Posted by: cadavidson | July 7, 2014

Return to Triathlon!

After getting a sweet set-up from Velo Vie bicycles in Tempe, Arizona, I’ve been back in triathlon mode for the first half of 2014!

My first race of the year, on my new Velo Vie Veloce 100 was to be the Desert Classic Duathlon. I previously posted about my history of this race here. But to summarize, this was one of my first, if not my first multi-sport events. It’s sort of where it all started for me. I really remember that day well, and fondly. Unfortunately, almost the entire state experienced one of our only winter of storms of the 2013 / 2014 winter. Phoenix really got socked with rain. I picked up my packet the day before the race in Fountain Hills, only about 5 miles from the race site. The whether still seemed to be holding out, just a bit of rain and some wind. That afternoon and evening were a different story. As I was putting the finishing touches on getting my Velo Vie race ready, I glanced at an e-mail from the race director noting that the race had been cancelled. I was pretty bummed. The race director made absolutely the right decision. The transition area is in a dirt area, and both the pre and post bike runs meander through numerous desert washes. Even if these washes weren’t running full of flood water, which they surely were, the mud and left over standing water would have been for an interesting run. The dirt transition area, which I’m sure was a mud bog, also would have been unserviceable as a transition area. Imagine the bicycle cleats full of mud!

My Velo Vie Veloce100 ready rock... but had to wait for another race day.

My Velo Vie Veloce100 ready rock… but had to wait for another race day.


Next on my race calendar was Aravaipa Racing’s Elephant Mountain. I elected to run the 50k this yearon February 22nd. February 7th, I scheduled a training run where I would run from Spur Cross Conservation Area in Cave Creek, AZ into Cave Creek Regional Park, and back. Basically, this was running the entire 50k race course, with the exception of running the Go Jon Trail loop a second time. Here’s a link to the Strava Details of that training run. I felt like that was a successful training run, and felt prepared. I ran 23 miles at a really steady pace over some tough, rocky terrain. I’d done the Elephant Mountain 35k last year, here are is a link to that race write-up, so I knew pretty much what to expect.

50k start. Courtesy of Aravaipa Running.

50k start. Courtesy of Aravaipa Running.

Race day arrived, and I was the first person in the parking lot. The race started on schedule as all Aravaipa Running events tend to, they do a phenomenal job, seriously! I ran the first 10 miles or so with Brett Sarnquist, the eventual winner. Brett is such a strong runner. He is so consistent in his pacing, he seems to be able to go faster all the way through an event, regardless of distance.

Early on

Early, easy miles.

I felt really good early on. This was my first 50k, I have run further distances, just oddly had never found my way into a 50k. So, I wanted to start conservative, but also not lose time on the parts of the course that I knew were very runnable. My first 10 miles were right around 8:00 minute pace. As I mentioned earlier, I ran with Brett Sarnquist for most of the first ten miles, then he moved along. When I arrived at the turn around at Spur Cross Conservation Area, approximately mile 12, I knew things were not going to be easy the rest of the way. Still, I plugged along at between 8:00 and 8:30 pace through mile 20. That’s when the wheels starting coming off, or more accurately, when my hamstrings started to seize…. again.

Read my lips - "Whew!"  Courtesy of Aravaipa Running.

Finish line. Read my lips – “Whew!” Courtesy of Aravaipa Running.

To summarize things – I went from running with Brett at mile 10 finishing 54 minutes behind him. The simple math says I lost two and half minutes per mile for the next 22 miles. Talk about Mr. Consistent and finishing strong and steady – I mean Brett of course. As for me, I finished 8th overall in my first 50k. I was not overly disappointed, but I’ve got to figure out this hamstring cramp issue. More and more, I am pinning it on inflexibility, of the extreme nature. Some say I could correct it with Yoga, and I’ve been intending to start with an hour each week. But, when it comes down to an hour of swim, bike, run, lifting, or Yoga, I cannot seem to choose Yoga.

As for nutrition, I consumed 27 Salt Sticks tablets during the race and filled my hand with peanut butter filled pretzels and drank Gatorade at each aid station. That’s why I’m thinking the hamstring issues are not nutrition related. Although lately, I have been reading more on Magnesium deficiencies, and I think this could be an avenue worth exploring.

For Gear, because I love gear, I wore my Hoka Stinson Trail shoes and Smart Wick socks – my feet worked well throughout the entire race. No blisters. I wore a sleeveless shirt, which I do not regret, I never felt like I was being baked all that much. I did only opt for a head band, which I think was a poor choice. I should have work a hat. The temperatures were in the 70s for the last hour of racing. I only used one hand-bottle, which was enough. I was never out of water, but I recall being a little concerned a few times. I carried my Salt Sticks in my hand bottle’s pocket and the 6 gels I consumed around my waist.


I will follow up with another post to detail my first two triathlons since 2005! Oh, and if any of my ultra friends have any recommendations on fending off hamstring cramps, I’m all ears!!


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