Thursday, June 25, 2015

Trying Something New - Adding More Running?

What's that more running in a week? But I thought that we had come up with the perfect amount of weekly running for me already. Now you want more.

Anyway, it gets busy some days trying to fit in all the exercise you want to do and maybe need to do. except it can be done.

So I wanted to get more swim time in as I head into triathlon season, and maybe some more biking as well. But I still want to keep up with my running without killing myself in the process. So as many people do, I have recently added in lunch time runs.

The first week I started this I ran a few different routes to see what I could come up with. I wanted something short that I could do in 20 minutes or less, giving me enough time to eat a quick lunch and get cleaned up.  So I ended up finding a nice little 3.6(ish) km run. It is hilly, includes asphalt, potholes, dirt and grass and is quite nice.

My goal with these runs is to keep adding the stress of running (we need stresses to adapt and get stronger) without adding too much fatigue. This short course, with its varied terrain, can give me a heart thumping workout or a relaxing recovery run. But overall it gives me the ability to run almost everyday, without being too fatigued for the main event later on (tonight I ride my bike).

My current record for the run is 14:08. Today I ran a 15:08. I once ran it in 16:23. All are great and are based solely on feel. I don't look at the time until I stop. My body will let me know what I need on the day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Duathlon #2: Cyclesmith @ Lawrencetown 2015

Two weeks and 2 races. Bam. This year Cyclesmith's Lawrencetown Beach Duathlon was held a little later into June than normal. But with the weather we had this Spring, maybe that wasn't a bad thing. I apologize again for a lack of photos.

Race day came and the morning seemed great. It had rained hard the day before but this day promised sun. Outside I was greeted with a slight chill in the air but otherwise lovely day. Until I got to the beach. Dang you Lawrencetown. The sun was out and bright, but the wind was crazy hard. You could see bikes with disc wheels blowing on the transition racks. You coudl also see the sun slowly disappear under a huge blanket of clouds. Blah. There went the warmth.

Regardless, the race must go on. I was racing the Sprint distance duathlon today, 5km/20km/2.5km (or close enough). Today there was about 22 of us in my race. Not huge, but there were 4 of us up front that would give it a good race.

A few minutes following the start of the International Distance race, we took off. I quickly jumped into the lead, knowing again that I needed to have a little comfort room before the bike leg in order to have a hope that beating some of these bike studs. I hit the first kilometer in 3:29, but I couldn't hang onto that speed after the turn around with the wind in my face. I managed to cross the line into T1 in 18:36 for an avg speed of 3:46 min/km. I had a lead but would it be enough?

A quick change and I was on the bike. The head wind was fierce. I tucked low and pushed on. I really hoped to get as far into the bike portion as possible before the others caught me, but alas Brad got by maybe 5 km in. Still I pushed on. A kilometer later Greg passed me and then Adam. I was able to hang onto Adam at a legal distance, and then to my surprise passed Greg as he had to stop and fix his chain. I knew that bit of respite wouldn't be much, though, as he is such a strong cyclist. And the next thing I knew Adam dropped a chain, wow.

I hit the turn around expecting to finally get out of the head wind (it was so hard to keep a consistent rhythm) and yes, a huge tail wind. The speed jumped quickly. I was happy. Until about 6 km to go at which point (what?!?!) the head wind was back. Oh cruel Lawrencetown.

Shortly after this point Adam recaught me and passed (Greg had gone by again as well). Rather than fight him, I dropped back and followed along. He was pulling away, but it was slow enough that I saw him all the way back to the beach and T2. I figured (and hoped) my run would send me past him again.  My average speed was 33.8 km/hr. Dang the speed on those other guys.

I got to transition in fourth and made the switch to my running gear quickly enough. I took off. Adam was just slightly ahead of me on the path. I focused on picking up my cadence and just hitting a decent pace. I passed him in less than 1/2 a kilometer. I took off after Greg and Brad.

As I neared the turn around I finally saw those two guys running together. But I knew unless they had a really bad turn of events, I was too far behind to make up that distance. Still 3rd place was mine to lose, so push on I did.

I coudl see a few hundred meters ahead as Brad took off and won, followed by Greg. I hit the line with an 11:03 2.5 km run for an avg pace of 3:48 and a total time of 1:07:49. That was a hard fought race and while 3rd wasn't what I wanted, it was earned.

I was mostly really excited that my run averages didn't really drop off as they usually do. Holding a higher pace for the second run was great. I just need to keep doing that. And as usual some more bike work.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Duathlon 1: Shearwater Navy Duathlon

So wow, I'm a little late posting about this race (as the next race is almost upon us). I was waiting at first for some photos, but alas, I found there were none to be had of this race (at least for me).

