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Race Recap – Toronto Triathlon Festival

July 14, 2014 2 comments

TTF

I’m having a hard time writing this recap.  My thoughts are all over the place.  This race was many things – Intense, Exhilarating, and Wet.  Very wet.

I’m so luck to have a pair of very close cousins, who happen to have condos in the same building, right in downtown Toronto.  Amazing to be able to visit great people, and have crash space a 20 minute walk away from the start line.  Being so close meant I got to sleep in until 4:30 yesterday morning (I’m not kidding).  I was surprisingly awake at that hour.  My wife was not.  What a trooper she was getting up with me to come cheer me on (and take blog pics)!!

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Isn’t everyone out with their bike at 4:30am?

In transition before daybreak - the life of a triathlete

In transition before daybreak – the life of a triathlete

The forecast called for rain.  But it was dry when I woke up.  I was really happy – and celebrated way too soon.  The rain came.  Oh boy did it ever.  It rained rather heavily in the hour leading up to the race, while I was pacing around transition and waiting for the swim start.  The swim start was even delayed by about 10 minutes due to weather.

Rain!  The blue band across the top is my wife's umbrella.  She tried to stay dry.  It didn't work.  What a trooper!

Rain! The blue band across the top is my wife’s umbrella. She tried to stay dry. It didn’t work. What a trooper!

Once the race started, though, the weather was an afterthought.  This was my 8th triathlon, and the first time I wasn’t in the first swim wave.  It was kinda fun getting to watch the elite’s go off before me (and not have to start my swim with them).  8 minutes later it was my turn.

The Swim – 1,500m – 34:29

That's me, in the green cap and black wetsuit

That’s me, in the green cap and black wetsuit

The swim was a deep water start.  They had a floating pontoon perpendicular to the brake wall.  There was no warm up swim permitted (I’m not really sure why).  About 1 minute before our wave start, we all walked out and jumped into the water.  And swore.  A lot.  Holy shit that water was cold.  Really cold.  They announced the temperature as 17°C – they must have been lying.  I don’t believe ice baths are that cold.  It was really cold.  Pretty soon all the swearing subsided as we started to realize this wasn’t actually funny – it was really cold and uncomfortable.  And then the horn went off – no warm up, frozen muscles, and almost 100 men aged 25-35 tightly packed tightly against the starting pontoon.

They call the start of a triathlon swim ‘the washing machine’.  I’ve understood the term, but never truly experienced it.  Now I have.  It refers to the froth of water at the start of an open water swim, when a bunch of swimmers are tightly packed and competing for the same space.  Yep – that’s what happened.  I got kicked, and punched, and clawed (seriously triathletes: please clip your fingernails!!!).  Somewhere near the first buoy I remember having a thought – between the cold, and the collisions, if I was any less comfortable in the water than I am (and I consider myself a very confident swimmer), I might have been in trouble in that swim.  Sure enough, my wife would tell me later she was amazed at the number of swimmers who were pulled out of the water and DNF.  Even as late as the last buoy I took a heavy kick to my right shoulder and was worried I was actually hurt.  What a mess that swim was.

I’m not happy with a 34:29 swim – but it was a middle of the pack swim for my age group, and given the conditions, it could have been a lot worse.  The race goes on!

The Bike – 40km – 1:23:18

Heading out on the bike.  The road is a wet slippery mess!

Heading out on the bike. The road is a wet slippery mess!

For as bad as the swim was, the bike went great!  The bike course was amazing – riding along the expressways of downtown Toronto.  It was a generally uphill on the way out, and downhill on the way back, with a bit of a headwind on the return.  The biggest challenge was the wet roads, and the puddles of standing water that needed to be dodged.  But credit to the race organizers – they had volunteers out along the whole course, and had a volunteer or a marking pylon at every standing puddle.  They were all over it.  They did a great job!!

