Monday, March 31, 2014

Back on the wagon: New Orleans 5150

Greetings.  Just got back from the first race of the year down in nawlens.  Boy do I sleep well at low altitude.  Its like being put into a coma. Slept for 10hrs in one position Friday night.  Scrumptious.  

Fun weekend too.  Got to stay with my homestay of the last 3 years, Brian Baum.  Thanks again Brian for hosting us.  Plus, this year I brought some friends, Davide and Brooks.  

Brooks and I go back to collegiate triathlon days when he raced for Miami of Ohio, though he now trains in Detroit.  Davide, "the italian" is another of the Boulder CO crew.  We put him in the back seat (ie no seat)

Race Recap:
Swim was long and choppy but also wetsuit legal.  Very windy and cold conditions--unseasonably cold.  I hammered out of the gate into some free water, then backed off and chilled in the front group.  It wasn’t a very hard swim, Brooks and Brian F. were leading and I was right in behind them.  Unfortunately we didn’t drop anyone since it was wetsuit legal and no one was really trying to get away.


Bike.  Drew S. just hammered from the first mile and I went for it after him, knowing he was going to throw down on the bike.  Michael P. got on my wheel and we were the three that took off and outbiked everyone else by like 3min.  That was the story of the race.  The three of us split up by about 30s over the rest of the course.  Me in third, Drew in the lead.

CRUSHED T2.  I usually am not so hot at transitions, but I actually have started doing them pretty well.  Took what, like 7 years, or however long Ive been doing this silly sport.

The three of us ran about the same and finished in that order.  I ran very consistently but wasn’t supper zippy. I think all three of us had really solid races coming off of lots of base training and not yet much speed work.  Good news for all of us heading into the season!  Brooks ended up 5th and Davide 6th.

 Afterwards we headed down to the French Quarter to do some tourism on Bourbon Street aka, the dirtiest street in America.  All I did was walk down it, but after taking 3x showers in purell I still feel dirty.

Definitely plenty of culture and art around there.  Depending on what you like...

The classiest strip club I could find...

Brooks even got his picture with the guy that was trying to get us to go inside.  The guy at lipstixxx was making a strong counter offer.

Got some local fare.  Every type of seafood, though you cant tell the difference since it is all fried, plus gumbo.

Even tried a sip of a "Hurricane" which is basically a mixture of every type of liquor, some kind of fruit juice and about a cup of sugar.  It was horrible.

In all, it was a great weekend with the boys.  Looking forward to St Anthony's Triathlon in Clearwater FL up next!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Springtime 2014.

Howdy ya'll.  Back for the 2014 edition.

Ok well the main reason for this report is that I finally got a coach.  Fitting considering the last post I left on this here blog!  Her name is Jennifer Hutchison and she is kicking my bootay.  Ugh intervals everywhere.  Makes me realize how slack I was getting last year.

Got the first race coming up in 2 weeks in New Orleans.  Should be interesting, eh?  How will the training pay off?  I am swimming less than last year (but still hard); am biking like a mofo.  I dont really remember but I think I blacked out last time I ran.  Oxygen deficit is the norm.

Hmm, things to report here.  Been listening to lots of Chvrches, Phantogram, and Lorde lately.  ALSO, I've been writing my PhD thesis.  Just passed 100 pages today and still rollin!  The plan right now is to defend some time in May.  Should be an exciting year.  Stay tuned for some bumpin race reports.


Featured chill out music of the week:

Hut trip this winter up on vail pass!

Time to get a haircut and shave my legs...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What a weak (end)

Well, Hy-Vee happened this last weekend.  Spoiler alert.  It was one of my worst races in...ever?

I was pretty down after the race on Sunday, but after thinking about how the last month has gone, it all makes sense really.  The last time I blew it this badly was 4 years ago as an undergrad 4th year at UVA (thats a senior to the rest of you non-wahoos out there).

