Friday, June 27, 2014

2014 Ironman Syracuse 70.3 Race Report

Race Date: June 22, 2014

Race Details:

1.9K Swim
90K Bike
21.1K Run

I vowed after last years race, there was no way I'd be back to do this race, due to the crazy run and the gong show that was trying to leave the race site.  However, when WTC decided to hold the 2014 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mont Tremblant, CANADA, I decided I needed to find a race to do to get into this!!

Many people did Muskoka last year, but that didn't work for me since I was already doing the 2013 70.3 World Champs in Las Vegas the same weekend.   As  result, I decided to give Syracuse another shot, hoping that they would have figured out how to resolve many of the athlete complaints from 2013.   In the end, they did just that, and this race was a HUGE improvement over 2012, mostly in terms of weather, but the parking situation was also very easy this year.

I was able to recruit a buddy from Barrie to do the race with me as well, so at least I didn't have to make the trip on my own.   In the end, there were three of us who all went to Syracuse.   Myself, Carlos Vilchez from Barrie and Graham Dunn, from Kitchener, who is also on the Health & Performance team I am on.

Last year I did this race under the coaching guidance of Wolfgang Guembel, but for 2014, I am back to just doing things on my own.   I learned some good stuff from him, but I felt that I could easily do this myself again this year, incorporating much of what I learned from him into my own training.

I've been having a good year so far, setting various PB's here and there, so I was again optimistic that I could have an even better race in Syracuse this year compared to last year.   In 2013, it was hot as sh*t for the race which hurt many people's overall times.   This year the weather was looking just perfect, so I knew that was going to help too.   Race day presented sunny skies, light winds and warm, but very little humidity.

Onto the race.   I was way back in wave 16, so I started at 8:10am, a full hour and 10 minutes after the pros went off at 7am.   This sort of sucked, but also meant I'd have lots of company out on the course, and I sure did!

I was in the first of two M40-44 waves and at 8:10, the horn sounded and it was game on!   I swam pretty hard for the first 200-300m to try to get away from the main chaos that is the swim start and also to see who at that point was also going to be still with me.   My goal was then to find some feet and just let this person pull me around the race course.

This pretty much worked to a T, as I found a guy just a bit up ahead of me, so I put in a short effort and snuck right in behind him.   I was actually quite surprised how little traffic we seemed to have to swim through, despite there being hundreds and hundreds of other swimmers still out in the water from waves that started ahead of us.   I just focused on keeping the bubbles from his feet right in front of me.

At times, I thought maybe he wasn't taking the most perfect lines, but the effort was very comfortable throughout the rest of the race, so I just stayed with him and let him dictate what my swim time was going to be.

It didn't take long and the swim exit was just ahead.   When I stood up, my Garmin read low 30 something, which wasn't too bad I thought, and actually a bit faster than last year so I was pleased given I felt like I hardly did any work at all and felt great!

I quickly got my wetsuit off my torso and immediately ran to a wetsuit stripper to do the rest.   Unfortunately, I only got one instead of two, and she struggled a bit with it on my feet, but it was only a few second delay, no big deal.

My official swim time came in at 30:58 to the mat, which ended up being 21st in my AG out of 249 athletes, so off to a good start.

The run to T1 is a bit long, but given I didn't have to deal with my wetsuit, I was able to quickly get my bike stuff on, grab my bike and get going.   T1 took 2:28, which was pretty average given the size of the transition zone and that it was all on bumpy grass and that I had such a long way to run with my bike.

The bike course has a long grinding uphill in the first 18.5K, followed by a few fast descents and a bunch of other sharp climbs.   Overall, the last 60K is net downhill, which partially offsets the much slower avg. speed from the start of the race.

Nutrition wise, I stuck with my Infinite approach.   A normal concentrate in my PD aerobar bottle up front and a more concentrated solution in a bottle behind my seat.   I then took water at pretty much every aid station.   All went well.

