Monday, October 29, 2012

Running Races on Hold - Time to be a Race Director

Okay, so as I mentioned before, I need a rest from racing. I need it mentally and I need it physically. I still want to run, and ride and swim and have fun, but definitely in a non competitive way. But it is also time to give back as well.

Movember is coming up (read about it here). I have taken part in this fundraising event for Prostate Cancer awareness for the past two years by growing a mustache and gathering a couple hundred dollars for the cause. But this year I am going further with the help of local Movmember big wig, Mike Milloy,  we are putting on our first race. Taking place November 24th, this will be a 6K  trail fun run. It has certainly been a learning experience getting it all together.

It started in the summer with our attempt to find a venue. Once found we had to secure it, which luckily was easy to do as we are using the local city park, Point Pleasant Park, in Halifax. Then mapping a route in the park, which isn't huge, for a 6K run was quite the feat.  Still it was done, then Mike and I had some choices to make. Should it be pure and simple, run and raise money? Or should it be a race with prizes for the over contenders, in which case we would need certain things like bib numbers, and a timing scheme. Well we decided to push the envelope a bit and heck, there are some great local businesses that really stepped up to help us out.

At this point we have great prizes and support from Sportwheels, a local bike and hockey shop, Aerobics First,  my favorite running shop (they do skiis as well!), Your Place of Mine Hair Designers Inc. , the Halifax Rainmen, and Moksha Yoga. Thanks to all these guys and gals for their various support.

So what is up next? Well the registration went live a couple of weeks back and we already have 20 people signed up, with a self imposed maximum of 100 entrants. Not bad so far, and we aren't even in Movember yet. So we just need to work on the little things, like volunteers and refreshments for all involved. That is frankly going to be fun.  It is also going to take my mind off of racing for the next month.

Hey reader, if you are local head on to our Facebook Page and "Like" us or even better consider signing up and having a great run on a cool November morning through Halifax's beautiful Point Pleasant Park. You can find us here.

And if you are a local business that wants to jump on board, well by all means contact us via the Facebook page. We hope to see some of you out to our event, or to many of the other Movember events that are taking place all over the world.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Final Race of 2012 (Probably) - MEC Shubie 10K

Alright, so there is nothing like a late season injury and a bit of pain and back to back to back races to make one's focus change from a heavy training schedule to some time off. As I mentioned before, I somehow hurt my foot during the Shubie Tri. This lead to weeks of little training, heading into a double weekend of heavy Rum Runners / River Duathlon action. While my foot had come back to 80%, I had done little training during that rest phase. My results from those races were still not too bad, but I lacked that extra kick from all that time off and a bit of my endurance. And of course pushing through lead to me hurting my other foot.

I think these are actually calf injuries and will be getting them treated this week. But before I went in for treatment, of course I had one more race to do.

Earlier this summer when I set my PB 10K time of sub 40 min, I also won free entry into the final MEC race of the year. Well my foot seemed not bad and the few easy paced training runs I had done seemed to say that showing up for this race wasn't going to be too bad.

Well this was a pretty straight forward event, line up, go, run to turn around and hold your pace til the end. Of course not having raced in a few weeks, and with minimal training I did wonder how I would fair.

Shubie is rather a hilly trail run, and this day the path was covered in a thick carpet of wet leaves. Still, the tactic is simple, run. We took off and I was quickly in about 6th place and refusing to look down at my Garmin to see just how fast we were going. It felt good, whatever the pace and it was probably 1 km or so into the run when I dared glance at my pace. I saw 3:50 km/min show up, so I slowed down. Still by 2 km into the run  I was catching another runner, who had also obviously paced poorly to start things.

The up and down nature of this course makes keeping a steady pace tricky and my Garmin profile shows me all over the place, but generally close to the 4 min pace mark. I did feel good that Dave Nevitt (local marathon legend) didn't pass me until close to 4 km in and I stayed with him for quite awhile. By the turn around I was at 20 minutes and feeling not too bad. I knew there was no way, though, to keep that average pace up for the rest of the run and I was eventually passed by 2 more runners.