Coming into August I had a few motivations:
1) I was kinda sick of getting 4th
2) My advisors were gone, things at school were in their pre-fall semester lull
3) Research was going well
4) Plenty of time, nice weather

Ok, so I trained a LOT.  More than a lot, I trained hard, a lot.  For about 2 weeks I was just crushing it.  I even had probably one of my best track workouts ever holding 5:30 pace or below for 7miles on the track. But, then the third week was just too much.  I should have backed off but instead I stuck to my plan and really dug myself in a hole.  I rested for Maine thinking I would have plenty of time to get it together, but I was not rested for Maine.  I was sleeping a lot and the night before ate way too much pizza to be even mildly considered recovered.  The race in Maine was weak--the real trouble was that I couldnt get my heart rate up on the bike and especially the run--I think thats just a sign of fatigue.  Ok, so I thought I would just drop it hard and rest all week for Hy-Vee.  I did 20min swims on MWF (thats it) and only a little more on TR.  I felt rested, but flat.  And then the race.

I started out the swim hard, on Hunter Kempers feet until the first buoy.  I crushed myself to stay on him, and it worked, he put a gap; it was open water, and it was nice.  BUT, then we cut in, I got pummeled by a few guys, drank some water, and just blew up.  That was it.  I came way down in pace for the rest of the swim and for the rest of the day I dont think I got my heart rate above 140.  It was honestly sad.  I rode at a pace I felt I could have held for about 100miles on an average saturday.  And I ran a 36min 10k, yikes.  I just couldnt get my pace up because I couldnt get my heart rate up.  I was hardly breathing hard on the run, which is a bad sign.  My best 10ks are the ones where I nearly pass out from breathing so hard.

Summary: Overtrained, didnt recover like usual for Maine, tired and flat there, rested too much, body shut down for Hy-Vee, even worse than Maine, re-think my life.

I suppose I learned something from the past month, but I sorta feel like I am just reinventing the wheel.  Fortunately, I rarely mess it up so badly, but yes I am sure I would benefit greatly from a coach, or someone who would prevent me from blowing it like this.

My parents came out to watch:

And I suppose the weekend wasnt a total bust; I got some pictures with some of the youngsters from the kids race including Megan here who crushed it on Saturday.  (I need a haricut!)

Honestly, I am pretty lucky that all I had was a horrible race; it could have been a much worse day for example if I were living in Syria.  At the end of the day, life goes on, I dont need this to pay my rent; I will get it right next time.  I know I improved this year, and I know my swimming is there.  I wanted so badly to make the front group on the swim and if I hadnt blown my training, I think I might have been able to.  One of these times I will get it right...

In the mean time, cheers to chocolate milk.


Song of the week (updating Sept 5):

mini cooper

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Team Lobster Boil in Maine

Last weekend was REV3 Maine held at Old Orchard Beach ME.  I was pretty pumped to get out to the east coast (always, for the humidity and oxygen) and Maine in August would offer both AND with reasonable temperatures.  Sure enough, it didnt disappoint.

I flew in to Boston and drove up with teammate Chris Braden aka Chris B Real, team captain Stephen and weekend honorary team member Lindsey Jerdonek.  We tried like 8x times to get lobster that night, but eventually settled for calzones, still yummy!

The cool thing about this race was that we were able to cram about 90% of our OTFM team into Stephen's grandparent's beach house (plus 2x sets of parents).  In sum we had 4x pros in the mens race, 2x pros in the womens race (plus honarary member Lindsey +1) and 3x guys in the amateur race.  Of course having a full house of triathletes was a blast; bikes everywhere, and plenty of peanut butter!  The night before the race we ate 8 large pizzas.

Yeah, so the race itself was kinda weird.  I felt ok going into it, having put in a lot of big miles in the last month.  One of my goals this season is to consistently make the front group on the swim and this being a wetsuit legal swim, I had no trouble staying with the lead guys--the pace felt comfortable enough and no one was pulling away--its the kind of feeling I have been seeking, and I know all the big swim miles have been paying off.

So, we came out of the water and my boy Chris B Real sprinted for the swim prime and "had a heart attack"in the process.  Its why I love that guy, hes a goof with a big heart.  Anyway, as I was running up the beach trying to keep my HR in check, a couple guys sprinted past me as I was slogging up the sand.  Yikes.  I plodded into T1, and was gapped by about 20 seconds from the guys who cranked it out.  The rest of this story is just sad, because I am clearly an idiot for not killing myself to get up there (exactly the same scenario as my last race in Columbus).  The first 4x guys formed a nice little group and stayed just in my sight as I caught Chris.  I rode hard but to no avail; the 4 that got away again stayed in sight until about the halfway point where they really put time on me.  Sigh.  Another race hanging out in no mans land, behind the front group I should have gotten with and in front of a huge group of guys about a minute back.  Fortunately, Chris stayed with me, so at least he was set up for a good race.

