Category Archives: Race Report

You are an Ironman

You have more can than you think you can – favorite shirt

Don’t drown, Don’t Crash, Don’t quit – my own mantra

Remember your why – favorite sign

Scott, You are an Ironman! – my favorite sentence. A 5 word sentence that I did not really care about before race day.

I assume every Ironman has asked themselves during the race why they are putting their body through this pain. I know most of the pain is a lie that my brain tells my body to make me quit. My brain tells me I am done long before I am really done; but this I have learned during training, “I have so much more can than I think I can.” And more importantly, I “get” to do this. I have close friends battling Cancer from hospital rooms. My wife could not make the trip because she had to take her mom to ICU on Friday. My wife wants me to finish. She does not want me to repeat this investment for a while… “What investment?”, you ask

Money? Oh damn, this game is expensive. $700 for the entry fee. Join a team, $150. Oh, that bike won’t do. Low end tri bike $1400. GU, Carbs, Protein, Shoes, Helmet, etc… Hotels, training travel, training races… Oh my.

Time? Tuesday after work run. Wednesday after work bike. Saturday long ride. Sunday run. Daily lunch exercise. Tired all the time

I am a swimmer. I did not swim competitively when I was young, but I grew up with a pool in the back yard. As it happens, recreational swimming and distance swimming are not the same. Lots of pool time, not enough open water time. I could have trained harder.

I am not a strong rider. I don’t love the bike, more to the point, I don’t like cars. In metro Atlanta , there are few places to train hills and avoid cars. Thank goodness I spent the money to buy a team. Training weekends on the bike were so much better in no drop groups. I trained and whined. I could have trained harder.

I am a strong runner. I like to run. There is a reason I have done 8 marathons since I quit smoking. I switch on my audio book and disconnect my brain. I picked bike hours over run hours. I could have trained harder.

The entire week before the Ironman, I was a nervous wreck. Concentration was impossible. I am not a fan of the extra hotel night of Friday Check-in, but getting to Chattanooga finally let me breathe. I could focus on the fun and the fun with my brother. He trained harder, but shared the nervousness. It was me and my team, together for whatever. Everything about the weekend was about the event. Friday was check in and dinner with the team. Dru and I ran the hilly 5 miles of the run course. Saturday was a test swim in the river and bike check in. Early to bed and Sunday to rise will make this man stronger and done with this Tri.

Dru and I were at the Courtyard beside the Ironman village, so we were able to check our bikes and get body marking done with time to head back to the room for Hotel Room poop. I do love a nice private poop. The swim start is actually part of the greenway run course later. A mile of athletes waiting for an epic day means long lines at the porta potties. The official water temp meant that wearing a wetsuit was optional, meaning the wearing a wetsuit disqualified you from age group awards. Dru opted to swim without his wetsuit. I choose buoyancy. Wetsuiters had to go last, so I gave Dru a hug and wished him a great race.

Once my feet hit the water, the day was on. I have never loved open water swimming. Something about bumping into others keeps me from getting into the “zone.” It took a couple hundred yards to get a good google seal. Eventually, I got settled into a groove. I had a number of course resets and looking for open areas to swim, but 2.4 miles has never gone so fast for me. The TVA limited the current, but 3 days of rain made for favorable waters. As the finish came into sight, I took a break and relaxed; I had to tell the volunteer kayaker that I was just warming the water. It beat waiting in a pottie line. Don’t drown – Check 1:05 Swim

My shorty wetsuit made for a simple transition. I stuck to my nutrition plan and stuffed my face as I ran my bike out. Dru and I had come up 3 weeks before and rode the bike course. I knew this course would not beat me, only riding too fast would beat me. I planned to keep my average at 15 MPH. 3 weeks of taper had me feeling good and staying under 17 was a challenge. I made it to the first aid station at mile 20 before another bathroom break. Fortunately, there was no line for rest stop one. Finally, I felt I was really on my way. 116 miles on the bike is monotony. I did not have the breath for chatting. Thank yous for the volunteers and “on your left” broke up the day. The ride is beautiful. The hills are not hell on the ride. The most exciting moment of the ride was the Pros passing me like I was standing still on the turn on to Hog Jowl Road. My biggest fear was knocking into one of them and ruining their race.

