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Around The Bay – See!! Told you I Finished!!

March 29, 2013 Leave a comment

… and one last post about the Around The Bay race from last weekend, because I’ve never been on YouTube before (at least not that I know of), but apparently there’s a video of me crossing the finish line (around 35 seconds into the video, or right around 4:06:00 gun time on the clock above the finish line)

(okay, it’s not really an exciting video, but it’s all I’ve got for a Friday afternoon post)

Happy Easter Weekend Everyone!

– DO’G

Race Day: Around the Bay

March 25, 2013 3 comments

AroundTheBayLogo

Sorry this post is a day late – I like to do my Race Day recaps right after the race, but sleep and food seemed a bigger priority yesterday.  Also, bad blogger me for not taking any photos on Race Day.  Won’t make that mistake again.  So we’ll have to make do with a few camera phone pics taken by the cheering squad.

Camera phone shot of me, pre-race, courtesy of the Cheering Squad!

Camera phone shot of me, pre-race, courtesy of the Cheering Squad!

I survived.  I think that’s about the best way to put it.  The Race Day event was a lot of fun – my wife ran with me, and a few friends came in from out of town (and even brought cheering squads with them!)  It was fun to have a crew around.

I live only 2 or 3 km from the race start line, so we decided to walk to the start (rather than try to find parking closer).  Great decision at the time – lousy decision once the race was over.

The race had a ton of runners – a much bigger even than I’d ever been part of.  I heard at one point there were 11,000 racers (individual and relay), but the number of finishers suggests maybe a few of them didn’t make it to the start line.  It was still a lot of people.

The race was a bit sluggish getting off.  There’s almost 4 minutes between my chip time and my gun time (meaning from where in the crowd I was standing – and I certainly wasn’t at the back – it took almost 4 minutes from when the start gun went off for the crowd to shuffle and surge forward through the starting line).

My goal time was 4:00:00, which I thought might be a bit aggressive, but might as well try to push myself.  Most of my running team was shooing for times closer to 3:15:00 or 3:30:00.  Yet, for some reason when the race started I ran with them and stayed right on their heels for the first 2km.

My 10km checkpoint time wasn’t too bad – 1:11:29.8 – about 90 seconds off my Personal Best 10k time.  Which would be great if this was a 10k race, but I still had another 20 to go.

My 15km split was 1:49:03.7 (by the way, the race winner ran in 1:35:44.1 – the race was won 10 full minutes before I was half done).  I did the math and knew I was in great shape to meet my goal.  My 20k split was 2:30:06.6 – almost exactly on the same pace as my Half Marathon time from last month.  Again, a little quick math told me I had 90 minutes to run the last 10k.  I was going to kill my goal…

… and then the wheels fell off

The race is notorious for the hills in the final 1/3.  I had trained for them (sort of).  I knew that part of the route well.  I was ready for them.  But I wasn’t ready for them after a full half marathon distance, at race pace.  I crashed!  I think I walked pretty much the last 9km (with the occasional shuffle for 100m or so to remind myself I was still in a race).  Kinda disappointing, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

I was able to shuffle across the finish line in a time of 4:02:48.1.  373/377 in my age group – 3352/3426 Male overall.  Only 2.5 minutes slower than my goal (which, to be fair, I thought might have been aggressive at the outset).  I kinda have to be happy with that – although it would have been really nice to have been 3 minutes faster.

2 more finisher's medals for our wall... and some pretty sweet race shirts!  'Cause that's why we really do this...

2 more finisher’s medals for our wall… and some pretty sweet race shirts! ‘Cause that’s why we really do this…

I felt a little guilty last night that I didn’t have any real photos of my own for this post (Bad Blogger, Dave!), so I took a quick shot of the finisher’s medals and race shirts my wife and I got from the run.  The race did well by us that way!

After the run my fellow runners, Cheering Squad, and I went out to a freaking far away local Southern BBQ restaurant.  It was pretty good – I’m sure not as good as real Southern BBQ (Note: some day I need to get down to the southern US to try “real” southern BBQ), but it’ll have to do for Ontario.  It’s fun to celebrate with the crew, although that probably was more calories than I needed, even after a run like that.

