!

Carrollton Sprint Triathlon Race Report

I raced my last triathlon as a 36 year old this past Sunday out in Carrollton, Ga. It was a low-key event, not even USAT sanctioned, that had somewhere around 250 participants. I’m sometimes weary of non-sanctioned events, but this one turned out to be a lot of fun. It was an interesting contrast to some of the higher profile races I have run. The day started out extremely eventful with my Xterra’s battery dying. I had to procure a car from a friend in order to get out to the race. This stress was quickly relieved once I had my bike racked and headphones on.

Swim 1/4 Mile

My swim was pretty good, turning in an 8:25 time. The start wave I was in was extremely crowded and it reminded me of the Ironman start where it’s like you are in a washing machine. Sighting on the course was easy and before I knew it I was done. 8 minutes go by pretty fast.

Bike 12 Miles (Map Below)

The bike course was rolling, with the first half containing a number of short inclines. I was able to stay aero most of the time and turned in a 36:06 split. I had slightly higher expectations when I hit mile 7 on what I think was Hwy 61 – immediately upon turning I was hit with a strong headwind that stayed in my face the next 4.5 miles. My wattage was steady as was my form, so I’m really happy with my performance on this leg despite the wind.

Run 3.4 Miles (Map Below)

The run started fairly innocuously with a gentle negative grade. Unfortunately, what goes down must come up, and a series of inclines began around mile 1. I was pretty steady just under a 9 minute pace the whole way, with only 1 walking incident at the water stop. The finish was uphill and I was challenged at the end by some guy who decided to sprint by me about 1/10 of a mile from the line. I accelerated a bit too soon, allowing him to respond and barely beat me to the line. Oh well – I’m not a sprinter. My run split was 30:04. Below is a picture of me at the line – you can tell I was after this guy since both of my feet are off the ground.

Overall time was 1 hour 19 minutes. T1 was probably 3:30 including the run up to transition. I can’t imagine T2 being over a minute. I met or beat all of my objectives. Next up – tri bike shopping. I have narrowed it down to 2, so it’s just a matter of taking them both for a ride for the final decision. The funds have been set aside and my personal goals have been met. Time to “put the bow” on it and bring it home!

2010 Carrolton Tri Photo Finish

Update: Here are the course maps for the bike and run course.

2010 Carrolton Triathlon Course Maps

 

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