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Race Recap: Binbrook Triathlon

June 9, 2013 6 comments

BinbrookImage from the Multisport Canada Facebook Page

I’m really not sure how to feel about yesterday’s Binbrook Triathlon.  I’m still processing, but in a nutshell, here’s a few quick thoughts:

  • I actually did okay.  And okay isn’t bad.  And while I didn’t meet most of the time goals I’d set for myself, I still had PB times.  So I should be happy.
  • Even with PB times, I think I could have done better.  It felt, while I was racing, like I should have been doing better.  It felt like a fight.
  • I was really proud of myself for tackling longer distances than I had before.  I knew the distances were long – it felt long.  It was a mental grind to stay strong through the whole distance.  But I stayed strong, and I’m proud of that.

The morning started off well.  My alarm went off at 5:40am.  I had my bike ready and my gear bag packed the night before, so it was a quick morning and I was on the road by 6:00am.  I had no cheering squad with me this race – no paparazzi (and thus, no pictures for this post… sorry).  I was at the race site by 7:15 – an hour to go before the race gun.  Perfect.

I felt great pre-race.  Even though I slept little the night before (I always find it hard to shut my mind off to sleep the night before a big event), I felt rested and awake – well fueled, and ready to go.  Got through body marking quickly, and went to pick up my rented wetsuit.  Yes, I rented a wetsuit.

Turns out, the race was “wetsuit optional” in the end, but I was glad I had it.  The water was COLD – I don’t recall ever being in colder water before.  And while classified as wetsuit optional, there wasn’t a single racer without a wetsuit.  Did I mention it was cold?  It was cold.

I have never worn a wetsuit before.  I decided it was prudent to zip myself in and get into the water early for a light warm up swim.  Very glad I did.  The feel of neoprene around my shoulders and down to my ankles was really different.  But after a light warmup I decided this was something I could work with.

The Swim (750m OW)

Goal: 0:14:00.  Result: 0:16:32

The gun went off, and off we went.  From standing in waist high cold water – shivering – to full race pace in mere seconds.  And suddenly I couldn’t breathe.  Lesson #1: no more “light” swim warmups.  I hadn’t gone full effort in my wetsuit.  As soon as I did, and tried to breathe, I felt the constriction in my chest.  Normally I’m a bilateral breather.  Not in this race.  Quick rapid strokes.  Shallow frequent breaths.  By the first turn I started to feel comfortable enough to switch breathing sides.  By the second turn I got a little bilateral breathing going.  By then I had lost the feet of the swimmers in front of me and sighting became more of a requirement – and more of an issue.  Lesson #2: Pool swimming is nice, but I need to train more in Open Water.  I need to get more comfortable with a powerful bilateral breath stroke while still sighting.  I erred too much on the side of sighting, and couldn’t get into a strong rhythm.

Overall the swim was okay, given how cold the water was, and how unfamiliar the wetsuit was.  These are things I can get used to before my next race.

The Bike (30km)

Goal: 1:05:00.  Result: 1:02:53 🙂

As soon as I stood up at the edge of the lake to run out of the water I had a problem.  I was hit by a crazy wave of nausea.  Where the hell did that come from.  I unzipped my wetsuit and flipped it down to my waist as soon as I was on land.  Didn’t help.  I walked most of the distance from shore to transition.  Didn’t help.  I sat on the ground through most of T1.  Didn’t help.  I couldn’t shake it.  I got on my bike and peddled the first dozen strokes thinking to myself “I wonder how many triathlon races have someone throwing up in the bushes on the bike leg?  I wonder if that will be me?”  It wasn’t, but it was close.

After about the 1st km things started to settle down a bit – enough that I could peddle stronger and get into my larger cog ring, but not enough that I could ingest anything.  I tried to nibble at my Cliff Bar – that didn’t go well.  I tried to sip water – even that didn’t go well.  I couldn’t take anything in.  Lesson #3: Need to reassess my fueling strategy.  What I can eat and drink on a long bike ride might be different from what I can take in after a swim.  I actually had a strong bike ride… for the final 29km at least.  I made my goal time, which I was really happy with, but I didn’t take in any calories or fluids, which left me in real trouble on…

The Run (7.5km)

Goal: 0:50:00.  Result: 0:56:43

Oh geez… this wasn’t pretty.  I had nothing in the tank to start the run and it quickly took it’s toll.  I think I took a walk break almost every 500m – WAY too often.  I thought at first it was just jelly legs off the bike (Lesson #4: Need to do a lot more brick sessions!), but I couldn’t ever settle in.  I kept telling myself “You’re in a fight.  Time to fight harder than you ever have before”.  The last 2km were a little stronger than the rest.  I found a little something left at the end to push through the finish.  It’s always good to finish strong, but I really wish I could have run better.  Lesson #5: Keep running.  Run every other day.  Run longer.  Keep doing fartleks.  Keep doing bricks.  I can’t ever do enough run training.