Power wise, I was looking to go about 260-265 avg. for the race which was higher than last year, but I think I'm just a bit stronger so I thought I'd go for it if I wanted to get a podium/Worlds spot this year.

Overall, the ride could best be described as "On Your Left".   I bet I said it a hundred times, as I likely passed close to 1500 athletes who started in waves ahead of me.   The course was pretty busy with traffic from start to finish.

The first hour of the race my avg. power clocked in at 274 watts, which was a bit high I thought, but it did include the long uphill and I was feeling pretty good.

The second hour of the race came in at 263 watts, as I was able to get into a bit more of a consistent rhythm.   I was still feeling pretty good, so I continued to push on.

All was going really well until we almost got back to the race site.  There was about a 2M no pass zone, and unfortunately, I got stuck behind a female athlete who was just puttering along.   The speed went from about 42kph to about 28kph and the power in this hour segment was dropping off like a rock as I was literately coasting along.   Near the end of the no pass zone, I looked back and there was a pack of about 25 guys all shaking their head and getting frustrated.  Eventually it ended, and I pushed the pace back to the transition zone.

All said and done, I biked 2:24:46 at an average power of 263 watts, normalized power of 270 watts and an average speed of just over 37kph.   This was a very nice improvement over last year in terms of power and time (about 20 watts higher and almost 8 minutes faster).   I had the 4th fastest bike split in my AG, which actually moved me up to 4th overall in my AG starting the run.

T2 went pretty well and I was out in 1:15, only a few seconds slower than the top guys in my AG.

In order to fix the parking lot exit problem, the run course changed slightly this year.  We now had to run around the outside of the grass field before climbing a hill and getting onto Apulia Rd.   The Syracuse run course is notoriously hard, and although this change wasn't hugely significant, there's no denying that it made the course a bit harder than it already was.   It added more running on uneven bumpy grass and another fairly challenging quad burning hill climb to the already two stupid hard climbs on the course which we have to do twice.   Heck, even Jordan Rapp, multiple Ironman Champion described the Syracuse run course as "Absurd" - proof, see here.   How local Cdn kid Lionel Sanders runs a 1:09 half there boggles my mind.  It was such an awesome run, he even got his own thread on Slowtwitch.

By the time I got out on the course, most of the top pros were done their race (depressing for sure), but there were tonnes and tonnes of people out running.  The section of road on Apulia was a bit congested at times, but overall I had no issues.

When I hit the first hill, I ran about half way up before I slowed down and powerwalked for about 10m.   I did this 2 or 3 times on each hill.   I kinda of expected this, so I didn't let it discourage me.   I just find it lets the heart rate come down a bit and breaks the hill into tiny little sections.

Once at the top of the last hill, it was time to hammer back to the finish line/turn around point to repeat everything I just did all over again.   The run back went well, except for the downhill running that crushed the quads.

I don't think anyone in my AG passed me on the first lap, but not too long into the start of the second lap a guy in my AG did go flying by.   He was moving really well, so I just let him go and did my thing, trying to keep a steady pace throughout and only walk for a short amount of time on the hills.

Eventually I made my way to the top of the last hill and the turn around point, and it was mostly all downhill back to the finish line.   I was starting to feel decently tired, but the 2K "flattish" stretch along Apulia allowed me to open things up a bit.

Just before starting the final climb on Apulia to the parking lot entrance I spotted Carlos, who started 25 minutes earlier than I did.   I had seen him at various times on the run course, and was slowly gaining on him, but I was unsure if I would catch him before the finish line.

As we made our way around the parking lot section, I caught him and we ran together for a bit before I pulled away and kicked it up a bit for the last 500m or so into the finish line.

In the end I ran 1:33:31 for the run.   Not great, but not terrible either.   It was a pretty steady and consistent effort that was about 8 minutes faster than the prior year and 13th fastest in my AG.   I did lose one spot and finished 5th in my AG, which is the same spot I finished last year.   My total time was 4:32:56 which was about 18 minutes faster overall than the prior year.

