Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Calgary half marathon race report

Today I finished the calgary half marathon. I put this in my schedule as it is 4 weeks out from IM France and I knew this would force me to get a long run in, and it did. My longest to date. :) All week I was thinking about what my race strategy was going to be. 2 weeks ago I decided I would run with Katie during her 1st half and this would proove to be a fast run. Probably low 1:30's. Katie's ankle is healing so that option was out. Then there was the option to run with Stan. He was looking to set a PR in the distance. Then I was thinking about holding back and just getting a long run in without too much pain in my legs. This weekend I was hoping to get 6 hrs of riding in on Saturday and then race sunday. When I woke up on sat at 5:45 I realized this was not to be so I went back to sleep and later rode for 2.5 on the computrainer. Had a great ride but just not the same as outdoors.
So since I did not get the big volume in (as was planned) my last option was to run hard from start to end and run a 1:2? something.

Well after a lot of humming and hawing I decided to run most of the race with my HR upper limit set at 171. Last year during the marathon I ran the 1st half very close to 178-182 (with a time of 1:29) so 171 is quite a drop in pace, but I thought let's see how fast I can go at 170.

Well after the gun went off I started to quickly get into position behind a good group. I now was ahead of Stan. Soon my watch beeped. 171+ need to slow down. HR under control for a few momnets and then back up. My body was fighting the pace but I was sticking to my decision to hold 170. My watch must have been driving the runners around me crazy, so much beeping. Once lady asked does that mean you are going too fast. I said yes or I am about to blow up (my little joke ha ha).

As I kept this pattern going I soon realized that my pace was quite a bit slower than last year and many were passing me. No worries concentrate on your plan and just run. If you want to run faster try to relax your body so your HR decreases. At the 10 Km mark I was ~44:50. This was about 3 mins slower than last year. No worries keep running. As I passed Tri It Rose yelled out come on Todd this is a race not a jog. (this was my 1st whip). No worries stick to your plan. As I get closer to the turnaround I see Stan on his way back and he looks good. I hear a few cheers of Go Todd (this was my 2nd whip), then I heard Mark yell Go Todd (this was my 3rd whip) and about all I could take. I decided that after the turnaround (~13-14 Km) if I could turn off my beeper I would then pick up my pace. Well as chance had it this turned out to be redicuously easy so then I no longer had my watch beep at me and I allowed myself to run with No Limits. This felt so good. I had 7 more Km to go and I was ready to push myself. My pace quickened and my HR soared to the mid 180's. I was loving it. At this point I did not look at my watch as I did not care about time or HR. I was then just counting off the Km's and imagining I was running 4 min Kms. 5 KM to go means only 20 min. 4 km 16 min etc... Even down to 1 Km means 4 min. Well I could see Stan in the distance wit 2 Km to go and I was hoping that I would catch him and help him finish strong. I caught him at the last hill and then we had to zig zag through the many 10 Km runners. This was quite a challenge due to the different speeds. I dropped Stan a bit but waited for him at the finish shoot and we ran strong together for a time ~1:33.

Looking back on the race I am very please with how it went. Happy that I was able to stick to my game plan and then increase to my desired pace for the last 7 Km. This was a great practice in suffering for me as I know that the last quarter of IM can be so much mental. The great news is also that my legs are not toast and I will be able to get some great training in this week.

So good! I love racing!
Ironman in 4 weeks! :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Patiently waiting to get outside

Today I was hoping to get out and ride for 6 hours. Woke up to snow. Not going to happen. I did 2.5 hrs on the computrainer instead (kona course :) ).

I was really hoping the rain / snow would let up.
Tomorrow is the calgary half marathon. A great training day for France. Myron once again has placed a carrot before me. I will see what I can do.

Good luck to all tomorrow

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Try this triathlon

Sean and Katie excited to start their race

Rob and Jeff starting the run

Katie looking strong on the run

Sean on his last lap

Martha eyes the finish line

Sean and Katie all done

Try this triathlon

On the weekend we saw Try this triathlon at the university. Trevor once again put on a great race and it was great to see sp many triathletes (many newbies) trying their 1st ever race. the weather was brisk in the morning at zero degrees. Brrr. The big question was what to wear. Luckily no rain or snow. :)

We saw katie finish her 1st ever triathlon with a very sore foot. It was hard to watch her run as I knew every step was hurting her. She slowed down her pace enough to finish the race and believe it or not won her age group. Congrats Katie, when your ankle heals you will be flying at your next race.

Sean was also at this race. He was also completing his 1st ever race. Sean looked great from start to finsih and was happy that the sun came out and warmed up the day when it was his turn to race.