So we were back at Shearwater, which was the first duathlon of the year for 2015. The good classic 5/20/3 km Sprint distance duathlon is always a fun one. And it is always one that comes with some crazy weather.  This year was no different.

We arrived to find warm sun hidden behind cold wind, and heavy wind at that! We knew that the runway, where the majority of the bike portion is held, would be crazy windy and that it was going to be an interesting race.

After sign in and some warming up, I opted for a last minute addition of a long sleeved compression top.  It was just too cold for me after hanging around outside.

The race briefing was quick and to the point and we soon lined up for the start. Off we went!

I quickly took the lead and hoped that I could grab a good lead heading into T1 by pushing hard on the first 5km run. But the last few weeks I have not been able to do much if any training and it quickly showed. My uber fast starting pace quickly slowed down to a more tempo esque pace for me. I kept the lead but not nearly as much as I had hoped for. I hit T1 in 18:55 for a 3:45min/km pace. Not bad, but considering how much it took out of me, not great.

A quick change into some bike gear and away I went.  We start with a huge climb to the runway plus some twisty turny bits. I hit the runway in the lead but Adam was not far behind. Soon I heard his disc wheel as he over took me. I dropped in behind and followed at the legal distance.

We were flying down the runway and over the bumps and ruts of the tarmac before we changed direction and headed back the other way to finish lap 1 of 3. Then the headwind hit. Wow. We dropped from high 40's km/hr to high 20's in no time. I found that my distance to Adam wasn't changing so I overtook him and tried to use my strength in the wind to pull a gap. At this time Kevin C caught up to us as well.

Kevin overtook me at the finish of lap 1. As I dropped back Adam surged ahead. So I tucked back in. Again, though, as we hit the head wind I surged passed Adam and worked harder to really open the gap up. I stayed ahead for the remainder of the bike portion. But I could catch back up to Kevin, who is a demon on the bike. I knew I needed to be within a minute to really be able to catch him on the short final run.

Coming into T2 I just about caught up with a truck bringing in a BBQ for the event.  Then at the last second it turned off. Whew.  I hit the dismount line with an average speed of 31.5 km/hr and a time of 41:09. Not as fast as I would have liked, but I'll take it with the wind and lack of bike training I managed not only the past few weeks but frankly all winter long.

So Kevin was gone at this point. I switched into my running gear as quick as I could and took off. Sadly, I only started to catch him by the turn around point, and was not nearly close enough to mount a real challenge at the end. My endurance on the run wasn't there. I did take about 1 minute out of his lead on the run, but his bike had been just too good for me. I ran a 11:19 3K for a 3:58min/km pace to end things off.

I am okay with my second place finish, but not satisfied. I had worked quite hard but things derailed me this past month. Nothing one can do about life challenges, but I am glad to see that the hard work I put into my running meant that my fitness loss over the last few weeks wasn't as bad as it could have been. My heart was strong, my lungs were strong and I was able to push. So I am looking forward to the next race.

My finishing time was 1:11:23.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Vacation, training and life's hiccups

So here I am still in Colorado, should have been home last week but life threw a little block our way.

We traveled here to visit family and unwind after that horrendous winter we had. I had just finished the Bluenose Half Marathon and a rest sounded nice. I figured some easy runs daily and nothing too crazy. After all this is a high elevation and the altitude can play havoc on you when you aren't ready for it. We didn't really pack for such cold weather. I finally got out for a short run after 2 days, when the rain let up long enough to make it viable. As far as runs go, it was blah.

Instead I started to rely on my physiotherapy exercises and eventually we found a local gym to go to, where I took in some swimming and a little easy spin biking. Not too bad, though kind of annoying to do in such a beautiful place.

Finally the weather cleared and the warmth arrived. We took the opportunity to do some hiking. That was great. Then a family member got sick, hospital sick and we had to put things on hold. We missed our flight home and spent days hanging out in a hospital room "entertaining" the sick. I did manage a couple of easy short runs around the hospital grounds, but with lack of sleep and lack of oxygen creeping in, those didn't feel so good.

Things have worked out well, we'll be on our way home soon, everyone having recovered perfectly.

So yeah, life throws this stuff at us, and in a way it is almost like an injury mid training. You go from high to lows and you can't get that pent up energy out. You are tired and exhausted, but not in that good way. But you roll with it. We aren't professional athletes. We don't rely on "exercise" to make a living. We need to step back, regroup, focus on what needs to be done and realize that we'll get back to where we were soon enough.

That all being said, i can't wait to get back on my bike. I miss it.