The run hit and I was feeling pretty tired.  Chris passed me at about mile 2 and at about mile 4, 3 guys from the chase group passed me.  I wasnt doing my usual death breathing which was weird, mostly I think because I was just kinda tired.  I had nothing to push it to the next level.  Sad day.  I finished the race and wasnt my usual destroyed self.  Instead I was just tired.  Meh.

Here is teammate Katie Hursey on top of the women's podium and giving her victory speech.  Just a boss.  REV3 by the way put on a fantastic race.

I think I realize now that I might have been a bit too gung ho in the past month and dug myself into a bit of a hole. Next weekend is Hy-Vee, the race of the year, so now I am doing nothing but thinking about recovering.  My friends at the pool have told me to do basically nothing this week.  Welp, if thats what it takes.

Look at that sunset.  I couldnt believe it was real.  Ahh, the east coast.

Next stop, Des Moines!


Song of the week:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Columbus to cookout to Durango to Flagstaff

Finally getting around to making this post but its been busy since the Columbus 5150 back on July 28.  I originally planned to race in Columbus in case I needed points for the 5150 series to make it to Hy-Vee (Sept 1) but I made the first cut this year (whoot) so this race didnt really matter too much, but of course I wanted to do well. 

My parents were driving up from Virginia to watch and we were planning on staying with my mom's cousin (and her husband Paul) in Columbus. Since its my mom's first cousin, I think that makes her my first cousin once removed?  Anyway, we are related in some official fashion.

The race was ok...  I swam well!  Made the first group for the first time ever (a season goal for me) but it was a short swim (I was like 14 minutes) which was disappointing because we only put about 1min on the second group.  I wish it had been longer so we could have really opened up a gap.  I had a slowish transition and got on the bike about 20 seconds behind Ben Collins.  I kept him in sight for the first half but he was slowly pulling away.  Ugh, I mean he is really good but I think if I had just blasted through T1 and gotten up there with him I might have been able to hang on and force myself to stay with him.  Instead I biked in no mans land coming into T2 in second but only about 1min in front of the main group.  Ben went away with the win and I ended up getting passed by some good runners ie Kaleb VanOrt...again (though I still ran pretty solidly, I thought, actually (and I held off my good friend Ryan Bice) but I ended up finishing 4th...AGAIN!

I guess I should be happy with it, but it was my 4th 4th this year, and I am getting sick of 4th.  I really think I had a chance to get up there this time and just didnt have the extra kick on the bike (which is weird because biking is usually my thing).  Thats ok though because I am definitely better than last year and am still improving.  If I stay this consistent next year and turn it into podiums, that would be cool. 

The day improved when I saw that the neighborhood named a street after me.  Also, Karl rd. (Karl is my real first name) was just a few streets over.  Makes sense since my entire family heritage is from that area.

Speaking of which; while I was getting ready for the race, my mom and aunt were digging up family records and found this!  My great x? grandpa Karl August Ruethenick after whom I am partly named.  I got Karl for a first name and my brother got August for a first name.  He had 14 kids!  Damn.  I might need a couple wives to have that many.

After the race, Paul took us on a tour around Ohio State for a bit.  Saw the pool, and athletic facilities.  And the newly renovated library which had amazing stacks with glass windows.  Fortunately, being the end of July, there werent 60,000 students mulling about.

Hectic week begin!  I stayed the extra night to Monday to spend a little extra time with my parents, but that was a mistake.  My plane was delayed because of weather and I missed like 3x buses back to Boulder...whine whine whine etc.  Finally I got back, biked in to lab, submitted a revised version of a manuscript (my second paper as a PhD student) which was just accepted this week to ACS catalysis!  That night we had an epic cookout.  I worked half a day Tuesday, packed up the car and picked up my roommate Rob and we drove to Durango.  