Martha was all smiles today for her 1st race of the year. The cold weather did not deter her. One more step on your way to Kelowna!

Rob was also on the course today and he was running the race with his good friend who was completing his 1st ever race. That is a great thing for a friend to do.

Watching the race from the sideline was very cool as it took me back in time to my first tri and the old pool swims. Lots of nerves and excietement running around the pool.

Until next race!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Canmore 12 Km

Congrats to Marj who completed the womens only Canmore 12 Km on the weekend. the course was challenging 2 lap course with mud, sand, rocks, snow & some paved paths. Marj did a great job finishing 397 out of 870 women. Nice running Marj!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ken's U of A race repot

My First Tri
The nerves started the night before. As I gathered my gear, I realized this was no longer just a simple run where you grabbed your shoes and a water bottle and headed out the door. Thank goodness for Todd’s checklist. It helped me get organized and enabled me to get some sleep the night before, confident that I had not forgotten anything.
I arrived sharply the next morning at 6:15 when the transition area opened up. Glad I arrived early. It gave me time to get my bearings before the big “rush” of athletes arrived at 6:30. There were a lot of extremely expensive looking bikes around. This intimidated me. Felt a little out of my league. All of the expensive bikes seemed to be on the racks closest to the exit of the transition area. I avoided this area. Went to the rear of the transition area where I saw a few mountain bikes racked. Figured these people were tri newbies as well. I’d be right at home.
The swim went well. When registering for the race, I told them it would take be about 20 minutes to complete the swim. It retrospect this was too slow. I ended up lapping all of the other swimmers in my lane twice. Had to slow down frequently, as the lanes were narrow and hard to pass other swimmers. Managed to get kicked in the face during my swim. Somebody’s heal hit me squarely in the right goggle. Sucked it right into my eye socket. I felt this was my “christening” as a tri-athlete. Could not help but chuckle. I exited the pool at 15:27. 52nd place out of 135.
The transition to the bike did not go as smooth as I wanted. Found my jersey hard to put on over my damp body. After wiggling around, for what seemed like minutes, I managed to get it on. I calmed down and got all of my other gear on and headed out for the ride. Thought the bike went well. Managed to pass a lot of other riders. Was glad Todd told me to practice the course the day before. The practice gave me confidence on heading down Groat Road (a relatively steep hill) and then digging in to head up Emily Murphy Hill (another steep hill). Finished the ride in 41st place in a total time of 43:51.
The transition to the run went a lot better than the first transition. Got my shoes on and took off. Felt really good. Thought my legs would have been hurting more from the bike. Was really strong all the way to the turnaround point. I put my sights the runner ahead of me and was determined to pass him. He must of known, because he took off. Could not catch up to him. As hard as I tried, my legs would not go any faster. Finished the run in 22:50 which was good for 26th place.
Overall, I finished in 35th place out of 135 competitors, and 4th place in my division (19 total in my division). Was really proud of this result. Normally I place right in the middle of the pack. The training schedule Todd has me on for the past few months is really working. Thank you Todd!
Let the training continue. Bring on Great White North!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

U of A sprint

Congrats to Ken who completed his 1st ever triathlon at the U of A last weekend. Ken finished 4th in his agae group. Nice Job Ken!! Welcome to the club.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Boston Update

It is now official. Boston marathon had some trouble with Sue's time but she now has an official finish time of 3:48 which is quick enough for 8th in her Age Group. Nice job Sue!!!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Eugene Marathon

Congrats to Carrie who took place in the Eugene Marathon last weekend!

This was Carrie's 1st marathon in 10 years. The marathon was a stepping stone race en route to IMC. Overall Carrie had a great day (3:47) and just missed qualifing for Boston by 2 mins. Great job Carrie!!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Another Medal

