PostHeaderIcon Hy-Vee Triathlon 2013: Open Water Swim Progress Report

I went to Grays Lake alone today to swim around the buoys. This is the site of the upcoming Hy-Vee Olympic Distance Triathlon on Labor Day weekend. I was not feeling good about my swim however I did 1800 yards but only 150 yards at a time and then I would stop catch my breath and go again.

I finally decided I was going to force myself to turn the corner and continue or it was time to go home. So I did and I got into a rhythm and my breathing slowed and my stroke felt easy and next thing you know I had gone 1830 yards in 49 minutes. I did 1328 strokes and averaged 27 strokes a minute. I know I am not fast by any stretch of the imagination. However I think I could have kept this pace up for another mile at least as when I stopped I was not even breathing hard. I stopped because my curiosity got the best of me and I lost count on how far I had gone and wanted to look at my Garmin 910. I just got the Garmin before the Tri last weekend and I love that I can now see exactly how far I have gone in my swimming.

Today I passed two very important milestones in my swim. I did over 2 miles in open water and I did my first continuous nonstop mile plus freestyle in open water. Two weeks until my first Olympic Triathlon and 1500 meter swim so today was a big psychological boost to my training.


See You at the Finish Line!


PostHeaderIcon Bluff Creek Triathlon 2013 Race Report:

Bluff Creek Triathlon 2013 Race report: Today I did my second sprint triathlon. It consisted of a 500 meter swim, a 15 mile bike and a 5k run. The race was held at Don Williams Lake in Ogden Iowa.

Pre-Race Report: I woke up at 4 am with a right eye swollen shut from an eye infection. I spent some time wiping the eye with a warm damp rag to try and get the eye to clear up enough to see. I used eye drops and took a shower and finally got the swelling to go down enough to see out of the eye and got the car loaded and headed out for the 1.5 hour trip to Ogden.  I had loaded most of the equipment the night before so I got out of the house by 4:45am. I arrived at the race site at 6:15 am and got my bike out and aired up my tires and then rode my bike to the transition area with my backpack on my back. I got everything setup and went for a 2 mile run to warm up. I then put on my brand new wetsuit and headed to the line to the bus to take us to the beach starting area on the other side of the park. While in line my wetsuit was only pulled up to my waste to keep from getting too hot.

Swim Report: Once we arrived at the beach I finished getting into my wetsuit and had another person help me zip it up. This was my first time swimming in the new sleeveless wetsuit. I noticed it was a little tight when I went for a warm-up swim in the water. The collar was actually choking me but I thought it would loosen up a bit once I got it wet and filled with water. We lined up on the beach and the horn sounded and I started to swim. After about 100 feet I had to roll to my back and pull on the collar to allow my neck to breath. I was not really having a panic attack this time but I was having a wetsuit issue that was not allowing me to swim any length comfortably. I would swim about 10 strokes then roll to my back and pull on the collar. This made the swim take way longer than I had hoped although I did keep moving the whole time and never had to stop or rest.  I know better than to try something new on race day and I had my other wetsuit with me but wanted to use the sleeveless one I had just purchased to keep cool. I should have gone without a wetsuit in hindsight. The swim took 13:30 and that time included the 200 meters run to the transition area where the bikes were parked after we left the water and ran up the boat ramp and across the park.

Transition 1 Report: I ran in to get ready for my bike ride next. Transition was like a giant maze and it was easy to get lost in the confusion. I arrived at my bike and had issues with getting my very tight wetsuit off my legs. I had taken it off down to my waste as I ran up to transition but could not get my feet out of it. I finally just laid down on the ground and worked my feet loose. I dried my feet with a small towel and put on my socks and bike shoes and then put on my glasses and helmet and grabbed my bike and headed for the Bike mount area. Transition 1 time was 2:36 which is slow for a sprint triathlon. I was hoping for 1 minute or less.

Bike Report: As soon as I left transition with my bike in hand I ran across the bike mount line and got on my bike.   I immediately knew that my front tire was totally flat. I got off the bike and went to the ditch to fix my tire. I removed the old tube and installed a new tube and aired it up with some help from a couple spectators. I installed the tire on the bike and got on and started my bike race with over 7 minutes of time gone from the clock. I was in the back and had plenty of people to chase as I went down the road. I passed people for the entire ride and finished the bike portion in 49:44 for the 15 mile ride including the tire change. They called the course flat but it was typical rolling hill countryside of Iowa. No big hills but many small ones and you were either going up one or going down another constantly. There was a headwind on the way back in from the half way turnaround that made the ride back in fun also.

