Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Longhorn triathlon

The Longhorn triathlon was last Sunday. This was a huge race, with over 2000 participants, which is amazing for a half-iron distance on a hilly course. I finished about 68th overall, in a time of 4:40:35. I was the first over-50-year-old.

The swim went fine, I took it pretty easy, and came out about 65th overall, and first in age group. On the bike I just rode comfortably for the first 20 miles, then gradually picked up the pace, and rode from miles 40 to 56 very hard. The course was a single long loop, which kept it from being crowded. I could usually see 1 or 2 other riders, but that was it. Average speed was 22.5 mph for the 56 miles, which I was very pleased with, given the difficulty of the course. The run was two loops of 6.55 miles each, with 6 hills per loop (yuk!), one of which was very nasty and steep. I ran well and did not walk one step. I even ran through all the water stops, so I actually went the last hour and 44 minutes of the race without drinking. This seems nuts now that I think about it, but I did drink a lot on the bike, so I guess I was pretty well hydrated before starting the run. I averaged a little better that 8 min per mile on the run.

Results for men 50-54 age group.
(I'm first)

Link to full results.
(over 1900 finishers!)

I felt good the whole way on this race, so I am going to write down what I ate, in case it is useful in the future:

3 hours before race: 2 cups coffee and 2 chocolate Cliff bars.
Before start: Plenty of water.
During the 56 mile bike: 16 oz. of cold coffee in my bike bottle, then lots of water.
During the 13.1 mile run: nothing.
I was very thirsty at the end, but OK. Temperature was about 70 at the start, low 80s at the finish, windy, partly cloudy, with low humidity.

PS - I received some race photos. Below are: On top of big hill at mile 55 of bike; bike-to-run transition; mid-way through the run.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rate chasing news

The yields on Fidelity's and Vanguard's tax-exempt money market accounts have recently increased dramatically, especially in the last few days. For example, the yield on the Fidelity tax-exempt municipal money market fund (FTEXX) is 5.88% (!!) compared with 2.70% on Select Money Market (FSLXX). FTEXX has, in principle, a stable $1.00 share price, although this is not guaranteed.

Here is an excellent article on the Vanguard web site, explaining the very high current yields on tax-exempt money market funds: Link. If the Vanguard article is correct, it looks like FTEXX should be safe.

So I shifted our savings that were in FSLXX into FTEXX. I guess I'll see how that works out. I think Fidelity will be very reluctant to let the share price drop below 1.00; I think their reputation practically depends on it.