Not much to tell about the bike ride – I put my head down and rode hard.  I kept comparing it to my last Olympic distance race, only 3 weeks prior, where the bike ride went so poorly.  This time, my back and my glutes didn’t give out on me.  I was riding just as hard, if not harder through the final quarter of the ride as I did in the first quarter.  I wasn’t wearing a pace watch, but my gut told me this ride went well.  And I was right.  Nearly 12 minutes faster than the same distance 3 weeks ago, and 8 minutes faster than my Olympic distance bike split personal best.  Hot damn!!  My wife gave me my time as I was running back into transition – what a motivator that was!!!

The Run – 10km – 1:14:17

500m to go...

500m to go…

There’s not much to say here.  I’m a shitty runner.  I have been since I started, and I still am.  I find it amusing that my run time split of 1:14:17 is 16 seconds slower than my run split 3 weeks ago.  Apparently I’m a very consistently shitty runner 🙂

Unlike last time, there was no back pain to slow me down.  There was no pain at all.  My heart rate was out of control, right from the start though.  I took a lot of walk breaks trying to control my heart rate, but every time I started running again it skyrocketed.  I tried to settle into a run/walk routine to manage this.  I’m not sure how well it worked.  I stopped at each aid station – drank the Gatorade and dumped the water on my head.  By about half way through the run the sugar from the Gatorade was playing havoc with my GI system, so I switched to water only.  I’m not sure if it made a difference.  It wasn’t a glamorous run, but it was consistent, and wasn’t worse than my previous Olympic distance run splits.  I didn’t give back the time I earned on the bike, so I’m happy with that!

The Finish – 3:17:40.93

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My biggest fan!

God that felt good – a personal best by 6 minutes!  Yeah Buddy!!!  My wife and cousin were there to meet me at the finish line.  So awesome having a cheering squad!!  And around my neck: a finisher’s medal.  Believe it or not, this is my 8th triathlon, and that’s my first finisher’s medal.  I guess they’re not as common as in running races.  It means a lot to me to finally have a triathlon finisher’s medal.  Very excited about that!

By the end of the run my GI havoc was reaching near critical levels.  There were burgers and free beer in the finishing area, and I turned them both down (I know!  Weird, right?!)  I took 3 bites of a banana – that was all I could handle.  It was a couple hours before that settled down.

The race was designed with the finish line being about 800 meters away from the transition zone, so my cheering squad and I had to walk back to pick up my bike & gear after.  And wouldn’t you know – the skies opened up again.  It POURED!  Easily one of the top 10 heaviest rains I’ve ever been in.  Ever.  My wife and cousin had their umbrellas – not that it made any difference – but me, I just let the rain fall on me.  I could hardly see.  I felt bad for the racers still on course (the sprint distance race had just started).  It was pouring rain.  I collected my bag from the bag check area – it was sitting in an inch deep puddle.  I went back to get my bike and transition gear – which was also sitting in an inch deep puddle.  Oh well – lay it all out to dry in the basement when I get home.  I’m not planning on any training rides or runs for the next few days!

It’s now the day after.  I’m working from home today – it’s easier to get up out of my chair and pace, and stretch, when I’m not in the office.  My quads are still buzzing a bit, but I really feel the fatigue in my traps, my neck, and all down my back.  Even my arms have a subtle dull ache, and there’s a really good scratch on one arm from another swimmer.  Tylenol and I are good friends today.  And I’m eating EVERYTHING in the fridge!!

I ache, but I’m really happy.  I set my sights on this as my ‘A’ race, and I feel like it all came together.  Smashing 12 minutes off my bike split from last race felt amazing, and not giving anything up on the run as a result felt pretty good too.  I even survived the frigid washing machine!  God I love this sport!!!

With my ‘A’ race in the books, the rest of the summer is all about fun and relaxing.  In 2 weeks I’m racing in the Niagara Try-A-Tri race with a couple highschool buddies.  I’m really looking forward to that.  Otherwise the rest of the summer is about swimming, biking, and running when I want to.  I won’t start thinking about next race season for several months still – for now, I’m just going to enjoy this one!

– D

 

Race Recap: Guelph Lake Olympic Triathlon

June 22, 2014 7 comments

SubaruI’m moving around pretty gingerly this morning – trying not to move very much at all, to be honest.  So while I’m sitting at my laptop anyway, might as well write up a post race recap, right?  right!

