Monday, June 11, 2012

Payson Sprint Tri and other goodness

We headed up to Cynthia's cabin in Pine, AZ on Friday afternoon. It is about a two hour drive and the temperatures were much more livable at 5000 feet. After many laughs, a nice dinner and a few more laughs we hit the bed.

Traveling to races is something I need to get better at - in regards to preparation. Last weekend at Chino we left from Phoenix that morning so all of my essentials were met. On Saturday morning at the Payson race I did not have my protein or my coffee. I am a moron.

The swim set up is sweet in Payson. Rather than doing a serpentine of the course you share a single lane with one other swimmer. I started earlier than most and that was good. I swam pretty relaxed. I did not kill it because I knew the bike and run were hilly. The guy I shared a lane with hit me in the head (unintentionally) on three different passes. I was a bit faster than him because I passed him twice in our 500 meter swim. 10:25 - my fastest 500 by 20 seconds and I did not go 100%. After a decent transition it was time for the bike.

The game changes at 5000 feet of altitude nowadays. The redline is not as far down the tachometer. I was gassed from the beginning of the bike. I was gassed on the first 7 miles of the bike. There is about 1000 feet of climbing in the 14 miles on this bike course. I felt decent from mile 8 until mile 13. Right before the finish, I gassed again. Something was missing. I could not get the oxygen going. I did eat two gels on the bike and drank plenty of water. Not feeling much leg punishment I decided I would make up for it on the run. 44:34 total bike time.

This run was hilly. Not over-the-top hilly, but likely the hilliest 5K I have done. I ran 7:20 on the first mile and it was mostly up hill. That was good. I ran 7:30 on mile 2 and it had some flat but also had the biggest up on the course. I then ran a 7:28 to finish the course and it was hilly except for the very end. 22:18 for the run.

Total time: 1:17:16.

I was 11th overall and 4th in the 30-39 age group. The three dudes in front of me were 31, 31, and 32. I am not whining about it. On a different day on the bike I probably could have gotten one or two of them.

I looked back over my personal stats. This 5K was my 4th fastest ever and it was by far the hilliest course. I had an unmatched 20:39 5K at Solana Beach Sprint Triathlon last year. I think that run course was 100% flat - the bike was only 9 miles long - and I was adrenalized by the number of people in that race. I was also stoked that I survived the ocean swim. The two other faster times were stand-alone 5Ks of 21:36 and 21:45. I will break 20 for a 3.1 miler very soon and that will be a sweet day for me.

After the race Carrie and I grabbed lunch in Payson and headed back out to Pine. We wanted to hike down to Fossil Creek. It was hot! The rangers at the trailhead were turning people away that were under-prepared for the hike. Being the veteran hikers we are, we were more than prepared. We assured them that we would likely be helping the less prepared hikers get out of the canyon. Fossil Creek is a 4 mile one-way trail. It drops nearly 2000 feet in those 4 miles. I suspect it catches people off guard on the hike back out. Parts of the trail are a little rugged, but nothing like some of the stuff we have hiked over the years.

This is a great hike and a nice trail. It is like an oasis in the desert. It feels more like a tropical island. On the way out we saw some rangers double checking some fires that people did not properly put out. We ran into three people and two dogs about mid way up. The dogs feet were all cut up and they had them bandaged with what looked like their socks and some duct tape. They were low on water - so we gave them about 24 ounces. We asked if they needed help. They said they would be fine. Their friends had ditched them when the dogs started walking too slow. Not cool! They asked us where we were from - we told them Phoenix. Carrie says "He had a triathlon this morning - so this is the part that I can participate in." The dude in the group responded with "Yeah, because this hike is EXACTLY what you do after racing a triathlon." I smiled and nodded. Ego booster!

A little further up the trail we ran into a lady that had a "purse cooler" or whatever you call those things. It was made for a beach trip rather than the hike. Her party had stuck her with carrying all their extra weight ... and then left her behind on the way out of the canyon. She was dragging this purse thing behind her. The man she was with was either injured or disabled because he had a massive limp and a cane. I politely asked her to allow me to carry her bag the rest of the way out. She took a water bottle from the cooler and we told her we would leave it at the top near the parking lot.

We made good on our words to the rangers. We helped people get out of the canyon. They weren't there when we got back to the top. The temps had cooled off a bit and the number of people had dwindled a bit. All things told, it was 8 miles with 2100 feet of climbing. Not the hardest hike we've been on, but not an easy one either. Great scenery.

Yesterday we started painting the cabinets in the office. We also went shopping. Then we went to the gym and lifted weights and swam 1200 yds or so. I was tired. Carrie out swam me by quite a bit. Last week was the biggest training week I have had since Ironman and I could tell.

It is 63 days until the Mountain Man 70.3 in Flagstaff. I am going to try a few different things in my training and diet and see what happens. Change is good.

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