USAT National Duathlon Championships – 4/26/2009

At the beginning of the year I had put this race on my calendar and had mentioned it to several other racers including my friend Delbert Marriott. However, once I decided to go to Indonesia, I changed my mind about doing it for both financial and training reasons. So, while I had originally planned to do this race, the actual decision to enter wasn’t made until 17 days out when Delbert talked me into it.

Exactly why I allowed myself to be talked into it, I’m not sure! Probably because I convinced myself that placing top 12 in my age group shouldn’t be that difficult to do. When the race sold out and there were 100+ people in my age group, I should have realized things were going to be a little more difficult than I had first imagined!

Delbert and I arrived in Richmond on Saturday morning following a 14-hour drive through the night. Upon arrival, we picked up our race packets and then proceeded to ride one loop of the 3-loop course. After riding the bike course, we then attempted to ride the first 10k run course, we ended up riding about 90% of it but there were certain sections we weren’t quite able to figure out… Finally, around 2pm we made it to our hotel and settled in for some naps and relaxation.

Race morning arrived. My wave didn’t start until 10:10am, Delbert’s at 9:30am so we headed to the race site around 7:30. Having such a late start gave me the opportunity to relax plus watch the other waves start. Unfortunately the late start also meant the temperature continued to rise and by the time my race was ready to start temperatures were in the 90’s!

10:10 and my race is off. For the first time that I can remember, I’ve positioned myself at the very back of the pack for the start. The course immediately goes down a fairly steep hill and the majority of the first mile is downhill, it’s going to be a fast first mile and I don’t want to get carried away. First mile marker reached in 6:10, a decent time but I’m considerably back in the pack. At this point the course is mostly flat and will remain so the rest of the way except for the final quarter mile which will be mostly up hill. Missed the first water stop, just about ready to grab a water from the last guy when another runner doing their 5k loop asked the guy directions and he pulled the water cup back when he focused his attention on her! Normally wouldn’t have cared, but this heat is intense…

Mile two is passed, 6:20 for that split, maybe a little fast, I was planning on around a 6:30 average for this opening 10k. Got my water this time and a Gatorade, drank the Gatorade and pored most the water on my head. Mile three split, 6:35, happy with that split though I can tell I’m slowing down, not a lot I’m going to be able to do about it! This is the point my lack of training comes into play, I can fake it for three miles, anything past that and my pace drops off considerably… Between miles three and four is an out and back. I had been moving up through the field as other runners who had gone out way to fast are beginning to pop, but as I count the runners coming back, I’m only in 40th position. All I can hope is that everyone else is hurting worse than I am and that I’ll feel better on the bike.

The last three miles on the run I continued to slow down. In the final mile I watched my average pace on my Garmin climb to and then finally over seven minute pace. Surprisingly, I wasn’t getting passed so everyone behind me was struggling as much or more. However, it wasn’t them I was thinking about but rather the forty plus people ahead of me. I thought about dropping out, I thought about it a lot. Instead I convinced myself to keep going, that even if I didn’t qualify for Worlds, continuing to race was good training and that finishing a National Championships was much better than dropping out. Since I made the decision to keep racing, I did something that only serious multisport and endurance athletes can understand, I peed my shorts while I got ready for the bike…

For the first loop of the bike course I kept things comfortable. I figured ride within myself for the first loop and then try to pick up the pace for the final two loops. As the ride progressed, I began getting a headache, which happens frequently to me when exercising in hot weather. I made it a point to continue to hydrate and also ate a Hammer jel about midway through the bike course. My plan of picking up the pace went by the wayside and instead the focus became maintaining my pace and avoiding the cramps I could tell were just a hard effort away. Despite having a less than stellar ride, I continued to pass an occasional athlete from my wave, but I could tell I wasn’t passing enough of them. As I finished the bike course, I knew I was still far from being amongst the top twelve in my age group.

After having been on the bike for more than an hour, I was actually looking forward to the run, maybe it was more about knowing I was twenty minutes or less from finishing! Knowing I was so close to being done, I was much faster in T2 and was quickly out on the run course. Looking at the final results, they say I ran 6:07 pace for the final 5k. In reality, I ran more like a 7:10 pace or so, but the course was only about 2.57 miles and the results are based off having run 3.1 miles. Anyways, my final time for the “5k” was 18:59 giving me a total time of 2:14:08. While I normally wouldn’t be that happy with a final 5k at 7:10 pace, I actually passed around 3 or 4 more guys from my age group and it was my best event of all three when compared to the rest of the field.

