Saturday, August 30, 2008

Distributed Wireless Mesh Network Sensors

Looks like I'm going to be doing some work on wireless sensor networks with my buddy Justin in Chicago.

I've done the first couple steps and investigated some Zigbee nodes to be used for the mesh network and some starter Solar Panels to power the whole deal.
Otherwise it's just a micro controller and some top level software to glue it all together. More as this develops. I should be posting further as the project continues. Currently a $19 Zigbee node + $80 Solar Panel + $50 Basic Electronics = $150 + Cost of Sensors looks like a reasonable marginal cost without any overhead factored in.

NY Times Roundup

There have been a lot of good articles about sports training recently with the Olympics coming (and now gone). Of particular note are a couple about aging and performance which are of particular interest to me right now.

Staying a step ahead of aging covers some basic tenets of sports performance and aging myths and facts. Being 28 and I'd say at least 2 years from peak performance it's uplifting to see the varied ages people are being competitive at these days.

Torres is getting older but swimming faster. This article talks about how modern day training techniques and knowledge facilitate competitiveness to an older age. Pretty much its all mental.

Short Layoff, Long Recovery. Just another article talking about consistency and recovery.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chicago Triathlon

Well, the Accenture Chicago Triathlon was DEFINITELY a fun race, though as usual everything was NOT perfect. Here's the quick synopsis:

Overall Rank 1301/4089. That's top 32%. Pretty good, but this includes EVERYONE. Over 4000 in the main event!
Class Rank 237/519. 46th percentile in my age group (of 519!).
Swim 29:28. Seems slow but there was a 1/2K run to transition included. I was out of the water around 26:00. My HR was high the whole time I swam and I regretted not wearing my wetsuit for the buoyancy.
Swim Rank 869. 21st percentile on the swim. I swam 2 min slower than expected but this was not an A race so that's ok. Still considering I've done ZERO swimming intensity this bodes well for my future swimming speed!
Trans1 2:08. Excellent! I was very pleased with my Transitions this race, just like Wildflower. Expedient but not rushed. Usually the extra distance to cover is included in your transition time not your swim split......
Bike 1:15:22. Definitely my official 40K Split PR. My goal was for under 1:10 but that was without the WIND factored in. They don't call it the windy city for nothing! My HR was definitely indicating that I was dehydrated from going out two nights before. Sometimes my HR is just high during the swim from nerves ( I know I'm not nuking myself straight away like the old days ) but I could tell that was not the case after 20min on the bike.
Bike Rank 1289. 31st Percentile on the Bike! I was FREAKING OUT when at the first turn around my computer said I was averaging only 17.5 or so. We were getting hit by a constant vicious crosswind that made the outbound legs SLOW going. On the bright side it was fun going 28mph easy on the inbound legs :)

Bike MPH 19.7. Pretty Zippy. No taper and travelling recovery still left me fairly fit!
Trans2 2:43. Nice! I think my transition times are even more impressive considering the MASSIVE size of the transition area. The biggest I've seen!
Run 59:21. My goals for this split were way off. Of course I was as usual making my predictions assuming I'd be rested and tapered. I wanted to be closer to 50 min (which I can do easily in training) but I struggled here a bit.
I made a couple of rookie mistakes at the first couple refill stations on the run. Before I even looked into the cups I was handed I downed almost full cups 2x before I started paying attention. Both times resulted in a couple minutes of walking to alleviate bitter stomach cramps. I only took 4 small sips of Gatorade and one gel the rest of the run and believe I picked it up to 8:45 the last 4 mi and ran the last 1.2mi under 8min/mi. pace. I definitely had energy to finish strong.
It's worth noting that I definitely "drafted" behind a big tall guy to help break the wind on the run return leg it was so windy!
Run Rank 2213. 54th Percentile on the Run. Blaugh! STILL I can see the last years running focus has paid off a LOT! I think some of the improvements have come from better pacing, and not being too destroyed when it comes time to run, but still I'm AMAZED at the improvements I've made running while still improving more gradually biking and swimming.
Run Pace 09:34. A year ago there's no WAY I would have believed this was possible. Still if I had been more tapered and recovered I should have been pushing 8:30 pace. I'm still thinking it's possible to run 8:30s in Austin if my Peak phase goes well!
Sex Rank 1122/2804. 40th Percentile even among men!
Final 2:49:03. 30minutes faster than Wildflower! I had respectable showings in all my disciplines and set a PR for this distance. Now to match that time at Wildflower next year.....

  • Sunscreen & body glide @ available at swim start.
  • Host hotel was AWESOME!
  • 100% Extended Climb Free!
  • Water temp and Weather were GREAT! (Apparently this was lucky)
  • Not allowing athletes back into transition immediately after finishing.
  • Not allowing athletes back into transition at 11AM as the program stated.
  • Swim start was FAR from transition!
  • Having people ride left and pass right on the bike course when we're in the USA and the rules in our race packets said RIDE right and pass left!
  • No aid station on the bike course.

I placed in the top 3rd overall, biked 20mph and ran under 10min/mi which are all good things. This was a B race and I was going for experience, so no complaints but I will look forward to Austin where I will NOT Be doing any visiting with friends the 2 nights before the race.
All in all a great experience. I will be back next year. Justin placed top 15% in the sprint and will be doing the International distance next year. Ahu!!!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ironman Cozumel

I wanted to wait a couple of months to sign up for Ironman Cozumel. I wanted to get past Austin before I made that jump even though I was pretty certain I wanted to do it. Oh well, caution's out the window. It appeared to fill up 50% these first couple weeks it was available so I just signed up yesterday.

14 months and counting. In last month's downtime while slightly ill and injured I used my time by planning forward the next couple years. I decided that after Austin I was going to focus on 6 weeks of cutting weight and chilling out a little bit, followed by a full Friel training cycle planned backwards from Wildflower next year. I figured after the last year of mostly working the run (and improving tremendously) it's time to get back to working on the bike. And, wildflower has a pretty ridiculous bike course. My coach uses the training peaks software but I keep a spreadsheet that goes beyond the next training cycle, and I hadn't yet figured out what exactly to do after. I had a lot of events penciled in to think about, but then the email came from Jean Claude, my triathlon club president about Ironman Cozumel.

I'm not really going to start worrying about it too much just yet. First, the Chicago Triathlon this week should be good. I'm thinking 25 minute swim TOPS if I tuck in for a nice draft and save my energy. 22mph on the bike should give me a 1:08 bike split, and leave me enough energy to run a solid sub 50 minute 10K. If I don't blow it on transitions I should easily coast under 2:30, and perhaps if I get an extra 0.5mph on the bike and say run 8:00 miles instead of 8:30 I could get under 2:25, but we'll see. Then my real focus for this year was the Austin half anyway.

Then Wildflower, THEN Ironman. I have a while yet. But it already looms. The clock is ticking......