Transition 2 Report: I ran my bike from the bike dismount area into the transition area and placed it on the rack. I removed my bike shoes and put on my running shoes. I put on my visor and grabbed my handheld water bottle and put on my number belt as I was running towards the exit. You had to run towards the swim in area to go across that timing mat then make a sharp turn and head back the way you just went to get to the trail that leads to the 5k run area. Once again it was like a maze of blue fencing.  Transition 2 times was 1:34. I was hoping for 1 minute or less. 

Run Report: You had to run on a nature trail for a short distance that leads to a gravel road that took you up to the paved road for the 5k. My legs were tired as I started the run due to going too fast on the bike to try and catch up on the flat tire time that I lost. I was not running my best pace but it was a decent one till I hit the turnaround of the 5k and headed back towards the finish line.  That’s when I quit racing as I had something more important calling me to take action on. 

I came upon a fellow racer and she looked like she was having a really hard time. I won’t mention her name here but she was a person that I have talked to many times as we have been to the same training clinics and practice swims together in the past and we always exchanged small talk. I knew this was her first triathlon and I knew how hard she had worked to get to this day. She was walking on the road and looked like she was not having a very good time of the run. I stopped running and ask her how she was doing. I could see by the look on her face that she was hitting the wall. She told me she was overheating and that she was done. I asked her if it was alright for me to spray her head and neck with the water from my bottle I was carrying. She said yes so I started cooling her with my bottle and you could see the color come back into her face almost immediately. We started running and we ran side by side for a short distance talking until we arrived at the water station. I told her to grab two cups of water. One to drink and one to pour over her head to cool her off. We walked a short time then started running again. We ran until we could see the turn to head down the gravel road towards the finish line and she told me to go ahead that she would be alright. As I left her side I could hear the runners behind her start encouraging her to keep going and I told her I would be waiting at the finish line to watch her finish. I ran ahead and finished my race in 26:18. I crossed the finish line then went back down the course to yell as she ran past. Her husband and daughter were waiting for her at the finish line and I could see the tears in her eyes as she greeted them. I walked away feeling like I had just won the race. You know the funny thing about this was that until the announcer at the finish line called out her name I had no idea what it was. It’s funny how you know people by face and talk to them and greet them like old friends because you see the same people at the races and group training sessions each week. I think this friendly culture of the triathlon group is what makes doing triathlons so addicting.  You see people at their worst. Hair messy, no makeup, sweaty and smelly, wearing next to nothing and you become friends anyhow. We all know how hard the work is to get to the finish line of a triathlon. The respect and admiration I have for each and every triathlete whether they are the first to cross the line or the very last is overwhelming. Today, in the blink of an eye I made a decision to do a simple act of kindness to help another person out and in the process I realized that the finish line is not the goal, experiencing the journey is the real goal. Perhaps my flat tire on the bike was meant to happen to put me in the exact place and time to reach out to another person who needed a little boost to keep going in her journey.  We met up again at the food table after some time and we exchanged a big sweaty hug and she thanked me for everything. We talked and laughed about the day and I could see she was hooked and she will be back for another try in the near future.

Summary of results:

Swim 500 meters: 13 min 30 sec

Transition 1: 2 min 36 sec

Bike 15 miles: 49 min 44 sec

Transition 2: 1 min 34 sec

Run 5K: 26 min 18 sec

Total time: 1 hour  33 minutes  45 seconds


I finished 108 out of 176 and 12 of 13 in my age group.


Summary of the day: I still have tons of work to do in the open water swim. However today I felt I worked through the difficulties and actually was in some control of what my mind was thinking about. I did not have a good swim but I did finish it with face in water and freestyle. I found out why you don’t introduce a new item into your race on race day. This goes for nutrition as well as clothing or other items.

I felt I had a good bike ride. I had such a good bike ride I felt I needed to give the others a 7 minute head start to be fair. Stella has failed me a couple major times here lately and I need to figure out if this is random or something I need to work on with upkeep and maintenance. I was happy when her chain broke and left me stranded 10 miles from my car in the dark a week back as it was not on race day. Stella and I have to have a heart to heart I guess before the next race.