Looking at the final results, my first run is ranked 314th, my bike 222nd, and then my final run is 161st. I improved in each successive event; I just wasn’t fast enough to begin with! I was 42nd in my age group after the first run and ended up 31st by the end, so between the transitions, the bike, and the final 5k I passed 11 people in my age group. Just below me in my AG results are the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 10th fastest guys in the opening 10k from my AG, I also out ran them all in the 5k so it’s not that they’re just fast runners and can’t bike, they probably just went out to fast and paid for it later.

In general, this race served to confirm what I already knew; I’m not in good racing shape! It also helped a little to remedy that as it served as an excellent day of training. Hopefully this report didn’t sound like I was making excuses, bottom line is I have to train smarter and more…

posted at 15:03:56 on 04/29/09 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General


Tony Rigdon wrote:

I should point out that after traveling for just under 3 weeks to Indonesia, I came back sick for a week and since then have done: Maxtrax, Herman 10mile TT, St. Louis 1/2 marathon, and then Duathlon Nationals. These have been done on the last three weekends plus I do Tri-Zou this weekend and Jay Dix 10k the following… So that’s 6 events in 5 straight weekends, not exactly a receipe for success, but it’s what I like to do!
04/29/09 15:11:53

Tom Hall wrote:

Excuses, excuses! Kidding Tony. Great job none the less.(Makes me wonder what I could have done… Since you are in bad shape and all. :)
04/29/09 15:30:21

LN wrote:

You peed your pants?

I laughed so hard when I read that, I almost cried.

Hearts! :)

04/29/09 20:07:05

Tim wrote:

Great job! In 97 degree heat-wow-you must really like it!
04/30/09 02:34:20

Jeff M. wrote:

Your dramatically improved ranking with each leg shows how much better you handled the heat than most competitors. I started 2 hours ahead of you, so I was only a minute or two into my 5k shuffle when you started. No, I wasn’t the guy whose question distracted the aid station worker at mile one, but I was there at about that time. I saw you up ahead on Byrd, right where the 5k and 10k courses briefly join, and thought “at least I don’t have 5 1/2 miles still ahead of me.” So thanks for the “it could be worse” lift!
04/30/09 20:00:54

Roo wrote:

So glad to know I’m not the only one who pees in transition.
05/07/09 18:30:08


Once again, I’m several months out from my last post! Not that I haven’t been busy, I am still working on the house, slowly making progress but have a ways to go yet. Haven’t posted many new pictures in a while, but there are over 400 photos here: House Re-do Photos

The other big event in my life in the past two months was a trip to Indonesia to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and my three nieces and nephew. I headed over there on March 18th and came back on April 1st, an awesome trip to say the least! Here is a fairly extensive recap of the first half of the trip (see the end for a link to photos):

I left Columbia at 2pm on Wednesday and took a bus to St Louis where I met my parents at the airport. They brought two suitcases packed with stuff for my sister’s family and we spent about an hour in the airport emptying stuff from my larger suitcase and repacking everything into the two smaller ones and then weighing them to make sure they were both under the 50 lb weight limit. They both were just under 50 lbs, plus I had a backpack for a carryon in which I had most my stuff for the trip.

The flights over were un-eventful. On all three flights, I had nobody sitting next to me, the first two flights I had two empty seats next to me! On the longest of the three flights, 13 hours from LA to Taiwan, we were served two meals and I watched three movies, Max Payne, Twilight, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. I spent three hours in Taiwan, most of it wandering the airport getting a little exercise. There were a lot of “duty free shops” there, but nothing selling basic snacks and I ended up buying lunch with my credit card for $240 which I’m pretty sure was around $7 USD but I’m not sure… The final 6 hour flight from Taiwan to Jakarta, I watched Changeling and got served one more meal.

Getting into Jakarta went fine. I was off the plane quickly and would have been one of the front few in the visa line, but it wasn’t clear I had to get my visa prior to picking up baggage so I passed the visa line to head to get my bags right away. When I realized I had to do the visa first, the line had more than doubled in length so I ended up having to wait a bit to get my visa. When I finally made it to baggage claim, my smaller suitcase had been taken off the track and my larger suitcase wasn’t anywhere on the track. That had me worried for a little but my second suitcase finally did show up.

