Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vermilion Harbor Triathlon

I competed in the Vermilion Harbor Triathlon this past Sunday.  It was my 2nd ever Triathlon and my first Olympic distance.  It consisted of a 1500 yard swim, 26 mile bike, and a 6.2 mile run.  That's double the distance of my first Triathlon and half the distance on my next race on 9/9/12.  I haven't said much about it, but since the Cleveland Marathon.  I've been training for Rev3 Sandusky Half Ironman on 9/9/12.  My plan was to train for the event and compete in a sprint distance as well as a olympic distance.  After surviving the Olympic distance, I would then register for the Rev3 race.  Well, that didn't work out so well as there was a price increase of $50 dollars on 8/1.  So, that kinda forced my hand a bit and I registered.  My worry all along wasn't the bike or the run as I've been able to ride/run that distance since completing the marathon.  My issue is swimming.  I've spent most of the summer in the pool and at the lake improving my swim.  I've made great strides and have come a long way, but still struggle at times.  Going into this race, I was very worried about swimming 1500 yards in race conditions.

This was my first trip to Vermilion and I never realized how far away it is from Stow.  Being roughly 60 miles away, made for a very early Sunday morning.  This race consisted of a variety of events to choose from including sprint and olympic versions of Triathlons, Duathlons, and relays.  My race was scheduled to start last, which was about 45 minutes after the first event.  I arrived extra early to ensure decent parking and a rack spot if necessary.  I made my way to the registration and to my surprise, they were already out of S,M, and L race shirts.  I was very disappointed as I was guaranteed a shirt for pre-registering and I was there 2 hours before the event.  They did say I will get it in the mail, but we'll have to see about that.  Still, very poor in my opinion.  Things continued to go South as I arrived at my assigned rack along with what seemed like the whole race in my row.  We were packed like sardines.  Everyone made the best of it and we worked it all out, but our row was by far the most crowded.  Once getting everything set up.  I tried to relax and finally got the courage to look at the Lake.  For those of you not familiar with Lake Erie.  Its a fickle beast and its truly like a box of chocolates.  You never know what your going to get.


From the beach the Lake appeared to be as calm as I've seen it in awhile.  The swim itself began on the beach.  From there we would swim out about a hundred yards make a left and swim about 400 yards or so then another left back to the starting area.  The sprint group would make 1 loop and I would make 2 loops.  I was a little nervous as this would be my first "you can't touch the bottom" race.  I was equipped with the security of my wetsuit, but this would be my first can't touch experience since the drowning incident a few years ago.  As I mentioned earlier.  I've come a long way and can easily swim over this distance, but if you compared it to running.  I'm still run/walking.  I need some breaks to calm down and reset.  Well, this wan't going to happen today.  I lined up in the back of my group, which consisted of clydesdales and men in the 30's.  My swim started out pretty good, but the swells were already throwing me off.  Making the left and heading down the backstretch.  I started to panic.  I wasn't ready for these conditions and not touching.  I tried to swim best I could making it to the next turn.  I took this part a little long, ensuring I could touch.  I felt tired and was not looking forward to the next loop.  At this point, I decided to quit.  I wasn't having fun and didn't want to be in the water any more.  After completing the first loop, I deciding to forge on as I didn't want to dnf my first race.  About half way through the 2nd lap.  I freaked!  I was tired.  My stroke was off and I got water instead of air a couple times.  To calm myself, I flipped over and did the backstroke.  I began to settle until someone started to swim of top of me.  I freaked again.  Swimming for my life.  I made the final left and headed back to shallower waters.  I was wore out and grossly underestimated the difference between swimming in an inland lake and swimming in Lake Erie.

Time:  27:49

Before things got crowded.

Transition 1

I managed this much better than races past.  I had no issues this time and even remembered to take off my Garmin before removing my wetsuit.

Time:  1:51


I went out aggressive on the bike.  I needed to make up for a crap swim and wanted to take advantage of the flat roads.  Or so I thought.  According to the race, this course was 386 feet of climbing.  Well, thats true if you were judging from the low point to the high point.  This course was full of rollers and it involved a lot of climbing.  To make things even more technical.  All the large descents had turns at the bottom.  This was a hard course and it took a lot of concentration.  A few roads were chipped and you had to search around for smooth parts.  Around mile 5, I had a major fail.  I recently purchased a aero helmet on eBay.  It was working out well, but a screw came loose and my sunglass shield separated on on one side.  I quickly move it behind me to save it, but only flapped around.  I had no other choice than unscrew it and toss it into someones yard and spent the next 21 miles riding with no eye protection.  I managed to ride pretty well.  Some riders tried to pass and then would squat right in front.  This was fairly annoying.  Luckily, I caught a second wind and rode away from everyone to the end.

Time:  1:17:12

Transition 2

The ride into transition 2 was really cool as it was a flat road surrounded by townspeople on each side cheering me on.  I had another great transition and even got my socks on with ease.