I just completed the olympic distance course at Wildflower over the weekend. I was supposed to do the half IM but catching a cold mid week altered my plans. As most know I am training for IM france in 8 weeks and this camp was my kick start to training with the half as a great training day. My body had other plans. I was OK with my decision to switch races as I have never done the Olympic distance before and I really like the distance. I can always easily wrap my head around the distance and know that the pain is very tempory and short lived. My swim was good. A bit choppy in the beginning but I had clear water right from the start. There were a lot of waves of swimmers in front of me and I had too keep my wits about me so that I did not swim over anyone. Near the half way mark I saw 2 swimmers and one looked to be in trouble so I slowed down and had a good look. What was happening was here was a disabled man along with an aid helping him through the water. Everything looked OK they were just slow. After watching this immediately all my pain went away and then I could feel a nice gentle push from the lake carrying me back to shore. What a great way to finish the swim. My time was 25 mins. Only 2 mins slower than Shane so this was great. Once on shore I quickly removed my wetsuit and headed toward T1. This year I am swimming in a new Swordfish wetsuit and it feels very comfortable and comes off super easy. Love it! Once in T1 I get to have fun. Lets see how fast I can get through. I really love this part of the race. Controlled speed. I was in and out quite fast and then immediately had to climb a crazy steep / long hill. The week of training in the camp really helped me on this and I was flying past many other riders. More fun!
Once on the main course I pushed hard on the bike and tried to make up for lost time on the swim. You see Shane started 15 mins ahead of me and I was joking the night before about how I was going to try and catch him. I had a lot of work to do as 15min + 2 mins lost in the lake = 17 mins. I have changed my aero position a lot this year and I also have a new bike. This was my 1st race on my new Ceepo Venom and I was curious to see what would happen. Well the bike performed great and I finished the ride in 1:11. I did not see Shane on the course. I was too focused on staying upright on the descents. :). Once in T2 I had more fun. Another quick exit and I was on the run. Near the start of the race the No Limits crew were cheering me on and Myron yelled...Shane is only 6 mins got him... Well I did not know about that, but I gave it a good try. My pace felt good and I did not stop once throughout the run. I kept looking for the blue and white jersey and everytime I thought I saw him it turned out to be someone else. I crossed the finish line strong and then I saw Shane on the other side. he was already done. My time 2:20. Shanes time = 2:29. Even with the fastest run split in my Age Group (yes 40-44)I could not catch him. Myron lied when he knew Shane was 10 mins up, not 6. But I will tell you what. That motivated me to run fast and I loved it. I finished strong and so happy to get that medal. Back in August I never got the IMC medal and I now realize that just because you are planning to race does not mean you will cross the line. I was grateful for the day, for the volunteers, my fellow campers and for everthing. What a brilliant day and then to share it with Shane at the finish was great. This was supposed to be a short entry but I got carried away and now it is off to bed. Thanks for reading. IM France in 8 weeks. :)

Myron's Wildflower Race report

During the last couple of months, I have been training hard for Ironman
France. I have met many of the training goals I set for myself. My
functional threshold on the bike has increased significantly; my weight is down under 170 pounds; my swimming speed is starting to come back. I have been mostly quite consistent with my training and, during the last month have averaged over 16 hours a week. Overall, things have gone
quite well and I am looking forward to Ironman France.

Two issues have been causing me concern. Since I ran a 10 km race last month, I have been struggling with some achilles tendonitis, which has impacted my running. Everytime I try to ramp up the volume or intensity of my runs, my achilles get inflamed and I spend a few days limping and icing my tendons before I can run again. Secondly, the delayed spring has limited my outside riding and I have had minimal opportunities to test my riding off the trainer since my bike crash last September.

This past week, I headed down to California for a training camp led by my coach, Todd Malcolm. The plan was to train hard for a week and then race in the world famous Wildflower Half Ironman race. My main objective was to get lots of hill riding, some good volume of training and to experience the Wildflower race. I also wanted to make sure I didn't thrash my achilles for the race in France, which is my main goal this season.

The day before we left, I decided to connect with some friends for a 2.5
hour bike ride. I had put my race wheels on the night before and when
I went to leave for my ride, I had a flat. 15 minutes of mucking around made me late for meeting the group, so I left in a mad rush and hammered up the hill to the top of Bow Trail. I went tearing down the hill at top speed and then turned to head down the hill to Edworthy Park. I continued racing down the hill to meet the group and as I came around a corner going 65 km / hour, a deer jumped out of the bushes and stood on the road in front of me. I had a fraction of a second to decide what to do and, since it didn't move, I slammed on the brakes. The deer hopped away, but my back tire starting sliding out and I went into a mad wobble as I struggled to avoid a crash. I was barely able to avoid a nasty wipeout, that would have surely resulted in a second broken collarbone (or worse). I arrived at my bike ride a bit frazzled.

I left the next day for California and connected with Todd's group. We spent the afternoon in LA picking up a few pieces of triathlon gear and then spent the night in Paso Robles. On Monday, we picked up some groceries and got set up at our house in Oak Shores, near Lake Nacimiento. The setting was idyllic, other than the complete lack of cell phone / internet connection (I know, this may sound great, but it was not what I had planned as I had a few fires burning at work). We spent the afternoon cycling, swimming and going for a brief BRICK run. I cut the run short, since my achilles was very sore. Our house was at the bottom of three big hills, which we had to ride up to get out to the road. It was great to ride outside and ride hills in the nice Californian weather. I felt amazing on the bike and chewed up the hills.
I was, however, quite tentative on the descents.

