Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Edworthy to Bowness Ride and Half-Marathon Run Clinic

After poisoning my body all weekend, I've surprised myself by how hard I've trained already this week, and by how great I feel! The job hunt is going very well, and I put in some great workouts in the last two days: 6.64km run on Monday morning with an avg pace of 5:25/km, Tuesday morning pathway ride with two respectable hills (see below), and a fast 4km run with the Country Hills Running Room Half-Marathon clinic that we both joined yesterday.

The ride was great-- I dropped N off downtown, then went to Edworthy, planning to do hill repeats. The idea was to warmup with a ride to the west, into unexplored territory... well, unexplored in terms of the bike paths! I made it to the Stoney Trail bridge, saw the nasty switchback pathway, and decided to tackle it-- tough! It's not as long as the Edworthy hill, and not quite as high, but it's definitely steeper and waaaay more technical. I was really breathing hard when I got to the top! On the way back, I got a little lost a few times, as I was trying to head back on the south side of the river through Bowness, which doesn't really work that well.

I eventually made it back to Edworthy (I don't get lost for long in Calgary), and immediately tackled the hill, hitting the lap button on my 310XT. I felt really strong, and was able to stay in the saddle for 98% of it, and stayed in 2nd gear for 75% of the hill. Got to the top, hit "lap" again, hydrate, then headed back down for another go. Got to the bottom, hit lap again, but the damn thing was frozen!! I figured it was a sign to call it a day.

Apparently these fancy little wrist computers have been known to do that-- freeze. By freeze, I mean they stop at whatever screen, with whatever numbers it was showing when it hiccuped. None of the buttons worked, but I ended up holding the power button, and it shut down and started up again a few minutes later when I tried it. Fortunately, my workout data was saved. I probably could have resumed the workout if I'd "rebooted" it earlier. (Makes me wonder, does it run on Microsoft?)

Running Room Clinic
That's right, both N and I are running with a club. I didn't mean to, but I ended up being the fastest of the group, because I was feeling so good! (5:02/km over 4.25km) I don't know what it is, but I get 10 minutes into a run, and I start to feel invincible-- like I can either run forever, or run faster. On Monday, I tried this new warmup routine that I saw in the latest Runner's World. I need to do this more often, because I think it's why I don't really hit my stride until 10 min into the run!

Plan for today is another run with the club- 3km steady. I don't think I'll pile on anything extra to that, because N wants to do hill repeats at Edworthy tomorrow.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

FAR Trail Run - Epic Weekend

What a weekend. 11 guys who have all been known to enjoy a drink (or ten) for a weekend away without chaperones... I'm a little surprised we didn't get in more trouble than we did. Beers were shotgunned, golf was played, a phone was lost (then found), someone got run over by a golf cart, shots of hard liquor were consumed, steaks and pizza were devoured, and someone may or may not have jumped a fence to hot tub at 3am. Aside from cameras of strangers we met in the bars in downtown Fernie, there were approximately 5 photos taken the whole weekend, three of which are of a golf ball buried halfway into a green.

And somehow despite all this, Dr. Dan and I managed to run 8km Saturday morning. On the mountain. Without puking. The wonderful restorative powers of fresh mountain air.

Friday, June 18, 2010

5k Friday, and Fernie Golf!

It was great to run without getting soaked this morning! All week, it's been so drizzly and rainy- combine that with the fact that I've been a little under the weather, and I wasn't too keen on running much this week. But, I did manage to make this my third run of the week... not bad!

Taking Monday and Wednesday off does mean that I have to run both Saturday and Sunday-- which should be interesting, seeing as how I'll be hungover both days. A bunch of us are heading up to Fernie this weekend for a bachelor party, and although golf is the plan, I know that we'll be downing a few tonight and Saturday night, too. Exercise is the best hangover cure-- that's my mantra for this weekend, anyway!

The reason that I have to run on the weekend (aside from the Race For Pace 10k in two weeks and the 70.3 in six) is that I made a deal with N that if I workout 5 days a week, I can get aero bars in advance of the 70.3. "How do I know that you're actually going to run this weekend?' she asks. I explain that she can just look at my Garmin data. "You'll just take it with you on the golf cart!" So trusting.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Finding Consistency

In the past few days, I've been skimming through some of my old posts. I've had such a hard time being consistent with both my training and my blogging! But I'm a silver-lining kind of person, and although I can't say I've trained consistently enough to be at my best, I have trained enough to see improvements. (Lake Chapparral 2008 results vs. Wasa Tri 2010 results, for example). I also see the silver lining in my pending unemployment-- more time to train for the Calgary 70.3.

Yes, that's right, my last day at work is tomorrow. Because I've read so much about people losing their jobs by blogging about it, I've had a strict no-work policy in this very public journal. Which has made it difficult to write anything, because my headspace has been so consumed with work-- some good, most frustrating. I'll leave it at that.

Now, I am looking at a few promising opportunities, and I don't think this will last more than a few weeks. I'm really trying hard to make sure that I find something that I can balance mentally with training. As great a meditation that running can be, too often I find myself running around in circles mentally, trying to solve a customer problem, or put together a strategy for a meeting. I'm sure that will be the case with any job I end up with, but I really hope that the next role will allow me the flexibility to actually resolve those problems!

