Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rum Runners, MEC and Bare All for the Barre - Whew, 2016

So finally getting around to writing up last weekend's crazy fullness. Three events, three different results.

The first thing that happened was Rum Runners Relay. This is a 110km 10 leg relay race along Nova Scotia's South Shore to Lunenburg. This year I had to switch teams as my regular team wasn't running. Now I was on Oxford @ 8's team Classic Rummies. This team included some really great local runners and even 800m specialist and Olympian Geoff Harris.

My leg this year was Leg 2. A mere 2 km from my front door, this was a great chance to run a familiar route that I have gone over many times. It is 8.3km long and for the most part flat.  I met with my team mates for the first time and got bibbed up (I actually wore 2 of our team bibs in case the next leg's runner couldn't find our captain).

Now I must say I was still a little nervous as my knee and IT band aren't great. I had rested it all week and did my physio, but went in with a big question mark.

From the start my plan was to head out and try to hang with the top guys and see how things went. Immediately a group of three of us broke clear and took off. The pace wasn't too bad, my knee felt fine (a little stiff) so I decided to hang in there. Eventually the second place runner started to drift back and when the gap to the leader hit about 10 feet I decided I better bridge that gap. By 2 km it was a two person battle. Not wanting to push my knee any harder than I had to, I decided to hang with the leader. I knew nothing about him as a racer but he was running fine and not breathing heavy so a challenge early on didn't seem like a good idea. And truthfully a second place finish considering my problems would have been just fine.

We stayed that way until about the 7.5 km mark. The pace had started to drift lower a bit and soon the finish line was in sight off in the distance. Not wanting to hit an all out sprint near the line, I decided to pick up the pace and see what I could do (also we had a large lead over third by now so it was worth the risk). I pushed off and headed to the finish. I guess ultimately the leader had no gas left in the tank as I surged ahead and took the win. My first at a Rum Runners relay and quite frankly unexpected. I knew I had some speed but a win is awesome. I finished in 30:33 for an average pace of 3:41 min/km. Overall I won by 5 seconds. My team would go on to win one more leg (8 with Geoff Harris) and finish 4th overall. Great stuff and glad I was able to help with that placing.

Sadly I have no pictures.

Event 2 was the MEC race. I had planned on racing the 10km race, but as I arrived my knee was so tight from the day before that I knew that was not going to happen. I dropped down to the 5km race and went out for a warm up. By the end of the warm up I knew that was it. Still, this was the team event and I showed up to support my team, so I walked the 5 km race and finished 44th out of 56 people. A far cry from the day before, but life is highs and lows and I was happy to watch my team mates get great results in their race and really show the BLT Runners colours.

Finally on Sunday night I took part in the 3rd annual and my second Bare All For the Barre fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Canada. Essentially is is a giant Barre class (you'll have to look it up) with hand weights, balls and while normally in a nice dance studio, this time in an open warehouse space. This was 45 minutes are rather fun and totally hard (especially for wounded runners)  barre class. In the end $23,000 was raised for Prostate Cancer Canada Atlantic which is so great and so totally in keeping with my up coming race in November, the Halifax Movember Run. Check out the video and pictures at the Facebook page: . It was great, and the follow up of beer and tacos could not be beat. Please think about joining in next year.

But just a little rest as this coming weekend in the final duathlon of the year in Riverport. Sadly I won't be in top shape, but hopefully the IT Band exercises and stretching will help speed things along and I will be able to complete the race without too much discomfort.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Maritime Race Weekend - Pace Bunny Duty 2016

With so much racing lately, I decided that it was time to scale back and not push it on another weekend. This freed me up to help some fellow runners at Maritime Race Weekend, the site of some former glorious runs.

I opted for the 45 min 10k pace bunny spot this year, rather than the half marathon I have done at other races. Turns out this was a good idea as my knee has been a pick tender since last weekend's triathlon. A 4:30 pace would allow me to run, chat and encourage others.

Unlike other races, this one mixes the 5, 10 , half and full into one start, so I wasn't sure how many 10 k runners were actually running with me. At about 3 km in the 10, half and full turn up a steep little climb. By this point I was left with a handful of people near me and most were in the 10K.

By the top of the hill as we found our turn around and headed back down I was left with Kim and we ran together for the next bit. She was running well and just hoping to keep things in the 45 min zone. I ran and kept her in the right pace zone. Soon though we reached the 6.5 km mark and she obviously had some gas in the tank. I encouraged her to keep the slightly faster pace and off she went. I was a proud bunny. But at this time we passed another woman and she was trying her best but I could see needed that extra bit of encouragement to keep her pace up. With no one else around I managed to run the next 3.5 km with her, gently pushing and pulling her along, keeping the pace up on the slight rises pressing the pace a touch on the downs.

We passed a lot of 5k runners (who did a great job of keeping a path open for faster runners) and soon we were at the finish. I got her to pick it up and soon she crossed the line well ahead of the 45 min on the timer clock. That was great. I held back and popped across the line at 44:53.  All told a great day.