A friend of mine had told me that the game of Ironman is nutrition. Gatorade Endurance on the course, Base Salt and GU, put me in great shape. I had peanut butter crackers and more sport beans in my 56 mile bag. I also had a packet of Chamois Butt’r. Never before have I applied napalm to my balls, but to prevent further damage… One final pee break at the final aid station and I was homeward bound. My tailbone was on fire. The last 16 miles hurt, but I finished. I admitted that the bike and me were breaking up. We had some good times, but she was breaking me. Don’t crash – Check 6:52:42

My half distance race (70.3 miles) had taught me that the tri kit zipper would bounce and draw blood on the run. I hated not wearing my team gear, but my bike to run transition included a compression shirt that I was incapable of putting on. Another big volunteer “thank you” for helping an old man dress. Another coating of body glide and I was out for a run. Only one goal left, don’t quit.

As it happens, I am a strong runner; but I did not have a run plan. I started at a 10 minute mile and figured I would run until I couldn’t. Then I would walk. Then I would run until I couldn’t. Then I would walk. Repeat. This was a recipe for injury. I got lucky. I got lucky that I had a team. At mile 2, I found Tara from my Endurance House Team. I asked Tara about her run plan. “Run 3 minutes at the top of every mile. Then speed walk.” She was certainly speed walking. A 14 minute mile walk pace meant a 12 minute mile average. I decided to stay with her until 13 or so. “Or so” became the rest of the night. Thank goodness for teams.

Scott, you are an Ironman. The 5 words I did not care about for 20 or so hours on Sept 27. Somewhere around 8 PM, those words started to matter. There was a sign along the course, “Remember your Why.” Those words were never part of my “why” but they were part of my finish. As we crossed the bridge for the second loop, I could hear people finishing. I could hear people becoming an Ironman. I wanted to finish this step of my journey. Scott, you are an Ironman became part of “don’t quit”. Dru and I would do this together.

At mile 21 we found another teammate struggling. Lee joined us in our now 13:30 minute mile pace. Together, we made a plan. Tara, me, then Lee. We would each hear our name and those words. I would see my children. I would miss my wife who was home with her mother in the hospital. As my feet hit the IM carpet, I threw my arms in the air. My kids tell me I ran by too fast for them to get a video. “Scott from Georgia. You are an Ironman!” Yes, I am. An amazing volunteer walked me through the finish activities. He delivered me to my children. I was stinky and sweaty and hugged them anyway. I swore I would cry, but I didn’t. I was happy and proud. Dru found me and hugged me. I was so proud of him. Mom and dad found me. They were so proud of their sons. They also had Mellow Mushroom. I would have picked Mellow Mushroom over sex at that moment.

The Ironman was harder than I thought it would be. Constant motion for 13 hours and 54 minutes was exhausting. My pain was not so bad. My teammate Tara had saved me with a manageable run, I might have been able to finish 20 minutes faster, but would have resulted in injury and that demoralizing loneliness of miles 18-21 on the run. After a little rest and relishing the joy, we headed to the hotel. I showered in my full run kit. It needed washing anyway. I told my kids I was heading back to the finish line. I had to be there to cheer for the midnight club. It was an awesome experience. Finishing was hard for this 42 year old. I never worried about the clock. Cheering for men and women whose “all” was dangerously close to a DNF was awesome. Find the video of the man who finished at 11:59:59. The true story is that he paced in the man before him; however, the drama of his finish matched the day. The day is everything that every man and woman has to give.

I love that I am an Ironman. I loved the weekend with my brother. I love that my family was there at the finish. I love that my team made my day. I love asking Dru, “what’s next?” I love know that more epic shit is in our future.

Dru, you and your brother Scott became Ironmen as part of a life of epic shit. Keep doing epic shit!

Race Report – Area 13.1 Half Marathon

Area 13.1 Half Marathon – Race Report

Area 13.1

Usually, this would be an easy report to write, as this is the third year for us running in this one. Well, 3rd for Scott. Dru skipped a year, and last year the even conflicted with our race in Savannah. Anyways, I digress. For us, this is an event that we look forward to on the calendar because it is very much a home town event, and the format is different and fun.

What makes this so different?

To start with, the race is an evening race that finishes in the dark, by design. In addition, the route itself lends itself to a kind of eerie, alien and rock n roll vibe. Finishing in the dark, on a course that can only be lit by tower lights and generators means alot of handheld or head lamps, which only adds to the fun vibe.

OGRES ready to run

The big downside to this event is that late August in Atlanta is almost a promise of heat and humidity. This year was no exception, with temps in the mid 80’s, but crazy humidity. To the point that I have done runs in the rain where I finished the run feeling cleaner and dryer than this one. Sticky? no, soaked. To the point that a pair of merino wool socks were completely soaked and the feet were full prune status by the end of the race.

