2009 Kinetic Sprint Triathlon – Race Report

This was my first “real” triathlon because it included an open water swim in Lake Anna. The race as a whole was a lot more enjoyable than the shorter, indoor swim triathlons. The course was beautiful. The weather, near perfect. Just a great experience all the way around.

750m lake swim, 18 mile bike, 5k run

My first “real” triathlon

I call this my first “real” triathlon because the swim was in an open body of water. A 300m pool swim just doesn’t compare.

Clearly nervous

At the start of the race, you could tell I was nervous. With 4 minutes before the start, I was standing on the beach, behind everyone in my wave, fiddling with my goggles. On my head, over my eyes, adjust the straps, back on my head, wipe off the fog… I looked ridiculous.

The swim

The water was 69 degrees (sounds cold, but it was refreshing, especially with a wetsuit). I hit the water and took it slow, trying to stay within myself. Overall, I did pretty well. I did have to float on my side about 4 times, and take 2 nice long breaths before continuing my stroke. Other than that, it was smooth (but slow) sailing.

2 most important things I learned:

  • I had to look up every 6-8 strokes to make sure I was staying on course (made it really hard to synchronize my breathing)
  • A full-length wetsuit is harder to take off than it looks (practice would have helped)

The bike

The bike was a big improvement for me. I averaged 15 seconds faster per mile from my first tri (and this course was 8 miles longer). Still near the back of the pack in my age group. I’ve got a lot of work to do here.

The run

The run is still my strong leg. Jelly legs for the first mile, but I felt great for miles 2 and 3.

Near perfect weather, low humidity, water temperature was good, great atmosphere finishing right on the beach by the lake. A nice dip in the water to cooldown.

The result

750m lake swim – 15:38
T1 – 2:58
18 mile bike – 1:03:47
T2 – 1:18
5k run – 24:44
Overall time – 1:48:23

2009 Dominion Riverrock Mud Run 5k – Race Report

I’ve run a few races in the mud, and this was no different. A few small obstacle courses. A quick run into the James, waist deep. And a short, thick, sludgy mud pit at the end. I love running through obstacles, but this might be my last mud pit for a while.

This race was a part of the Dominion Riverrock festival which took place Friday night & most of the day Saturday on Brown’s Island in Richmond, VA. The Mud Run was at 6pm Friday night. It was a little humid at the start, but overall, not too hot, and the thunderstorms held off.

The course

This is not your typical walk-in-the-park 5k. Just before mile 1 we ran out into the James River, water about waist high, circled around a buoy, and came back on land. Now soaking wet, we had to crawl through a sandpit, under a series of ropes. The water felt great because it cooled me off. The sand, not so much.

Welcome to Belle Isle

We continued on trails through parts of Belle Isle, and had to make our way up a steep, un-runable, hill made up mostly of large rocks. This was more of a crawl/climb. All 4 limbs were engaged.

On the top of Belle Isle was where we found the last little obstacle before the final mud pit. We hopped over a set of 3 one-foot tall, zig-zagged ropes. A pretty weak attempt at an obstacle, but better than nothing at all.

How the race got it’s name

The mud pit was located right before the finish line. This pit was much smaller than the Muddy Buddy pit a few weeks ago, but it was good mud. Only about 20 feet long, the beginning was very watered down, and the last 3/4 were pretty thick and sludgy. Diving head first into watery mud is a sure way to get it in your eyes. Then you crawl the rest of it blind. But hey, if that’s your style (it certainly is mine), than by all means, go for it.

The result

My time… for having not run all week since the triathlon last Sunday… an impressive 28:14. 20/131 in the 20-29 age group. 49/295 overall. I’ll never learn how to put on the breaks in a race like this. At least not for a 5k.

2009 Monument Ave 10k – Race Report

Creativity & consistency were the themes for the 10k this year. Everything from Indiana Jones costumes to sandwich boards to kid drummers, this race has it all. It’s definitely one you need to experience.

Creativity & consistency

That was the theme for me this year. This race isn’t my favorite from a running standpoint, but I don’t sign up to PR. It’s the atmosphere and the people that suck me in.

Dress up and run contest

Lots of creativity here. The first place individual winner was Indiana Jones, and he ran with an SUV-sized boulder attached at his waist, following him for 6 miles. And he had the Indy theme song playing inside of the boulder.

I also saw the résumé man. This guy sandwich-boarded himself and handed out résumés to spectators. And I think he still finished in under an hour, despite stopping for several mini-interviews along the way.

Condo for sale

A creative couple printed a huge posterboard with images and a description of their condo, all in an attempt to sell it. They had flyers with more information in-hand. Why pay X number of dollars to advertise when you’ve got 30,000 people to market to for free? Since their place was 2 blocks from the race, they could even do a walk through.

Little drummer boy

He’s not really that little anymore, and I’m not sure how many years he’s been at it, but this kid sets up his drum set on the front lawn year after year. No amp. No guitarist. No lead singer. Just him and his drums. The 20+ bands that played this year might want to send a recruiter down to take a look at this kid. He was better than at least half of the band’s drummers.

Party on the balcony

Whether they’re college students or mid-20-somethings, you can always count on them. Small gatherings always take place on the balconies overlooking Monument Ave. Stereos blasting, spray-painted bed sheet signs that call out their friends (some borderline inappropriate), solo cups in hand. They wait for over an hour to see their 5 friends run by, each time yelling for 5 seconds, then it’s over. For some, the 10k is an excuse to start drinking at 8am.