The next day was a bit rainy and windy. We went for a swim in the lake and then set out to ride the 90 km Wildflower bike course. While I still felt good on the hills, the wind and wet roads made the descents treacherous. I had Zipp 808 race wheels on my bike, which are quite deep and caused my bike to be blown around by the wind. Everytime I got above 50 kms / hour, the bike would start to wobble and I had to hit the brakes on wet roads. I was still freaked out from my near crash with the deer and found this ride rather sketchy on the descents.

We did more swimming, biking and running on Wednesday. Hill repeats on the bike at the race course got the legs going. I felt amazing in the swim and bike and decided to test out my achilles for an 11km tempo run.
The run went well and I was able to finish strong in a sub 4:00 / km pace. Unfortunately, my achilles flared up almost immediately afterwards and I spent the next day limping in pain. We swam and cycled again Thursday, but I skipped the run, as I was starting to think about the race on Saturday. My legs were getting quite fatigued from the week of training and I decided to skip the ride Friday to recharge the batteries and give myself a shot at a good race.

In the evenings we did sessions on changing tires, mental training, race planning, etc. The group was fantastic - lots of fun banter and storytelling, everyone pitching in with meals and a laid back atmosphere.

I reviewed the results from the race during the last couple of years and wrote up my race plan for Saturday, which was perhaps a bit ambitious given the intense week of training. Despite my tired legs, I figured I would try to race with the leaders in my age group and shoot for a top 10 finish (out of about 260 competitors). On this difficult course, I figured it would take a time of about 4:55 hours. However, I made two key caveats: (i) this was a training race for France and mental toughness / smart decisions were more important than the result; (ii) if I felt acute pain in my Achilles, I promised myself that I would drop out on the run rather than trash my achilles right before my final build up to France.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling rested and confident. We made our way down to the transition area and got set up for the race. The venue was amazing - lots of friendly young volunteers; a well organized check in and tons of support. The day was stunning - 72 degrees farenheit, clear blue skies and no wind. We listened to the US National anthem and watched the start of the elite race.

The start was organized in waves based on your age group, with a wave leaving every five minutes. There were two waves of 40-44 year old men and I was in the first wave. I lined up front and centre and hit the water running. There was a bit of thrashing at the start and I caught an elbow in the head that half knocked off my goggles. I kept swimming and was able to do a quick fix on the fly. Within 150 metres, I was out front with two other swimmers. I settled into a comfortable pace and was enjoying the race. We quickly caught the slow swimmers from the wave that started in front of us and I had to pick my way through the pack. I lost sight of the two other swimmers from my wave that I was swimming with and wasn't sure if I had passed them or not. I finished the 1900 metre swim in about 28 mins (right on pace with my goal). and was at the
front of my wave.

My transition was a bit slow, but I got on the bike and tried to settle into a comfortable pace during the first mile before I hit the long, steep climb up from the lake. I felt a bit tight in the legs on the first part of the climb but quickly warmed up and steadily worked my way up through the pack of riders on the hill. Once up top, I settled into an aero position and continued passing people.

I clipped along at a decent pace and began knocking off the miles. My tentativeness on the descents was gone today and I hit 70-75 km / hour going down the bigger hills. Only three people passed me (all of whom were in the 40-44 age group) and I repassed two of them on the Nasty Grade Hill. I hit the transition area in 3:16 total time(including the swim and transition), which meant a 1:38-1:40 half marathon would get me to my goal and perhaps a top 5 finish. There were only three bikes in our section of the transition area, so I figured I was in a good position in the race (although I had no idea how fast people in the second wave had gone). When I hopped off my bike, I immediately felt my right achilles seize up and I knew that the run was not going to happen for me today. I put on my shoes anyways and walked / jogged out to the people from our group who weren't racing today. I felt like I had lots of energy for the run and spent a few minutes thinking about whether to push through the pain in my tendons. Logic prevailed and I sat down and sulked for a few minutes. The competitor in me found it agonizing to drop out, even though I knew it was the right decision. I tried my best to enjoy the rest of the day but was quite upset by the way things ended.

Looking at the bright side of things, I had a fantastic week of training and proved to myself that my fitness and training is on track for my goal race at Ironman France. I enjoyed the company of the group and found the whole Wildflower event to be great. Over the course of the week, I was able to regain my confidence on the descents. Despite racing on tired legs after a hard training camp week, I was able to race the first two legs with the leaders in my age group (and, in fact, a top 5 age group (out of 260) and a top 50 overall (out of 2600) was within my grasp with even a half decent run). Nonetheless, I can't help feeling frustrated by having to drop out and missing the chance to finish the
race strong. I am motivated to do the necessary rehab work on my
achilles so I can get back running as quickly as possible.

Eight weeks until Ironman France.......