Monday, March 4, 2013

Hey Ian, Done Any Races?

Well as the title suggests, I haven't been very good about keeping up with my race reports so far this year. I mean what with my posts about heated cycling gloves and training with heart rate zones, you would have thought maybe I just wasn't racing at all.

Well I actually have done a few races this year already, three in fact. So instead of big in depth reports, I'll throw out some quick reviews of those three races.

My first of the season was the Tri-the-Oval event. I did this one last year and had some issues during the race, so it was good to be back.  But, alas, I went into this one with some sort of weird ankle issue that had prevented me from doing much skating practice in the weeks leading up to it. Skating, Ian? What? Yes, this is a winter triathlon done in Halifax and starts with a 5km skate on the outdoor long track speed skating oval. From there you head off for a bike ride (it was supposed to be 15 km but I will discuss that) and finish with a  run of 4.5 (4.2) km's. So the big deal about this race was that we had some stormy weather heading into it, but not wintry stormy weather. No we had a big rain storm and 4 C temperatures. So that meant that we had to cross our fingers and hope the oval wouldn't be ruined. It wasn't and the skate was fine, the bike ride though was supposed to be a great onroad / off road kind of deal on mountain bikes. Sadly we had to eliminate most of the off road stuff due to the heavy ice and slush which cut the distance down quite a bit. The run was fun though with huge puddles, mud and slush. Anyway, my last years issues were not a problem this year. My ankle seemed to hold up well during the skate, thanks to a last minute modification to my skates and I left the ice in 27th position, with a time of 13:38, which was slightly faster than last year. My bike went well after I switched out to a different tire and upped the pressure. I managed the 5th faster bike split, which I think included T1. I rode in 16:41 for the 5.5 kms. And I finished with a decent run of 20:55 for the listed 4.5 kms and the 6th fastest time of the day. I had a horrible T2, not being able to get my helmet off,  so that makes my run time even better. I had a great day and finish strong in 9th place, well above my last year's placing of 15th.

The picture of me skating looked really bad.

Now a couple of week later I signed myself up for the MEC Point Pleasant Park Winter Classic 5K. Now there was a 10K option here folks, but I opted for the 5K. Why? Well I have been doing quite a bit of work at getting a fast 5K this year already and my first A race of the year will be the Atlantic Lung Run 5K. So I figured I would see how I might fair at the distance.

All racers started together and the 10K runners did 2 loops.  I figured I would  be able to grab all the data from this race and use it to see how my heart rate training was coming along. It was a simple 5K run on trails and ice. I knew this was not going to be a PB type race for me due to the terrain, but I hoped to still get a decent result and maybe crack the 19 minute world. Sadly I was only able to get a 20:28 but when looking through the results  it was plain to see that everyone's speed was quite a bit down. The hills were steep, but it was the running on patches of ice that really did it. Still I managed to get 3rd overall and 2nd male. I have a nice medal to show for it. And when I downloaded my Garmin to see how things went I was pleased that I managed to get my heart rate up to a high level and keep it there for over 17 minutes. Great stuff. And I didn't go for broke in the last kilometer, as I was too far behind second place. So it is good to know I probably have a little more free speed to go.

And look all smiles after the race! No pain!

The last race I have done was just this past weekend. It is a classic Nova Scotia race which I have never done, the Back to Basics 8 mile road race. Due to the price of the race ($5!) I couldn't pass it up. And I knew I was once again, not at my best, but this race would replace a threshold run for the week anyway, so why not go for it. 8miles is about 12.5 kilometers. Well my Garmin says 12.71 km.

It turns out this race is rather hilly. As in really hilly. My Garmin profile chart looks like a heart beat. No music was allowed as we were running on the roads, so I got  good song stuck in my head with a good beat (Pumped Up Kicks) and away I went. Now this race being much long than a 5K and having some really fast runners I really wanted to watch my pacing. I went out easily enough  but noticed that I was quite easily hanging with the leaders. So a quick glance said 3:30 min / km. Oh no I said to myself and began the process of slowing down. I hate slowing down as I feel like a freight train and it actually takes me 05 km or so to get down to the proper speed. Anyway, I got down to a 4:15 pace or so and felt comfortable there. By now I was close to a mile into the race and generally alone, with 2 women behind me and 8 people in front of me. I would stay there and keep a pretty decent pace for the next 5 miles  by which time the woman behind me finally caught up and passed me. Now she wasn't running so much faster than me, as I was kind of spacing out and drifting a bit. So I managed to pace right back up to her and use her as my pace bunny. It was great. I picked my pace right back up and hung in there easily. By mile 7 she said I could take off if I wanted to as she was just concerned with the lady behind us. But that lady was no where to be seen by this point. So I stayed where I was until I reached  half a kilometer to go. I felt like I had a little gas left in the tank so I thanked Erin and off I went, up the final climb and through the finish line in a time of 52:49. An overall pace of 4:09, not much off the pace I set for the MEC 5k. Great stuff I though as this was early in the season and my speed was already starting, this was the same time I ran at the end of the year 2 years back. And my heart rate data showed that I was actually slightly lower on average than my MEC race as well.

I finished the B2B  race 9th overall and 7th male. I looked at the times ahead of me and some were in the 44 min range. Yikes. I currently have no picture of this race to share sadly.

So it is really nice to see that my early season training is coming along, and thanks to training in my proper heart rate zones, I am not nearly as sore and tired as I used to be, all while getting far superior workouts.

Next up, the Lung Run. But that is a few weeks away yet, and I need to get a little distance into my feet as well, as I signed up for the Bluenose Half Marathon again.

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