Garmin Run File

Strava Run File

2014 Syracuse 70.3 Overall Results

There were 8 allocated Mont Tremblant World Championship spots in the M40-44 AG and I did take one of them.   This means I'm heading back to Tremblant in September to race.   Ideally, I want to put forth a faster time than I did when I went 4:25.   That's the goal anyway!!

So overall, I was pleased with the effort on the day, and after waiting around for a few hours to get cleaned up and our stuff out of transition, we eventually headed out and were pleasantly surprised to be able to leave the parking lot in about 2 minutes!  Much much faster than last year.

Same as last year, we headed directly to the Dinosaur BBQ for mandatory refueling for the long trip home back to Canada.

Celebratory post race dinner at the Dino BBQ

Next up for me will likely be the Multisport Belwood triathlon, before beginning some serious Ironman training leading up to both the 70.3 and Ironman World Championships this fall!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Waterloo Classic 10K Road Race 2014

This was the 2nd year in a row for doing this race.   I raced it for the first time ever last year on the H&P team.  I had a good time of 38:10 and coming in 3rd master overall.   

This year, the race took on a bit more excitement as I was on Team Mike.   Read more about the different teams and the draft process here H&P Waterloo Classic Results 

I was definitely shooting for a time close to 37:30.   This wouldn't be a PB, but certainly a good time on this course, which has it's fair share of hills.

It was a beautiful day, which allowed all the runners to warm up outside on and inside the track at Waterloo stadium.

The race kicked off at 9am and it was a huge sprint for the 50m down the track before making a sharp turn through the gates before hitting the roads of Waterloo.

The pace was fast and I was doing my best to keep fellow H&P teammate Greg Dyce in my sites, as he was the one I was lined up against against the other H&P team, Team Dave.

After the first 3K of the race, my average pace was pretty much around 3:30/K, which is pretty darn quick for me, and I was pretty surprised at this point.   The pace felt challenging, but I really wanted to push myself today to see just what I could do.

I went through the 5K point in 17:40, which would be a new 5K pb for me, but if it's not in an actual 5K race, it doesn't seem to count!   Just past the 5K mark, I passed a fellow H&P runner Ahmed Ahmed, who was actually drafted ahead of me in the team draft, so that was encouraging.

At about the 6K mark, the same runner (Gigantor) that I battled with at the Waterloo Half Marathon caught and passed me.  I tried to stay with him, but he was just going a bit faster than I seemed to be able to go today, and he slowly pulled away as we crested the hill on Westmount.

As we approached the turnaround point for the 10K I could see where I was overall.  I figured I was in about 12th overall, and judging by the athletes I saw coming back, I thought I was the top master runner.

Unfortunately, as we got back to the top of the hill, another runner caught me, and I was definitely a master runner, so I knew I had to stay with him.   I did just that pretty much all the way back to the 9K mark, where he ever so slowly inched away.   I know I was going to be disappointed if I lost to him at this point, but I can say 100% that I was going as hard as I could (I think!).

Only about 600m left in the race
As we got back to the track, it was only 350m to the finish, but we had to dodge, duck and dive around the slower 5K runners still finishing their race.

I pushed hard, but could not reel in Mark Meyers, who finished as the top master.   I crossed the line only 3 seconds after him in 36:46, which was a new 10K pb for me and was much better than my 37:30 goal time.   I ended up 13th overall and second master which allowed me to take home the $75 cash prize for that, which was a sweet bonus!

As far at the MikeVsDave H&P team battle, Team Mike lost by only 10 seconds overall, which is the combined time for the top 5 athletes on each team.   Man, that was close.

After the race, I chatted with all the members of the team, had some food, did the awards thing and headed home pleased with my result.  The following weekend I headed to Syracuse to the the Ironman Syracuse 70.3 for the second year in a row.   See my next blog post on how this race went (hint, it went well!!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

2014 Woodstock Sprint Triathlon Race Report - May 25, 2014

Race Details:

750m Swim
20K Bike
5K Run

Last year when I did this race, it was close to freezing when I left my house.   This year, the air temperature was warmer for sure, but because of the cold winter and spring, the water temp was still only 59 or 60F.

