Seafair Sprint Triathlon Race Report

21 07 2013

Well, we haven’t done one of these in a while!

I had never done this race before – it was very fun! Today was a typical Seattle marine layer day, so it was overcast the entire race, which I very much enjoyed.

There are two distances to this race, Olympic and Sprint. The Olympic started at 6:30 a.m., so everyone was supposed to be racked and out of transition by that time. My wave didn’t start until 7:35, so now having done the race, I found out you really don’t have to get there by 6:30. Lesson for another day.

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Sadly, I didn’t make it home with this wetsuit. When I went to claim my gear, it was no longer at my spot. Oh well, excuse to get a new one, I guess!

Oh! Results. I ended up 15th out of 45 women in the 35-39 age group. Hey, that’s not too bad for a last-minute decision.

Swim: 1/2  mile, 19:01

I only started swimming again three weeks ago after over a year off, so I wasn’t expecting much here. The race is held in Seward Park, with the swim in Andrews Bay. Lake Washington was surprisingly warm this year – just perfect.

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My only goals were to freestyle stroke the entire way and not get caught up in any argy-bargy. I met both of these goals – success! I went out easy and just kept it that way, occasionally ending up on the feet of someone slower, and, by the end, surprisingly catching men from the wave before us. That was strange. Of course, the younger men from the wave behind us also were in the mix by the end – speedy boys!DSC_0051

I was expecting between 18-20 minutes, so 19 minutes is exactly on target.

Bike: 12 miles, 40:18

This was a fairly slow bike for me but I think the course was a bit harder/hillier than I was expecting. I was hoping for closer to 36 minutes, but had guessed it would be somewhere between 36-40 minutes. Overall, it was a great ride on a completely closed course, including the I-90 Express Lanes.

In any case, I love to bike! I am completely in the wrong, but I see triathlons as a bike race with some pre- and post-requisites. This is totally the wrong way to approach this sport, but I really do favor the bike over everything else.

There is one pinch point up a slight hill as you get on the bridge, but it’s otherwise very smooth sailing. Of course, bridges aren’t flat, so, there is a climb before the turnaround and then a climb before you leave the bridge. Nothing too crazy, but enough to put a damper in your rhythm a little.

Here is a course profile.

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Run: 3.1 miles, 31:57

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My goals on this leg were to not walk and keep moving. I was hoping for under 32:00, so, I just barely squeaked in. The hardest part of a triathlon run is about the first 5 minutes when your legs are very confused. That was true today, and after about a half mile, I ended up feeling okay and just going my little turtle pace.

The run is pretty flat, except for a decent hill around the 1.5 mile marker, which clearly impacted mile 2 of my run.

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Surprisingly, no women 35-39 passed me in the first 2 miles. I thought this was very weird and just knew it was coming.

Sure enough, in the last 1.1 miles, 5 women in my age group passed, but I passed one other, making the net loss on the run 4 slots.

Not bad, to be honest. If I would accept that this is not a bike race and learn how to run, perhaps I could preserve my place a little better!

This picture was about 100 yards from the finish – happy to be done!

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For the record, even Jabba the Hut passed me on this run. No, really.

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Also for the record, Jabba was really a decent runner. He was part of a relay including Darth Vader as the swimmer and a Storm Trooper as the biker. He announced his presence to runners he wished to pass by stating, “trash bag coming through!” Entertaining, for sure.

All in all, it was a fun day and a great race. Very well organized and supported – I will definitely go back!

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Diamond Head Delight

24 06 2013

To wrap up our Oahu hiking adventure, we hit up Diamond Head last Thursday, which was by far the most crowded – and easiest – hike we did. The literature said plan on 1.5 – 2 hours, but this is a generous amount of time. We needed only 14 minutes to climb it, and a little less than that to descend going at a moderate speed. So, people in good shape can count on 30-45 minutes of  moving time – not counting the time required to take in the scenery, which is the whole point anyway!

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This was also the only place we paid to park for an entire week in Hawaii! It is $5 for a carload, or, you can walk in for $1 a person. Luckily, we were early (8 a.m.) and were able to get a parking spot, because on the way out, there were no more spots and people were walking up a “pre-hill” from a lower parking lot. This hike is popular!