This year Scott and I went out at the same time, instead of prior events where we would split into self selected pace groups. Both of us had time goals in mind and they were not too far apart. It made for a good time.


This year, the half course saw some changes from the course used in prior years. While in the past the course has been nearly pancake flat, this year a couple slight variations. First was a change to moved an early section of the first out and back loop from an old gravel residential road to a crushed gravel nature running trail by the river. It certainly made a scenic change, but at the same time it created a narrower course at a early point in the race. There were still alot of runners in close proximity this early, so some of the spots got tight and slowed the pace down. The second change added a good hill to the route. Essentially, 110 feet of climbing in about a mile, starting at mile 6.75. To put it mildly, it kinda hurt, but in a good way.

Elevation Profile

All in all, the changes slow the race down, but still make it a better overall event. In addition, the changes work hand in hand with the other new feature this year. In addition, they added a 5k that runs on the same first out and back loop that goes off about 15 minutes after the half starts. After running the race, I am pretty sure that the course changes in the first loop were to accomodate the 5k and I think the net result is great for the event on the whole. Though the participation numbers appeared to be higher for the half, the 5k should allow the even to grow into a premier Atlanta event over the coming years (assuming Roswell doesn’t do something silly with permits as they did in 2014).

In the end, this is an event that has had some trials getting to this point, but today, I think they have built a great foundation, and are set for it to become one of Atlanta must do events each year.

There is one other big thing to note. In past years, water stops and frequency have been a concern for this event. Judging by the setup this year, I think organizers heard the concerns and tackled them quite directly. With water more often than every 1.5 miles, there was more than adequate supply of hydration, and nutrition along the course..


On a would we do it again scale, the answer is, yes. As long as we don’t have an event that conflicts in the coming years, I expect to keep running this event. I really hope the stick with this new course layout as well, as it just flows really well.

OGRE Scott’s Lake Logan 70.3 – Race Report

OGRE Scott crossing the finish at the Lake Logan 70.3 in 2015

OGRE Scott crossing the finish at the Lake Logan 70.3 in 2015

I expect more from myself than I will ever deliver. My best is not nearly good enough and I like it that way. That is not to say that I am not satisfied with my performance, I just always know that more diligent training, better planning, and a calm heart would have created better results. I am capable of more, but I am a product of my choices. That being said, I finished a freaking half Ironman Distance. I am damned proud.

Something in you or your life sets the strange path that few take. Endurance sports are about “before”. Before the race you train. Before the race you establish possible failure by setting expectations. Before the race, you pack and prep. Before the race you get nervous. Before the race you think of everything that can go wrong during the race. During the race you execute the course or you don’t. After the race you start the “before” of the next race. If you want a race report about the race, return to Google and search again. Over here, it is story time.

Sunday before the race, during my ride, something at the top of my calf/back of my knee felt twingy. I decided to take it very easy during the week to avoid screwing up the race. Taking it easy ended up being nothing. Yes, my taper was zilch. 5 days of no exercise at all. I would like to blame work or family; but in truth, I have lost too many weeks of running by pushing through injury. With 8 weeks to IM Chatt, I am petrified of injury. Since I don’t know what will be too much, I choose nothing to allow healing. Decision – 5 day sloth. Bad decision

Tuesday before the race, I spent my lunch reading a few race reports from the 2014 iteration. A 67 degree lake in Augus?. In the South? WTH? Reading these sent me Amazon to buy a cheap wet suit, just in case. Reports also told me that there is A HILL. The organizers talk of a course with wonderful down hills for 27 miles. But since this is not a point to point, one must remember that what goes down will eventually go up. The course profile looks like a cereal bowl, with a striking irregularity. Mile 42 contains a 350 foot climb over less than a mile. Not a novice’s hill and I am not a great cyclist. When reading these reports on Tuesday, I called my brother Dru in near panic. Dru is a very strong cyclist and he agreed that it would suck for me. I realized that I can try it, walk it or quit. Decision – I will be quick to decide to walk the wall. (I decided to quit on the hill I have never seen) Mediocre decision

The night before the race, I arrived about 5:30 PM to hear the pre race meeting at 6. The meeting essentially mimicked every other USTA pre-race meeting you have ever heard. It did get me to packet pick-up and a site review in the daylight hours, rather than waiting until the morning of the race. More importantly, the lake and I would meet. The beauty of the Lake Logan Half Ironman distance is undeniable. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, just west of Asheville, NC, Lake Logan is a thin lake fed by a mountain stream (we will meet this mountain stream, again). So, on Friday before the race, I stare at a 75 degree lake and wonder about the wetsuit in my car, with the tags still on it. “Never try new things on race day.” The day before is better, right? I donned my wetsuit (a little bit too large) and went for a 200m swim. It was too warm and pulled in the crotch. However, the buoyancy was nice. Another 200m without the suit reminded me that I am comfortable in the water and 75 degrees is fine. Decision – No wetsuit. Good decision.

