Hey everyone, welcome to my blog. Here I will give race reports and updates on training. I will try to keep it as up to date as possible. You can also follow me on twitter @bauer_andrew for more frequent updates. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Half Marathon...In Vegas? - Why Not?

I had the opportunity to head out to Las Vegas with some people from work for the weekend of the Las Vegas Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon.  I figured I'd give this whole half marathon thing a try.  I didn't really know what to expect...never running a half marathon before....being in Vegas....not being in the best shape....being in Vegas.  We arrived Friday afternoon and the partying began.  I had a wonderful time recovering on Satruday with 13.1 miles looming the next morning.  Saturday night, my group went to see Cirque di Solei "O" and it was absolutely amazing.  The performers are incredible.  It kind of motivated me.  The show ended at 9:30pm and I was ready for bed, so I passed up what I would discover later, was the best Sushi anyone had ever had and went back to the hotel room.  Oh well...good decision.  Looking back at it, it doesn't really bother me that I can sit here today and write about my performance without mentioning anything to do with Sushi in my actual race report.  That wouldn't have been pretty.

The alarm went off Sunday morning at 5:45am and right away I was ecstatic that I had gotten a good night's sleep.  I headed down to the race site, which was conveniently located right outside the hotel lobby.  It was a zoo.  I guess this is what 28,000 people who don't exactly know where to go looks like.  I found the VIP tent in the middle of the expo and relaxed a bit.  Warm up consisted of a 3 minute run and 4 strides; Doesn't take much for a half marathon.  After working my way up to the front row in wave #1 and suffering through a Cher look-a-like Star Spangled Banner, I was ready to go.

The plan was to go out in 5:45s and gradually go a bit faster each mile.  I felt this was doable at my current fitness level.  About 10 seconds after the gun went off I hear a "Hey -bleep-" to my left.  I thought I had somehow cut this joker off and he was already pissed at me.  I looked left and saw Jon Kieliszak, my XC teammate from Michigan who I hadn't seen in about 3 years.  It was a nice surprise!  We chatted for about 1 mile before it was time to shut up and conserve energy.

So I wanted to run 5:45s.  First mile-5:30, 2nd mile-5:30.  OK, we're doing 5:30s all day I told myself, and we'll see what happens.  We had a great group going.  Jon and I were joined by the eventual marathon winner Josh Cox, the eventual women's half winner Jen Rhines, and about 4 other guys all running the same pace and not messing around.  The last thing we needed was some dude to mess around with pacing and screw everything up.  Jon and I would lead a mile or two and then drop back while 2 others took the pace.  This first half marathon could not have been set up any better.  We hit 5k in 17:00, 10k in 34:45 and 10 miles in 56:05.  By the 10-mile mark, Jon and I had dropped everyone in our original group, but slowed to about 5:38-5:40 per mile.  I had a great mile from 10 to 11, which was back to 5:29 and at this point, I was slowly inching ahead of Jon.  By mile 11, I was by myself running 5:30s again and catching 2 half marathoners ahead of me along with the marathon leader and lead truck.  I used these guys to pull me along.  I finished strong, running the last 5k in 17:15.

Overall, what a great experience running most of the race with Jon.  He was a great help.  What an experience running all 13.1 miles and feeling great the whole way.  What a great experience running up and down the strip in Las Vegas, completely shut down to traffic (which only happens 6 hours a year, for the marathon) and having it completely lined with people.  Overall, I finished 15th place with a time of 1:13:21.

I had my fun Sunday night.  I didn't have Sushi, but I'm over it.  Now I'm back home, a little sore, but ready to get away from runner mode and start becoming a triathlete again!  I can't wait to jump in the pool and get back on the bike.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Back in the Saddle

I've been getting requests to update my blog lately.  I'm actually pretty humbled by the amount of people that have told me, in one way or another, that they have read this blog.  It's really cool.  Honestly, there hasn't been a lot to write about lately.  I enjoyed a break from training for a few weeks and am slowly getting back into it.

I like looking back through the years in my training log to see how much I've improved this year over last year and the year before.  I'm big on comparing my training this year vs. last year and I'm always looking to make improvements.  November of 2009 was plagued with a lot of nagging injuries from coming back too quickly.  Shin splints from running and shoulder problems from swimming resulted in a very inconsistent start to the 2010 season.  So this year, the pressure is off.  Triathlon season is a long one.  I can race as early as March while the last triathlon on the schedule in the San Francisco Bay Area is typically around Halloween.  There is absolutely no rush to hurry back and start pounding the roads and hammering in the water.  I decided to have a little fun and a change of pace this time around in November 2010.