Working on the knee now, hope to have it back to full strength for next weekend with a bunch of activities coming up.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Shubie Dooby Triathlon Sept 2016

Well the final triathlon of the season has come and gone. My third standard distance of the year and I had some high hopes for this one. My swimming had come along, well swimmingly, and the pieces were all in place.

The morning of the race was drizzly and humid, not really a great start, but nothing drastic enough to make changes in my prep.  Sign in, bike racking and then pre race swim all went well.

Race briefing warned us of a few race specifics and soon we were lined up and ready to take off. The water was warm, but it was wetsuit legal and the chop was minimal on the lake.

I went straight into the water and started swimming fairly well. I was not with the fastest swimmers but wasn't too far behind so that felt about right. And that is where "about right" stopped happening in the swim. Sigh.

About 250m in or so I swallowed a big mouthful of water and had to regain my breathing, which wasn't happening. I think the water swallowing coupled with what may have been too fast of a start for me lead to some hyper ventilation so I had to do the breast stroke for a bit to regain my breath. Fair enough. I finally got start back and took off. But my rhythm just didn't seem to come back and my stroke was wrong which lead to me swerving a lot. I just could seem to regain my tracking without sighting every couple of strokes.  I got out and rounded the buoy on the beach to start lap two and again, it started fine but went downhill quickly.

This swim course used 4 buoys instead of the normal 3. I finally got to the first buoy but was fighting for position with someone. During this period I obviously got turned slightly and started sighting off the wrong buoy, which sadly I made it to. Thus I had to turn around and swim back (that is after the kayaker ran into me) and do essentially an extra 300m give or take. Sigh again. The fun thing was continually passing the same people over and over again. I did giggle about that.

Eventually I found the "out" and crossed the timing mat at 31:39 for 46th overall. And while that is totally disappointing, I realize now that my pace was still actually faster than the pace I swam Sprint distance triathlon s at last year, where I didn't go in circles. So at least i know something progressed this year.

As I was running up to transition, the next fun thing was that my wetsuit zipper was jammed stuck. Luckily I found a little help, but it took an extra minute or so to actually just get out of my suit. As a person that prizes quick transition times, that wasn't nice. Eventually I got to the bike, and headed out for the ride.

So compared to the swim the bike went really well. No issues getting on and into my shoes, the roads were in decent condition and the puddles from the rain were sparse. I was amazed that as we turned away from the lake and a little more inland that the fog became a bit of a problem. The humidity meant that foggy glasses were a bit of an issue as well the humidity meant that as the ride progressed, it became much hotter on the body as you couldn't sweat properly.

The bike course was two loops of 20km and by the end of loop one I had worked my way past many other riders. Unfortunately we were now getting intermingled with the Sprint distance triathletes, so I had no idea where I was. And then on lap two I had to deal with a drafter. Ultimately I don't think it cost me any time, but it was annoying. The course was very hilly but I think I handled it well. I was happy to see my cadence was up a little, though I hope to work on it more over the winter as I think my lower cadence is holding me back. I finished the bike with an average speed of 30.5 km/hr for the 12th fastest bike split of the day. Not super fast, but the overall speeds were down due to the twisty hilly nature of the course. There were many 90 and 180 turns.

Coming off the bike I was finally feeling pretty good. I had no idea if my goal of a top 10 could be achieved now, as I had no idea where I was. But I went through transition quickly and onto the even hillier run course.  

I quickly started to pass people but trying to glance at their numbers to see if they were standard or sprint distance was a failure. the swim had washed much of the numbering off of everyone. So I just put my head down (well it stayed up) and picked a pace I knew I coudl work with.

As I glance down at my watch at what was likely about 1 km in, I realized it had switched to run mode but was paused or stopped. Great. So by feel it was going to be.

Passing more people became the norm and then I got to a point where I coudl start to count the people coming back. But alas I lost count, ha ha. Still I knew by the turn around that I was close to the top ten if I could pass a few more people.

After the turn around I passed about 4 more runners before again getting mixed into the sprint distance runners and losing track of things.  So I just kept running as fast as I could muster.

With about 1 km to go my right knee buckled a bit. It didn't hurt, so I kept going. Then it did it again. Great I thought. But it wasn't hurting so I carried on. I did have to slow a tiny bit on the down hill approach to the finish as the extra strain on my knee was a bit worrying and I knew I had enough of a lead.

I crossed the line in 2:30. Not my fastest race of the year, but due to the horrible swim I felt that all things considered it was decent. I had the second fastest run at 40:20, which while I was disappointed to not have broken 40 minutes again wasn't too bad. All I had to run on was feel. I had also worked myself into 10th place overall, so yay!

For everything that went wrong on this race many things went well. But most of all I didn't quite or even stop to mope. I just sucked it up and carried on.  So yeah, just deal with it as best you can and finish the race, then worry about the crying when it is over. But always remember to find at least 1 good for every bad when going over your post race results.

A few running races are to come followed by the Riverport Duathlon. So time to rest up the knee and get back to it.