Overall my race time was 2:20:36.8.  24/25 in my age group.  Slower than my goal, but only by about 6 minutes.  And given a few challenges I had to work through, I’m happy with the results.  But, at the same time, it’s a reminder of how much work I have to do to get to where I want to be.

Today I’m putting my feet up and recovering.  I ache like hell!  Particularly my arms – I’m surprised at how much my arms hurt this morning.  Lesson #6: Keep going to the gym.  Keep getting stronger.  And that’s what I’m going to do, starting tomorrow.  Tomorrow I hit the gym.  Tomorrow I get out to RunClub.  Tomorrow I get back to work – to getting stronger, and faster.  I can’t wait!

Next up on the race schedule is the Tour de Waterloo, a 70km bike race back in my home town that I’m really looking forward to.  And it’s only 14 days away.  Time to get to work!

~DO’G

 

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Race Preview: Binbrook Triathlon

June 6, 2013 1 comment
Apparently, this is Binbrook...

Apparently, this is Binbrook…

It’s hard to believe, for as much as I ramble about Triathlon This and Triathlon That, that when I toe the line at Binbrook this weekend, it’ll be only my 2nd triathlon race*, and my first in about 21 months.

* I was supposed to race a triathlon last September, but weather turned it into a Duathlon on me.  Pfft.  Technicality.

Believe it or not, I’m actually a bit nervous.  And of all things, it’s the swim that’s making me nervous.

if-swim

image credit <– lots of cool illustrations.  check it out!

Seriously?!  Me!  The swim is my strength!  The swim is my niche!  While other triathletes come from running or cycling backgrounds, I come from a swimming background.  I’ve been swimming since I was a toddler!  I played waterpolo in highschool!  I’m a swimmer…

Well, it could be this…

That’s “… We will not know until race morning if this will be wetsuit mandatory”.

Mandatory

ITU Wetsuit Temp RulesPer the ITU Competition Rules, page 17

Gulp!!

I don’t own a wetsuit.  I’ve never worn a wetsuit.  Sure – there will be vendors there renting wetsuits (so they tell us)… I’m not so hot about the idea of renting a wetsuit I’ve never worn before, and swimming in one for the first time on race day.  Of trying to wiggle out of a wetsuit for the first time in T1 On Race Day.

Oh well, this may be one of those punches I just have to roll with.  More encouraging though was this…

That’s good racing weather.  I’ll take it!

Right… so… about the race…

750m OW Swim

I’m hesitant to set myself a goal for this now, knowing that it might be wetsuit mandatory, and that I might get my wetsuit initiation mid-race.

But prior to today’s swim temperature news… my one and only prior attempt at a 750m OW swim took 16:53.  I can do better.  In the pool, I have reliably been swimming 1:35/100m, which is an 11:52 pace.  I think anything sub 14:00 I would be happy with.

30km Bike

I’ve never done a 30km distance in a race before.  My last 20km distance took 45:46 (26.22kph pace).  But I’ve been riding much closer to a 29kph pace so far this year.  I think 1:05:00 is my goal time

7.5km Run

Again, I’ve never done a 7.5km distance in a race.  My last 10k race I ran in 1:02:41, or a 6:16/km pace.  But that was downhill, and didn’t have a bike or swim before it.  I don’t think I can hold that pace here.  My 5km time in each of previous triathlon and duathlon were each close to 0:35:00 (7:00/km pace).  I can do better than that for sure – I’m feeling the fittest I’ve been yet since I started this adventure.  I think my goal here is going to be 50 minutes (a 6:40/km pace).

Allowing 2:30 for T1 and 2:00 for T2, that’s a total race goal of 2:13:30.  That seems like a really random goal.  But I guess it’s better than no goal.  And it’s based on math – anything based on math is good, right?  Right!

Can you say 'excited'?!?

Can you say ‘excited’?!?

I think more than anything, I’m excited to get the Tri season started!  I’ve had a number of running races over the past 21 months (and one duathlon) – they’ve been fun, and have really helped my running and overall fitness.  But I’m not a runner.  I’m a triathlete!  I feel like I’m back.  It’s time to get another season started.  It’s time to raise the curtain.  It’s time to get this party started!

I love Race Day.  Do you love Race Day (or Opening Day?  or Game Day?  or Whatever “Day” is your thing)?

 

The Home Stretch

June 2, 2013 Leave a comment

6 days until race day.  Into the Training Home Stretch.

Feeling strong.  Feeling inspired.  Feeling confident.  Feeling energetic.

Feeling Ready.

Let’s Do This!!!

trimotivation

image credit

Race Recap: Sporting Life 10k

May 12, 2013 2 comments

SportingLife10k

There are few things in this world as great as a great nap after a race!  Man, I needed that!