The awakening before the race was scheduled for 4:10 AM, but my nervous mind was done pretending to sleep at 3:55 AM. Shower, coffee and a slathering of body glide (trust me, that is not a product you want to borrow from another). TMI alert – Regularity is a great thing, but no amount of coffee was going to move my body off of a 6:45 – 7 AM schedule. A port-o-line was in my future, but starting 30 minutes after the first swim group left me safe on time. 5:10 AM departure from the motel gave me 35 minutes to drive 8 miles. A 5:40 arrival put me deep in the airstrip parking lot. Arrive on time – Check

The part before the swim is the prepping and waiting. 5:45 AM is dark in the mountains. I forget how much ambient light my suburban life has. A head lamp for getting my stuff out of the car would have been a good idea. Using my cell as a flashlight, I got my tire pumped. I was ready to go. I took one last look at my wetsuit in the car and congratulated myself on yesterday’s swim decision. My brother or my father would have talked to every soul on the 1 mile walk to transition; I was stuck in my head. I did notice a random port-o-potty in the parking lot. Friday’s recon meant that I knew exactly where my spot was and I was not sweating packet pick up. I set up my transition, got my timing chip and body marking. Water temperature report for race start – 72 degrees, wetsuit legal. Apparently the icy waters of the mountain stream allow for significant variations to the temperature at this end of Lake Logan. Yesterday’s swim was warm, so 3 degrees did not change my mind. I grabbed my goggles and headed to the secret port-o-let in the parking lot. Set-up and void – check

“During” was about to begin, “before” was coming to an end. At 6:45, everyone was headed to swim start and everyone was wearing or carrying a wetsuit. WTH? Even the super awesome, what does it take to make that body dude was wearing his wetsuit. Crap. Since I had 45 extra minutes until my wave, I got my car keys from transition and made another trip to the parking lot and got my wetsuit. I jogged back to transition to drop off my car keys and shoes before heading to the swim start. I had chosen the Novice Masters group which put me in the last group out with the Relay and Aquabikers. 30 minutes later wetsuit Scott was in the water. I will admit that the life preserver effect of the wetsuit was nice, but it was a good 700 meters before I settled into a rhythm. The wetsuit was hot and my goggles were foggy (Baby shampoo for next swim), but in the last 200 meters I loved the wetsuit. Holy crow it got cold quick. The swim is a rectangle out and back. It starts from one swim platform and ends at a dock in the mountain stream. The temperature drops about 10 degrees in the stream. Maybe I would have just swum faster, but it is nice to rationalize the wetsuit. I am fine with my swim time. Even a great swim gains me less than 10 minutes. Official Swim time – 38:19 (282 of 374 male swimmers).

The path in and out of transition is very long here. The math game across 6-7 hours means that I see very little reason to sprint through transition. T1 went well. I gobbled 2 Stinger waffles to get the nutrition game under way. 3 of 4 bottles on the bike were Gatorade with Endurance powder; the other plain water. I knew the bike was a net downhill for 26 miles or so. The problem is that I don’t like bombing the downhills at 40+ mph, thus I lost some early mph gains burning the brakes to keep a comfortable speed. If you are thinking about doing this race, I recommend slowing for the Railroad crossings (2). Someone is going to make a killing on Craiglist with bottles and bottle racks in that area. I tried to remember to enjoy a GU and bottle of Gatorade Endurance (aka salt water) every hour. My legs did not feel good for 20 miles or so; the price of 5 days inactivity. The “twinge” did not return (although it hinted a couple times). Since I was using real bottles, I stopped at both water hand offs to refill a bottle. I also watered a tree along the side of the road. An equipment adjustment for IM Chatt should pull the water stops. The bathroom stops will remain, peeing myself is not an option.

