Monday, May 31, 2010

Duin' the Double Duty at the Navy Tri

Well this past weekend for me saw the next in the Duathlon series of races come up. this was the second of the year and my 3rd actual sporting event. Of course as I have mentioned numerous times my IT Band is going through some ITBFS (look it up, I swear it is real). This leads to a pain in my knee, generally just during running (and then for a day afterwards). But enough of that, I competed and did my best with what I had, so that`s that.

The day for me started at 5 AM. I had to get up, get dressed, eat and hit the road for a 7AM start time (this event was at Shearwater Airforce Base in Dartmouth, NS), and ideally you show up 1 hr before your event. I was there on time, but the weather was not cooperating for a smooth 7AM start time and we didn`t end up getting off until 730 AM. Still that was fine. It was starting to rain and the fog was thick. How thick? We'll I was about to find out.

We headed out on mass at the start (well all 14 of us in the Duathlon - most were doing the Triathlons also running that day). The first leg was a 3K run, mostly flat with a decent little hill at the midpoint of each lap (we did 2 laps). I manged to run this in 11:40 for a 3:54 pace which I was happy with landing me in 7th at the time. I switched to my bike and headed out for the 20km ride.

Well what a ride. The ground was soaked with huge puddles (not great for speed) and the ride up to the runway was quite technical. Then it was into the fog. It was so thick for us that to find the runway I had to ride from yellow cone to yellow cone, which were spaced maybe 10 feet apart at most? Then 4 laps on the runway and back down. I managed to catch the 6th place runner and put some real distance on him before the final run, which I figured I would need to make up for what I assumed might be a slowish final run). My time computer tells me I road at a 33.3 kph avg for little over 20km and kept my cadence at 91 avg. Thanks computer. The official results include the transition time from bike to running (which means a shoe change of course) and have me posted as 5th in speed overall with a total time of 36:52 and an avg pace of 32.5kph. Again, I'm pretty happy with this.

The final run started with a slow transition (resulting in a slower run time overall). This was mostly do to my inability to feel my fingers from the cold and wet and be able to put on my running shoes easily, but I managed and took off, for the 8th fastest final run time on the same 3K course for a 13:37 time and a 4:33 pace. But my cycling had put me in position to hold easily onto 6th place and finish in a time of 1:02:07.

I haven't been able to train all year for my events due to my leg/knee issue, so I am really happy to be able to be able to put up those numbers. I look forward to seeing what I can do with some proper training. And thanks to a chiropractor who was attending the race, hopefully this issue will be able to be taken care of sooner rather than later. I am looking forward to getting some rehab started.
But that brings me to "Duin' the Double." I finished the race strong but soaked and hungry. I had a bite from the snack table, then got changed into dry clothes and a rain coat and headed out to relieve one of the course workers so he could go and get ready to race. Yes, good old Ian decided to volunteer to stand in the rain and fog and show cyclists the right way to turn as they headed to the runway. I got soaked I must say, and paced the entire time to keep my legs from getting too stiff. But you know what, volunteering that these events is a good thing when possible. It makes it easy for the athletes to get their job done and helps keep the costs to run these things reasonable. And that means as an athlete I pay far less up front for most events. I like that and therefore am willing to stand around in the cold and wet for a few hours to help out. But I did get a great bagged lunch to keep me full and plenty to drink (though the bag did not weather the storm).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bluenose 10K

Well I just completed the Bluenose 10K run yesterday. It was a sunny and warm (some might say hot) day, which is of course atypical for the Bluenose. But it was fun to be running. My leg and knee were still having issues so I didn't kill myself try to get to some exciting new goal. Instead I ran with my buddy Mike and we set a great pace (he was holding back as he has a big race next weekend). We perhaps started back a bit far in the opening pack, but made loads of passing maneuvers early on (and late on as well). We partook of the lovely water being offered at all but the last station (seriously why would you stop for a drink with less than a 1K to go?). In the end I managed a pace of 4:51 for a time of 48:35, almost 10 seconds faster than last years healthy Ian.

While I am annoyed that my leg and knee prevented me from finding my maximum at this event, I am excited that I have the potential to do so much better and I know that in the future I will.

I now have 3 consecutive weekends of events coming up, Duathlons. The run is much shorter and the bike doesn't hurt my leg and knee too much. Then I will be taking a good long break from running to make sure I can get good and healed. More massage therapy is in order as well as potentially some physio. We'll see.

Congrats to all the other runners out there this weekend. It was an awesome turnout for Halifax and spectacular weather.

Thanks to Mike for the company. And thanks to Ian McGrath for not catching us while he pace bunnied the 10k to a 55min finish.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Getting Fueled for Racing

Over the last few years I have really tried to get my eating sorted out. I mean, I like to eat. Food is yummy as is beverage. But alas I weighed a little too much and had really bad heartburn, forcing me to take meds (yuck). So I changed what I ate somewhat, added a smattering of exercise and voila life was better.

Well that dietary change was fine for a smattering of exercise (20 minute bike rides and some nice long walks with a little yoga), but now I train to run and cycle and swim and also add those together for triathlons and duathlons. So I figured I should eat even better.

Don't get me wrong. I still love to eat and most things are good (and the bad stuff is generally better), but now I eat to fuel the body for racing (or training). So what does that entail?
Well for me that means doing my best to avoid the premade food section of the grocery store, save yummy milk based products like cheese and yogurt. It has also meant delving into the world of whole grains and seeds.