So there we go – another race in the books.  I’ve run a 30k race.  I’ve run the 119th Around The Bay – the race that market’s itself as “Older than Boston”.  Next up for me is the Sporting Life 10k on Sunday May 12th.  I’m looking forward to turning my training from Running Far to Running Fast… though I may wait a few days to let my legs recover before that training begins…

– DO’G

 

Around The Bay – Perspective

March 19, 2013 1 comment
ATB2013start

Photo from the start line of the 2012 Around The Bay Race

Image from the Around The Bay Facebook page

T-minus 5 days until Race Day.  To say that I’m nervous is an understatement.  I got one last long run in this weekend – a 25k effort that was a lot more painful than I expected it to be.  I feel like I’m playing the waiting game a bit at this point – the anxious waiting game of counting down the days until race day.

Not that I’ve done a lot of races to date (4, to be precise)… but I don’t think I’ve ever been this nervous leading up to a race before.

Okay – I think it’s time for some perspective.  It’s time to remind myself why I’m doing this in the first place…

I’m not a runner – at least I don’t consider myself a runner.  I’m a triathlete.  As a triathlete, I have to run.  And I’m a really lousy runner.  Up until 6 months ago, I would have said I was even scared of running.  Scared I would hurt myself.  Scared I would embarrass myself.  Scared I couldn’t do it.

But I love triathlon and I want to get better.  So this winter I signed up for some running races to make sure I kept running.  In November I ran my first 10k race.  Last month I ran my first Half Marathon.  This coming weekend I’m going to attempt my first 30k.  If nothing else, I’ve accomplished one thing:

I’m no longer afraid of running.

I can do it!  I can run.  Okay – I can’t run fast.  But that will come with time.  I can run.  And after this race, I’m so fucking done with these long runs!  Seriously!  20k+ is insane far!  I know a lot of people like long distance running – I applaud you, and would love to hear your race stories over a beer.  But right now, I need a break from long runs.

After this race it’ll be April (well, close enough).  It’ll be spring.  It’s time to re-focus on the upcoming triathlon season.  It’s time to return to my 5k and 10k runs.  It’s time to start working on my Fast instead of my Far.  I’m actually really looking forward to re-focusing… but first I need to get through this 30k race.

I found this blog post from Simcoe Fitness Seeker courtesy of the Around The Bay Facebook page.  She does a great job of having a little fun with the race, and asks a few fantastic first-time-Bay-racer questions (and props to the first commenter who answered her questions!).  Read it!  It’s Fantastic!!  Reading it is really helping me to calm the race week nerves.  This weekend I’m going to go out and have fun.  I’m going to finish this 30k race.  It’ll be slow, and kinda messy, and I’ll probably hurt a bit after, but I can do it.  I’m not afraid of running.

– DO’G

Destination: Whistler, BC

March 16, 2013 Leave a comment
My wife and I at the top of Whistler

My wife and I at the top of Whistler

Finally getting a chance to write about my recent trip to Whistler.  It was an amazing vacation.  I’d go back in a heartbeat.

We flew out on Wednesday March 6th and returned on the 13th.  8 days in the mountains.  What a perfect place in the world.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t wondering what it would take to move out there on several occasions.

Our drive out took us from Vancouver to Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway, which I remember from a previous visit in my youth as a rather sketchy stretch of road, but I had heard it was improved for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.  It was actually pretty good.

Hwy 99 from Vancouver to Whistler

Hwy 99 from Vancouver to Whistler

What impressed me the most about this highway was the presence of a bicycle lane on both sides, the whole way.  We past several road cyclists getting a workout in the Rocky Mountains as we drove up – the road a constant series of hills and turns as the highway hugs the mountain edges along the waterway.  How amazing would it be to have that road to bike train along?  Great climbs to work the legs, constant turns to work on technical riding, and views you wouldn’t ever get tired of.  I could live out there.

The skiing was pretty good.  The first day the light was so flat we couldn’t see anything – did a few runs, then got ourselves down to the pub at the base.  This is vacation after all!

The next few days though were beautifully sunny, with temperatures around freezing at the peak, and 10ºC at the base.  Perfect!

Most of the crew at Whistler Peak

Most of the crew at Whistler Peak

On the sunny days, you could see for miles.  It felt like the top of the world.  I could live out there.