I was really amazed at how unprepared people were do to the hike – many using flip flops (“slippahs”) or other inappropriate footwear, and many just really not in great physical condition to be hiking up a volcanic crater on uneven footing.

Diamond Head is no secret spot!

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Little did I know it, but by the end of this day, I would have a full-on head cold, and our trip was about to take an annoying turn for a few reasons. But, we enjoyed the hike and its spectacular scenery.

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Below is the Diamond Head lighthouse.

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And here is the inside of the crater:

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2Chili and I have to be the only people that can spend a week in Hawaii and come back just as pasty white as we showed up! Sunscreen at all costs!

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In terms of hike stats/difficulty level, I found this one to be relatively easy as it only gained 432 feet – pretty comparable to a daily dog walk in our neighborhood, in fact. Of course, people that don’t live on a giant hill may disagree! Koko Head was by far the hardest hike we did.

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I have just a few more photos to share tomorrow – this time from Waikiki, and that’ll be a wrap on Hawaii photos…aloha!





Swimming with the Fishes

21 06 2013

Wednesday we headed over to Shark’s Cove in Pupukea to try out snorkeling. After much research, this spot came up over and over again, so I figured it was a home run place – and it didn’t disappoint!

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We got there early – before 9 a.m. – which was good because when we were leaving the place was packed.

This spot is interesting in that it’s full of rocks and coral, which is a little unnerving, but on the other hand, the rocks and coral are what make it a good spot – lots of fish and lots of variety!

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Sadly, I was not great at getting photos which actually had fish in them! I quickly found out that it is kind of hard to take pictures of fish – they move so erratically. Alas, I did get one picture with actual fish in it!

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We saw quite a variety of tropical fish, including these yellow and black “Convict Tangs.” 2Chili saw an eel, and we overheard some girls saying how they saw turtles. I also saw a lot of these guys, but I can’t seem to figure out what they are.

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After Shark’s Cove, we tried another spot nearby, but the surf was just too much and we called it a day, cleaned up, and went sightseeing. Here are some shots from  Honolulu, which I actually took on Tuesday.

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We went to Pearl Harbor and walked through the museum, which was definitely worth the visit. There are only so many boats out to the Arizona each day, and they are sold out far in advance, so we didn’t go out to the memorial, but just being on the grounds was very special.

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This is at the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in what they call the “Punchbowl.”

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These Banyan trees are everywhere downtown and are just too huge to get into on picture!

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A very unique state capitol.

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This is the Diamond Head Lighthouse.

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This guy was covering serious ground at Diamond Head beach – he was amazing.

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And there you have it, another day in the books!





Body Boarding at Hukilau Beach

20 06 2013

I am no Gidget, so surfing wasn’t/isn’t on the agenda for our little beach vacation. However, body boarding is approachable, has a short learning curve, and is relatively cheap.

Intent on trying it for the first time since I was a kid spending my summer on the South Texas Gulf Coast with my grandparents, I did a little research and found out that Hukilau Beach is a great spot for body boarding.  It’s a sandy beach with relatively easy waves.

We had picked up a couple of body boards at Target to use for the week, figuring it was a wash on renting and we’d like control over not having to hurry back to a rental place. As it turns out, the house we rented is less than a mile from Hukilau Beach – it was meant to be!

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After the monster hike at Koko Head Crater, we milled around Honolulu, grabbed some lunch, and headed back to the house to cool off. We were both still damp with sweat when we got back, almost three hours after the hike, so a dip in the ocean would be perfect.

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Before I could even get to the water, 2Chili had already surrendered his sunglasses to the Pacific Ocean, but he rallied and we had quite a nice time “riding waves” for a couple hours. I say “riding” in quotes because we weren’t exactly out in big, dangerous surf. But, it was enough for us! We would grab a wave, ride it back to shore, then go back and try to find another one. It was impressive he was able to do this with no glasses, but he made out just fine, and decided goggles will be the way to go from now on!