Yesterday I “raced” in the Subaru Guelph Lake I Olympic Triathlon.  This is a relatively large race around these parts, and highly talked about in the race community.  Plus, it’s in the town I grew up in, so it’s long been on my bucket list.  Yesterday I got to cross it off.

Race morning flowed pretty smoothly.  I was up at 5:00 for an 8:00 race gun, at a site 40 minutes drive from my home.  Not too bad.  It was raining outside when I woke up (sigh), but had stopped by the time I got into my car.  I was really impressed with the race area.  Registration flowed very quickly, and I had lots of time to set up in transition.  I ran into some friends of mine who were also racing, which was really nice.  Otherwise I would have had a lot of time to kill, nervously, by myself!

The swim was a lovely out-and-back across Guelph Lake.  The sky was blue, the water was warm and still, and it was wetsuit optional.  Perfect!!  My swim felt very sluggish, in large part because I was having difficulty sighting when breathing to the right.  So I quickly abandoned bilateral breathing, leading to an increasingly imbalanced arm pull.  While breathing to the left the whole swim, my right arm ended up doing most of the work, and started to slow down.  Plus, at the far point of the swim we got pretty close to the shore on the other side of the lake, and I may have gotten a bit distracted by the lovely trees and rocks and blue sky above.  Whoops.  That being said, I swam in 29:38 (1:59/100m), which is a personal best swim time over that distance, so I’m pretty happy with it.

As an aside, I struggle comparing my swim times between races, as there’s a big variable at the end – the swim run-up.  Inevitably, when getting out of the water, you need to run a certain distance from the water’s edge to wherever the transition area is set up.  This can be anywhere from 10m away to several hundred meters away.  Yesterday’s race was the later, and up a steep hill.  Fine.  Somewhere along this path they need to put the chip mats that you step on to record the end of your swim time.  Why do they always put these mats right up at transition, meaning this long run is included in your swim time??  Why can’t they put the mats right when you get out of the water, and include this “run time” as part of T1?  I’m sure that run up the hill took me at least 3 minutes, meaning my “swim” was much better than recorded.  Oh well – one of my little pet peeves I guess.  Carrying on…

T1 went pretty smoothly.  I didn’t suffer from the dizziness post-swim that I normally have to fight off, which was nice.  Although, when exiting T1, a race official pulled me aside and told me I couldn’t start the bike without tightening the strap on my helmet.  I’ve used this same helmet, with the strap in the same spot for every race.  I pulled aside, took off my helmet (dropped my sunglasses) and tried to adjust the strap.  The darn thing wouldn’t budge.  I managed to yank it maybe a cm – probably less – when she said that was fine and I could go on.  It probably only amounted to a minute delay, but was kind of annoying.  Oh well – she’s trying to do her job and keep us safe.  Can’t fault her for that, I guess.  The chip timing company this race used didn’t report on T1 or T2 times, so I can’t tell you how long I was in transition.  You’ll just have to use your imagination.

The bike was where things really unraveled for me.  There is a bike course elevation profile on the company’s website, which I looked at before.  I knew there would be an overall decent elevation climb in the out direction (and a nice overall elevation decent in the return direction), but I didn’t notice all the little – and quite steep climbs – both ways.  They really did me in.  I was trying to stay aero in my new aero bars – by about 15km I started to develop a significant pain in my left lower back.  It may have been in part due to the imbalance in my swim stroke?  Shortly after I had to abandon the aero bars completely.  By about 25km my glutes were toast!  I had to keep talking myself into staying in my saddle.  I haven’t ever had either of these problems – not in training, or any previous race.  I finished the last 10km of the bike ride absolutely grimacing and trying to talk myself into still doing the run portion, and not just DNF’ing.  I was in a lot of pain.  In the end, my bike was 1:34:49 (25.3km/hr).  Yuck.  That’s the slowest official bike pace I’ve ever posted in any race.  I obviously have some work to do here!