For 40 miles, I kept thinking about that big damned hill. Once we finally hit it, I was off the bike and walking before I was even standing on the pedals. Folks passed me, grunting and straining. I told myself that this day was about covering 70.3 miles under my own power. I took the opportunity to eat a little extra, drink a little extra and let my heart rate settle. A number of others waited until they were burning and then moved into a walk. Am I a little ashamed that I quit the hill? Sure, but I passed every single person that passed me on that hill and quite a few more. In truth, I finished the ride feeling good, including the long hill back into the lake. As I crested that hill, my brother Dru was standing at the top, camera in hand. I felt the smile on my face fill me to my toes. It feels good have a cheering section. I have ridden faster on local training rides for longer distances. The hills were more than I expected, but done is done. Official ride time – 3:28:52 (16 mph) (303 out of 374 male riders)

T2 was smoother than T1 with less stuff to change out. My one man cheering section saw me onto the road and up the hill. The run is 3 miles out and back done twice. The organizers tell you that it is a 1%-2% grade up and downhill back. The slow uphill is daunting, but I like the running. When I made the turn around at th=op of the hill I thought, “cool, just one more uphill and I am done.” With 10 miles to go, I honestly saw an easy path to the finish. I held a 9:40 – 10:00 pace, only walking through the aid stations, drinking water only. I had some GU and Clif Blocks during the run but my methodical nutrition plan from the bike was ad hoc on the run. The first loop literally runs you to the chute of the finish line and then sends you back for an encore with the mountain. Dru cheered me through the turn around and I readied for one last dance with the mountain. About mile 8, I was dry mouthed, nothing sounded good and my stomach started cramping. They had Heed on the course which is, I think, a blend of salt and urine. While I cannot rave about the flavor, it was the salt I needed to break the cramps. As I headed down the hill with 2 miles to go I actually thought to myself that I could do another 13 miles. I also wondered how in the world I will do 140.6 in a few weeks. Official Run time – 2:10:42 (183 out of 338 male runners)

Total 6:26:29 for 1.2 miles swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.

Done is done. I won first place for the Novice Masters. I was also second to last, but I got my award. The design is cool and I love the medal. This accomplishment is really something special. Every person out there, from first to last spent hours training. There is simply no way to wake and decide to do this tomorrow unless you are already committed to miles of training. For some, it represents a culmination. For me, it is a step. 11 months ago, my brother said he was doing a full IronMan.

The end of “during” was just the start of “before” the Full IronMan. We signed up together and will finish on the same day on September 27. After that, I’ll return to marathons and start thinking about an Ultra. We will do Ragnar Tennessee together. We will enjoy Rock and Roll Savannah with our wives. Slow and steady is easier on foot. If you read this far, I will say “I love you, mom and I love you, Dru.” The rest of you should have gone for a run 10 minutes ago.

Race Report – Rock & Roll Marathon Running Festival Savannah

This is an easy report to write, as this is the third year for us running in this one. In many ways, this is the event that ultimately led to the creation of We Are O.G.R.E. Simply put, that first year was the first marathon distance race for me (Dru) and the 5th for Scott. It was the realized goal that put our feet upon the path we find ourselves. Needless to say, we really like this event.

This year, the event was scheduled for November 8, 2014 for the marathon and half marathon, but this year they added a second day on November 9 for a 5k, 1 mile and a kids run. Yes, there was extra bling involved, so we just had to stay the extra day and run some more. Keep in mind that running is in fact a disease, once you start and get through the ‘I hate running’ phase, it is quite difficult to not sign up for these things.

Before I get to the nitty gritty details, this year, we ran the half marathon event. Scott ran it for himself, while I ran it in a support/coach role for my wife who was running her first half. She did awesome in case you were wondering. I also ran the 5k (for time) and the 1 miler (for grins) on Sunday.

Course Half 5k 1 miler

The Half course did not appear to deviate much from the last couple of years. It remains a fast, flat course through some truly gorgeous areas of downtown Savannah. The only complaints that I hear about the course are the occasionally rough patches of road where there are some old cobblestone around the squares. Personally, I think they add flavor and character to the course.

What I always come back to at this event is three core things that make it great. First, the Rock n Roll organization puts together a well oiled machine. These races are consistently well run, despite crowds well over 10,000 runners. Second, the city is just fantastic in it’s support of the races, with many local businesses reaching out to the runners to embrace the race as a great event for the city. Third, the people.

Seriously, I cannot say enough about how awesome the local residents are coming out to support this race. With ‘unofficial’ water stops and families out on the lawns cheering, supporting and spectating. In so many ways, they are what make this race so special.