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The beach was crowded right by the parking lot, but a 200 yard walk gave us a private beach to be as dorky as we wanted. We took a little video to prove we did indeed body board, and boy, the waves seemed a lot bigger in our minds’ eyes than in reality!

Here I am being thoroughly amused, standing out with my swim cap and goggles. Seriously though, I do prefer a swim cap and goggles to keep the salt water out of my eyes.

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Amazingly, time just evaporated while we were playing in the waves. I left understanding how people can surf all day – you completely lose track of time!

It’s funny how memories can take over in certain situations, too. As we were leaving the beach, I had the strongest craving for a fountain Coca-Cola with lots of ice. I almost never drink soda these days, but as a kid, after we spent the day at the beach, we went straight to 7-11 and got a Coke to share between me, my brother, and our Grandpa. Salt air and complete exhaustion equals Coca-Cola! Luckily, there isn’t a convenience store close and I survived just fine with plain ol’ water. Winking smile





Koko Head Crater Tramway Hike

19 06 2013

Ooh buddy, this was a hike.

As 2Chili said, “Most people come to Hawaii and just relax. We are not that bright.”koko_2

The Koko Head Crater Tramway hike is a lot like it sounds. It’s an old WWII tramway, which goes straight up the Koko Head crater, where an Army Observation Bunker sits. Railroad ties give the illusion of steps, but in reality, they are not steps, they are not evenly spaced, and they are generally not level. It climbs 1065 feet in only 3/4 of a mile, meaning it starts fairly steep and just gets progressively steeper, with a final pitch grade of about 52%. Ouchie.

There is a warning before you start this hike that it is hard (okay, it really says you could fall to your death), but that didn’t scare us – or any of the other folks there – off from doing it. In fact, some people were literally doing loops, which seems nuts, but if you like the Stairmaster, this is way more fun than endlessly stepping to nowhere!

Here’s 2Chili himself, at the start, before the sweat really started to roll. This was when I was still able to keep up with him. He ended up blazing quite a good time this day and I lagged a bit.

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Here I am about 1/2 way up, starting to suffer like a dog! You’ll notice how high above town we are, but oh, it gets better! The views at the top are amazing!

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This part was a little nerve-wracking, but it was short.This is where you definitely didn’t want to fall! I chose to scramble up it by holding onto the railroad track in more of a bear crawl approach.

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This guy was doing loops – we saw him a couple times – and he didn’t exactly smell like a tropical breeze. He became known as “BO Man.”

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Almost. There. <gasp> Less than 10 steps to go.

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The top! Here is the inside of the crater.

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But, here is why people do this hike. Absolutely beautiful.

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Two sweaty fools.

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I ended up talking to this guy for the majority of the way down, which was honestly just as hard as going up due to the slippery, non flat “steps.”

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Here is the route:

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And here is the elevation:

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The literature says to expect to spend about 2 hours doing this hike, which is perhaps long, as my round trip was only 52 minutes. I ended up doing the hike to the top in 26:00, which is not very fast, but also not very slow – kind of a moderate pace, I’d say. Though, moderate is all relative – everyone seems winded when they get to the top!

2Chili did the hike to the top in about 21:00, and the fastest person on Strava has done it in only about 11:00, which is crazy nuts. Interestingly, the trip down also took 26:00 for me. That says something about the downhill!

After the hike we went in search of lunch, with plans to later boogie board, which is where I’ll pick up next…aloha!





Aeia Trail Ridge Hike

18 06 2013

When we set out for Oahu, one of the big things I wanted to do was get in a bunch of hiking. imageI think hiking is a great way to get to know an area, and get off the beaten tourist path.

After perusing a couple of hiking books, it became clear quickly that hiking on the North Shore where we are staying was going to be a bust, as most trails require conditional access permits, some from the Mormon Church, and some from the military, and, that sounds like a huge pain! (We had no idea that the Mormon Church has such a wide stake in the North Shore, but they really do, to the point that most of the shops in our little town of La’ie were closed on Sunday.)

