Saturday, May 30, 2009

GP Press Run Race Report

The third race of the season was a great success for both Amber and myself! We were both a little nervous going into the first half marathon we've done in about 15 months but it turned out terrific. The race was a bit of a challenge because I knew I had some stiff competition going in, Trevor Kolkea (a triathlete from the area) wins all the local races and he is a very, very fast runner. I looked up some of his previous times and they were incredibly fast and I wasn't sure I was capable of keeping up with him. I forgot about all my expectations a couple days before the race and said to myself that I'm just going to do the best I can.

I started out fairly conservative and Trevor was right there beside me I could tell he wasn't pushing the pace and I slowed down to try to get him in front of me. The wind was about 60kms/hr in my face to start and Trevor backed off and tucked in behind me. I was running in the lead for a minute or so and I knew he was just going to draft off me the entire race and blow by me before the finish. I decided to put the hammer down at that point and if he could hold on and suffer like I was going to suffer then he deserved to win. I pushed the pace really, really hard and ended up running my fastest 10km ever- 35:50! I was hurting but the goal at that point was to simply hold on as long as possible and keep a distance between us. I reached the turn around and I could tell that he was only 300m behind so I did my best to keep the pace as high as I could handle. I reached the 17km point in 1 hour and I was shocked to see how fast I was holding the pace. I only had 4kms of hell to get through and I was determined to take it to the finish. I really suffered for the entire race but I managed to set a PR and take the win by 2 minutes- 1:16.25!! Amber also had a fantastic race winning and setting a PR as well- 1:35.42, fantastic job babe I'm really proud of you.

Amber with a super stong finish-

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Time to Get Down to Business

It's been a stellar weekend of training Amber and I have definitely made some fitness gains over the last couple of days. I was already tired on Friday so I just did an easy 40 minute run to get the blood flowing. It was so nice outside that we really felt like we needed to be out on our bikes, even though we're in the middle of trying to build a deck. I've come to the conclusion that deck building and triathlon training do not go well together.

Saturday we met a group of friends for a planned ride out on a beautiful area of the Peace Country between here and Grande Cache. It's an incredible ride with rolling hills and beautiful forest, partially sheltered by the wind which was a welcome relief. Everything started out okay the first 30kms were fast but I was still riding in zone 2 (Ironman pace). However the guy I was riding with was pushing the pace pretty hard so I was hurting to keep up. It wasn't until much later that I realized that he was only going out for a 60km ride, yikes! I was going to do 140km today! The next hour and a half were a bit difficult but I maintained a good pace and managed to go out further than I'd ever gone out on that road before, 70kms. It was such an incredible ride, a warm sunny day and I was feeling fairly strong. I met up with Dennis (another local triathlete) and we suffered all the way back into town. I was hurting but happy that my legs held up, the final climb and 5kms into town were tough but I still had some juice left in the legs. Dennis didn't feel the same and it was all he could do to just stay in my draft.

After we made it back I changed quickly and went out for a 15 minute T-run, I didn't feel much like running but this is when it helps to have people training with you. Finished the day with a solid 4hrs and 35minutes of training! Although I was way too tired to even think about doing any work on the deck, the rest of the day was spent eating and resting.

Sunday Amber and I went to the pool and put in a tough hour and then immediately went out for a 90 minute run. The swim was okay but by the time I started running my legs were completely done! The run felt exactly like an Ironman run, incredibly rough, but I treated as not only a physical training day but a mental training day. It was one of the most difficult 21kms I've ever experienced but step by step I toughed it out. I wasn't moving very quickly but I was moving, I felt like the guy in this picture.

After a day of rest I know things will feel better, time to let the training soak in.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Giro ITT

Yesterday was a tough 60km ITT in the Giro D'Italia and although Lance struggled, he still had a solid 13th place finish. I'm fairly certain that he's not really treating this race as his "A priority" race but just using it as a warm up for the Tour. Levi looked great out there placing second in a tough, tough stage (very hilly) and is set up well to win.

I took some inspiration from those guys and went out for a hilly 70km ride of my own and finally felt comfortable riding 2 hours. It's been a bit of a struggle trying to build my endurance during the early spring but my speed has been great! I feel a lot stronger than I used too but I seem to gas-out after 80-100kms. I know it's just due to early season weakness because I haven't been riding outside, but slowly I've felt better and better out there. I've been averaging 90-100kms for the last month and last Saturday I managed to get in 120km before the snow fell. Tomorrow I was hoping to do 160km ride but Dennis convinced me to follow his plan and do 140kms with a 20 minute T-run, I'm okay with that too. I did a 20 minute run with Harley yesterday after the ride and felt pretty good. Although it's a real challenge wrestling with him everytime we pass another dog, I'm glad that's not a part of racing!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The First Tri of 2009!

This weekend was brutally cold and rainy not the most motivating environment to race. However if you race long enough you are going to have to race in tough conditions, it's inevitable. I hope this was our "bad weather weekend" for the year because I was in complete resistance to racing the day before until Duncan, a fellow triathlete and one of the happiest guys I've met came biking up to our house, back from a two hour ride all excited about the race the next day. Did he not know what the weather was going to be like tomorrow? Of course he did, he is just one of those guys that can put a smile on your face with his enthusiasm and excitement. That seemed to knock me out of my funk and I all the sudden became excited to race too (thanks Duncan).