In 3 weeks, I am running the Las Vegas Half Marathon.  Did you notice I said "running"?  I won't be running 60-70 miles a week in preparation for Las Vegas, but it has kind of kick-started my training for 2011.  I've focusing on the run for the for the last 5 weeks or so, but have also been sprinkling in some biking and swimming along the way.  I'm looking forward to jumping straight into a running race without having to swim and bike before it.  It's been great feeling like a runner again.

After Las Vegas on December 5th, I'll come home ready and eager for my real base training to begin!  Once the half is over, December and January will be "learning the correct swim technique and getting faster in the water" months.  I will also be improving my relationship with my bike seat.  We will be spending a lot of time together.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hydration Problems

Last weekend, I made the long trek down south with Kyle Leto to race in my first Lifetime Series event.  The LA Triathlon offered an Elite Amateur division and an opportunity to race side by side with the pros.  I was excited to 1, see LA for the first time, and 2, have a good race and finish off my season on a high note.  I was in for a few bumps along the road...literally.

We arrived in LA Friday night.  The weather there is pretty sweet.  Saturday morning, we got up early and met Drew Haberkorn so that he could put me through a crash course in "not drowning in beach starts-101."  I've been body surfing and boogie-boarding before in decent-sized waves, but that was for fun.  Although I was trying to have fun here, the purpose of this lesson was to get from the beach through the 5-foot waves and to the open, more smooth water as fast as I could.  I'm glad I took this crash course the day before my race because when we said go and headed into the ocean for the first time, I got rocked.  I was being pushed backwards, being flipped by the under-toe, and more water was going in my mouth than I could handle.  I finally got into the smooth water coughing uncontrollably while Drew and Kyle were looking on laughing.  I needed and did a few repeats of this "exercise" before I felt comfortable and ready to roll the next day.

I felt good and ready to go Sunday morning.  I set up transition and went for a run warm up along the beach.  Running along the beach as the sun comes up at 6:30am really relaxes you.  It's pretty cool.  After getting my wetsuit on and practicing one last beach entry (it was a good one) I made my way to the start line.  When the horn went off, it was a free for all.  Sand was flying everywhere as we had a 100-meter sprint before plunging into the water.  I got into a good position for a while, but the current immediately took me off course.  I thought the whole field was gone.  I was thinking, oh great, another terrible swim.  Just then I found someone's feet and stayed on them for a while.  I was settling down and getting into a rhythm.  I went to pass him, but I didn't feel I could hold this pace so I backed off and got right behind him for the rest of the swim.  When I got out, I heard Drew yell that I was 7th out of the water out of the 15 guys that started in my wave.  Pretty good for me, considering I thought I had another terrible swim.

I jumped on the bike with my swimming partner and we took off.  I knew in my mind that I was feeling good and I was a stronger cyclist than this guy next to me so I took off.  I rode hard for 2 or 3 miles.  At around mile 3 on the bike course, the route takes us from one side of the road to the other, riding on the left side.  I made the switch, but in the middle of the median was a huge bump where 2 slabs of pavement come together.  I'm not very good at dodging things on the road so of course I ran right into it.  Luckily I hung onto my bike and stayed upright, but both of my water bottles shot off my bike and were left rolling around on the pavement.  I knew right then that the rest of the day was going to be a tough one.  No hydration on the bike means tough second half ride and really hard run.  My swim partner passed me back along with my good Sports Basement buddy Nate Helming.  Nate was too fast to stay with today, but I rode behind the other guy for the rest of the bike.

I jumped off the bike, had a great T2 and started off on my run and felt my hammies cramp up right away.  I went out hard and caught Nate, who had put about a minute on me over the 40k ride.  I passed him and kept surging until about the 2-mile mark.  I hit the wall after that.  Nate passed me back and I slowed to a long run pace.  At this point I started thinking about my season and how much success and fun I've had this year.  This year took me to Florida and to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  This season introduced me to my coach, Brian Priddin.  This year I crashed on my bike for the first time ever.  Miles 3 and 4 of the run were spent thinking about these types of things and admiring all the fans that came out to support the athletes running through downtown LA.  In the fifth mile, something happened and my back and hamstrings loosened up.  I found another gear I had been missing all day.  I started to pick it up and reel people in.  I finished strong at the Staples Center and LA Live and was happy to be done for the season.

Kyle and I packed up the car and headed home soon after the race.  Lessons from LA:  1.)  be prepared to wait in traffic at any time of the day, wherever you are in the city.  Ridiculous.  2.)  next time, try to dodge big bumps on the road the might knock off your water bottles.

I look forward to a few weeks of relaxing and not training.  Maybe go mountain biking in Walnut Creek or around Lake Chabot.  Have a few beers! (not at the same time)

Shout out to Chris Lieto in Kona.  Good luck man!  We'll be watching back home in CA.  Also:  Go Blue!  Kick Sparty's ass!