GLI2014BikeProfile

T2 went smoothly.  Nothing to report.  And since I don’t know what my T2 time split was, we’ll just move on…

I have mixed opinions on the run.  It was tough, and slow – in large part because my lower back and glutes were both shot from the outset.  Every little climb on the run and my back started barking.  And there were hills.  Lots of them.  There was no elevation map for the run on the website – I was not prepared for the amount of steep rolling hills on the run.  I don’t think there was a flat stretch longer than 10 meters at any point on that run course – everything was an incline or decline.  And my back hurt the whole way.

The run was really interesting though – the first half of the out-and-back course was through the conservation area’s campground, which was reasonably booked up.  Which means there were people lining the course, watching, for most of this stretch.  But they weren’t cheering.  They were curious – some of them outright heckling at the spandex clad runners running past their campsites at 10:00am.  Many of them were irritated, trying to drive their cars in and out of their site, or walk to the washrooms or water pumps, and having so many runners in their way.  I love running past cheering spectators.  This was very different.

The run course then left the camping area and went into some back fields on the conservation area’s property.  We moved from primarily paved roads to primarily dirt trails through fields.  Still just as hilly, but not a tree in sight.  This was the first time I realized that I hadn’t put any sunscreen on.  It was hot.  By this point I was reduced to running 2:1 run/walk intervals, and walking up most of the steep hills.  Between the heat, my back, and by this point a significant fueling deficit, I was just trying to keep moving.  It wasn’t pretty.  But for me, the run is never pretty.  Still, I’d like to get to a point where I can reliably run the run, instead of suffering through it.  More work to do.  That being said, I finished the run in 1:14:01 (7:25/km) – not nearly the pace I can hold on a straight 10k run, but better than the run on my previous Olympic distance tri (1:18:19).  In other words, not nearly as bad as it felt!

Overall, I raced in 3:23:48.4 – 27/30 in my age group, and an Olympic tri Personal Best by about 1 minute.  I would have liked a better time, but to drop my time (even if only by 1 minute) on a course that was much hillier in both the bike and run, and much hotter as well isn’t a bad thing at all!  I’m making progress.

With this race now in the rear view mirror, I’m 3 weeks away from my ‘A’ race of the season, the Toronto Triathlon Festival Olympic Tri.  I’m not sure how much I can accomplish in three weeks to learn from yesterday’s race, and improve.  I need to keep putting the work in on the bike and the run – particularly my long distance workouts in both.  In the off season, I need to do a lot of work on strengthening my back side – traps, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.  But I know the TTF course better than this one – particularly the run – and it’s quite flat and familiar.  I won’t be surprised by hills this time, and the race starts an hour earlier, so I might not have to deal with the heat as much!  And who knows – I might even remember to put on sunscreen (you should see the sunburn today – it’s pretty epic).  I’m hoping for a great race at TTF, and a Personal Best!

Do you put sunscreen on for races?  Do you put it on before the swim, or quickly in T1?

PS – my apologies for the lack of pictures in this post.  I was flying solo at this one – my wife was on call and so had to stay home.  Thus, no pictures 😦

Race Recap: Sporting Life 10K (or The Seven Second Conundrum)

May 11, 2014 Leave a comment

SL10k2014D&C

Post race selfies!  So great.  And since the picture already spoiled it: I finished, and got a finisher’s medal.  It’s shaped like a canoe paddle.  How cool is that?!

Anyway, let’s start at the beginning…

This morning, my cousin and I did our 2nd annual running of the Sporting Life 10k in Toronto.  It was a great morning!  This race has become something of a tradition for us – it’s about racing our best, but it’s also a chance for us to visit and catch up.  This is a race weekend I really look forward to.