My wife and I broke off from our group one day to meet up with a Guide on the hill who took us down the longest run in on the mountain: the Peak To Creak run – 11km (6.8 miles) long.  On the way down she pointed out to us a lake around the village at the bottom of the hill, Alta Lake.  Surrounded by Rocky Mountains and trees, it was nature at it’s most beautiful.  Our guide told us that the Whistler area originally appealed to visitors because of Alta Lake as a fishing destination, not for the mountain.  The lake looked so perfect – I could imagine swimming there in the summer, practicing my open water swim at the base of the mountains.  I could live out there.

I brought my running shoes with me, but never got a chance to use them.  Between the 8 hour days on the ski hill (and the workout that was on my legs) and the beers waiting for me at the base of the hill each night, running never seemed to be a priority.  The village would have been great for running though – looking at maps, it seemed to have cross country trails running all throughout.  Next time I visit I’ll have to make sure I set aside time to run some of those trails.  Probably much more interesting than running along Main Street here in town.

The trip was fantastic – great skiing, great place, and a fantastic visit with my uncles and cousins.  I will be back someday – hopefully soon.

That being said, the trip was a bit bitter-sweet.  I’m back from Whistler 3 days now, and 8 days away from The Bay.  I read a Facebook post from a friend of mine who’s also running The Bay next weekend – she shared a photo of the finish area being set up (possibly from a previous year, I’m not sure…) and stated excitedly that she’s starting her taper week.  I should be starting my taper week too, except I don’t know how to taper when I haven’t run in the past week?  Seriously – who takes a vacation 2 weeks before race day?!

Just gotta make it to that finish line...

Just gotta make it to that finish line…

I’m back from vacation.  Back to work.  Back to reality.  And I have a lot of work to do this week to get ready for Race Day.  But my head is still at Whistler I think.  Someday, I’ll be back…

I could live here...

I could live out there…

If you could live somewhere else in the world, where would you live?

 

 

Friday Stray Thoughts

March 15, 2013 Leave a comment

FridayImage by Glenn McCoy

Happy Friday everyone!  For those of you looking for a little light internet distraction to tide you over until quitting time, here’s a Few Stray Thoughts for your Friday Afternoon

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whistler logo

I’ve been back from Whistler now for a few days, and I still need to do a Destination post.  It’s coming, don’t worry.  I’m a few days late on this one, owing mostly to still adjusting to being back in the Eastern Time Zone, and being lazy about finding the cord to connect my camera to my PC (what’s a blog post without pictures, right?  Especially when I actually have pictures for once and don’t have to settle for logos off of Google Images for once!)

It’s coming… hopefully by the end of the weekend… maybe…

– – – – –

Cover_TriMag_0413b-243x320

Image from Triathlete.com

I picked up a copy of Triathlete Magazine in the Vancouver airport on my way home this week.  I’d forgotten how much I enjoy triathlon magazines.  There are dozens of them out there – this is the first time I’ve bought Triathlete specifically (thought I like it) – they’re all pretty similar: short articles about gear, races, training, nutrition, etc.  But I find them very motivational.  Especially when it’s grey and not-really-winter-anymore-but-still-not-quite-spring outside, they help remind me that race season is just around the corner!  I think I need to get a subscription again…

– – – – –

trimuskokaImage from Trimuskoka.com

Courtesy of Facebook, I learned about the TriMuskoka 2013 Summit.  It sounds really cool – key note speakers, seminars, activities, clinics – sounds kinda amazing, actually.  A great way to kick off the season.  Except it’s kind of expensive (and kind of remote), and sounds really geared towards the pro – or at least “good” – triathlete.  I feel like I would be really out of place signing up for one of the clinics in my overweight and out of shape state.  Maybe I’m just intimidated?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a conference like this aimed at the beginner triathlete?  Seminars about bike maintenance and safety, or transition set up, or how to plan a training schedule?  Clinics on proper swim or run technique, or basic bike drills, or nutrition and hydration for rookies?  Does that not sound fantastic?!

I think it sounds fantastic… now I need to start looking for one…

Have a great weekend!

– DO’G

Waiting for spring

March 4, 2013 Leave a comment
A cheery picture for a Monday, courtesy - as always - from Google images

A cheery picture for a Monday, courtesy – as always – from Google images

I’m finding this winter particularly difficult.  Maybe it’s because last winter was especially mild?  Or maybe it’s because this winter I’m training more (and trying to run outside)?  But it just feels so cold, and so dark, for so long.

I can’t wait for spring.

I can’t wait to step outside and not be instantly uncomfortably cold.

