Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Victoria's Duathlon - May 23, 2011 - Race Report

Race details:

4K Run;
30K Bike;
4K Run

Just like my last race, this was only a "training race".   That being said, I wanted to put out a good "speed" effort and see how things went.   I was not well rested leading up to this race, as the Saturday before the race (the duathlon was on Victoria Day Monday), I did a 180K ride and a 10K brick run off the bike.   In total, it was just over 6 hours of training.   By far the most I had ever done in one day.   On the Sunday, I just did some family stuff and got ready for the race the next day.

The start time was a casual 10am start.  I got to the race site a bit before 9am to get setup, registered and do quick pre race ride and run.

About 9:45 or so, I made my way to the start line.   I decided to start in the first wave as an elite age grouper.   I do this in most races now, as I think I deserve it.   It gets you out on the course with the rest of the other speedy racers that also move up.

At 10am, the horn blasted, and we were off.  I found it a bit crowded at the start, but eventually found some open space and started cruising.   You start by going down a decent hill and then immediately going back up one and making a right hand turn down towards Laurel Creek.   The first K marker was just around the corner and I went through it in 3:41.   Not blazing fast, but pretty quick.   The second kilometer went downhill slightly before leveling out to the turn-around.   The 2nd K marker was right at the turn around, and I went through this one in 3:47.   The next 2K is simply retracing your steps back to the transition zone.   It's slightly uphill on the way back and these K's were around 3:52 each.   I spent most of my time running with Scott Dickie, a local athlete that I've done some training with around here lately.   We basically got back to transition together and headed out on the bike portion together as well.

T1 was just over 40 seconds, as we hustled over to the bike mount line.   I struggled a bit more than normal getting on my bike, as one of my shoes was dragging on the ground and caused me to lose my balance a bit.   Eventually, I was on, strapped in and cruising down the road.

The wind was strong today and coming out of the south for the most part.   The bike course is primarily west/east, so there were going to be some strong cross winds.   The wind was never really an issue until we made the left hand turn off of Kressler Rd.   I decided to use my disc wheel today, but looking back, it might have been better to use my Zipp 808.   The disc certainly did seem to catch a lot of wind, and I had to get out of my aerobars on a few occasions to ensure I didn't crash.   Scott had an incident with a race official at the left hand turn off of Kressler Rd., and this where I caught up to him, as he was starting to pull away a bit.   From this point forward though, we did a bunch of cat and mouse moves, where he would lead and I'd stay "legally" close, and vice-versa.   The speeds heading west were actually pretty good, as the average started moving up closer to 36kph.   We were definitely fighting with the wind though at this point.  

Eventually, we turned left again and headed toward Bamburg.   This part was directly into the wind, but sheltered at times by trees.   Luckily, it was short, and we quickly made the right hand turn in Bamburg out towards the turn-around point, approximately 5 or 6K out.   A few k west of Bamburg, I eventually passed Scott, and started picking off a few other racers.  It was pretty spread out at this point, so there wasn't a lot of passing going on.   I just stayed aero and kept the pace up as hard as I could.   I was definitely feeling some fatigue in my legs, but I just kept pushing.  

The turn-around point was up at the top of a large hill.   At this point, it looked like I was somewhere around 10th overall.   Given the wave starts, you never know for sure, but I was definitely feeling good about my efforts so far to this point.

After the turn-around point, we get to go back down the hill, and I used this to pick up as much speed as I could and to try and hold it for as long as I could.   I don't think I passed anyone on the way back to transition, and with approximately 5K left, Scott passed me at the top of a hill.   We remained pretty close the rest of the way back, and as we were within about half a K of transition, I passed him back one more time, as I decided to wait for the last 100m to get out of my shoes.   He started doing this a bit early in my opinion, which allowed me to get ahead of him before T2.   I got off the bike in about 47 minutes which was worked out to about 37kph.   The course is about 1K short, so the results had our average speed at about 38.4kph, which is not true.   I had no issues in T2 and was pretty much in and out of there in 35 seconds.