As always, this course starts on Bay St right by the river, winds it’s way out the northwest side of town, circles back and runs through downtown, under the live oak tree lined streets. The canopy of trees and spanish moss are spectacular. By about mile 8, many of the runners are starting to suffer, and the scenery becomes less spectacular, so the course routes out into a couple of great residential areas, where it ceases to be about the scenery and becomes about the people. In this late section of the course, up until about mile 12, it is like having a constant cheering section. IF this cannot motivate you, nothing can.

That leaves just the last little bit. Mile 13. Oh mile 13. This is, for all intents and purposes the hardest part of the route as it rises ever so slightly from the highway up to Forsyth Park. It is straight, and a bit of a late slog. The people are still out there, but the brain and body start to tell you bad things. It is only about a 40 foot climb in total, but it is a misleading and slow climb. Once you hit the top of the hill, you turn right and dash into the park for the big finish. The finish is great, and no matter how many races you have finished, it never gets old.

5k & 1 miler

This was a completely new event this year, and really needed to be better promoted. What a great little event and course. First, this is a screaming fast course. I ran a 23:29, off the half, with a pretty nasty case of plantar fasciitis putting the hurt on the last mile and a half. Yeah, there were some sub 18 minute finishers, it was that fast. But even more than the fast course, it was a tight little loop around Daffin Park with the finish line inside the Sand Gnats minor league baseball stadium. It was a fun little course. An hour later they did the 1 miler, also in Daffin Park. We went ahead and did that event too. We put in a hard effort to challenge for last place, and I am pretty sure we managed it. Yes, my foot was hurting pretty bad about that time.


On a would we do it again scale, the answer is, already signed up for 2015. Should be a big group too, with at least 8 of us already signed up and another 6-8 talking about it. We are looking forward to it.

Race Report – Callaway Gardens Fitness Series Triathlon & 5k

August 30, 2014 two of the OGRE’s joined up with Lee and Steve Karp of Endurance House Atlanta to take a short trip down to Pine Mountain, GA to participate in the Callaway Gardens Fitness Series Triathlon and 5k event at Callaway Gardens. This is an event that claims to be the oldest ongoing triathlon in the continental U.S. having run every year since 1980. That may be the case, but the information to be found online, is a bit shall we say, lacking. Regardless, the venue offers up some pretty scenery, and the event held a lot of potential. As an added bonus, this was Scott’s first triathlon event.

The event itself was billed as a 1km swim, 30km bike and 8km run, though the course and profile was not available until checkin on sunday, and even that map was a little tricky to make heads or tails of. It doesn’t help that many of the roads inside of Callaway Gardens are not properly mapped in any of the current mapping tools online, so going into the course quite blind meant preparing for an unknown.

Course Swim Bike Run

As you will see if you look at the maps, none of the distances measured to quite the lengths expected. Not a crisis, but the event proved to be a little shorter than expected.


The swim portion of the course was cut down pretty dramatically due to a wakeboarding competition to be held in the same lake later in the day. The net result was a swim course that swam much closer to 600 meters than one 1000. Adding to the confusion here was a mixture of buoys in the water courtesy of the same wakeboarding event. All in all, the swim itself should have been a nice loop, but the confusion with the buoys combined with a lack of swim support ( 4 support ski boats, no paddle boards or wave runners for close support of swimmers ) made for a couple of scary moments as one swimmer did have a bit of panic set in early in the swim and the support simply was out of place. Competitors saved the day there, not the support staff.


This was the part of the course that probably raised the most eyebrows. The race director noted early and often that the course was quite techincial with several 90* or worse turns (14 of them in total). In addition, there was a good bit of riding up (and down) grades between 3-7%. with a total ascent of about 650 feet, none of it on straight roads, and all of it in the shade of trees, or on the edge of lakes. Certainly pretty, but a little frustrating if you are trying to maximize your speed on the bike course. Advertised at 30km, the measured distance came in at a little over 26km, and while it was fairly technical, it remained a course that could be ridden at an average speed over 20mph. In addition, the course was well marked and had support staff at every turn directing traffic. Unfortunately, in sections that meant also directing cars, as the roads were open during this time. There were moments where the ride was flowing in the same lane as cars, in a strange twist on the norm, it was the bikes speeding around cars that created most of the challenge here.

On a final note about the bike course, this was not a USAT event, and though it was never stated, there were no drafting guidelines mentioned, and it was being done. It felt more like a WTC style event than a USAT event. This would have been good information pre race to have had.