The plan was to establish a nice endurance pace for the first 3.1 miles.  The route was a little annoying as it was on grass the first few tenths and I was paranoid about twisting an ankle.  I ran the first mile in 8:50 and felt pretty good.  I didn't realize how well I was doing until I started to get passed repeatedly by racers in team uniforms.  They were all really supportive and I continued to clomp along on my 9 minute per mile pace.  It was a fairly flat route and had a ton of water stops.  It was really nice to have.  I didn't have any issues until mile 4 when stomach cramps began to set in.  These cost me a few minutes towards the end.  Once arriving at the last turn, I saw my buddy Alex video taping the finish. As I turned, I almost made a Tosh.O moment as I tripped over a rock.  After recovering from the near disaster, I sprinted to the finish for a time of 2:46:21

Time:  57:48


This race was insane!  A lot harder than I had expected it be.  My thoughts were that it would be comparable to running a half marathon, but it was harder than that.  I can't say enough good things about Vermillion.  The town support was the best I have ever seen and there were more volunteers here than any race i've done.  It was really nice and allowed us to concentrate on racing.  I was pleased with my overall time.  It was good enough to win my clydesdale group.  Better yet, my time was good enough to beat all the groups that chose to race by weight over age!  The only problem was the swim.  I feel like I dodged a bullet on that one.  Being in open water with out the being able to touch is not fun for me.  That kind of ruined the day for me and I wasn't a happy camper after the race.  I'm not sure what I am going to do about Sandusky now.  I emailed them about doing a shorter event or deferring to next year and they said no.  Hopefully after another 3 weeks of hard swim training.  I'll change my mind, but right now.  I have zero desire to step foot in that lake again.  Its a shame I feel that way because I wish I could celebrate what was a great accomplishment, but I can't get over the fear and panic I felt.

Christmas Ale and my winner's medal!

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Liebster Post

Hey everyone.  I haven't blogged in awhile.  Mostly because I haven't raced since the Fairport Triathlon and I have been too busy training for Rev3 Sandusky.  This week, I got Liebstered by two inspiration friends of mine.  What does Liebster mean?  I am not exactly sure what it means, but I need to list 11 random facts about me.  Then answer 11 questions posed from Adena and Kristy.

While writing this blog.  I remembered I owe some answers to a few of my friends.  Over the winter, I asked if anyone had any random questions they wanted answered by Beal.  Ask and I would answer them in a blog.  Well, I got busy and never answered the questions.  So, I will try and find those questions and will be answering them soon.  Also, if you have a question, feel free to leave a comment or message me and I will answer them in a soon to be posted blog.

11 Random Beal facts:

1. I grew up refusing to eat vegetables.  As a baby I would scrape them off my tongue.  My mom spoiled my as I grew up by always cooking me a separate dish that had the vegetables taken out.  They still even do this today with certain things.

2. I was recruited while in college to train for being a professional wrestler in the WWE.

3. I'm a huge NASCAR fan and my favorite driver is Dale Earnhardt Jr.

4.  I hate when people sing out loud in public.

5. My favorite movie of all time is Smokey and the Bandit.  As a kid, I wanted to grow up and be a truck driver.

6.  My biggest fear is snakes

7.  I'm a big creature of habit and am not comfortable when my routine changes.

8.  Apparently, I tell good stories while training.

9.   I've lived in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan.

10.  I struggle at choosing between two things.

11.  I'm left handed.

Adena's 11 questions for me:
1. If I gave you $5000 right this minute what would you do with it?

As tempted as I would be to spend it on some new Zipp 404 carbon clinchers and a new Sram Red drivetrain for my bike.  I think I would go on a killer vacation.  I haven't been on a vacation in awhile and I think I deserve one. 

2. What’s in your fridge RIGHT NOW?

Beer, Gatorade, steak, and lunch meat. 

3. Do you have any tricks to motivate yourself out the door on days when you don’t feel like working out?

I really don't need motivation.  If I am not really into it, I just tell myself the sooner I start.  The sooner I'll be finished. 

4. What’s your favourite meal?

Duh, Chipotle. 

5. Have you always been athletic?
  If no, what got you started?

I have always been athletic and have played sports since I was a little kid. 

7. Where is your favorite place to be?

Out riding my bike on a calm sunny day. 

8. Favorite song at the moment? 

It is Recharger by Fear Factory

9. What was the last thing that made you laugh so hard you practically (or did) cried?

I can't remember any specific instance, but probably something on Tosh.O

10. Starbucks or Tim Hortons?

I've never been to Tim Hortons, so Starbucks

11. What is your guilty pleasure? 

I have 2.  One is playing Call Of Duty online.  My other is watching the Jersey Shore. 
Kristy's questions for me:

1. How/Why did you start running?

I started running to lose weight.  

2. What is your reach goal (time, race or distance challenge)?

My goal is to complete an Ironman someday. 

3. How has running changed your life?

It has helped me lose weight.  It has also helped me meet some really cool people and i've made some great friends through running. 

4. Do you treat yourself for a great race or well done hard workout? If so, with what?

After a race I like to enjoy a few Christmas Ales and some Chipotle.  If its a long race, then I may get some pizza. 

5. Are you involved in your local running community/running groups?

Not at the moment. 

6. Do you prefer to run with a group or solo?

I prefer to train solo, but I enjoy group runs from time to time. 

7. What's your favorite race (event not distance) that you've run so far? and why?

Akron Marathon.  It is such a great event.  A fun yet challenging route, great crowd support, plenty of volunteers, finish inside a minor league baseball stadium, free beer at the finish, and its on a Saturday. 

8. Which ONE Olympic running event/performance inspired you the most?

Probably the 5K.  Watching them run a sub 4 minute mile after running 2 miles was truly amazing. 

9. If you could run one event in the Olympics, which would it be?

Which ever one is the shortest.  Lol.  Na, I would love to do the Individual Time Trial (cycling)

10. What do you think about the minimalist movement, and do you wear minimalist shoes?

I think it is good for the right people.  It isn't something you can just jump into, which most people do and get hurt.  I think when used correctly, minimalist shoes are great.  I do have a pair of Brooks Pure Cadence, which are a in between minimalist and standard shoe. 

11. If you could go on a run with any person, who would it be and why?

If you are talking famous people, I would say Miranda Carfrae.  Or I would run with my old Sunday run crew.  I don't miss the weather, but they were fun to run with.