I met up with my sister once I had made it through the final baggage checkpoint. She was standing behind a roped off area, I was trying to decide what to do about changing money and was facing a long row of money changers all trying to get me to come to their little booth when I saw her waving at me and was quite happy to leave the money changing for later when I was with her who could actually speak Indonesian! After hugs and talking for a little, we headed over to grab a quick bite to eat at McDonalds…

We spent one night in Jakarta after taking a taxi from the airport to the train station to buy tickets for the following day. That evening we went to a mall across the street from the motel and visited a money changer that had better rates than they did at the airport. We had excellent dinner at an Indian restaurant that my sister enjoys and then split a margarita at Chilli’s. The dinner was very reasonable, the margarita wasn’t, it was as much or more than margarita’s are in the US, around $7 I think!

The following day I got up while my sister was still asleep and wandered around a little. I went into a Circle K and looked at stuff but couldn’t quite figure out prices. They had drinks priced at 5,000 to 7,000 rupie and I couldn’t remember if that was good or super expensive! Eventually I found a McDonalds and went in and saw that the meals were around 35,000 rupie and realized that 10,000 rupie is about equivalent to $1 USD. I eventually ended up back at Circle K and bought a drink and a brownie… When my sister eventually got up we went to a Starbucks and had breakfast. We then walked about a mile to the train station and boarded the train at 10:00 am for a six hour trip to Semarang. Some really beautiful scenery from the train, but mostly a lot of squalor…

Once in Semarang, Anna and I met up with John, Katie, Grace, and Kurt (Paula had basketball practice). We went to the mall in downtown Semarang which was quite amazing to see after seeing all the squalor from the train window to then see this mall with very nice stuff inside. Included in the amazing things was the first time I’ve seen an escalator that was actually a ramp! Not like the moving sidewalks in airports, but actually to go from one floor to the next, not with steps, but a ramp. Turns out they had grocery carts to use in the mall and you could go up the ramp with the grocery carts… Visited an amazing DVD shop in the center of the mall, DVD’s for $10,000 ($1 usd)… We ate dinner at a beautiful restaurant John and Anna knew about, it was in a random neighborhood and would have been impossible to find if you didn’t know it was there. I had a stone baked pizza, not very Indonesian, but I did have an Indonesian beer!

Saturday morning John and I got up at six and headed out on bikes at 6:30am. John was riding his bike, a mtn bike with semi slick cyclo-cross tires on it and I was riding my sisters bike, a mtn bike with regular mtn bike tires. Anna’s bike is a little too small but with the seat post a little further out then the recommended distance it works ok for me, though it is still just a little short. I had said a hilly ride would be fun so we headed uphill. We ended up doing a 50 mile ride. Unfortunately I forgot to wear my GPS so I wasn’t able to map the route, but it involved heading uphill for about 6 miles on a fairly busy road and then finally heading onto some more rural roads through some really pretty mountainous scenery. The route we went took us past this famous coffee plantation:

Losari Coffee Plantation

The whole route was filled with steep uphills or downhills and lots of curves and switchbacks. For the most part, while a little never wracking, they weren’t too bad as traffic on the rural sections was really light. However, we eventually ended up on a really busy section for about 4 miles. On the first section which was uphill we were getting passed by a lot of traffic which you quickly learn to ignore. A busy two lane road in Indonesia is actually at least a three lane road. If someone in front is going slower, they get passed. If someone is coming towards you in your lane passing other oncoming traffic, you move over as far as you can if they’re bigger than you, if you’re bigger than them they’ll squeeze back into their lane. So the uphill stretch wasn’t too bad, we just hugged the shoulder and got passed, they’re quite adapt at passing. But when we got to a downhill stretch, we started overtaking lots of overburdened trucks and buses. John who has lived and biked here for a while, started swinging into the oncoming lane and passing, squeezing between the oncoming traffic and the slower vehicles. As he disappeared ahead, I eventually began to do the same and eventually was passing vehicles left and right. Finally we got off that busy stretch and took some smaller roads the rest of the way back to their house. Once back home, my sister had a great breakfast with eggs, chicken sausage, hashbrowns, and almond puff waiting for us!