We spent the night in camping under the stars in the San Juan Mountains, woke up Wednesday and ran on the Colorado Trail, got back in the car and drove the rest of the way to Flagstaff AZ where we spent the rest of the week biking and running and swimming and hanging out with Rob's friend Abby. 

It was my first time to Flagstaff and I have to say, if there were anywhere I would live in AZ it would be Flagstaff.  Everywhere else is blazing hot, but at 7,000ft it was cooler there than in Boulder! 

Here is Rob in front of Sunset Crater volcano in the San Francisco Volcano Field.  It last erupted 900 years ago and is the main reason Flagstaff has such high mountains.  

Here are some of the ruins from the Wupatki Native American dwellings.  The ruins, including the citadel, were all over on the N side of flagstaff. It was weird too because they were right next to the volcano.  Why did ancient people always to that??  It seems like a bad place to set up shop...but then again, I guess the rest of AZ is pretty darn hot, so maybe they were smarter than they seem.

Here we are heading out of the highlands into the desert. Later heading back up, the storms rolled in and we got caught in a massive downpour thunderstorm and almost died.

Here we are later getting some dessert with Abby on the main drag of Flagstaff (ie tourist central).  The candy apple was flippin delicious btw.

Finally, when the weekend rolled around, we drove down to Sedona for the afternoon.  It was blazing hot and I felt temporarily sorry for everyone living in Phoenix.  Poor masochistic people.  We did a sweet hike to Devils Bridge and I lost ca. 40lbs of water weight.  I see why they call it "descending into hell."

Panorama iPhone skillz. With weary dehydrated travelers on the right.

And here we are on Devils Bridge.

We did a bunch of other stuff too, like swimming, and eating, and RUNNING.  The running was fantastic: beautiful trails everywhere, in every direction, and hot runner girls seemed to be falling out of the trees. It was pretty fantastic.

The drive back Sunday was long but we got to see a lot of Colorado.  Tip: dont drive to Flagstaff.  It may be only 1 state away but it is a long ass drive over a lot of very tall mountains with goats, Navajo Indians who cant drive, RVs, and other mountain related obstacles. 

Now its back to work and some hard core training for REV3 Maine and then Hy-Vee on September 1.  The biggest races of the year....  Until then.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Boulder son of a Peak

Yeah so Sunday was the Boulder Peak.  My arch nemesis.  You might say Rudy, but its your hometown race.  Yeah but there is no oxygen here.  Or humidity.  My favorite things.

For some reason I never feel like I race well at altitude (or maybe its just that everyone is really fast?) Maybe both.  Anyway, I felt like I had a good swim staying on some guys feet, but it wasnt really that good, I was like 2 min behind the leaders (ie TO)!!  Holy smokes.  The bike goes up over old stage (a huge climb right at the beginning) and I kept it strong over the top but heard someone yell that I was 4! min down to the leaders at the top (this is like mile 6 of the bike...).  Yikes.  The run felt solid, I held it together pretty good I thought and ran like 36 something which isnt terrible at altitude either. I ended up finishing 13, which is kinda meh.  In all reality, I had a great race for me, probably my best Boulder Peak (of the 3 I have done), but I still feel pretty mediocre at the end.  I guess I have to go down to low altitude and redeem myself!  (its probably all mental anyway). 

Photos courtesy of Jess Broderick (pro triathlete and teammate on OTFM who was there to watch, and Andrijan Smaic who was snapping away at the race.

Oh well.  I did have a super fun weekend last weekend traveling back to Charlottesville VA to see my friends Todd and Amara get married at the UVA chapel!  I hadnt been back since graduating in 2010 but dont worry, it is still beautiful.  And the humidity was so fantastic.

Plus, I flew into DC to meet Mike, my good friend from undergrad.  We got to spend Saturday catching up. It was a productive weekend, though it didnt include much training.

