Tuesday, July 28, 2009

PB in Sylvan Lake

Just a quick update on my weekend race in Sylvan Lake.
I'm not sure if I mentioned it in my last post, but I was having a calf problem that looked like it may be a show stopper. However I did the Trigger Point Massager, lots of ibuprofen and adjusted my race goals and decided to go on with the race.
Sylvan is a half iron man so my adjusted goals were to really put some effort into the swim, bike hard, and hang on for the run. Not expecting too much as I really just wanted to get through. If I toe the starting line I am going to finish, plain and simple. While DNF's are a reality when you really hurt yourself, I have seen a number of cases where people just drop out because it wasn't going to be their day, or they weren't going to run a PB. Lame excuses at best! I think it is a very selfish when you think of all the time you put into the training, taking time away from your loved ones, to just quit cause it's not your day. It would be a different story if you are running for your pay cheque and had to save it for another day, but most of us aren't. So, without even asking, you got my opinion on DNF's!
The moral of this story is sometimes you can adjust your goals and still achieve significant achievements.
Things didn't look so great on the morning of the race as the sky was black and thunder and lightening was all around. However, after a 45 minute delay and a change to the swim course we were in the water. The course was changed to a two loop from a single loop as they wanted to concentrate the volunteers on a smaller area because of the choppy conditions. My swim was tough but I PB'ed by almost six minutes completing the 1.9 KM in 34 minutes. The course was supposed to be 2.0 KM, but it was short by about 70 metres. Even at that I still would have had a major time improvement.
Next up was the bike and after a screwed up transition I was out on the roads and riding very comfortably. The wind was a bit of a challenge but the nature of the course makes it that you are never riding into it for too long. After the 90 KM route I was showing 2:47 and an average speed of just over 20 MPH, another PB.
Last up was the run. Generally my strongest suit, but I knew that I was going to have to watch my leg. I was already feeling it a bit on the bike, but I was still confident that I could get through the 21 KM route without too much walking. In transition I gulped down some water and a couple of Advil and headed out. I quickly found a comfortable pace that I knew was a little slow but sustainable and settled in. After about 1 KM I hooked up with Ross from Lloydminster and he was my saviour. The calf was fine on the flat roads, but when we went off road or on any uneven surface it flared up immediately. When we got to 4 KM I was starting to suffer and wonder if I was going to get through without some major walking. Ross just kept chatting away with me and before you know it I am coming up to the 9 KM mark. Just about through the first half and I am still running. The next half was tough, but still the talking with my new found friend seemed to help keep my mind off the discomfort I was feeling. As it turned out he was 50 so in the next age category so we didn't even have to sprint it out to settle our placing. We ended up strolling through the finish and he had to go back to see what our time was!
Final time 5:08:49 a new personal best and renewed hope of posting a sub 5 hour half. I was 8th in my age while Ross was 2nd in his with a PB of 21 minutes better than his best.
A very successful day over all and now I will give my tired old leg some time to heal.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tired Legs or Old Legs?

Ever since IM CDA the legs just don't seem to have any jump in them. They don't feel particularly tired but they just don't want to respond when I try and push the pace. So is it just some residual fatigue from the race or is it just time catching up to me. Over the last few years I have noticed a slight decrease in my overall average pace which is to be expected. Oh well, nothing to get too excited about, I'm still enjoying my runs and that is the main thing.
The last week or so has been devoted to working on some skills in the pool and on the bike.
I was somewhat disappointed with my swim in Coeur d'Alene as I felt that I had improved my swimming. On reflection I would say I just didn't push hard enough. I am content to settle into a spot and just get through this portion of the race. This last while I have been really concentrating on just trying to swim faster and my strategy on race day will be the same.
On the cycling side I have been really focusing some more on using the mechanical components of the bike to make things easier. I have my bike computer back so I can get some feedback again which is nice. A good cyclist is really working his gearing constantly to maintain optimum speed and cadence. In Ironman last month I really felt that I did a better job of this as I was riding exclusively by feel and was using my gearing to keep things steady.
The Sylvan Lake race is less than 2 weeks away and while my running legs seem a little tired, everything else is in good shape. I am really looking forward to this event and hope to achieve some personal goals which won't totally be reflected in my finishing time.
Have a great week!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sylvan Lake Training

Over the last week or so I have been building back up in preparation for the Sylvan Lake 1/2 Ironman on July 26th. This is got to be one of my favourite events as it is just a nice size, usually no more than 400 participants. The lake is quite nice and usually the weather has co-operated.
I haven't really thought about any race specific goals, but I do think I would really like to put in a good performance on the bike. Coeur d'Alene really inspired me as far as I felt like it was a real breakthrough cycling wise. Sylvan Lake will be an opportunity to explore that a little further and see how much an impact pushing the bike harder will have on my run. Obviously there is going to be a break point there between riding harder and still having something left in the legs for the run. However, I haven't even gotten close as I am certain I can ride harder and run harder. It is all a matter of training!
This weekend we took a trip to Radium Hot Springs. It was beautiful and extremely relaxing. And while I was there I found out that they have both a triathlon and a marathon coming up in the next few weeks. Might be worth checking out!
It looks like this week I will be doing some workouts indoors as the weather is going to be lousy. That's okay though as I honestly don't mind it. Always a good opportunity to push a bit harder and know that if it gets too hard you just get off the bike and your home!
Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy 142 Birthday Canada!

It's Canada Day today and I am enjoying a nice day at home.
The last few months have been action packed with the wedding, the training and then the actual race. But it has all been good. Isn't that what life is all about? Living.
Today we get to count our blessings for living in this wonderful country. And to be sure, it is not perfect, but given the alternatives I am perfectly fine here. Last year at this time I did my little "10 Reasons why I am proud to be a Canadian" and all those reasons still stand.
Happy 142nd Birthday Canada!
I have been reading some of the other race reports from CDA and it is interesting reading other people's perspectives on the race. Shawn and Carrie's report on Tri to Be Funny is really great as you get perspectives from a first timer and a veteran. I saw Carrie just coming out of transition on the run and she looked great and ended up with an unbelievable time of 11:46 or so and Shawn also had a great day coming in just over 14 hours. Great job!
My thoughts now are on doing some shorter races over the summer and then look towards a fall marathon. Victoria is always a good choice but I may try something new as I have done that one three times. Seattle may be a good one to try.
I am definitely up to do another Ironman and since I turn 50 next year I think I want to do one I haven't done before. Maybe something a little more exotic! I'll keep my eyes open and see what the options look like. If I haven't decided by August I will go to Penticton to sign up for Ironman Canada. That is a very challenging race and actually not that far to go.
This weekend Angela and I are going to spend the weekend in Radium Hot Springs. Through all the training she is always my biggest supporter and puts up with the inevitable crankiness as I get close to race day. I can't thank her and the kids enough for their support. You certainly don't make the commitment and succeed without that kind of help.
Enjoy Canada Day and have a great week!