Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Adding a New Stress to the Run Training

So sometimes you plateau in your training, it can be for any number of reasons, but it does happen. I think for me right now it is a little bit mental. So in times like this you need to add a new stress to the equation and see where that takes you.

For the past couple of weeks I have been strapping on the trail running shoes and joining a few others for an easy trail run. Last night I went out solo at Frog Pond and it was magical.

Nice shoes

The run starts on regular crusher dust trails that are moderately undulating. Then things get fun when you add some single track.

It was a little slick this day, which only added to the fun. At some points I thought I was running a trail when it would end and I realized I was just running though the woods. Due to the location I was running in, I wasn't overly worried about getting lost (though I did have my phone). Eventually it was back to crusher dust and hills. HILLS!

The varied terrain was a great way to shake things up. Often I was just walking fast to deal with slippery or overly steep conditions. It was a great workout for mind and body. Oh and belly!

And the views from the heights were really nice.

I am definitely keeping up these runs weekly for the foreseeable future. The new "stress" is just what I need to keep happy and healthy. But I will keep the heart rate monitor on for sure. You can easily watch your heart rate sky rocket on some of the climbs. Have fun all!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ingonish Triathlon 2015

Sorry, lag time since the race. But here we go.

The Ingonish Triathlon just happened. There were three distance options, Try-a-Tri, Sprint and Olympic. This year I chose to do the Sprint as it was a qualifier for the World's event next year. It also had the most competitors at 59. Yes, a small field, but locally that is becoming more and more the norm with so many options.

Anyway, I had been looking forward to this race and especially the weather forecast of good weather. As usual I arrived the day before, this let me check in early and allowed me to grab a quick practice swim in the lake we would be using for the swim.

The morning of the race arrived and what? Rain. Dang. Well at least it wasn't heavy rain, just enough to make everything a little wet. But what can you do. At least it was overcast and not hot!

Anyway, off to body marking. They are kind during World qualifiers to slap your age range on your leg.

Then off to bike racking. Keep things tight and organized and you won't fail. There are often many spots that are so crammed full of items I don't know how they can find anything.

It is a delight to see a swarm of bike (a school? a flock?).

A quick going over of the rules and the course and we were allowed to have a practice swim.

As usual, first race jitters always get to me. Tight chest, hard to breath etc... At least it wasn't too cold.

Finally it was our turn to start and off we went. Immediately I felt that tightness again. Last year I let it get to me, this year I had a plan. I alternated for a bit between breast stroke and side stroke and got moving. As much as I coudl I would dunk my face into the water and soon I was swimming normally. Yay. I caught and passed some people as we rounded the first buoy and I felt just fine.

Now I just wanted to swim straight and steady and things went really well. As I rounded the final buoy and headed back to the beach I was actually able to draft off a person for a bit which was fine. But ultimately she was swimming in a zigzag so i had to push a little hard to pass here and move on.

I left the water in 16:16. Not great but I felt good about it. Much better than last year, and take away the really slow start and not too bad for me. I was 31st out of 59 people. Almost top half! T1 was a slow 3:06, but that includes an almost 1/2 km run to get to your bike. And overall that was the 8th fastest T1 of the day.

Onto the bike. I had no idea really what position I was in, but I knew this course well and knew I just had to push as hard as I could (while avoid the giant potholes). A sprint is usually 20km but this one is just short of 24km. Still it is short enough that overbiking wouldn't hurt my run too much.

As I was approaching the final downhill before the turn around I started to count off cyclists coming back. That meant I was in 9th spot. Okay, not too bad and a top 10 is always nice.

That's me after the turn around and huge hill climb

I flew down the hill at 62km/hr, made the turn around and did huge effort to come back up, passing 2 cyclists on the way. Over the next 10ish km I worked myself up into 5th spot and entered T2 as such.
On the bike  I managed 33.6km/hr average, about 2 better than previous years, which was good enough for the second fastest bike ride of the day.

I hit T2 and immediately caught the guy who was in 4th place. A 32 second (5th fastest) T2 put me out on the run ahead of him.

This is a hard run, even at 5km. It is all hill going out and steep hill coming back. Not a lot of chance to get a good rhythm.  I started out too fast and slowed it down a bit. As my watch showed me my laps I would glance down, 4:07, 4:04, 4:06, then I stopped looking. Ugh.

As I reached the turn around, I started to push a little more. I could see the gap I had on 5th place, and had no idea what sort of speed he could put on in the down hill section.

As I got to the final straight away I looked back and was clear. Still I pushed it a bit for the last 400m to try and grab a good time overall. I crossed the line with the second fastest run in 19:46. That felt good. I managed 4th place overall, 3rd male, 2nd age group. I lost almost all of my time in the swim, so I am happy that my bike and tun are doing well enough.

No time to rest, more triathlons on the way. Time to hit the lake and practice, practice practice.