Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ballou Skies video feature

Last Thursday (4/15), Jocelyn, myself, Kim, Steve, and the Ballou family met in a local park to get some video footage for Ballou Skies video feature that would run online at WPXI and in a condensed version during local television broadcasts. The resulting video and a related article can be found here. Check out the BallouSkies website, get involved online through Facebook, buy some peanut butter here or in your local Giant Eagle if you're a Western Pennsylvanian, and help us in the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy! 100% of the proceeds of the sale of the peanut butter go to the charity and the vital research that is being done at the Ohio State University Davis Heart & Lung Research Institute, as well as direct donations made to the charity. Help us in our race to extend lives and find a cure!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

March into April, centuries and a swim meet

The last 3+ weeks have been very busy training and getting ready for the quickly approaching start of the 2010 season. With the exception of last weekend, the previous three weekends included a minimum of a century ride and then at least a sixteen mile run, with Easter weekend as the biggest of them all with a ~111 mile ride followed up with a 20+ miler. All of the rides and runs have been extremely solid for me, with HR's at a good IM to HIM intensity level, with high average speeds and paces considering the time of year. Not surprising though, considering the typical company. Three and a half weekends ago, the meeting place was at North Park on the day of the Just a Short Run races. Here I met up with Chad, Matty Mo, [Cousin] Nate, and Joe V. Here are the IM ladies, getting ready to start their own ride.
This Saturday started first with a 3000 yd swim, and then the guys and gals headed out separately, and in the end Chad and I got in about 101 rolling miles with a speedy transition run on Lake Shore Drive. This capped nearly a 7 hr training day. Below, Chad, Matt, and Nate cruising up a short climb just north of Evans City.
About a mile or so later, stopping to fix Nate's slow leak flat before bombing down 528 into Evans City.
Sunday we had about a 16.5 mile run with some solid ironman effort intervals at the Schenley Park oval, doing 5 X 5k descending with Joe and Chad. We started these at 7:20 pace and finished up at 6:40 pace, trying to force the legs to run long on tired legs as this is the name of the game. The following week saw a little mountain biking on my local trails in addition to normal training sessions, and here I am showing off my cycling affiliations of Sewickley and Ballou Skies as I am slowly covered in mud.
The next weekend (4/3) I met up with Joe on his 40th birthday for a speedy century into Ohio, West Virginia, and back into WPa.
Joe cruising down Quicksilver Rd in the Midway region,
And yours truly a couple miles later on North Branch Rd.
Stopping at the 100 mile mark for visual confirmation that Joe's ultimatum of 20mph or faster had been observed for his bday ride.
Checking in in my driveway, noticing that the avg speed appears correct, but that I missed some miles when navigating my way across the Sewickley Bridge and through all of the lights and traffic in town.
Map of the tri-state century, which was my fastest ever in training, and maybe even including races, to date. I can't wait to try that with the Zipps...
Easter Sunday started off with congregation at the Church of the Sunday Morning Long Run, doing 20+ miles on the Montour Trail and finishing off with a dip in the creek (Run).
Natural ice bath = free. Not paying for party ice = priceless. Creek slime/stink = I could have done without.
Joe suffering through the last couple minutes of his 20 minute soak.
Once I got home on Easter, finding my basket left by the Jocey bunny.
Crosstraining, walking my family's horses, or rather them walking us around the neighborhood.
From left to right, Jack (jiggy), Oakley (oaktown), and Nessie (brown-ass).

Last weekend was the first break in the Ironman base/build routine, for the annual AMYMSA League Championships. This was held at Clarion University and the Sewickley Y Masters had 9 swimmers attending, 8 men and 1 woman. This was the first time I think since I started swimming for the team that we had enough guys to field two relays. Here we are on Saturday (4/10), smoking the field and setting a new AMYMSA Top Ten record in the 200 Medley relay, 140-179 age group. Mark led off with back, then Bill did breast, I did fly, and Jimbo swam free to finish in 1:44.19. Video of the race, we're in lane 3 -

For the rest of Saturday I did the 100 Free (:54.18), 50 Free (:24.52), and 200 I.M. (2:14.60). My freestyle events were less than stellar, but I was pretty happy with my I.M. Here are all of the guys with the exception of Mark H, at the banquet dinner later that night. Bottom, l to r: Bill W, Bill G, Mark C; back: Jim, Dan, Ben, and me. Photo courtesy of Janine.
On Sunday, here is the same relay team but in the 200 Free relay, led off by Bill, me, Jim, and then Mark. We couldn't quite beat the old SEWY team of yore from 2003, but we posted the 2nd fastest time ever in the league's age group with a 1:33.56. Video below, once again in lane 3.

For the rest of the meet, I swam the 100 I.M. (1:00.30), 50 Fly (:26.43), 25 Free (:11.07), and the 100 Fly (:59.27). Very happy with the 100's, not so with the 50, and indifferent with the time in the 25. Here is video from my 100 Fly. I am in lane 5 with the yellow cap and Orca speedsuit. Bill and some of the other studs beat me pretty handily :(

Last weekend was great and the SEWY men came in 2nd in the team competition to the Cranberry Wave. Though with only 8 swimmers to their 11, winning was a mathematical impossibility, despite our noticeable dominance. We like to think that we were the true winners, if the meet were being scored with a points per swimmer or per capita scoring system. Next year. The weekend was a lot of fun though and the beginning of a taper for the triathlon race season to come. See you at the races!