I am on the right track, at least-- both professionally and with my training. I've managed to train consistently over the past two weeks, and did run this morning:

Still loving the Garmin! It was great for the race-- the Auto Multisport mode was super-easy, and I also really like the Virtual Partner, which goes beyond a pace-of-the-moment to tell you how far ahead or behind you are compared to if you were exactly on your target pace.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wasa 2010 Olympic Tri

Well, now that I've had a day to decompress, stretch out the aches, and slather my sunburn with aloe, I suppose I can make time for a race report.

If you follow me on twitter, you already know that I posted a PR by almost 30 minutes! But I do have to temper that by saying that the last Oly I did was two years ago, and it was a hilly bike course, and a hot run without much water. Wasa was a great course, with tons of water stations, and perfect weather. I really have to hand it to the organizers, it was a very well-run race.

N and I stayed at a friend's cabin on the lake (awesome), so on Saturday, we got to try out our rented wetsuits (highly recommend Tri It to anyone in Calgary). There were 6 racers staying at the cabin, and two more friends at the hotel, and we all decided that we'd better make sure to spend some time in the water to warm up before the race!

Unfortunately, on race day, those plans went out the window, for me. The downside of staying at the cabin was that I (mistakenly) thought that I could go grab transition spots early, then come back to pick up N. Well, by the time I got back, we were rushing, then I sort of lost track of time. I kept getting distracted, running through my mental checklist, then wanting to go see friends, not wanting to get too cold waiting, etc.

I also didn't realize how soon the Oly men started after the Sprinters. So I'm heading back to my bag to drop off my sweater and sunglasses, when I realize that the BM I've been planning hasn't happened yet. I don't know whether it was nerves or the pasta dinner, but my usual clockwork digestive system wasn't really cooperating. I went to the porta-potty anyway, thinking I had enough time. I didn't. By the time I got back to the beach, the other racers were in the water! Some kind stranger ladies helped my zip up my wetsuit, and I plunged off, about 2:30 behind!!

What followed was undoubtedly my worst swim ever. Jumping in cold is something I'll never do again, after sputtering, splashing and flopping my way through the first half lap. By midway around, I managed to calm somewhat, and managed (according to wifey and friends) to make it out of the water for the first turn somewhere mid-pack. The second lap was much better, sighting well and swimming strong, if not smooth.

As I pulled my wetsuit down around my waist, I realized that I hadn't put on the top of my tri-suit singlet! I got my arms into it, flopped down for the wetsuit strippers, and as soon as it was off, so was I, screaming volunteers in my wake: "YOUR WETSUIT!" One of them caught me just before I hit the timing mat (at 32:22).

T1 was pretty quick, I slapped some sunscreen on my face and neck OWWW! ... and that's when I first noticed how raw my neck was-- wetsuit must have rubbed. I forgot to hit the lap button on my Garmin, but pretty sure I got through the transition in about three and a half minutes, which I was pleased with.

Also very happy with my bike... I was sure I was behind Dr. Dan (we had a friendly wager on the race-- dinner), so I pushed hard on the bike, keeping my cadence up without over-spinning. It worked out great. I kept leapfrogging with a few guys, and had to really focus on staying out of the slipstream; I didn't need a 5 minute penalty for drafting!

After I didn't see Dr. Dan at all on the bike, I figured he must be behind me. I did see Keith ahead of me, which was not surprising, because I know he's a shark, and I know he's a pretty strong cyclist. I was a little surprised to catch him near the end of the course, but he kept with me and even passed me coming into Wasa, so he was pretty close coming into T2.

T2 was extremely quick for me-- even though I put on socks, which I don't normally do in Sprint races. I knew that my Nikes wouldn't be nice enough to my feet over 10k to go sockless. Although I was battling a bit of a diaphragm cramp for most of the run, it still felt good. I'd set my Garmin's virtual partner to a 5:30/km pace, and managed to keep to that for the whole race, despite taking a spill on a tree root at about 3km (going to lose a toenail to that one, too).

I kept looking for Dr. Dan on the run, still telling myself that he was either not too far ahead, or maybe just behind. I finally saw him (and Keith again-- he's gotten fast on the run!) just after the turnaround, about 4.5km. I also saw for the first time the first and second-place women, which was another motivator! Physically, I didn't get chicked: I managed to finish about 10 seconds ahead of the first woman, but technically I did, because she started about 30 minutes after me!

All in all, I have to say it was a very well run race. I do have to say that we could have done without the ridiculous meeting on Saturday-- to me, it was a waste of sunshine to spend an afternoon listening to someone read from emails everyone was sent. 10 minutes on parking, 5 on the swim course, and we could have been out of there. Save the rest for the race-day meeting, and be more strict about that.

(official times below)
Unofficial splits from my Garmin (started when I got in the water, not the official start):

Official Results:
Overall place: 207
Place among all men: 148/255
Place in Age Group: 14/26
Swim Rank - 242
Swim split - 32:22
Bike Rank - 166
Bike Split (includes T1 and T2) 1:16:13
Run Rank - 255
Run split - 53:36
Overall Time: 2:42:09.60