I needed that kick in the ass because the next day there was a cold, cold rain with a high of 2 degrees. It took everything in me to drive to the race site but once Amber and I were there the excitement of the race took over. All of these first timers were so excited! It was definitely contagious and I started to plan ways to keep myself as warm as possible out there. I wanted to keep my transitions short but I knew I was going to freeze my butt off if I didn't do a little planning. I had a long sleeve jersey I was going to put on coming out of the pool and I was definitely wearing socks and gloves. I'm glad I did because the gloves seemed to keep my core temperature just above hypothermic, a lot of other people out there were shivering as they were riding.

I had a fairly good swim (for me) coming out of the water in 10th in a time of 8:02 for 500m. I must have made up quite a bit of time because I don't remember anyone passing me on the bike, I just wanted to be done as quickly as possible and get out of the cold. I finished the 17kms in 30:37 (including transitions) and had the fastest bike of the day. I jumped off the bike and ran as fast as I could but I couldn't feel my lower legs for the first kilometer and it was difficult to tell how fast or slow I was running. I saw a few fast guys out there but I wasn't thinking about racing I was just trying to get through the 4kms and get back in the warm leisure centre. I finished the race in 52:26, 1st overall and the second win in two weeks! Great start to the season and all the hard training over the winter is really paying off now.

Big congrats to my beautiful wife as well, she sucked it up and battled the cold and won with a time of 1:01.56! Great job babe!! We both won another pair of running shoes, a triathlete can never have enough of those.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

First Race and First Win of 2009!!

Well there was some pressure going into the first race of the year. I've been training consistently all winter and have kept my weight under control, my one difficultly in the past. I'm really a very fat guy in a skinny body but I knew I was healthy going into the Brian Harms memorial race today. It's only a little 8km race but I haven't raced since last September and I had no idea how I would respond to an all out 30 minute effort.

I told everyone I was going to "go for it" and to me that meant winning! I had something to worry about, a great athlete from the area was registered the day before the race. At first I thought there wasn't going to be anyone very strong to race against but after I saw his name I was saying "oh shit this just became real." Then I started to think more about why I race and it's not about finishing 1st or 2nd or 10th but it's to strive to be the best I can possibly be. To make all those brutal winter weekends in our basement on the trainers worthwhile. To feel that I can push myself beyond what I thought was possible and to JUST KEEP GOING. That's what I tell myself whenever I want to stop the pain I'm feeling in a race, "just keep going." The finish will come just enjoy the event and you will get there. Turns out the other athlete didn't show up and I had a great opportunity to win. Job well done, hopefully the first tri of the year next week will turn out the same way.

Big props to my incredible wife who after battling a painful back injury all week finished the 5km race 1st overall, I'm really proud of you babe!

Friday, May 8, 2009

What a Great Way to Start the Day!!!

I'm back in Jasper for my monthly visit and although it's a fantastic place to be it's just not the same without Amber and Harley. I really missed hanging out with Amber last night, we usually walk around the town and pick up some groceries to make a great dinner together. Then we sit together and have a nice, healthy meal with a glass (or two) of wine. Last night I had some berries and chicken wings, don't ask how I came up with that combination and watched bad CTV shows.

The thing about Jasper is that you just can't feel down when you're here. Just walking around and being in the mountains makes you really appreciate the beautiful country we live in! The clear streams and lakes, the fantastic trails and the incredible vistas all make the 4 hour trip out here well worth it. I wanted to arrive in town early enough to rent a mountain bike and do a little riding before dinner last night but my appointments in Edson kept me there until 5:30 and I didn't get to Jasper until 7pm. However I woke up early enough this morning to head out for a quick trail run and I ran up a mountain and back for 1:10 before 8am, I love this place. The only problem was that it was without DAP (Dog Assisted Power), I can't remember the last time I ran on my own outside without Harley. It was a lot tougher than I remember (I felt like the guy in the picture above) and I started to think that maybe I've been running with Harley a little too much, I don't want my running to suffer. Harley loves to pull me and I like the fact that he is getting me to think about running at a faster pace than I'm used to but I need my heart and lungs to catch up. This summer I'm going to have to scale back on the DAP anyway, Harley seems to really have a hard time when the temp. is over 18'C.

This weekend is the first race I've done in a very, very long time and I'm itching to get back into competition. I'm not setting any expectations on myself, I'm just going to go out and push as hard as I can for 8kms straight. It's only a short race but it's a great way to get your mindset back into a competitive mode. I've trained hard all winter now it's time to prove it!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Summer-time, Summer-time!!!

Well it's not quite summer but it sure felt like it this weekend. It was incredible to have 20'C weather a week after it was snowing!! Unbelievable!! Amber and I definitely wanted to be outside this weekend. Friday I went for a swim in the morning and saw a lot of tri geeks there, everyone was obviously feeling the pressure to sharpen up their swim, including me. It's definitely my weakest discipline but I've made soooo much progress in the last couple years that I feel like I can actually "race" in the water and not be left in everyone's wake.

Friday night I went out for a TT with the new race wheels and got a flat (of course). I used my spare and unfortunately the valve was broken so I was stranded with no phone. After about 20 minutes I managed to flag someone down and used their phone to call Amber to pick me up. It was going to be a long night if Amber wasn't around, thanks babe.

Saturday I met the runners for a 90 minute easy run with Harley in tow and then for a 90km ride with Amber in the afternoon. It was a great day, sunny and beautiful and I was feeling great on the bike. The headwind on the way out didn't bother me and I completed the ride in 2:39, not bad for this time of year. Although I was definitely spent at the end, still need to work on that endurance.

Sunday I met a few of the guys for a hill workout, it was great but by that time my legs were done. I still managed to get up 4 major climbs and complete the 77kms in 2:34. Not quite as fast as Saturday's ride but considering the weekend volume, I feel like the training is starting to pay off.