Monday, September 27, 2010

USAT National Championships

Last Saturday was the big day: National Championships in Tuscaloosa, AL.  I arrived on Thursday evening to 90 degrees and 75% humidity.  Friday morning I got up and headed to the race site for my final tune up.  Water was a balmy 84 degrees and when it was time to bike, I had already started sweating when I took the bike out of the car.  Crazy.  I came away from the workout feeling like crap, but in my mind I was confident because when I feel like crap the day before a race, that usually means I'm paying way too much attention to my body and I have a great race the next day.  I'm so used to it now that I actually get excited when I feel like crap the day before a race.  I was ready to go!

One thing that keeps me composed and relaxed during race weekends is my dad.  He's my super fan.  The number of my races he's been to from running to triathlon is pretty amazing.  I've been lucky enough to travel all over the country in my athletic career for countless races and I can probably count on my own 2 hands the number he's missed.  He made the trip down from Detroit to hang with me for this one.  Catching up and hanging out with him takes my mind off the race and sidelines my nerves.  He picked me up from the hotel at 6am race morning and we drove to the race site together.  We wondered whether or not Michigan football would win and joked how incredibly bad our defense is.  (We won!).

At 6:30 in the morning the heat wasn't too bad yet.  I knew though, that come 8:30 when I'd be getting out of the water and onto the bike the sun would already be beating down on us.  After a run and swim warm up I was ready to role.  Key phrase today for this one was "don't ever slow down."  The swim got off to a fast start.  I kept telling myself to find some feet, find some feet.  I found some to the first buoy, made the right turn and stayed on to the second turn buoy.  Made another right turn and started the long half-mile straight away.  I immediately found myself in no mans land.  The pack was about 20 meters up and I missed it.  I tried to sprint for a minute to try and catch them but to no avail.  The half-mile straight was a tough one.  I stayed positive and kept telling myself, "don't ever slow down."  This was nationals; This is it.  I made the final right turn and tried my best to hammer the last 300 meters to the shore.  I got out of the water in a daze (pretty usual) and heard my dad yell you're 20!

Made it onto my bike no problem this time (yes!).  I found myself in a pack of 5 guys in my age group including my good buddy Drew Haberkorn.  Five miles into the ride, cyclist stud Brian MacIlvain caught us and I thought, alright sweet, I got this thing.  I'm in a great group and I'm going to hammer this.  "Don't ever slow down."  Keeping our distance from each other and being careful not to get tagged for drafting, we worked as a group taking turns at the "front."  Each of us did our part to keep the pace honest.  When I felt the pace slowing a bit or getting easy, I passed the leader and pushed.  There were a few times where I fell off the pace a bit and really hurt, but I kept telling myself "I got this, get up there."  My usual nutrition intake on the bike is 2 GUs, and about a bottle and a half of water.  Today, I downed 3 GUs on the bike and finished both bottles of GU Brew.  I also had a fourth GU ready to go at transition to take with me on the run.  I wasn't about to let the heat ruin my race.  I got off the bike in the group ready for a solid run.

My legs felt pretty tired from the bike, but I believed in my mind that out of the group I was with, I was the best runner.  I made my way up to the 2 leaders of the group and passed them at about the half-mile mark.  Haberkorn and I ran together for the next 2 miles.  I actually fell off a bit on the first uphill, giving up 10 meters or so.  It was kind of a wake up call for myself.  I caught him on the downhill and ran with him shoulder to shoulder until the 3-mile mark.  At that point, I decided my race had started.  I turned it up a notch and got some separation.  It was time to see how many people I could pass.  I wasn't seeing any calves with ages 25-29 on them and at times I got discouraged.  I kept tell myself one was coming though, so keep up the pace.  With a mile to go there were 4 guys that looked my age in front of me.  I passed them with 800 to go, but they were all age 20-24.  There was one guy in front of my with 600 to go and sure enough, his calf had a 25 on it.  I put in one last surge and passed him quickly so that he couldn't respond and kept that pace to the finish line.

My final time was 1:58.39.  It's my new PR for the Olympic distance!  I took 5th in my age group, which put me 10th overall.  I achieved my main goal for the race, which was top 10 overall.  I like to keep it close!  What I'm most proud of today was my mental attitude throughout the race.  I've had problems this season with mentally giving up.  Today my positive talk kept me focused the entire race.  That being said, there are plenty of areas for improvement.  My swim was 22 minutes, 1:30 slower than the winner.  My bike was 59 minutes, and although that's over a 25 mph average, it put me 2 minutes behind the fastest bike of the day.  Despite my run being the reason I made up so much time on some of my age group competition, there is room for improvement there as well.  I'm very happy with my performance and even more excited with where I can go from here.  Next up is the LA Triathlon this Sunday.  I will be racing the Elite Amateur division in this highly competitive Lifetime Fitness Series race.  Goal for Sunday is top 3.  Bring it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

2 Weeks To Go!

Last week I came down with an unfortunate cold that put a damper on the training.  Most of the week was spent trying to take care of the symptoms and fitting in short workouts when I wasn't feeling too weak.  The best thing that's happened in the last 2 weeks has probably been Denard Robinson of the Michigan Wolverines.  I'm thinking about racing with my bike shoes unbuckled and my racing flats untied.  Maybe that will give me the edge I need.  Go Blue!