We knew the race started at 8:00am, and that our wave (based on expected finish time) would head out at 8:20.  I crashed at my cousin’s place in downtown TO last night, and we walked out to flag a cab to the start line at 7:30.  On any other day, walking out onto King St in Toronto, there’s a cab driving by every 30 seconds or so.  Getting a cab is taken for granted.  This morning, apparently not so.  We would discover that – with 28,000 runners all trying to take taxis across town to the starting line of this point-to-point race – there was a scarcity of cabs in the city.  10 minutes later, we were seriously starting to worry about even making it to the start of the race.  Phone calls to various taxi companies were going unanswered.  Then – miraculously – a taxi dropped off a fare right outside my cousin’s condo building.  Convenient!  We made it to the start line around 8:15.  Just barely in time for our wave to start (and well after the elite runners were off).

The starting line went much smoother than it did last year.  We set off with our wave this time (as opposed to last year, when runners were sort of ignoring their waves and heading out when they chose – and thus so did we).  Thousands of runners heading out together – it took us several minutes after the race gun to shuffle across the start line.  But once we got across, the race felt great.  I felt energetic – light – fast.  I felt good.  My cousin and I were zig-zagging through runners from our wave.  We were racing!  It was so much fun!  We were off at a blistering pace (a bit of foreshadowing, for you veteran running race-ers out there…)

My cousin and I stayed together until somewhere around the 4km mark.  I wasn’t sure at the time if I got ahead of her, or if she got ahead of me.  At that point, I was on my own.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful.  I ran the whole race, which I was quite proud of (apart from a 5 second walk break at one of the water stations – let’s face it, running through a water station ends up as more of a face wash than a drink).  But the run felt long.  Boring almost.  And then I noticed how quiet it was.  Not that there weren’t thousands of other runners running all around me, or spectators lining the route cheering – which was awesome!!  But the bands were missing!  Last year there were live musicians on stages at every kilometer marker.  This year, nothing.  I was so disappointed!  Live music lining the course was one of my favorite parts of the run last year.  Note to new race director: bring that back next year!!  Getting rid of the live music was a mistake!

By the 9km sign I was fully engaged in a mental battle with myself – willing myself to keep pushing hard through the finish.  I was running out of gas, but I knew I had started out strong and had a shot at a Personal Best time.  I only had 1km to go.  So I kept arguing with myself to push through the end.

I crossed the finish line at 9:25:xx (clock time).  Dammit.  Clock time.  I know our wave started at 8:20, but by the time the thousands of runners had advanced through the starting chute, I didn’t notice what time I went across.  Did it take us 5 minutes?  3 minutes?  8 minutes?  I was done, but I had no idea what my chip time was.  Note to self: start wearing a running watch while racing!

It was several hours later before we were able to look our chip times up online.  I ran a personal best time after all: 1:00:07.3

1 hour and 7.3 seconds!!!

On one hand, I just ran a personal best time – 2:30 faster than I had ever run a 10k before.  That’s so awesome!

On the other hand, I missed out on a sub one hour run by 7.3 seconds!  7.3 SECONDS!!!

If I had just run 1 second per km faster over the race, I could have made it (or, more realistically, if I had paced myself a hair better and not run out of gas at the end I could have made it).  Note to self: start wearing a running watch while racing!

It’s now a few hours later.  I’ve left Toronto and come back home.  I’ve wrestled with this conundrum for a few hours.  And I’ve decided I’m really happy with my run.  The elusive 1 hour mark is still out there.  I haven’t conquered that mountain yet.  But I went into this trained and ready, and hoped for a personal best time.  And I got one.  And yet, in spite of a personal best time, I’m now more motivated than ever to get back to training and put the work in to get faster!

First race of the year is in the books.  Now it feels like the race season is underway!  What a great day!