Being that we are most definitely still on Pacific Time, we were up early enough on Sunday to see the sun rise and leisurely determine our hike, and still be out the door by about 7:30.

We decided on Aeia, which is in a state park. We liked its relative shortness (5 miles), relatively little elevation gain (about 1100 feet), and, that there would be  both good vistas and an aircraft wing from a B-24 that crashed during WWII.

Sadly, I hadn’t quite dialed in the settings on a new waterproof camera, so the white balance is a little out of whack in these photos. I fixed it after this hike, but the pictures are more washed out than real life was!

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As is common in hiking anywhere, a lot of the trails around here seem pretty obscure in terms of where the trailhead starts, but this one was very clear – note the large sign that says “Start.”

And, speaking of the start, it was pretty tame – dry and exposed roots – but before long we were into some serious mud and more challenging terrain. Neither of us planned on getting muddy, but by the time the day was done, our shoes were completely caked. Luckily, there was a fresh water spigot at the park to clean off.

Here was the easy start:

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A lot of the hike was lush rainforest, with views like this.

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About 45 minutes into the hike, we came across this vista of the H3. You can’t tell by this picture, but a big chunk of it is a raised interstate highway. We find the term “interstate” ironic, since of course no highway in Hawaii connects to one in another state!

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One of the key draws of this hike was that you were to come across a B-24 wing from a WWII crash site. In talking with a local hiker on the trail, she noted that she had done this hike hundreds of times and had never seen the wing, and told us not to be surprised if we didn’t find it. She clearly didn’t know my nickname is “Eagle Eye Ang,” because, about 15 minutes after we came across the H3, I spotted the wing.

There is not much left, and you had to hike down a fairly steep trail to see it, which is probably why most hikers overlook it. Apparently there is more wreckage farther down this gully, but the trail is very overgrown so we weren’t about to go bushwhacking.

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Not long after the wing, we went through a grove of Cook Pines, which are really interesting – very different from the pines I know.

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There was a peek-a-boo view of Pearl Harbor around the bend from the Cook Pines.

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This hike was super interesting in terms of climates. We started off in a dry section, then had very humid rain, then alternated between dry and rainforest type weather for the remainder. Very different, and at times, very challenging for we Pacific Northwesterners that melt in oppressive humidity and heat!

Here was the route. I forgot to press “Start” on my Garmin until we’d already been going a little bit, but you get the picture:

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And here is the elevation. The last little hill at the end could easily catch a person out – thankfully we were expecting it!

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All in all, this was a great hike and the variety of terrain and views made it a perfect intro into Oahu hiking.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back with a monster hike – the Koko Head Crater Tramway – as well as some boogie boarding. The preview is as follows: We are good at hiking. We are lame old people at boogie boarding. But, we had fun with both!





Weekend Wrap Up–Lake Sammamish Half Marathon

10 03 2013

This weekend was the first running “race” of the season for me, the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon. I use race in quotes because I didn’t really treat it as a race – it was planned to be a long training run, no pushing it, no racing.

I did this event last year with the same objective, and it really is perfect for a supported training run – it’s totally flat, and mostly on a gravel path along the lake. However, this year was so much nicer!

Last year, it was cold and rainy – very dreary. Last year, we went south to north. Last year, the “medals” were cardboard.

This year, it was cold and sunny – just beautiful! This year, we went north to south. This year, the medals were really medals, and hefty to boot!

I won’t get into a race report, because honestly, there is nothing to report. I was deliberately slow, had a predictable race, and enjoyed a morning outside. The longest I’d run before this year before yesterday was…6 miles, and it took 90 minutes to do that because we live on a ginormous hill and those 6 miles had 2000 feet of elevation descent and gain. So, the day was a success as it served its purpose exactly!

Here are a few photos of the day. It was a bit foggy and cold to start, but burned off quickly.

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After the race, we resumed weekend as usual and finished putting bamboo on the family room ceiling. A good thing about having an easy-going race is that I wasn’t out of commission the rest of the weekend. We’re taking this workweek off of home improving, but will get back to it next weekend.

Meantime, we took a little working getaway to rest. Pipa approves!

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