I finally started feeling better Saturday morning, just in time for House of Pain.  I took the time trial bike out for this one.  Usually this group ride is known for talented time trialists like Chris Lieto and Kyle Leto taking pulls at certain long stretches of the route.  With Lieto down in Malibu winning a triathlon and Leto dominating a pro race in Pacific Grove, it left the door wide open for a TT guy like myself.  I could definitely tell that I was sick the previous couple days, but I took some big pulls and worked on time trialing to get ready for nationals.  I did my best to make the group of 30 or so guys behind me suffer.

I've also spent some quality time in Lake Temescal in Oakland.  Rebecca and I went there twice last week to work on long endurance swimming.  The only downfall here is that this lake is nasty.  It smells bad and you can't see your hand in front of you under water.  Here's a picture of beautiful Temescal.
So I've got 2 more weeks.  One more week of hard workouts, followed by the best part of training there is: Taper.

Monday, August 30, 2010

3.5 Weeks To Go

First off, congrats to training partners Kyle Leto and Kenny Rakestraw for taking 2nd and 7th respectively at Alcatraz Triathlon yesterday.  You guys are studs and it was nice to see you tear it up out there on that tough course.

Despite having my alarm set before 6:00am everyday last week and feeling a little sleep deprived, I had a great week of training.  I finished 2/3 of two masters swim workouts and took down the whole workout the third time.  Although I can still feel the shoulder a little bit during certain parts of the stroke, I'm confident that with a few more training sessions in the pool, there is no reason why I shouldn't be 100% and at the top of my fitness in the water come nationals.  It feels great to be back!

With Kyle and Kenny missing from our weekly group ride "House of Pain" because they were racing the next day, it was left wide open for me to take charge of the 30-40 rider group.  Usually Kyle goes to the front, puts in his headphones and tears the group to pieces.  I'm usually one of the unlucky guys being shelled off the back.  This time around, I found a new confidence and took my turns at the front.  This time it was my turn to shell some people off the back, plus we got pulled over by a cop for taking up the whole car lane for a about 10 miles.  Apparently drivers and cyclists don't get along.  No big deal though.  We got a little speech from the officer and we were on our way.  It's not the first time I've been on the group when it's been pulled over.  We all shared a good laugh.  Overall, I feel very strong on the bike right now; much improved from last year at this time.  The picture below is Kyle and I surviving on a 45-mile ride at 110 degrees last Wednesday.
With the help of Luis and his track workout group on Thursday mornings, I got through my long track session at 5:30am.  The total distance of the work on the track was 8 miles and it marks my come back after a 2-week hiatus from track stuff.  The workout went very well.  I like to tell myself during and after the workout that no one I am racing in 3.5 weeks is working that hard on the track and running those types of workouts.  It helps with my confidence.

The next 2 weeks call for more of the same before starting my taper and preparations for Tuscaloosa.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Post Crash

Back on July 31st, I had the opportunity to race at the Elite Development race at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  There were 35 athletes in the race, including 4 pros.  Excluding the pros, the top 3 amateur finishers were given their elite cards, giving them their "professional" status.  I raced in one of these types if races earlier this year, taking the 4th spot.  This time, I was poised for a top 3 finish.  Unfortunately, after a great swim that put me in the position I wanted, I hit a bump on the bike and went down hard.  I've never crashed on the bike before.  It was surprising, to say the least...as well as painful.  With the help of some coaches, I got picked up from the ground, the bike was bent back into ridable position and I was off.  Throughout my entire running and triathlon career, I've never DNFed and I wasn't about the change that.  I ended up finishing, which was a successful race given the circumstances.

Now, 3 weeks after the crash, I'm just starting to get back in the pool.  I took 2 weeks off from pretty much everything to let my shoulder heal a bit.  Last week was my first full week back running and biking.  Swimming is taking a bit longer.  Luckily nothing was broken or dislocated in the crash and I walked away with just some muscle damage.  A couple races on my schedule are cancelled (Alcatraz and Pacific Grove) so I can get ready for my number 1 race of the season: Nationals in Tuscaloosa, AL.  I've got 4 weeks to train hard and get ready.

I'll do my best to keep you updated on my progress to Alabama.