Thanks to the Bulk Barn (our local bulk food store), I have access to so many odd and exciting grains, seeds and nuts. And I use these to make great breakfast porridges, bake some really awesome breads and recently I have discovered the exciting (get ready) Seed Loaf! This is based on a sidedish recipe I found but have since modified to make it a powerhouse side or main dish. It includes massive amounts of good fibers, proteins, and carbs and is quite low in fat. And it can easily be tailored to suit most tastes.

So here it is for the adventurous:

Take 1/2 cup uncooked grains/seeds: I used quinoa, millet, scotch oats, lentils, poppy seeds and flax seeds
Add 1 cup water and 1/2 tsp salt, bring to boil, reduce to medium low (simmer level) and cover for 10 minutes
This will require a little stirring occasionally but when you do open the lid to stir, drop in 1 tsp of thyme and basil or rosemary or frankly whatever herbs you really like (want spice add cayenne).
When it is done cooking take it off the heat and add 1/2 cup of veggies (your choice I like frozen corn and spinach). If you are adding root veggies chop them up and add to the grains when you add the spices to get them a bit softer.
Now stir in 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1 beaten egg.
Place this into a baking dish and bake in a 375F oven for 45 minutes. Take out, let cool and bit and voila, yum yum. The powerhouse of food, IMO.

This is great for post exercise or lunch at work to keep you fueled for the day. Though if you aren't a big grain person, don't eat this right before the big race. A tad too much fiber for those with delicate tummies.

Have fun at the Bluenose this weekend, those in Nova Scotia. I will be running the 10K. Bad knee and all (ugh). But at least I won't be hungry.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Du It For Shelter Duathlon

Well I signed up for the first Duathlon of the year. I had all of one week to get myself ready for it (due to my IT Band issues) and I woke up the morning of May 9, 2010 wondering if my leg and knee would hold out. Nervous? Yup.

This event though was a charity event first and foremost so I couldn't say no. It was raising money for the St Leonard's Society. And that is a good thing.

Elizabeth, Newt and I arrived in Musquobodoit Habour at a nice and early time to get ready without having to rush around. That is always the best idea in Triathlons/Duathlons. It means you can pick a good spot of the bike racks, maybe pedal a little bit and go for a light jog to warm up. Oh and go to the bathroom 100 times.

Anyway, the weather was nice. Some thought the wind was bad, but I thought it was fine (by product of cycling over the MacDonald Bridge everyday I guess). The rain held off, the sun often poked out often and the temp was decent (slightly chilly). The course as well was nice and flat (some rollers on the bike section) and was listed as 4k/25k/4k.

Well the starter said go and off I went. I seeded myself a bit back as I didn't know how I would feel on the run and hate getting in the way. But as it turns out I was feeling good and maybe a little stupid, so I passed a few people and made some good time. then it was the first transition of the year. New bike, new bike setup, and a change in pedals made things interesting. But t all turned out great. My Devinci CX1 felt smooth on the road and I flew through the bike leg of the course. Then it was onto Transition 2. In the past I ran my bike back as fast as possible and always ended up cramping into the first part of the run. This time I decided to jog it back, using this time to relax a bit. Man did that help. Changing shoes was a breeze, and off I went.

Sure there was a little cramping in the legs and the knee started to pain a bit but I made it through (getting passed by many of those I passed in the bike section). I finished strong and felt good (ie was able to walk). And my little dog was waiting for me, tail a wagging.

My final results were 0:16:38 / 0:42:02 / 0:17:46 for a total of 1:16:26. This left me in 15 out of 46 for the overall and 7 out of 9 in my age group. I am super happy with my time, less than thrilled with my age group placing, but what the heck, the other guys went faster.

Lesson learned: if placing gels in your back pocket and preopening them, do not grab them hard or you will be forced to do an entire race with a sticky hand. Ugh.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Getting Back in the Saddle

Well it seems to have been a long time since I did any serious running. I had all of these plans about Personal Bests and all but a silly IT Band left me hobbling around instead. I hadn't even been biking or swimming. So much for winning any events that were to be coming up. Oh well.

But since watching my wife get her personal best at the Credit Union 5K Lung Run, I have rested, done physio, rested, drove to work (ugh), rested, compression, heat, ice, ice baths (ugh again) and massage therapy. All of this was in an effort to make sure that come hell or high water I would be running a 10K at the Bluenose (I already paid and I would hate to waste that).

Eventually i got fed up waiting for this blasted thing, so I started to ride my bike a little. The knee felt funny but didn't hurt. Then I started commuting again on my bike. It was nice. I restarted Thursday night swims training and without the crutch of the breast stroke my front crawl has actually become way better.

So finally I had to try some running. Of course I also found out about a new Duathlon for this year which I just had to compete in. Du it for Shelter. Somehow I had to be able to get two 4K runs in when I hadn't run in close to a month. Sure I could walk those legs of the Du but, why would anyone want to do that.

I began last weekend. 1K. That's it. I wouldn't let myself run further. And I stuck to that as well. Some slight pressure on the knee but otherwise good. Six min kilometer though. Oh well.

Then each day add a kilometer. Bend the knee a little more. Push a little harder. Yesterday I ran a 23 minute 5K. A 4:40 pace. Okay so that won't win my anything, won't even be the greatest run I have had at a Du, but I am back. Pain free (well the bad pain anyway). Just in time for what is to be a crazy month of events (I think I have one weekend off).