Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gee Ian, No Pre Season Review?

Yes, I know. The last couple of years I have broken down what sort of sporty things I am planning to do during the year. Along with that I have also been trying to predict results as well. This year not so much.

I mean I know what main events I plan on doing, and I am sure more things will pop up that are unexpected (see my last post on the 1st unexpected race of the year). I also know that by planning things out more meticulously, I may actually achieve greater results. But in the end I have found over the last few seasons that I frankly can't keep up with my plans. Turns out that as an Age Grouper, life just gets in the way of this hobby called sport. And that isn't a bad thing.

So instead of a grand plan that I must follow to a tee, I will be placing minimum goals that I will do my best to follow. Here they are in case you are that inclined to care.

Swimming. I still suck at this sport, I just suck far less than in past years. Here my main goal is still strength and confidence. I think I can swim faster in my triathlons simply by not being afraid at the starts. Still, this is also the sport that takes the most time to give the least returns. At best I get to the pool twice a week, and a 1 hour swim seems to take 2 hours to accomplish. But twice a week, at this point, is where I will be for the next while. Hopefully as the weather gets nicer, one of those will be in the open water.

Running. I still have a lot to gain in this sport as well, and every season I get faster. Or I guess it is better to say, my average pace drops as I am able to hold a higher speed for a longer time. In the past I have tried all sorts of training plans, from multiple long runs, to everyday runs, to everything in between. All have met some level of success and some level of failure. Right now I have a goal of a minimum amount of runs per week, and that number is three. So I have to maximize what those three runs can give me. I might explain this in a post about the upcoming Bluenose Race.

Cycling. I know I have gains to be made here. But as a commuting cycling, with two 50 minute rides 5 days a week, it is hard to come home and want to jump on the bike for an all out crazy bike ride. Instead I have plans for a weekly ride on my race bike and will decide at the time whether that will be a long ride or a hard ride. If time permits I may do more as well, but as I said I will take it as it comes.

I do have a plan for an event latter in the summer and may post about it soon. It will be a solo endeavor (probably) and may be a pipe dream, but we will see.

But next up is the Bluenose and that is where training will be focused, but as I said, that is a new post.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

First Race of the Year - 2012

Well I had kind of decided  that my first real race this season was going to be the Bluenose Half Marathon. All the Duathlons and Triathlons were starting later and there wasn`t really a race I felt ready for or excited about.

Then about a week ago I came across a listing for a race being put on by MEC. They had a kids race, a 5K and a 10K. My wife was excited about the 5K and I felt I could give the 10 a go. I wasn`t expecting much due to a huge hole in my training over the last few months. Also the price was great at $15, can`t beat that.

This was going to be a hard race with loads of up and down as the course zig zagged around Citadel Hill in downtown Halifax.  And it wasn`t just the hills. There was running through a rutty grass covered dry ditch section of the fort and a final lap around the ramparts, which included dodging the big guns of the fort and the steps and ruts up there. This was a trail run more than anything.

Check out that Garmin map

Again, I hadn`t really trained for a 10K as my sights were set on the half marathon coming up. But I had been doing some 5K at speed and some moderately fast 7.5K runs as well. And in the end I decided to treat this like a really hard training session with a great view of Halifax.

After we figured out the course, we had a lovely chat with a Soldier about Parks Canada, then a gun was fired and off we went. (By the way a 10 AM start time is lovely).

As we started off I took the lead with an excited burst of energy and held the lead for the first 1/2 km or so. Then I glanced at my Garmin and decided that pace was way too crazy (3:30 or so) and backed it off. Also as this was a "training" run I wore my heart rate monitor. It was screaming at me as I had previously set it up to "warn me" when my HR went too high. Well apparently 204 was a bit on the high side. Eventually by the end of the first lap things had settled to a nice even 177 or so. Yikes!

Eventually I managed to settle into a 4:20's pace and held that for much of the race. Around the fort, up and down hills, through the grass covered ditch, back to the road, into the fort and up on the walls (ramparts), then all over again.

I help 3rd place for almost the entire race (except for my brief flirtation with 1st place). It was on the final trip on the ramparts that the racer behind me finally started to catch up. I was spent and did my best to try and pick up the pace but it was to no avail. He finally caught and passed me with 200 meters to go or so.  I held on and did my best at a sprint, but just couldn't hang in there and settled for 4th place overall. I have no idea ultimately how many 10K runners there were, but I think it was probably around 40 or so.

My end time was 42:13 with an average pace of around 4:18. I was seriously happy with this time and the fact that now as I sit and type a few hours later I am not worn out. This bodes well for my goal of a sub 40 minute 10K run later this year. My only other stand alone 10K runs were Bluenose runs a few years back and the best I did there with an extra month and a bit of training, was a 47 something. So all this base training really is helping.

Next up, the Bluenose. Unless something interesting enough comes along I guess.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Back to the Real World, Work and Running in the Snow

Okay so this post may be a bit late but heck, I was both busy, tired and frankly lazy. I didn't post much over the last month or so because I wasn't at home. I wasn't in the country and, well, I wasn't in the hemisphere.I had a chance to go to South Africa and took it. I could do a post about my trip. It was great. I saw and did so many interesting things as I hung out with friends and family. But I was away for almost 3 weeks so it would take forever to write it all down. If you want to know more email me, or feel free to visit me for a chat. And please feel free to see some of the thousands of photos I took: Google Plus Photos Instead I will stick to what is a usual theme for this blog. Exercising. Now I for sure did not spend the majority of my time in South Africa training for triathlons. But I was away for long enough that I felt the need to keep a base level of fitness going. So I often got up at 6 AM and went for runs. usually short 5 km runs at a moderate pace. This has surely helped me maintain some of my winter fitness. But more importantly it allowed me to grab some great Garmin running maps, like this one:


Okay, that was just me bragging a bit about running along a beach near Cape Town watching the sunrise and the waves come crashing in. Is there a bigger purpose to this post? I guess not so much. But when you travel don't forget those running shoes, but make sure to slow things down and watch out for awesome sights. No need for speed work and personal bests in training while escaping our winters.
Oh yeah, that is a picture of me running to the furthest southern point of the African continent at Cape Agulhas. Seriously, I am in there.