That’s the trip summary through Saturday. It is actually Wednesday morning here now. I’ll write another one of these soon but I’ve been on the computer a little too long already! John and I are planning on biking tomorrow to Pacitan which is about a 100 mile ride. Will spend several days there with the whole family who are driving up, its on the beach so we’ll spend time on the beach relaxing and then John and I will bike back on Sunday. We were able to find a helmet that fits me, Saturdays ride I didn’t have one and I wasn’t willing to go back out again without one. Should be a fun though tough ride, I’ll see lots of scenery and this Time I’ll be sure to have my gps with me. Here’s a ride we did on Monday morning:

Cycling Route On Monday

Pictures so far:
Indonesia Pictures Link

posted at 22:44:00 on 04/23/09 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General


Adam Beston wrote:

Sweet pictures of both Indonesia and of the work on your house. Just like your other projects the quality is high but the process is meticulous. Thought you were going to do Ironman Malaysia went you went to visit. Yes I listen and remember things like this just so you can feel guilty about not doing the race 😉
04/26/09 23:45:00

Texas 1/2 Marathon, I’ve run Faster as a Gorrilla!

I drove down to Texas with a couple of friends back on February 6th and did the Texas Half Marathon. I actually thought I had a chance of running a PR, instead I ran my slowest 1/2 marathon since 2001 when I started running. I even ran slower than I did when I dressed up in a gorilla suit for a 4 mile race!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that I even have the opportunity to run and I fully understand and appreciate that many people would be happy with the time I ran. The bottom line is I’m not happy with it and it is up to me to quit monkeying around and run better next time!

22:46:03 – Tony Rigdon

Where’s my 2008 Recap?

I don’t post much on my blog, but I’m usually pretty good about posting at least two things a year, an end of the year recap as well as a seasonal list of goals. Back in February of 2008 I posted the following goals:

1. 5k – Bettering my 04′ PR of 17:23
2. 1/2 marathon – Bettering my 03′ PR of 1:24:45
3. Marathon – Bettering my 04′ PR of 3:06:39
4. 1/2 Ironman – Bettering an 05′ PR of 4:45:23 and attempting to go sub 4:30:00 at Ironman 70.3 Lawrence

Well, here I am a little more than a year later not having met any of those goals! I tried pretty hard at the beginning of 2008′ to break my PR in both the 1/2 and full marathon but wasn’t the wisest in how I went about it. For the 1/2 marathon attempt I gave it a go in the Sedalia Half Marathon with a 1:25:24 and then tried to break my marathon PR a week later, giving my self another sub par performance with a 3:08:11. Had I instead chosen to race one race, and made it be a flatter 1/2 marathon with a larger more competitive field I probably would have improved my 1/2 PR.

Shortly after my Olathe Marathon experience I got the urge to buy a house instead of renewing my lease that was up for renewal. Since I’m cheap and am not scared to try my hand at just about any handyman project, I found myself closing on a $20,000 fixer upper at the beginning of May. I also happened to start dating someone in May so between the new fixer upper and a female, training time quickly vanished along with most of my early pre-season fitness gains.

After peaking fitness wise for the year in early May, I continued to race and try to juggle time between the house, training, and my girlfriend. Somehow I still managed to race 29 times and ended the year with a total of six wins, a second overall place in the Ultramax Championship series, as well as first overall in the St. Louis Triathlon Club series.

I also managed to spend around $10,000 on tools and supplies working on my house which has just paid off this month with my recent house appraisal coming back at $40,000! Since I had purchased the house with credit cards, I’m now able to take out a home equity loan and pay off all my credit cards, locking in a 5.75% interest rate. While I’m still not finished with my house, I am at a point where I can comfortably live in it while I re-focus back on training! Well, I really need to finish my kitchen so I have a functional kitchen sink, but it sure is nicer then when I was sleeping on the floor and peeing in a cup because I had no functional bathroom…

posted at 22:39:05 on 02/17/09 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General


Deanna Nuce wrote:

WOW Tony..
02/18/09 00:32:40

Brad Earnest wrote:

December 31 2009 is fast approaching (:
03/18/09 16:19:19

VO2 Max Test – Not Reaching Athletic Potential

Most endurance athletes are familiar with VO2 max testing, but for anyone who isn’t, VO2 simply means “volume of oxygen” and one’s VO2 max is the maximum volume of oxygen that a person can use. It is measured in milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min).I’ve had my VO2 max tested four times in the past 6 years and when I heard of an opportunity to be part of a study and get a free test done, I jumped at it! Not only would I have the VO2 testing done, I would also get a DEXA scan done which is a very accurate measurement of one’s body density and is useful for things such as body composition and bone density. Having these two tests done on my own would easily run in the neighborhood of $200 or more.

