Sunday, October 30, 2011

Running for Fun

Well, I typed running for fun into Google images and this picture came up.

I don't know if bees in fact do like to run or not, but this fella sure is happy, and look at that stride.

As this past sporting season was wearing down, so was I. My joints weren't feeling peppy any more, my shoulders were dying, and my love of the run was waning. I ended with great runs at both the Riverport Duathlon and Rum Runners, where I ran PB's that were leaps and bounds above my norm. Afterwards I did a few more runs using this beast:

I bought my first Garmin this Fall after having used one for the first time at Rum Runners. It was great at helping me pace through the run, so I knew I had to bite the bullet and buy one (they are quite reasonably priced right now). Of course this meant that even though my competitive season was done, my training runs following this purchase were probably a bit too hard, but who could resist with all that data flashing in my eyes.

Still I finally just lost the urge. As I mentioned, things hurt, sleep wasn't great, and my desire to run was lost. I still enjoyed cycling and swimming was also fun, but running? Meh.

So the other day I ran to work. It wasn't the first time I did that, but it was the first time I didn't care how fast I ran and how quickly I got to work. Turns out it was fun. I even wore the Garmin but didn't look at it until I was done.  A few runs later and I caught the bug again.

No more coming in after a run exhausted. Instead the last few runs I have done have left me happy, exhilarated and peppy. And low an behold, sleep is better and things don't hurt as much.

So it is back to base training for me. Long slow runs will be the norm until next season comes along. This should give me loads of time to reconnect with the spirit of running and not worry about the numbers. Oh of course I will keep using my new toy, the Garmin 305, but more as a way to track what I did, not what I am doing.

See you out there. And watch out next year. A healthy Ian will be a fast one.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011 Riverport Duathlon

Well here we go. The final race of the Triathlon Nova Scotia 2011 season was upon us last weekend. And the weekend started with a bang by having a huge storm come up the coast and soak us with heavy rain. My wife and I decided to make a little vacation this year instead of the usual, get up super early and drive to Riverport on the Sunday routine. So we decided to go to Lunenburg, drive around, have some good meals and stay in town for the evening. That turned out to be really a great idea as I didn't have more than  20 minute drive to the race that morning, and therefore could sleep in a bit.

Now Riverport is always one of my favorite races. It is the first Duathlon  I ever took part in a few years back. And each year has always brought me a little more success. I remember my first race here and my complete lack of any running ability, coupled with no actual running shoes. Ah the fun.

Well race day morning brought more rain. I arrived early at the community hall where the race would start (a departure from the school it had been at most years). We were old space would be limited so early I didn't want to miss out on a prime bike rack spot.

Well after everyone was signed in and the race meeting took place, we headed out to the wet start to get ready to go. It was at this point where the bike rack my bike was on decided to collapse. It was a little crazy at the time but a temporary solution was made and the race started.

This Duathlon starts with a 4 km run that is dead flat. So I knew I had to hold nothing back on the short trip. I took off with the leaders on what was a hard but comfortable pace. I am horrible with judging distances though and the halfway point always seems to take forever to get to. But finally I got there, made the turn and headed back to the start / T1. At this point I was in 9th place overall and feeling pretty good. I came running into T1 with a time of 15:28 for a 3:52 pace.

Now the great thing about a Duathlon is the relatively fast transition times, since all you really need to do is change your shoes and head gear. But coming into this T1 I was unsure what had happened to the broken bike rack they were fixing when the race started. Well I found my spot, got my helmet and shoes on, grabbed my bike and thanked Ron. Ron was holding the end of the rack up for everyone. It was very kind of him. And thankfully that piece of the rack only had 3 or 4 carbon fiber bikes anyway. Still it was funny to see.

Off I went on the bike. And I was riding quite well, keeping my pace steady and hanging back on one rider ahead of me, just out of the draft zone. I suppose I could have pushed through, but that would have been silly as we were only a couple of kilometers into the race by this point. We both eventually got passed by one rider. Then came the Grimm Rd.

Now this hill seems to terrify people. I like it. The road is a series of smaller climbs and if you hit each just right you can zoom  right up them. I took this as my opportunity to pass the rider ahead of me. And off I went. Now part way down this road another cyclist caught me and started to make a pass, so I did the right thing and lifted for a second and off he went. But right on his wheel was another rider. Man I hate drafting. And I really hate blatant drafting. And this guy drafted for most of the rest of the ride as I watched from a safe distance back. It is really hard to watch though, when the people in question should know better. Anyway, I can't do anything about that now.

I rode my ride and by the end, the road is a slight downhill for the last few kilometers before T2. So I made sure to not lose too much time and I don't think I went below 45km/hr at this point. 

Coming into T2, I was a little confused about the dismount line as there was none (rain and all). I ended up dismounting twice I think. And then I was a little confused to see my rack was missing. But as I crossed the timing Ron was there to take my bike from me.

Thanks again Ron. It felt like I was a Pro at an huge event with all sorts of helpers. Well it at least felt confusing anyway. Time coming into T2 was 48:09 over the 28 (ish) kilometer course including T1 for an average bike speed of 34.9 km/hr. Not bad at all on this wet and windy day.

T2 was really just my shoes, which were un neatly in a pile on the ground mixed with other people's shoes and helmets. But I don't think I wasted too much time getting things sorted out.

Then off I went. Just a simple flat 4 km to go. In fact the same 4 km I already ran not that long ago.  Now between the cold and wet and the just finished bike ride, my feet were oddly slightly numb at the beginning of the run. It was a strange sensation but I pushed through. And my calves were screaming. But I pushed through. I managed to pass one guy who had a great bike ride but was feeling it on the second run. And I skipped the water stop (unusual for me) as I think I was getting plenty of fluid from the sky.

I end of the race was finally around the corner. I picked up the pace and sprinted to the finish (as I usually try to do), crossing toe to toe with another runner. A good run down for sure. Add in T2 time and I managed a 17:33 overall for the last run and a 4:24 pace. Not bad, but I will work on that for next year.

In the end I was scored in 11th place overall and 3rd out of 19 in my age group. Another increase in position from last year where I was scored 14th. My overall time was also better. A 1:21:10 this year versus some 3 minutes slower last year (with an altered course). I look to go south of 1:20 next season. A fine result and still room for improvement. And a fine way to cap off the year.

I think I am done racing this year. Anything else will be spur of the moment. Training will begin for next season after a small break (like this week I think). And I will do a summary of my racing accomplishments in an upcoming blog post. Oh and I have a Garmin 305 on the way. Maybe I will write about that as well. Hmmm. Take care racers and non racers.