Coming off the bike, the run course went out on a short, fast section of course that is better suited to trail runners than road runners, with some sections of the path that have roots causing ripples in the pavement. That first 2.75 mile, 4km section of the run is fast, and blessedly shaded, it was quick, and featured 2 water/gatorade stations along the out and back route. At the 2.8 mile mark, though, the course turns left into a long slog of a climb, around the back side of the lake the swim was in. Honestly, I do not think the run route was a bad course by any means, but as I was having some issues at that point, I can honestly say that I had hit the ‘just slog through and finish’ wall, so my judgement of the back side of this course is probably harsher than it deserves. About all I can say is that on a good day, it should have been a fast course. On this particular day, it was not a fast course at all.

Race Notes

Overall, this event is one that held a lot of promise, but largely failed to deliver on the promise due to poor communication and weak swim support/safety measures. While the course is a gorgeous track, the issues place it pretty firmly on the Do Not Repeat list. At the end of the race, we all seemed to have the same feeling too. Just poor communication, and I suspect the race director was simply trying to do his best to cope with things that got pushed and changed by forces beyond his control. These things however do not excuse the issues. Which, is a little sad. The timing, location and venue for the event are all really good. It would be a great venue for a great event, with just a little more structure and communications.

The weather was perfect, if perhaps a little humid once the sun really came out near the finish of the run. The awards were presented promptly, and they did a very nice job of getting everyone their awards quickly complete with photos, as well as keeping the results posted early and often for the runners as they crossed the lines.

Race Day Equipment

Dru’s Race Day Kit

Endurance House logo’d Shorts and Singlet kit by Garneau

These are basically the Tri Elite Course kits with custom print and color setup. Superb kit, and we got to represent for some really good people, which is always a good time.

2014 Cannondale CAAD10/4

This has been my road bike this season and it will likely remain my primary bike for the foreseeable future, it is going to have to be joined by a dedicated tri bike this winter. For this race it served exceptionally well, and is for the most part a bone stock 2014 CAAD10/4. The exceptions are that the pedals are Speedplay Zero’s, and the seat has been swapped to a Fizik Airione. In addition, it has been heavily adjusted to fit me, and my slightly aggressive riding position.

New Balance 890v3

Due to the moisture I expected on the course, and some lingering issues in my left heel where I bruised the heel on a rock in the yard during the week, I made a last minute switch to running in my 890’s. I did get a couple of training runs in in them so the shoes themselves would have been fine. Unfortunately, I failed to think through the entire process, and honestly I paid for it. For this distance race, I do not wear socks, and this race did not afford a good place to clean the feet in transition. So it was that I jumped on the bike with wet feet, and pushed a pace where I wasn’t going to dry out. That meant that when I hit the run transition, I went into the 890’s a little wet, with a little grit and sand still lingering on the legs and feet. As I started running, the combination of sand, grit, water and swet led to an achilles blister on the right heel. The unconscious favoring of the blister led to a hip cramp, which ultimately disrupted my run. While this remains a fantastic shoe for single discipline runs for me, I just find the versatility of the trail minimus to be the better answer for my tri needs.

TomTom MultiSports GPS Watch

Still the goto device for me, the TomTom showed well. Per it’s usual weakness, there remains no open water swim mode, but for both the bike and run, the GPS picked up exceptionally quick in transitions, and we got good maps and results for those legs of the event.

Wahoo Fitness Bluetooth HRM

For this race, it was still the original bluetooth heart rate monitor. The TIKR is very much on the list of items to acquire and test out, but budgets being what they are, we are still working with the older model. That said, this remains the most reliable of the heart rate monitor units that we have used to date.

Race Reports – Dog Days Run 5k

August 9, 2014 a couple of us got a chance to go over to East Cobb and run in the 9th annual Dog Days Run that is put together by the Rotary Club of East Cobb. This is one of the more family oriented events in the area, and is also a very dog friendly affair with contests being held for the dogs around the running events. In addition the 5k that was the primary race, the was also a 1 mile fun run and a short tot trot for the youngsters.

Course View

2014-DogDaysRun-Map The course itself was well marked and staffed. It was also a flat course that ran hillier than it maps. With only 64 feet of gain, each of the three small climbs were of the short variety that cause runners to bunch up without intending to. In addition, the sharp right hand turn from Woodlawn Dr onto Johnson Ferry Rd definitely created a pinch point for runners that were bunched up. Fortunately, the total field was small enough that these little course details did not create any problems.