Next up is Giant Eagle Tri in Columbus OH, which for some reason I thought was 3x weeks away but is actually only 2.  Goodness gracious, triathlon is so demanding!  Its like a bad girlfriend.  Where has the time gone?  Plus its summer and I thought school would lighten up.  Eeeh, wrong guess.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Over the hill?...and far away to the show me state

June 20th.  The date of my birth.  Kinda feels like a long time ago...I always call my mom on my birthday and thank her for birthing me and for those 9 months of carrying me around (which were just the beginning I guess).  After telling her that I "felt kinda old-ish" she proclaimed in her infinite wisdom, "Old as the hills."  Ok, true.  I guess I am not really that old.  But my car insurance did go down, whoot!  Ten years gone.  I've decided that 25 feels about right actually. 

Besides that, its been a pretty eventful month of June since the engineering conference, I definitely cant complain.  Ginna's parents were here for a weekend and treated us like kings taking us to dinner, brunch, a Rockies game etc.

We also took a trip down to Red Rocks Amphitheater in Golden CO to watch a Tuesday night movie: Wet, Hot, American Summer.  Though Nate wasnt impressed...

I had to share this one too...haha. I am sorry to say, I didnt respond to Twan (whoever he is).  I guess phone scams are the new junk e-mail.  I think that area code is Charlottesville VA?

For those of you who dont follow me on the tweeter @RudyKahsar, you should! Its a surfeit of mindless entertainment.  Here is a little taste from the last month:

Typical bike to work...hipster with his dog on board

View from the top of Deer Trail Rd off of Lee Hill

Hike to the top of Green Mountain (9k mountain right on the edge of Boulder)

And finally, the St Louis 5150: (this is where the blog gets short and boring-er)

Trampled Underfoot: (is anyone catching these references?) I met a bunch of people at the airport heading out to St Louis.  A nice guy, Steve whose daughter does youth triathlon and is coming to Hy-Vee (fans for Rudy = 1 and counting), a guy from Tennessee who plays in a bluegrass band and actually pronounced America 'Murica, and a pretty awesome girl from Jackson Hole, plus 2x others.  For some reason, I think because I am finally not stressed out about school, I took the time to talk to some random strangers at the airport and not only got to meet them but got like 4x phone numbers (ok, ok, it was only 1).  Still.  Statistical anomaly.  In times like this, it becomes brutally obvious how school year stress really puts me in a cave. 

Eventually, I got to St Louis.  The humidity was a bit of a letdown (I wasnt even sweating); however, the homestay was not.  Scott and Lauren were fabulous, the day before driving me all around and taking me out to pizza!  I ate that one in front.  Its was flippin delicious.  Kinda cornmeal crust.  It was a bit of a mistake to eat the whole thing because it definitely didnt digest by Saturday morning...gastrointestinal calamity ensued...

But whatever, it was worth it, it was delicious.

I felt pretty good for the race, I thought.  Here is the mens start.  The race director had been talking about his starting cannon, yes cannon, all morning over the PA and almost wet his pants when he finally got to shoot it off to start us.  I swam like crazy to stay with the leaders to 750m but got dunked and lost them just like that (insert snapping fingers).  I kept the pace hard and led group 2 out of the water 30-40 seconds back.

The bike felt awful, false flats and constant wind (and I am pretty sure my brakes were rubbing :) ).  David Thompson rolled past me at mile 1 and pulled away but I managed to drag him back on the back half of the course and at about mile 22 we ended up catching the 2x guys up the road from their fast swim.  The 4 of us went to T2 together, my first pro race entering T2 with the leaders!

I had crushed myself on the first 2x legs...hence crushing my legs.  And the run was tough.  Greg Billington (who was in our group of 4) rocketed out of T2 never to be seen again.  I continued strong only about 10 seconds behind David but the downhills killed me.  I took them slow trying not to aggravate my feet which are really my one source of injury (plantar fasciitis).  Sure enough, on a downhill at mile 4 Kaleb VanOrt came blowing by me and ended running himself to 2nd.  I ended up hanging on to 4th.

 My 3rd 4th of the year.  One of these times a podium is gonna happen, but I have seen the light! The cup is raised.  Here is Greg giving a pretty hilarious victory speech.
Shout out to my boy Jake Shoemaker (OTFM teammate)who raced like a champ with a duct taped race suit.  If someone would just put that kid on a bike he would probably make people quit triathlon because he runs and swims like a beast.

Closing remarks: Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream. I am a traveler in both time and space, to be where I have been...get it?