Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 GP Fall Classic 10k

I decided the New York Marathon is not really feasible with all the things happening with Amber's business so we'll save that for another year, but the GP Fall Classic 10k was a great way to finish off the racing season. This is a fantastic race put on by two really great people, Robert Carroll and Lorna McNeil. I can't say enough about how much I appreciate having Robert and Lorna in our community, Robert is in charge of keeping the GP streets and pathways maintained and I love the fact that he makes the pathways a priority in the winter. It helps that he's a runner and he knows that while most people are staying indoors in -20'c others out there are battling the elements and running on the pathways. Thanks so much for having your guys keep those pathways clear and keeping us crazy runners fit during those cold winter days. Lorna is a fantastic race director and official and she knows all of the ins and outs of triathlon and race organization. It's so nice to have someone like her who is an Ironman veteran organizing our local races, thanks you both. This year I was a little concerned how I would perform, I have been having health issues all year and running 6 days a week over the last three weeks has not helped. Last year I set a PR in the 10k in this race, 34:24; I wasn't expecting to get anywhere close to that result this year but I surprised myself and only ran 18 seconds slower, 34:42. I tried to start off conservatively I knew the climb out of the park would kill you if you started off too fast but my competitive nature took over and I was red-lined from the first km. The first lap (5kms) I was hurting but I kept a good pace and got to the turn around in 17 minutes, really, really fast considering I hadn't trained for a 10k leading up to this event. The second half I knew I was not going to be able to hold the same pace and when I reached the turn on to the pathway and into a strong headwind, I knew I was going to REALLY suffer. I remember thinking "it's only 3kms you can't stop and walk now!" but that was all I wanted to do. Just stop and walk, just for a few seconds.
Thanks to Ross for being the lead biker because if he wasn't there I would have stopped. I was incredibly inspired by Ross during one of the last long rides he did with Robert S. and myself. He was struggling to stay on our wheel for hours but he was so tough, he told us to just go our own pace and he would catch up with us at the turn around. True to his word when we saw him at the turn around, he had a big smile on his face and was happy as hell to be out there riding his bike with us. We were happy to have him out there with us and when I heard that he had a fantastic time at IMC I was inspired to keep pushing as hard as I possibly could. This wasn't nearly as difficult as IMC and if he could get through that, I could get through the next 5kms.

The final 4kms I knew I was slowing down but I was absolutely giving everything I had in me to keep my legs turning over at a resonable pace. I hit the final stretch and I remember Duncan (another fantastic GP athlete) telling me that I had a great pace and I just gave it everything I had down the final stretch back into the park. I looked like I was going to collapse at the finish line and the picture Amber took is very indicative of how I felt, I actually had my arms raised but she caught them on the way down and that is probably a more true picture of how I felt. A big thanks to my biggest fan Amber, I love you more than you'll ever know. This win and every win is for you and H-dog thanks for being there.

Friday, September 24, 2010

One Last Hurrah

I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that this year didn't quite exactly turn out how I planned. I was so excited to have a wonderful racing season and I worked my butt off all winter to be ready for that first outdoor ride. However my body had a different agenda and decided that I've been pushing it too hard for too long and didn't co-operate with my heavy schedule of racing. I had a great race in Grimshaw to start the year off and had an opportunity to see the Shaftesbury trail, an historic sight that I've been meaning to see but never seemed to have the time to. This was even better I could run along the trail, little did I know that the race proceeds up Bricks Hill which is a 5km climb out of the river valley- that hurt. But both Amber and I won the race and set new course records so I was off to a great start.

The rest of the year looked like this;
Grande Prairie Brian Harms Memorial 10 Mile- 1st
Blackfoot Ultra- DNS
Hinton Olympic Triathlon- 1st
Grande Prairie Triathlon- DNS
Great White North 1/2 IM- DNS
Penticton Peach Classic Olympic Triathlon- 20th
Ironman Canada- DNS
Peace River Sprint Triathlon- 1st
Banff Triathlon- DNS
Don't Get Lost in the Woods 21k- DNS
New York Marathon- DNS

7 races that I was planning on doing I did not start, that's a tough year and for an athlete like me who loves to race, devistating. I'll be a little smarter next year when planning my schedule but I have one more race this weekend to hopefully finish off with a bang. The GP Fall Classic road race, it's only 10k but if I'm going to be racing less next year I want to make every effort count.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thinking of NYC

I think after finishing 10 marathons I would feel like running a marathon is no big deal but there is something about that distance that still scares me. It's not as daunting to imagine running that long any more but there is still the thought of all the training and preparation that is required to feel like you are ready to race 42.2kms. The last three marathons my preparation has been right on, I set a PR in Kelowna running 2:48 in 2008, another PR in Boston running 2:46 in 2009, and another PR in Vegas running 2:36 last year. All of them were break through years and I set myself up very well to have great running and tri seasons following them (with the run being my strong point of course). This year I'm not sure I have another PR in me, training has been tough and running 6:30/miles has been difficult. It's still early in the training schedule and I'm not resigning myself to going slow but after 3 amazing years of marathon running I'm not sure my body can continually improve year after year.

I'm going to have fun over the next couple months, I'll be running 6 days a week and it's an activity I can do with Amber and Harley so I'll be able to do something I love with my family as fall turns into winter. I do really enjoy running in the fall and it's great to be able to watch the vibrant colors change on the trails, I'm just not going to go into the NY marathon with an expectation that I'm going to set a new PR. It's supposed to be an incredible race and I'm going to go there and enjoy every minute of it. I'll run to the best of my ability and whatever the day brings will be just fine with me. Happy training everyone.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oh How Far We've Come

I stole this picture from Chuckie V's blog from one of his posts, "The Shape of Things To Come" he talks about our de-evolution as a society and it's a great reminder of how technology has both helped us and hurt us. I find it unbelievable that two generations ago (my grandparents time) it was just a daily struggle to survive. My grandfather worked 16hr days just to put food on the table for his family, he had no retirement savings, no time to play with his kids, nor did he complain about it. He just woke up every morning ate when he can and broke his back as a farmer just like all the other farmers around him. Right now French transit workers are striking because the government wants to raise the mandatory retirement age from 60 to 62. Are you kidding me? A full time worker in France only works 32hrs a week anyway.

I guess I shouldn't sound so self righteous I do love technology and all the advances it has given me but I definitely do not take it for granted. If I could go back 60 years and tell my grandfather that in one day I would be able to go for an hour swim in the morning, work all day, come home and run for another hour, get groceries, make dinner, do all the laundry, clean all the dishes, study for an hour, relax and watch TV for a couple hours and then read for another hour before bed he would have never believed me. We are as a society at a place where we have to actually ration out how much of what we eat as opposed to his time when you ate if you were lucky. It's hilarious that half the planet suffers from starvation while the other half pays for weight loss programs. I'm very grateful that the sacrifices he made allow me to have a better life and I hope that the kids of this generation realize that their lives will be better too but it takes a lot of hard work.