Starting the run, my legs were feeling heavy.   It didn't take Scott long to pass me, and I tried to stay with him.   I pretty much did for the first K, which I did in 4:00 (20 seconds slower than the first time).   At this point, he started pulling away and I couldn't go with him.   I was feeling pretty tired at this point, and just focused on running my race.    Just past the turn-around point, I saw another athlete (Ming Chang Tsai) who I knew was in my AG.   I tried to hold him off as long as I could, but today, the legs just didn't have a lot of kick.   He eventually passed me at about 2.5K, and surprisingly, didn't pull away much.   I ran fairly close to him back to the transition zone and finish line, but could not catch him.  Eventually, he finished 9 seconds ahead of me.   At the finish line, I was absolutely finished.   I had a good kick for the final K which I ran in 3:51, despite being totally out of gas.   I needed to hold onto something once I crossed the finish line in 1:19:10

Eventually, I recovered enough to chat it up with other athletes.   The general consensus was "now I remember why I hate duathlon's".   It was a hard effort in less than ideal conditions.    Shortly after finishing, it started to rain, so I grabbed some food and drink, went and picked up my gear bag by the fence and went over to our van to get changed into some dry clothes.

Once in some dry stuff, I made my way to the food tent and had a great pulled pork sandwich.   Thank you very much Pig Out Roasters!!   After wolfing down my sandwich, I made my way inside to see how the results shaped up.   I was happy to see I finished 4th in my AG and 19th overall.   This was a much better effort than I was expecting, so I was very pleased.

Up next is the Grand Rapids half ironman on June 5th.   I hope to be a bit more rested for this race, as I would still like to put forth a solid effort once again, despite it only being a "training" race in preparation for IM Austria on July 3rd.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 14, 2011 New Hamburg Hamburger Hill 7 mile road race - Race Report (sort of)

I say this is "sort of" my race report, because it wasn't really much of a race for me.   The prior day, I did a 4K Ironman swim, a 135k bike ride and a 10K brick run off of the bike.   In addition, since I wanted to get a long run of about 21K in this weekend, I decided to do this race twice.   Doing it once and then turning around and doing it again wasn't really what I wanted to do, so I decided to run it before the race.   I got to the race site at the New Hamburg Wilmot arena a little more than an hour early.   I was one of the first ones to get my timing chip and race number, and then I got ready to head out and do the race course once before coming back for the official 9am start time.

I left the arena about 8:10am planning to arrive back at the start line with about 5 minutes to spare before the race start.   The weather wasn't very good this day, and it off and on rained quite steadily.   The one good thing was that it wasn't too cold and it wasn't too windy.   There was a slight headwind heading east towards Sandhills road, but it wasn't too bad.

I was taking it fairly easy (about a 4:28/km pace), and after reaching the 5K marker of the race (the turn around point is just past 5.5K) I simply decided to turn around and head back to make the first run an even 10K.

With about 5-10 minutes to the official start of the race, I got back to the arena and put my water bottle that I was carrying for the first lap in my car, put on my race belt and jogged over to the starting line.   The race was a few minutes late to start, but eventually it got going.    

Last year, I won the Wilmot township division for fastest male, finishing just over 43 minutes I think (or about a 3:51/km pace).   This was not an option this year, as I just would not have been able to run that fast with all the training I've been doing (distance vs. speed).   I was happy to just take it easy and run comfortably.   I ran the first 4K of the race with George Clark, a friend of mine from Kitchener.   We were together until the big climb at Sandhills, where my legs started to get fatigued, so I encouraged George to carry on, while I back off the pace a bit.   Up until this point, I was doing about a 4:16/K pace, which quickly dropped off as I made my way up the hill on Sandhills road.   From this point forward, I was on my own.   There really was nobody to catch, and there wasn't anyone coming up on me from behind to run with.    So I decided to just run comfortably back to the arena and give words of encouragement and a few hand slaps to all the people I knew.