The run started off with tired legs from the bike but I got into a good pace once I hit the pavement. I need to work on spinning my bike more as I come into the end of the ride to get my legs ready for the run. As for the rest of the run I would not change a thing.

Transitions were slow again. I will work harder on this before Hyvee. I was faster from bike to run but slower from swim to bike so it was about the same as my first triathlon for times. I shaved 10 seconds off the total time but should have shaved 2 minutes at least. This is free time that takes no energy to gain just practice.  I have been practicing the bike to run but I felt I should have shaved more than the 35 seconds off my time that I did.

Final note: After the race I walked up to the run area after putting my bike in my car to cheer on the People who were doing the Olympic distance race today. They were running a 10K at the end of their triathlon. That is where I met my second new friend of the day. Her name is Cathy and she is 67 years young. She was just starting the run and she was suffering badly from charley horses and cramps in her legs from the bike ride. She was the very last person to start the run and she was determined to finish. Her son was waiting there with us for his mother to arrive and when she did her son Jason and I walked with Cathy for the entire length of the run course. We talked about everything from triathlons (which she did her first at age 59) to grand children to riding her bike in Ragbrai and even across the Untied States. She is quite an inspiration to listen to as she walked ever so slowly and we even stopped a few times as you could see the cramps in her legs. She was determined to finish and she did. She walked over 6 miles and I was cheering along with a couple dozen others that waited at the finish line as she crossed the finish line. I could see the pride in her eyes as she got a hug from her son who walked with us the whole way. She talked the whole way around the course and she was even talking as I left to head to my car. She will be at the Hyvee triathlon and I look forward to watching her cross another finish line in a few weeks. When I asked her what her plans were for the rest of the day, she told me she was going to take a nap in her truck under a shade tree before she left the park for home.

I woke up this morning thinking I was going to a race. I ended up getting a lesson in life and what it means to be alive. Sometimes your time at the finish line is not the most important thing you get from the day!



See You at the Finish Line!


PostHeaderIcon Bluff Creek Triathlon 2013:

Bluff Creek Triathlon 2013:

Well I am going into my rest day before my next race. I am racing the Bluff Creek Triathlon on Sunday August 11th. I have really been working on my open water swimming as that seems to be my stumbling point so far. The swim during this sprint triathlon is 500 meters followed by a 15 mile bike and a 5K run. I am working on getting my transition times down also as that is free speed if you can change from one thing to the next quickly.


See You at the Finish Line,


PostHeaderIcon Lifeserve Run for Blood 5K 2013:

Lifeserve Run for Blood 5K: I ran the Lifeserve Run for Blood with my kids.

We called it the Rodda Father and Son 5k Challenge 2.

The boys wanted another crack at their “OLD MAN” as they were still feeling the pressure of the beating they took on the 4th of July. We lined up in the front and when the gun went off Peter and Dave took off like rabbits. I looked at my watch and could see that they were doing faster than a 6 minute mile pace so I laid back and kept them in view. The race started with a short flat then it was a big hill up to the capital building. I caught Dave on this hill as he slowed to come back to me as he realized that he was going out way too fast. Peter kept going with the leaders. After about 1.5 miles I looked at Dave and told him it was time to reel Peter in. He said he was about to die and I started the chase without him. I caught Peter before the 2 mile mark and went on by him after giving him some encouraging words. Then I left him and started trying to catch the person in front of me. I never did catch the girl I could see in front of me but it allowed me to chase her all the way to a new PR of 21:58 in the 5k. After I finished I turned back and ran to the corner before the finish to cheer on the boys. I got there just as they rounded the corner and I told them to go and Peter took off like he was shot out of a cannon. That forced Dave to chase and he used his long strides to catch peter and they crossed the finish line in a virtual dead heat at 23:06. It was a great day to run with the boys and an even better day to take bragging rights again as the “OLD MAN” showed the boys how it’s done. I finished 14th overall and the boys finished 19th and 20th overall. Our times were good enough to give all of us new PRs in the 5k.

Lifeserve_runForBlood2013_2 Lifeserve_runForBlood2013


See You at the Finish Line,


PostHeaderIcon Swim The Bridge Masters Swim Race 2013

Swim The Bridge 2013: Today was a tough day both physically and emotionally. I think I found my BRICK WALL in my quest to complete the Ironman. The open water swim has become my kryptonite it seems. I learned a few humbling lessons today. First was that if the swim is called a Masters Swim Race you should make sure your up to swimming with other swim Masters there’s a good chance the swim course is going to be a little challenging. 2nd is that 7 weeks of training is not nearly enough to be confident in the swim portion of a race. 3rd is that I can dog paddle for more than 500 meters it seems. Even in a total panic mode.