I can’t wait for the sun to rise before I leave for work.

I can’t wait for the ice to melt on the sidewalks.

I can’t wait to stop wearing long johns when I run.

I can’t wait for the sun to break through the everyday grey sky.

I can’t wait for spring!

This weekend’s long run didn’t go well.  It ended a lot earlier than it should have (and not nearly as early as I wanted it to).  I just couldn’t get my muscles to warm up; my legs felt like those concrete drums you drop to the bottom of the lake, weighing me down with every step.  In the end I only did about 10k (and really only 5k of that at any semblance of training effort).  I just couldn’t get warm.

Tonight I got to cheer myself up by firing up the BBQ.  I’m a big believer in year round BBQ.  The snow and cold can’t keep me away.  I feel like it’s my way of bringing warmth, and light, and fire to a cold winter night.  Plus, who can say no to a good rack of ribs?!

Tomorrow evening I’ll take another shot at a long run.  I need to get a few more in before The Bay.  Then, next morning I’m getting on a plane for a ski vacation in Whistler B.C.  I’m looking forward to seeing the extended family and getting away for a few days.  It may be cold, but it won’t be the same cold as home.  It won’t be 5:30am alarms, going to work in the dark, in the cold.  It’ll be adventure and activity.  It’ll be family and friends.  It’ll be the warm I need right now.

And when I get home, it had better be spring.  I can’t wait…

– DO’G

 

Friday Stray Thoughts

March 1, 2013 Leave a comment

FridayImage by Glenn McCoy

Happy Friday everyone!  For those of you looking for a little light internet distraction to tide you over until quitting time, here’s a Few Stray Thoughts for your Friday Afternoon

– – – – –

straightlineswim

I’ve started following TriSwimCoach on Facebook (and you should too).  I really like getting daily swim training tips sent to me, with a triathlon bent to them.  Because let’s face it – most of the self-serve swim training out there is aimed at pool swimmers looking to compete in Masters competitions.  Triathlon swimming is different – it’s open water swimming, exposed to the elements, and without lane markers to help you go straight (and to keep other swimmers from clubbing you).

It’s also really awesome at this time of year, when most of my training is so focused on LSD (long slow distance) runs, to get a splash of swim news in my daily feed.  Spring is right around the corner, and so is triathlon season…

– – – – –

torontobikeshow

The Toronto Spring Bicycle Show runs this weekend, starting (right about now, actually), until Sunday.  I’m debating going.

Reason to go: I’ve been to this show once before and I really enjoyed it.  I bought my road bike there.  It was fun being surrounded by bikes, and gear, and demos, and clubs, and all the other booths that made it feel like biking season (and by extension triathlon season) is just around the corner.

Reason not to go: I’m going to spend money.  I just know I am.  It could be a really expensive trip (okay, not as expensive as last time – I’m not going to buy a new bike – but could still put a hit on the budget).

– – – – –

running legs

Tomorrow’s run training plan calls for a 25k run.  I think I’m getting tired just typing that out.  I’m really happy that I’ve focused on run base training this winter and stretching out my long run distance.  It’s done amazing things for my confidence in running, if not also my endurance.  It’s also done great things for my fitness – compared to last year where I pretty much sat on my ass all winter and started my triathlon training in the spring with no fitness base at all.

That being said – and saying nothing about how happy I am to have run a half marathon – I’m getting a bit tired of these LONG training runs.  They take up half a day to do, and half a week to recover from.  I find my mid-week training is getting thinner and thinner as I’m hampered more by the previous weekend’s long run, and resting up for the next weekend’s long run.  I’m hardly doing any speed work or strength training at this point – just trying to survive my long runs.

I read a training article a while ago (which I could find the link now to give credit here – bad blogger, Dave!) that talked about long run training for triathletes (and long bike training too), suggesting the weekly long run should be centered around an amount of time, not a distance.  For example, you might set a Long Run goal of running for 90 minutes, and hopefully over time the distance you can cover in 90 minutes might increase, or the fatigue you feel at the end of 90 minutes might decrease, but don’t train any more than that.  Put more intensity into those 90 minutes.  Work harder, not longer.  No more 2 hour + training runs.  Not only for your legs, but for your family life as well.  I think once I get through The Bay next month, I think I may try to adopt this strategy (when I no longer have a 30k running race looming ahead of me).

Have a great weekend!

– DO’G

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