There was one other runner that stayed about 30-50m back of me for most of the return trip back to the finish line.   I kept watching to see if she was coming up, but she never really gained much ground, so I just kept trucking along back to the finish line.

The rain continued off and on throughout the race, but it didn't really matter.   Once you were wet, you were wet and it didn't really impact things at all.

Crossing the finish line, I was all smiles and barely out of breath.   I knew there was another runner from Baden (another small town in Wilmot township)that was well ahead of me in the race, so there was no chance of even "accidentally" winning the Wilmot township division this year.   As it turns out, there were two speedy guys from Baden, both finishing within about 45 seconds of each other, and about 5 or 6 minutes ahead of me.   In the end, I still got 3rd place in the Wilmot Township division in a time of 48:59 (last year I ran 43:26).   I really didn't care what my time was, as I just wanted the distance today, after yesterday's big training day.   Getting 3rd was just a bonus.

The following link are the race results:

Hamburger Hill 7 mile road race - Wilmot Township division

The great thing about this race is after the race.   One of the ice pads from the twin pad arena in town has the ice taken out, so everyone gets to relax and refuel inside out of the elements.    There was massage and some ART provided by the race sponsors.   I got some ART from Adam Willliamson of Dearborn Health.   This is actually who I go to see normally, so it was great to get the "free" session after the race.

In addition, the post race food here is some of the best around.   There was lot's of gatorade, chili, pizza, fruit, bagels, buns, cookies, etc.   Honestly, as the race director, Ted Seyler has told me, "This is the best race you have never heard of".   The turn-out is never too big, despite the challenging course and awesome venue for the post race activities.   There was also sufficient shower facilities if you wanted to get cleaned up after being out in the rain.   This year, there was a 200 m and 1K kids fun run which both my kids participated in, a 3K, 5K and the 7mile race, so lot's of different variety and something for everyone.   Overall, there was likely only about 200 or so people that participated across all three races (not including the kids races).   Hopefully in the future, we'll get better weather for this and the turnout can be much higher.

So overall, I was pleased with the day, and glad that a pretty large training weekend was done.   Between the brick run the night before and the double race, I did 31K of running to go along with 135K biking and 4K swimming, and making another decent step towards Ironman Austria on July 3, 2011.

Here's my Garmin data for the "race"

Hamburger Hill 7 mile road race - Garmin Data

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Product Review - Tommie Copper Compression Sleeves

I first heard of Tommie Copper through a mutual friend at my gym.   Lucky for me, this was right around the time I started having pain in my left knee after doing the Around the Bay 30K road race.   I was doing the Boston marathon three weeks later, so I was looking for something to get me back on track.

Even though the Tommie Copper compression gear can be worn during a workout to ward of fatigue or simply as an all day garment underneath clothing to aid in recovery, I was solely using it as a recovery tool.

At night time, I would ice my knee and then put the knee sleeve on and wear it to bed all night.

When it came time to run the Boston marathon, I did so with minimal pain in my left knee.   I'd like to think that the knee compression sleeve had a lot to do with that.   Below is a picture of the knee sleeve.

The other piece that I received from Tommie Copper were the calf compression sleeves.   Again, these can be used for either training or recovery, but I have typically used them as a recovery tool.   I am currently training for Ironman Austria, so I have been putting up some decent training miles in both biking and running.   I use the sleeves after all big workouts to help me recover as quickly as I can.   They seem to do a really good job at this.   The copper infused yarn used in the material is likely the secret to the quick heeling effects.

Below is a picture of the calf sleeve.

Overall, I found both pieces to be supportive to the muscles and not constricting to movement or circulation.  They are washable & very soft.  I would highly recommend them to anyone.

Their full line of products can be seen here http://tommiecopper.com/
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