During my Iowa Games Triathlon swim I went into total panic mode and blacked out and went into auto pilot and woke up on the beach at the finish of the swim in 8 minutes and 20 seconds. Today I did not have the luxury of the black out and I got to experience and enjoy the full gambit of emotions as I had a 21 minute panic attack and I was aware of every detail of the terror on the water. Jay Elder came to my rescue in his kayak and talked me off the ledge. There was no way I would have finished this race today. He could see my panic from a distance and was kind enough to come in close and talk me down till I could breathe again and resume my swim. He then followed close by talking to me the rest of the race. The volunteers at these races who spend their time to help out are a very important part of any race. I helped Jay out at a triathlon last month when he had an accident with his Jet Ski while setting up the swim course at Copper Creek and today he repaid my simple act of kindness with getting me to the finish line alive and under my own power. I crawled up the boat ramp to get out of the water and cross the finish line to a thunder of applause and cheers as the crowd went wild.

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people. Climb it, swim around it, or tunnel under it! It seems that we are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.

See You at the Finish Line


PostHeaderIcon Busy schedule ahead!

Thought I would update you on what’s happening this summer in my Ironman 2014 Challenge.

It’s been 4 months now since I started this journey. Training has kept me busy as I get ready for a really busy push in the schedule. The next few weeks are going to be crazy.

I am doing the “Swim the Bridge” at Saylorville this Sunday July 28th. I figured I needed the open water swimming experience before the next triathlon. This master’s swim event will be a good way to get some more open water time with other swimmers.

Then I am running the Lifeserve Run for Blood 5k in Des Moines the following Saturday August 3rd with my two sons again. They want a rematch and they think they can beat me now. I ran a practice 5k tonight in the middle of doing a ladder workout on the track and did it in 21:25 so that was 1:38 faster than my PR in 5k so I think I might surprise them again. I am really trying to get into the sub 20 minute bracket on the 5k by next spring as I think this would really help my tri times.

The following weekend I am doing the Bluff Creek Triathlon in Ogden Iowa on August 11th.

Then I have three weeks till the Hy-vee Triathlon on Sept 1st.  

The following week September 8th I travel to Wisconsin for the 2013 Ironman. I am a volunteer during this year’s race as a bike mechanic during the early morning and then I am a bike catcher at noon till 5pm. This will allow me to see how everything works during an actual Ironman and it also gives me head of line to sign up for the following years race which sells out in less than one day.  

Then I come home and have 6 weeks to train for the Des Moines Marathon on October 20th.

After that I think I will take a day or two off and get some rest. Then it is back at it trying to get ready for the spring races next year.

See You at the Finish Line!


PostHeaderIcon Iowa Games Triathlon 2013 Results

Iowa games Triathlon 2013 Summary: I ran my first triathlon today. It was a sprint distance triathlon that had a 400 meter swim and a 15 mile bike and a 5K run.

SWIM REPORT: I started with my age group in Wave 4 of the swim. It was a beach start and we had to run into the water and swim a rectangle course of 400 meters. I started in the back as I was pretty sure I would be slow as my nerves were through the roof. I ran into the water, dove in and started my freestyle. Within 4 strokes I had swam up on the guy in front of me and got kicked in the goggles pretty hard. Of course this was all it took for panic to set in as my heart rate went crazy and I started hyperventilating. I looked for a rescue boat as I was ready to quit right then and there. However they do not have boats this close to the beach so I was forced to go to plan “B”. Plan “B” was survival mode so I rolled to my back and started the back crawl. I was in full on panic attack and hyperventilating but I was moving in the water. Wave 5 that started 2 minutes after we did was catching me so I tried to stay out of the ladies way as they went past.  I was still totally out of breath when I reached the beach and started walking up the hill to the bike transition area. A sense of accomplishment was felt as I walked up to my bike and finally started breathing normal. It was not pretty and by no stretch of the imagination graceful in the water however I was still alive so MISSION ACCOMPLSHED!