The DEXA scan was done first, it was actually my second one done this year and is pretty non eventful. It involves lying completely still on a bench while an X-ray arm makes several passes over your body. The end result was to learn I am currently at 14% body fat and have very dense bones. The dense bones part was encouraging to hear as cyclists tend to have lower bone density, one of the big advantages of triathlons over strictly bike racing. If I had lower bone density I would probably have much more titanium in my body now than just my jaw!

Next was the VO2 Max test. Having done these before, I knew what to expect and was not looking forward to it. In preparation for the test, 4 electrodes are attached to my chest and stomach. Then a bulky hose is attached to a large helmet like contraption which is placed on my head. The end of the hose has a snorkel like end which I place into my mouth and bite down on. A clip is placed on my nose forcing all breathing to take place through the hose. This whole contraption presents the greatest flaw in the accuracy of the test as once I’m fully exerting myself, the amount of air I’m able to use is limited not by my lungs but by the inability to suck more air in fast enough due to the limitations of the hose.

The test begins with a very slow walk on a treadmill with a slight incline. Every three minutes the speed is increased slightly and the incline is increased more significantly. After the first three increases, I was still walking, albeit fast, but the incline was up to 10%. By the time I actually was able to start running, we were already about 10 minutes into the test and I was working hard! It wasn’t too long before I threw in the towel and since I still wasn’t running all that fast I was convinced my results were going to be very disappointing. In the past, my tests have all come out around 69 ml/kg/min; I was expecting it to be lower. The study I was participating in needed participants with VO2’s over 60, so my main concern was that I was at least above that magic number. My friend Ted had suggested I would be right at 60 ml/kg/min or perhaps a 58 ml/kg/min, but I doubted that I could have lost that much since my last test. However, based upon my time from my last 5k, my suggested VO2 max should be around 48 ml/kg/min, of course that 5k was anything but flat!

Once I had the tube out of my mouth and clip off my nose, I asked Colin one of the researchers how I had done. He told me I had made it to 45 ml/kg/min! I was shocked and trying to wrap my mind around how that had happened, he laughed and then told me I had actually reached 63 ml/kg/min. Once I had made it home after stopping to pick up some Chipotle, I did some calculations and determined that just by lowering my weight from the 163 I am currently at, my VO2 Max would reach 68 ml/kg/min without any further work. However, since in the process of loosing that weight I could also do some VO2 Max specific work, I should be able to raise it even slightly further.

Then I started doing a little googling and found this site: Here I could put in my current VO2 Max or my target VO2 Max once I’m in racing shape. Using 69 ml/kg/min because I’ve been there, it predicts that I should be able to run a 15:07 5k, a 1:09:15 half marathon, and a 2:24:59 marathon. Even using my current VO2 Max of 63 ml/kg/min generates times that are currently way out of my reach! The first few numbers I can do, :32 for a 200, I could do that tonight. 1:05 for a 400 I could do if I had on spikes and had some competition. A 2:14 800 would hurt and might be out of reach right now, but it isn’t outside the realm of reality for me. As the distances increase, the times become a distant and seemingly unachievable goal.

I’m still analyzing all this in my head and trying to decide what if anything to take from all this. Am I a remarkable underachiever when it comes to running? Am I falling way short of my true potential? I need to tell myself that in reality VO2 Max is only one of several limiting factors, others include lactate threshold, running efficiency, muscular efficiency, and others. However, most if not all of these limiting factors can be improved. A more structured, methodic, and comprehensive training program should yield dividends. I haven’t set a PR in a few years and for that I have one less excuse…

posted at 10:48:17 on 11/06/08 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General


Adam wrote:

I had a test done this summer and was 64 on a bicycle (so hopefully around 70 on a treadmill) and a dunk tank at 11% weighing in at 171 pounds. The calculator you linked are my super goals or if I was the right weight and really training and eating correctly. They do get worse as they get higher though. About 2 min at the 10k and 4 at the 1/2 marathon. These are for the 64 reading and the 70 is out of bounds. I think this is for runners who have been only runners for at least a couple years. I could totally see you hitting those if you could lay off the bike and swim and run ALL year. Esp for the higher up ones. So I think it is about potential and yes you can do better and you are going to have to when I come back to the Midwest!
11/07/08 19:51:24

Brad Earnest wrote:

Nice read Tony – keep up the good work! I strive for balance which means I can slack (training) sometimes to keep everything else in prespective (: I have not done my VO2 in several years but was tested in the low 60’s by Tom Lafontaine. My body comp is not pretty right now at 15 – 16% but looking forward to leaning down to the 10 – 12% range for faster times!!!
12/01/08 12:31:17