~DO’G

Friday Stray Thoughts

April 25, 2014 1 comment

FridayImage by Glenn McCoy

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

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Yesterday morning I went for a treadmill run.  I realized it was the first time I’d been for a pre-work early morning treadmill run in a long time (lately I’ve been focusing on swimming during my early morning sessions, and saving my running for outdoors after work or on weekends).  Getting on the treadmill means going to the gym.  Going to the gym means stepping on the gym scale.  Apparently I’ve gained 4 not-happy lbs since I last stepped on the gym scale.  Not impressed, but what can you do.  Keep moving fighting the good fight, I guess…

– – – – –

In other possibly related news – Easter chocolate is really tasty.  It’s possible I’ve had more of it than I should these past few days…

– – – – –

16 days to go until my first race of the year: The Sporting Life 10k.  I’m not sure if I ever mentioned on this blog that I signed up for this race?  Well, I did.  And I’m really looking forward to it.  My Personal Best 10k time is from this same course in last year’s race.  And in my training runs so far this spring, I’m running a reliable 30 seconds/km faster than I was this time last spring.  Does that mean I’ll beat my PB time by a full 5 minutes?  Doubtful.  But maybe it means I have a real shot at giving my own PB time a run for it’s money (sorry – every Friday needs a bad pun, amiright?)

– – – – –

16 days is really not so far away.  Though my running splits may be faster, my running overall has been less consistent than I would like.  I’m getting 2-3 runs in per week… I guess that’s really not terrible.  I keep planning to do 4 runs each week, but it never seems to work out that way.  I’m thinking hoping the realization that my first race is right around the corner will help with the training motivation.  Nothing like a race coming up to kick your ass into gear, right?

– – – – –

Have a great weekend everybody!  Good Luck to everyone racing or training this weekend!!!

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

 

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

Race Day: Hamilton 10K

November 3, 2012 2 comments

Confidence before the race… sure, we can do this…

Okay, first to deal with the elephant in the room – no post in almost 3 weeks.  Bad blogger Dave.  No sense dwelling on the mistakes of the past.  I’m back, and hopefully a bit more consistently this time!

Today was race day – my first foray into the 10K running distance courtesy of the Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon weekend.  I got to share the running experience with my cousin, and two of my close friends here in Hamilton.  It was a lot of fun to have a “team” – I’m very used to doing my triathlons on my own.  Having family and friends in the starting chute with me was a very nice new experience.  As we were standing in the chute, waiting for the count down, we decided that next year we need to make team t-shirts.  If only we’d thought of that sooner!

None of us are great runners.  We were each there to try our first 10K (in fact, I think for all of us, our first road running race).  We were joking about our time goals before the race started.  My goal was to finish in under 1:20:00.  My friends were joking they simply wanted to finish in under 2:00:00.  It’s good to have goals, I guess.

There’s something special about Race Day I’ve decided.  The energy, the enthusiasm, the vendors and food tents, the t-shirts and goodie bags, the music and announcements through the PA system – all of it gets you ready to perform.  I kinda wish I could have PA speakers and enthusiastic announcers every time I stepped out my door to go for a run.

The four of us managed to stay… roughly… together for about the first kilometer before our different paces started to reveal themselves.  I’m glad it played out that way.  I was worried about running with a group that we would try to all stick together the whole time instead of each trying to run our personal best.

And it turns out I did run a personal best.  Well, of course I did – it was my first 10K.  But I actually was pleasantly surprised when I rounded the last corner towards the finish line and could see the time clock ticking away.  1:09:(and ticking).  I could beat 1:10:00 – I knew I could make that final push.  The crowd was cheering.  The clock was ticking down right in front of me.  And I did it.  1:09:41.  For reference, that’s the same pace as 34:50 per 5K, just a hare off my 5K Personal Best of 34:48 pace.  Yep – very happy with that result.  My cousin finished in roughly 1:04:00, and even my friends (who wanted to beat 2:00:00) finished in roughly 1:17:00.  A great race for everyone!

I finally have my first Finisher’s Medal

So that’s it.  My 2012 Race Season is over.  I’m really happy with it.  Think I’m going to take a few days to decompress, then start thinking about my off season goals, and 2013 race plans.  But don’t worry, I won’t disappear from blogging again 😉

When do you start making plans for the new year?

PS – Very impressed by the organizers of the Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon organizers, in spite of tomorrow’s Marathon being full they have opened an additional 250 spots for racers from the area who were signed up and had trained to run this weekend’s NY Marathon.  Great of them to find a way to help pick up some of those displaced runners as we all try to get back on our feet after Hurricane Sandy.

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