First off – and most importantly – happy 1 year anniversary to my love, my wife, and my partner Brigid.  This has been an amazing year!  Thank you for supporting me through all my training ups and downs, and for running beside me as often as you do!  I couldn’t do any of this without you.  Here’s to many more wonderful years together!

My lovely bride and I, one year ago today

My lovely bride and I, one year ago today

Secondly – and also very important – happy mother’s day to my Mom, and my Mother-in-Law.  For all the encouragement and support, and laughs, and hugs (and occasional ribbing when I need it).  Love you both.

while we're using wedding day pictures... Happy Mother's Day

while we’re using wedding day pictures… Happy Mother’s Day

Boy, today was a busy day.  On top of all that, there was a race to be run!  The day started early – and cold.  After the lovely summer-like weather the past two weeks, this morning the weather with windchill felt like -1°C.  Brrr.  Note to self: invest in runners tights.  After some adventures in public transportation – possibly the worst bus driver I’ve ever encountered, followed by one of the better cab drivers I’ve ever encountered – we made it to the start line.  Though just barely.  The Elite runners were heading off as we were still a block away.

We are really friendly - but also really cold.  Huddling for warmth

We are really friendly – but also really cold. Huddling for warmth

The crowd in the starting corral was amazing.  27,000 runners.  It was a sea of people in bright colorful shirts all trying to stay warm and waiting to run.  The race was supposed to start in waves based on estimated start time, but most of us wanted to get running to not stand around too long.  I sure did.  We set out with the 0:50:00 – 0:54:99 group.  Oops.  Oh well 🙂

There were a LOT of people in the street behind us waiting to get started.  there were almost as many in front of us too

There were a LOT of people in the street behind us waiting to get started. there were almost as many in front of us too

The run started off rough.  It was cold – I was actually shivering when I crossed the start line.  So much for any effort to warm up the muscles beforehand (which, I really didn’t do).  By 1km I was wishing for gloves… or sun… either would have been welcome.  By 2km I was really feeling my shin splints from the downhill run.  I thought for sure this would be a rough run.

But, like most runs, once the first few km are in the books, I started to find my groove.  The shins stopped hurting (which they always do – I know – if I can mentally grind through the pain until they stop hurting).  The body warmed up.  The pace picked up…

… I actually passed a few people on the run.  I don’t think I’ve ever done that before.  Granted, I was passed by several tens of thousands of people, but I passed a few myself.  WIN!

I was really impressed by the live music lining the route along the race.  So cool.  About every km or so there was a raised stage with musicians – drummers, percussionists, string instrumentalists, guitars, horns – everything!  So cool, and so motivational.  I think major metropolitan cities should have more live music in their downtown cores.  Fantastic.  I almost stopped to take a pic, but I knew I was making good time and wanted to keep pushing.

I did stop once though along the way – friends of mine who came to cheer and were standing along the course around the 8km point didn’t see me run by at all.  I saw them, and saw that they didn’t see me, and once I was fully by them I turned around and ran back for a surprise hug from behind.  Probably cost me about 5-10 seconds off my time.  Completely worth it!!!

The run felt fast, and felt like it went by quickly.  I ran the whole thing without walk breaks (except at the 2 water stations, lest I get more water on me than in me, and this was only for 20-30 meters each time).  That in itself was a huge accomplishment for me.  I’m getting so close to being able to do continuous running!!!

I finished in 1:02:41 chip time, killing my previous 10K Personal Best of 1:09:41.  Very happy with that.  My cousin also ran a personal best time – I’m really proud of her too!

I put on a sweater as soon as I got my medal.  God it was cold!

I put on a sweater as soon as I got my medal. God it was cold!

Overall a good race.  A fun experience, and a time I was happy with.  Up next is the Binbrook Triathlon in a couple of weeks.  This past winter of running has been a lot of fun, and a great training motivator, but I’m really excited for the Tri season to begin.

Now off to an anniversary dinner with my lovely wife.  We’re going to celebrate with some lovely craft beer.  Life is good!

Cheers

~DO’G

April Snow

April 24, 2013 1 comment
The view from my office... that's snow...

The view from my office… that’s snow…

Today is Wednesday, April 24th.  Last week we warmed up to over 24°C.  Now it is 5°C… and snowing.  I didn’t even bring a coat to work today – I didn’t expect it to get so cold, and so wet, and so crappy.

*sigh*  No bike ride for me tonight.

At least the outlook for the upcoming week looks good.  A little sunshine would go a long way right about now.

weatherToronto130424

I think what amazes me the most about this weather is that we’re a week away from May – only 6.5 weeks out from my first Triathlon race of the season… and it’s snowing.  I can’t imagine how cold that open water swim is going to be.  Lakes simply don’t warm up that quickly.  I wasn’t planning on investing in a wetsuit this season – I figured my skill level could justify one more season before the expense was worthwhile.  But I can’t imagine swimming out there in just over 6 weeks time!

I think I need a hot chocolate just thinking about it…

– DO’G

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