Sunday, August 28, 2011

28.6 miles

Well, I did it! Today's Triathlon Eugene started at 7:05 a.m. for me and I was happy to have been part of this inaugural event. My wife, son, & I arrived a little after 6:00 a.m. where we found about 150 other racers who were prepping their bikes, clothes and themselves for the early start. The sun was just coming up in the east, revealing light cloud cover. We started the race near 55 degrees and the water temp was about 74. Needless to say, it was warmer in the water than on the shore!

Pre-race jitters
 The short course consisted of a .5 mile swim, a 25 mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run. I'd been training for this event since March so I knew what I had coming as far as effort and distances, but having said that I hadn't done all three events in a single day before. I also hadn't practiced my transitions (called T1 and T2), the parts of the race where I would go from swim to bike and from bike to run.

Lining up for the swim start
I started in the back of the pack on the swim and more or less stayed there. The long course racers, who started five minutes before my wave and were swimming twice as far as me, began passing me about halfway through my swim. I was far from being shocked, but maintained my pace and perseverance as best I could.

We're off!
Coming out of the water was fun because I was in a group with what were apparently three popular racers, which made me swim harder to the transition (I was pretending they were cheering for me). The transition zone was crowded but I made relatively quick work of donning my helmet, gloves, sunglasses and shoes after ditching the swim cap and goggles.

Coming in to T1

The road ride was tough, for sure, but I kept my pace (about 18 mph for those keeping track) here too and only let a handful of riders pass me. I felt like I was losing ground to a lot of racers, but it turns out now that I look at the results I actually passed 10 people during the 1.5 hour ride.

Coming in to T2
 Back now at the second transition area and dreading my run (exhaustion was setting in here) I took a break after putting on my running shoes to go give my wife and son a kiss for luck. I shot out of T2 and started out on the run, making a 8:00/mile pace.

Changing at T2
Off for the final leg!

I wrapped up my first triathlon with a final time of 2:12:35 and I've got to say I couldn't be happier with the result. After a nice lunch with my friends who came to cheer me on, the three of us went home for what ended up being a two hour nap! Well deserved I believe!

PS- Thanks a ton to Jamie for taking these photos!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tahkenitch Lake Backpacking Adventure!

Anson wasn't afraid of the dark woods, thankfully.

My wife, son, and I went just south of Florence this weekend for our first backpacking trip as a family. As you might remember we tried backyard camping a few months ago with great success so it seemed we should be able to manage a more adventurous outing now that the little man is four months old. We were very lucky in many ways this weekend and fulfilled our goal of getting out in nature, seeing something new, and having some time alone to reconnect with one another.

We got a late start (what else is new?) to our trip and arrived at Tahkenitch Campground & Trailhead around 7:30p.m. We knew we had about an hour and a half of daylight left so we got moving quickly and were on our way to Threemile Lake which was, you guessed it, three miles from the trailhead.

We didn't know what the trail would have in store for us becuase we'd never been there, but were pleasantly surprised that there weren't many hills or difficult sections. We didn't know if we'd find a flat spot for our tent, but were delighted to find a great forested area next to the dunes that was very flat and protected from the wind.

About two miles from our destination the light had diminished so much that hiking through the thickly-covered forest required a headlamp. The dogs, as well as Claire and I, were ambitious about hiking regardless of the time of day so we made good time getting to Threemile Lake, having taken just about 1.5 hours.

We pitched the tent and cooked our dinner before I went out with the doggers to explore our campsite. We were on a tall bluff about 50-75 feet above sea level and therefore had a commanding view of the coast and dunes to the south. The night sky yielded a full moon, the Perseids meteor shower, and the occasional wisp of clouds moving across the horizon. After putting the young one to sleep, we enjoyed a relaxing light show, trying to find meteors racing across the sky.

What a campsite!

After a good nights' sleep (with a four month old that is a very relative term!), we awoke to the now-familiar sound of crashing waves. A light breeze and the low sun kept us cool as we began our hike, meandering through the sand on our way to the ocean. 

The dogs enjoyed a quick dip in Threemile Lake as we made our way to the shoreline. We were smart and only put waterproof items in their dog packs, knowing how much they like to swim.

Wet dogs=happy dogs
Threemile Lake

 Once we arrived at the beach I was pleasantly surprised to find many animals, although most of them ravaged by seabirds, washed up along the shore. We saw numerous crabs, starfish, and jellyfish.

Seashell carnage

As we walked further along we looked for our trail back to the car to complete our six mile loop. We came across people hiking on the beach, backpackers like us, heading home from their own adventures. The whole time we were backpacking we saw only 13 people. It was refreshing to be in such solitude along the coast.

A great Oregon memory

We were approaching noon about the time we left the seaside, and the sun was high in the mostly cloudless sky. The breeze was virtually non-existent and made for a hot walk back the last 1.5 miles to the car. We were happy to have found the shady trail again and get off the sand, which made for hot and difficult hiking.

Shade from the surprisingly hot sun

All in all, we know that we are very lucky for many reasons, not the least of which is to live in such a wonderful place like Oregon. Anson is lucky to have been born here, and we are lucky to be able to take him on such beautiful hiking adventures.


Until next time...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Triathlon Training Update

So I've been really pushing hard to get out running, swimming, and biking during the past few weeks to prep for Triathlon Eugene on August 28th. My friends have been great workout buddies, and I seem to have a partner to go with anytime I want one, which is great for motivation!

The latest adventure involved going with a coworker Thursday afternoon to Fern Ridge Reservoir, located just northwest of Eugene and the location of this month's triathlon. For those of you who came to my wedding, it's the same location where Claire & I were wed.

We didn't know what to expect when we stuck our toes in the water, as Oregon lakes and rivers can vary dramatically depending on location, elevation, and time of year. We were pleasantly surprised to find the water to be very nice, not too cold and not too warm for a great swim. We started out and my wife stayed along the shore for moral support and to measure our distance. We made a bee line for the buoys, which are roughly 150 feet from shore and then turned to swim alongside them from one edge of the swimming area to the other. We made one full lap (down and back) and got out of the water about 35 minutes later, having covered a choppy, current-filled .4 miles and being proud of ourselves for doing the swim. I was especially proud because it was my first open-water swim!

More to come soon. Until then, I'll be training!