There was water at the 1.5 mile mark, which was nice, but for a 5k it was largely ignored by the runners up front. Also being a dog and stroller friendly event, most of the dogs and strollers did start towards the back of the pack, eliminating the contention for space between the runners and the strollers and dogs.

Race Notes

As a relative newcomer to the 5k race format, having run a limited number of them since adding them to my schedule of longer distance events, I find the differences in the race organisation of the 5k events to be interesting. This particular event used chip timers, but did not route all of the runners across a start line sensor. Instead, they used a mass start right at 7:30AM, with a single timer at the finish line. Out on the course, they put people with stop watches at each mile mark calling out splits as the runners passed by. Quite a fun little personal touch, one that some runners did not like, but as I run with a GPS watch anyways, I found it fun. Race day also brought with it some significant humidity, having seen pretty heavy over night rains that left the ground damp, and some standing puddles. The temperatures in the mid 70’s together with the high humidity meant that despite being relatively cool for early August in Hot’Lanta, it was still a truly steamy run.

For all of the good things about this event, there were two items that were less than positive. The first was that the volunteers were not covering the finish line as well as needed. We saw two different runners cross the finish line in clear distress without volunteers there to get them water, food or even medical attention if warranted. One of them probably should have been looked at by one of the emergency staff, but without volunteers present, was allowed to wander off. ( We did get him some water and a banana and he perked back up after a little recovery time ). The other was the handling of the awards. These were held for a VERY long time, with the first award for a 7:30 AM start time race not being presented until 9:40 AM, and after several of the expo vendors had started packing up to leave. To all appearances, this was an organisational challenge, not a technical one, but it made for a bit of confusion, and very few of the winners stayed long enough to be presented with the awards.

Race Day Equipment

In what is to be a regular section of our Race Reports, we will specifically discuss equipment used in each race. We don’t change equipment all that often right now, but at the same time, we are trying to take every opportunity to try products to see if they work better for each of us.

_Dru’s Race Day Kit

New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail

For a little over a year now, these have been my go to shoe. I am now on my 3rd pair, and continue to find them to be the best match for me. You may note that this is a trail shoe, and this was not a trail event. That is exactly right, I find that I prefer the minimal style, but the little bit of grip and protection from the trail shoe design gives me greater comfort on the road. This pair ticked over the 200 mile mark during this event, but is still showing very good tread and structure, so I am expecting to be able to use them for another 100 miles before moving to my fourth pair. After my last race of the 2014 season, I am planning to reevaluate some shoe options, with the Altra 3sum being the most likely runner up.

TomTom MultiSports GPS Watch

Almost a year in, the TomTom has served quite well. Though it may find itself relegated to other duties in the not too distant future due to it’s weaknesses in open water swimming for my triathlon usage, it remains one of the quickest to acquire signal (even on heavily overcast days like this one), and it’s accuracy in recording is excellent. The only complaint about it on this race day is the same one that I have seen in training with the last couple of software updates. The real time Pace updates very slowly and has a tendancy to be more accurate as a reflection of an average over the last 2–3 tenths of a mile than a reflection of your current speed.

Wahoo Fitness Bluetooth HRM

For this race, it was still the original bluetooth heart rate monitor. The TIKR is very much on the list of items to acquire and test out, but budgets being what they are, we are still working with the older model. That said, this remains the most reliable of the heart rate monitor units that we have used to date.

Garneau Tri Elite Course Triathlon Shorts

Having recently started running triathlons after two decades of off and on cycling and just a couple of years of running, I have moved almost entirely to running in triathlon gear. Why? comfort. Atlanta tends towards muggy anyways, and tri gear is built to transition from the water to the bike and the run. For me it works extremely well. If you find yourself needing multi-sport gear, I highly recommend you give your local tri shop a visit. These Garneau’s have been a training staple for the last 8 weeks, and they have replace my long time favorite Saucony running shorts as well as the Pearl Izumi bike shorts that I have been replacing with the same basic short for almost 20 years.

Endurance House Technical Tee

And last but not least, this event was the first run event we have done since Endurance House Atlanta opened up. These are some great people, and so when the opportunity presented itself for us to grab one of their shirts to represent, we did. For the record, the shirt was fantastic to run in particularly on such a steamy morning.

Shout Out

We would like to send a huge thanks out to the Tuesday Run crew at Endurance House Atlanta whom we have been running with for the last couple of months. Thanks for the work that has helped us get so much faster this season.