BIKE REPORT: It took me awhile to get my hand to work and start putting on my bike gear. As I predicted before the race my bike was sitting alone on the rack that I shared with 6 other racers. This allowed me to just sit on the ground and start putting my gear on for the bike ride. Once ready you had to run your bike to the bike mount line and then jump on and get going. I tried to spin my legs to get them working again for a short distance then I suddenly started catching people on the ride. Race was now on. A friend that started in the ladies wave behind me and had passed me on the swim was my first rabbit to catch. I knew she was out there ahead of me and I got into my tuck position and went looking for her. The bike course was three laps of the 5 mile course. I caught her on the first lap we passed each other a couple times then we hit a big hill and I never saw her again. I continued to pass riders for the entire bike ride. I did the 15 miles at a 20 mph average for the ride and even reached a max speed of 33.4 mph. When I got back to the bike dismount line I kicked my water bottle out of my bike and had to chase it across the road. I then had to run in my bike shoes back to the transition area to change into running cloths.

RUN REPORT: My hands were shaking as I tried to change into my run shoes. I finally just stopped and sat down again and tried to get my mind clear so I did not forget to do something. Once I got up I realized that my legs seemed to have a mind of their own and they were like noodles. I walked briskly to the run out area and then started running. I tried to keep my pace low for the first half mile to let my legs recover a bit. However after the race I found that I was far too cautious with my pace as I really wanted to make sure I finished after all this work. The race was two laps of the run course which made it nice that you could see others running at you on the opposite side of the road. This is where I got to see and cheer on others that I had met during my training. As I was about a half mile from the finish I passed a guy who told me to set the pace and he would follow. So we picked up the pace and passed quite a few people in that last stretch of the run. After we crossed the finish he thanked me for the lead out.

SUMMARY: I really need to work more on swimming with others around me in the open water. Once my game plan for the swim was sidetracked I was in full on survival mode. Not a good way to start a 1.5 hour workout. I also really need to work on my transition times. I imagine I can cut about 3 minutes off my time just in transition. I need to ride more hills on my bike in training. The really big hill we had to climb 3 times was a killer. I did make up the time on the flats though. I ran the 5k at a very even pace until the last half mile. I need to work on picking up the pace from half way on to cut time off my run. I had too much left in the tank at the end of the race.


Swim time: 8 min 20 secs

T1 Time: 2:16

Bike time: 45 min 23 secs

T2 Time: 2:09

Run time: 24 min 34 secs

Total time: 1 hour 22 min 43 secs

I finished 112th out of 319 and 8th out of 15 in my men’s age group. The times for the swim, bike, and run include the transition times.

See you at the Finish Line,


PostHeaderIcon Last workout before the race.

Iowa Games Triathlon 2013: I did my last workout before the Iowa Games Triathlon today. I did a Brick at the site of the race. I swam for an hour then I got out the bike and rode the 15 mile course which was three loops of the course. The very large hill half way through was just as large all three times. I did the Bike portion in just under 48 minutes and averaged 18.8 MPH for the ride. I then transitioned to my running shoes and was out on the trail for a 5k run. I ran the run in 23:47 which was a nice pace that did not kill me too bad. I am hoping to get under my 23:03 5K PR this weekend on the run even after the swim and bike. I am shooting for a 1:30:00 for the total time for this my first Triathlon. The picture below was Easter Lake this morning when I arrived. I hope it’s this calm on Sunday for the race.

Easter Lake at 9am. Smooth as glass.

Easter Lake at 9am. Smooth as glass.

PostHeaderIcon Pictures from the Firecracker 5k


Waiting to get timing chip removed after finish.

Waiting to get timing chip removed after finish.

Talking with the boys at the start line.

Talking with the boys at the start line.

Little Dave at Finish. 14th place 24:13

Little Dave at Finish. 14th place 24:13

Peter at Finish 52nd place in 28:32

Peter at Finish 52nd place in 28:32

PostHeaderIcon Pleasantville Firecracker 5k 2013 Results:

2013 Pleasantville Firecracker 5K: 1st annual Rodda Father and Son 5K Challenge.

First I would like to say that it was a great morning to be out running with my boys and that was far more important than who actually won.

With that said here are the results.

I finished in 9th place overall with a time of 23:11 and 1st in my age group. Little Dave finished in 14th place overall with a time of 24:13 and third in his age group. Peter finished in 52nd place overall with a time of 28:32. There were 235 runners in all.

I guess the old man was able to teach the young guns that age is just a number.

See You at the Finish Line,