100k club

And then there’s these folks. They have run this race for all 10 years of it’s existence. And for all the reasons above, and the many more I’m sure I missed, I know they’ll be some of the first to sign up again next year.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I finished in 48:50.

2009 Muddy Buddy Richmond – Race Report

This is just an awesome race at Pocahontas State Park. The obstacles are top-notch. The mud pit is long, and the spectators get on you if you’re not face down in it. The team names are hilarious… and the costumes even better. I even witnessed a proposal this year.

For some, one Muddy Buddy is enough. But not me. I came back for round 2, this time with a different partner. Nate Raecke provided the bike, Pocahontas provided the park and we took care of the rest.

The weather

A little colder this year (mid 60s), and overcast, but overall, not bad. It rained quite a bit yesterday, which made for some slick spots on the trail. But it is the muddy buddy, so there’s no reason to wait until the end before we get dirty.


This year featured a:

  • mini rock wall with a cargo net on the opposite side
  • balance beam (which I always struggle with)
  • 20 ft. military crawl under a cargo net (I was lightning fast)
  • cargo net climb up an inflatable slide; slide down (which I also dominated)
  • and the always popular stream crossing

Mud pit

Last year’s mud was like sludge. Definitely man-made. The kind you just get stuck in.

This year, I think the overnight rain changed things a bit. The mud pit was watered down. Liquid mud. The kind that splashes. And there were rocks on the bottom. Sharp ones.

The proposal

For the second time in 2 weeks, I witnessed a marriage proposal at a race. Last week I saw a guy get on one knee before his race during the National Duathlon Festival downtown. Today, this guy proposed to his girlfriend right after they got out of the mudpit together. Maybe this is a sign for how I’m supposed to propose… who knows, but maybe I should find a girlfriend first. Let’s start there.

It was Nate’s first time, and he enjoyed himself, despite the 2 hours of sleep he got the night before. And I enjoyed round 2 more than I thought I would. And in less than 2 weeks I’m doing another mud run, 5k, on Brown’s Island. Hey, I just like to get dirty.

The result

57:38, a few minutes faster than last year.

2009 Smithfield Sprint Triathlon – Race Report

This was my first triathlon… ever. I started with an easy one, where the swim was only 300m, and took place in an indoor pool. It was fantastic weather, and a beautiful, rural location. A much different experience from the standard road running race.

300m pool swim, 10mi bike, 5k run

My first triathlon… ever.

The weather, beautiful. The course, a great one for beginners. Overall, a great first race.

The swim

I began the swim nervous. Butterflies kicked in with 4 swimmers ahead of me. We started in 15-second increments. To my surprise, after 100m, I had caught up to the woman in front of me. I ended up passing a total of 4 people before I exited the pool. If you’ve seen me swim before, you’d understand why this was a nice confidence booster.

A lesson in transition

I hit the transition area and couldn’t get my top on. This cost me about 15-20 seconds. I learned for next time, just wear the whole thing from the start.

The bike

The bike course was very flat with a few rolling hills. Mostly rural area, farmland, very little traffic, beautiful scenery. Maybe I spent too much time taking it all in. 37min+ for my bike time… ouch. But I knew this was my weakest area, so no real surprise. And my chain popped yesterday on a short practice run when trying to switch into the bigger gears, so I was tentative. I never touched the big ring.

The run

Solid transition to the run. Under a minute. I was worried about the jelly-leg syndrome I had heard rumors about. Going from the bike to the run using different leg muscles. I think I experienced it for the first 1/2 mile or so. After that, I fell into a nice zone and finished strong. For the remaining part of the run, I felt great. Finished the run in 24:07, a 7:45 pace. This is fast for me even on a good day.

Overall, great experience. A little different than the standard running races I’ve been used to. But equally, if not more, fun. Looking forward to a few more this summer. Ironman still in my sights, but man do I need some serious work on the bike first.

The result

300m swim – 6:30
T1 – 1:57
10 mile bike – 37:47
T2 – 0:59
5k run – 24:07
Overall time – 1:11:18

What should I charge?

What should I charge?

I’ve been negotiating several contracts lately, which got me to thinking: How does one determine what to charge for their product or service? Who makes up those rules? Are there any rules? And if so, what are they?

You pay for value. The more value something provides, the more you are willing to pay for it. So the question is not how much should you charge, or how much is it worth. The question becomes how much value do you provide.

Let’s take web design, for example, since I happen to know that business pretty well. I’m going to do basically the same thing for 2 different companies. I charge them both $10k. Company A nearly has a heart attack and runs out of the room screaming. Company B says, “Where do I sign? I can’t wait to get started.”

Company B understands the value they’re getting. Company A clearly doesn’t see that same value.

There are a lot more Company As out there than Company Bs. If you let Company A dictate your pricing, you’ll always be undercharging. But if you only work with Company Bs, your sales pipeline will go stale quickly and you’ll be out of new business in no time.

It’s your job to convince Company A of the true value you provide. And that’s not easy when they’re only looking to spend a few hundred bucks. You have to offer them something unique. Do something for them that no one else will do. Be different, and they will remember you. Come up with a crazy idea that your competition would only laugh at if they thought about doing it. And then say, “Why not? Let’s do it.”

But hey, if you find Company B, you should drop everything to work with them. They don’t come around often.