Luckily I found enough oomph to stay with the last runner that passed me, generally falling no more than 20- 30 meters behind him at any point. I really made up time on him when I ran up hill, which I was surprised about because I felt horrible climbing them. I also made a little time up by making the corners on the trail as tight as possible, I mean why run any further than you have to.

It was at this point when I really started looking at my Garmin for distance. Finally I looked down and saw that 9.2 km had showed up. I knew that the course was essentially flat to down hill at this point and I also knew that my finish line kick was probably not going to be around, so the best I could do is pick up the pace. I manged to get it back to a 4 min/km pace and even a bit lower in points as I surged ahead of my fellow runner. I just kept upping the pace as best as I could and didn't look back.

As the finish line straight fell under my feet my stride opened up. There was still 400 meters or so to go, so a full out sprint was out of the question, but I found enough speed to stay ahead until I crossed the line.  It wasn't a PB by any stretch, but darn I was happy to have had a decent run in the park. I managed a 40:56 time and finished 7th overall.

Now a day later my feet hurt again. As I mentioned, I will be heading into see my Chiropractor who I know can fix me up. I will also be taking a rest from racing. See, while I can probably get back into doing some base training, if I race I know I can't hold back and will hurt myself again. And the last 2 months of foot pain have been rather draining on me. I wasn't to race again and soon, but I want to do it as close to my peak as possible. I really don't want to show up and have a list of excuses as to why I may fail. That sucks.

Oh and the mountain bike is a calling.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Riverport Duathlon 2012 - Part 2 of the Double Header

So finally I get around to this post. I think that my feet are actually getting back to feeling decent is allowing me to relive this weekend again. I guess time does heal all wounds.

I awoke the morning of this race feeling pretty decent. A few aches in the legs from the Rum Runner run, but nothing where by I couldn't walk. I ate my traditional prerace breakfast, got dressed and off we went Riverport (we were staying in Lunenburg for the night so the drive to the race was very quick). I was also excited to see my wife racing for the first time in a Duathlon. She too was nursing a sore leg, but was willing to give it a go.

The race venue at Riverport is tight. I like to get there early to get a decent spot on the racks. And I love racking for a Duathlon as it is all minimal. Just a bike and a helmet. I then began to prep my legs and feet with a few easy stretches to warm things up.

After signing in, and having a few chats with some other racers, we all lined up and bam, we were off.

I quickly headed out at a decent pace, though it was a bit fast and I had to settle in. This was a 4km run to start and was dead flat. I had enough juice left in the tank to manage a 3:51 km/min average pace for a 15:24 overall time. Good enough for 7th fastest overall. I had hoped this year to start out with a sub 15 minute first run but with my injuries and the previous day's race, I was happy for sure with my result.

I entered T1 with 2 others and managed to get out of T1 first. My bike mount went well, even with the wet conditions  I just took  my time, popped up and then slipped into my shoes. Once I was all cinched in and buckled down, off I went.

I managed to catch up to Alan Miner ahead of me quickly, and got by him, but it didn't take long for him and another rider to get back in front. We managed to catch at least 1 more rider on course and pass him, but were passed by at least 1 slower runner.

I felt good on the bike and decided to push it as best as I could, being that it was only a 28 km ride. I decided to stay with Alan and not try to fight him for position, though. He was setting a great pace and I hung back just out of the drafting zone and matched. We came in together and I managed an average pace of 34.6 km/hr for only the 14th fastest bike split of the day, but was in 8th place overall. I did manage to have a faster bike split heading into T2 than Alan did, mostly due to my faster T1.

I also got out of T2 faster than Alan did, but the pain in my heels was setting in and my legs were starting to fade within the first kilometer. Just before half way into the second run Alan passed by me. I decided to not push it at this point as things looked clear behind me. I wanted to finish strong and as long as my ankle didn't conk out on me I would be fine.

I stayed within sight of Alan the whole way, but never was able to pull in any closer. He ended up beating me by a little over 30 seconds. Including T2 time, I managed a rather meager 4:18 min/km pace to finish out the final 4km. My actual run pace was better than that at a flat 4 min/km. So I guess I shouldn't complain, but I should get faster at T2 it would seem.

I crossed the finish line strong in 8th place and went home with the 1st place medal for my age group, Men 30-39. I had an overall time of 1:21:05, a full 5 seconds faster than last year. Well any bit faster is better.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Another Double Header Weekend - Part 1 Rum Runners

So last weekend was another double header. The last time I did this it was a triathlon on Sunday followed by the Natal Day road race on Monday. That time around the triathlon was my main goal, and the Natal Day race was more of a bucket list type deal. Sure I did well at the Natal Day race, but ultimately could have done better.

This time around I had 2 events scheduled for one weekend, but both were important to me. First up was the Rum Runners Relay, a 110 km journey from Halifax to Lunenburg in 10 stages. The next day would be the Riverport Duathlon, a 4/28/4 km event to close the Tri Nova Scotia Season. And lets add to this. Weeks ago after the Shubie Tri was done, I noticed I had hurt my heel and hadn't been able to train for the last 3 weeks. I had managed a few runs the week of, easy ones. My problem was that I couldn't tell until after I started running if things were going to hurt.

So Rum Runners is rather special to me. I love the team atmosphere and it is the only relay event I do. Plus I had the glory leg, the final, good old number 10. And chances are that I may or may not be around this time next year for another go at it. So I had to go ahead and chance the foot.

It was a rainy, windy day with cool temps. Yay! I traveled with Mike Milloy most of the day joining the rest of our team at around Leg 5 in Hubbards. As is usually the case, I do my best to stay dry heading into my leg, so I carried a large umbrella. This still meant that I got wet feet, luckily I was wearing wool socks though to keep warm.

It was great watching my team mates run their legs and cheering them on. It was obvious that Ian M's marathon training had really paid off as his time increased well over the last year. And Mike M's pace was rockin'.

I finally lined up at 5:37 PM. I was already tired from a poor nights sleep, worried that I was going to reinjure myself and cold from the rain and wind. For the first time I was trying kinesio tape on my foot / calf for any extra help, had a few ibu's to reduce any swelling, and coated my legs in Rub A535 to get some heat going on. I had also opted for using my triathlon shorts in all the rain as I so hate running in wet clothes that are baggy.

Off we went to run from scenic Mahone Bay to Lunenburg, 10.9 km's away. I decided that I might as well go out moderately hard and not hold back. If my injury decided to show up I might as well be as far into the leg as possible before needing to walk.

After the first kilometer things had leveled out a bit and I found myself in 7th place. At this point status quo was going to be my game. I settled down from my initial pace of about 3:50ish min/km to a pace around 4:05 or so. By 3 kilometers in I managed to slowly catch and pass Mark Campbell, though he would remain maybe 100m back from me the rest of the run.

What shocked me was that at 4.5 km I looked back and saw Mark, the road and no one else. Then 1 kilometer later a guy blew by me while I was running a decent 4 min/km pace. Yikes, where did he come from? Oh well, no worries.

While the rain and cold was annoying when not running, it was actually not bad once the run started. The humid air kept me from needing to grab any water at the stops, and the slight chill was rather welcome.

Now while the rest of this leg was extremely easy mentally, the end was anything but. I started miss the first turn but was helped by a corner worker, then in town there were a series of turns which I was unsure of. At this point Mark caught back up and we ran side by side for a bit. Unfortunately I was at  my limit and mark still had more gas in the tank and got about 50 meters ahead of me.  I would eventually get close but never had a real chance to get him at the end. There is always the maybe and maybe if I wasn't racing the next day or maybe if I wasn't injured etc... I could have caught and passed him but it really doesn't matter. That day and that time Mark was better and I had no problem with that. I ran home standing up, injury free and happy for the team and myself.

Overall we had a team pace of 4:57 min/km over the 10 legs and finished a great 29th out of 70 teams. Personally I had an 8th place finish (3 top tens in a row) with a time of 44:03 for 10.9 km and a pace of 4:02. I was pretty impressed with that over last years pace of 4:11 (for 12.9 so slightly longer).  Also as a team we received no penalties. Great stuff guys!

I used yellow tinted glasses to simulate a sunny day. I think it may have worked!

I was a little sore that evening, but happy and ready for the next days event. Luckily I had a hotel room in Lunenburg so that I could have a leisurely next morning before heading on to Riverport.