After arriving at Pittock Conservation area, I quickly got myself organized and did a short ride/run to warm up and then got my wetsuit on and made my way to the chilly waters.

After getting in the water, it was indeed cold, but it was such a nice sunny day, I knew it wasn't going to be too bad.   I did a short swim and got some water in the wetsuit to adjust things up a bit and then waited for my wave to kick off at 9:08, which was the 3rd wave of the day.

When the horn blew, I tried to put in a good effort to get some space, but this only moderately worked.   I still fond people grabbing my legs and bumping up against me for likely a few hundred meters.   I found the water so murky that I couldn't keep in good contact with other swimmers around me, so drafting wasn't working all that well.

I eventually made it to the first turn buoy and started running into slower swimmers from other waves.   After rounding the last turn buoy, I made a push back to shore and when I was finally able to stand up, my Garmin said 12:00 right on.   This was a bit disappointing, as I was hoping to be around 11:30 or so, which is what I believe I did last year.   It's always hard to tell in the swim if the distance is exactly the same, but overall, I was in a decent position, as I don't think there were too many white caps around me as I was coming back.   It turns out I had the 4th fastest swim in my AG race day.  I think the colder water slowed most people down a bit.

Swim exit
Into T1, and I think I did a decent job.   I had a bit of a struggle getting my wetsuit off my left arm, but I did get it before I got to my bike.   I didn't have too many issues getting my wetsuit off either, so it wasn't too bad.   In the end, T1 took 59 seconds.   How the fast guys manage to get in and out in less than 40 seconds is amazing to me.

Onto the bike, we once again had the tricky run to the mount line and then a slow and rough climb out of the park.   I waited until we were completely out of the park before I slipped into my bike shoes.

Once in, I started hammering!!   The first 3K is mostly uphill, and the watts were pretty close to 300 at this point.   We faced a mostly cross wind going up this stretch to country road 33.   Once on county road 33, we enjoyed a fast tailwind, but the road surface wasn't great.   I continued passing lots and lots of other racers at through this stretch.

A few K down the road, we made a right turn and had a fairly fast and smooth trip down to the turn-around point at 10K.   After the turn, it was back into a slight headwind/cross and I continued to make my way through the field, holding about 290 watts or so on average.   I was able to pretty much hold those watts all the way back to the park, which was good to see.

Heading out on the bike
Once back at the conservation site, it was a no pass zone to the mount line, so we had to take things fairly easy down the hill and around the corners, as there was still quite a bit of gravel on the roads also.   I stopped my garmin just before the mount line this year, to get a better reading for the bike portion of the race.   Here is the Strava ride file for the race.   It was good to see that absolutely zero people passed me on the bike, and that I had the fastest bike split in my AG (32:16) and 10th fastest in the entire race.

2014 Woodstock Sprint Tri Bike File

T2 went fairly well and I was in and out in 37 seconds.   One of the fastest in my AG.

I started the run with the weird feeling in my feet like I had last year.   It felt sort of like my insoles were bunched up, but at least it went away quickly.   

The first K of the run is on some loose gravel trails, uphill slightly and into the wind.   I pushed pretty hard to make sure I got a good start and the first K went by in 3:58 and I was feeling better as the run went along.

At this point, I was seeing lot's of the elite guys from the first wave coming back and I was watching the legs on the guys I was passing to see if anyone was in my AG.   I didn't see anyone in my AG the entire run, so I was taking this as a good sign.   This year, there wasn't anyone on the run that passed me either.

Last year, the turn-around was slightly long, but this year it seemed like it was bang on.   On the return trip to the park, I tried picking up the pace a bit and with only 1K to go, I pretty much put it all out there and finished the last K with a 3:45 average.   I crossed the finish in 1:05:47 and a final run time of 19:28 for the 5K.   My finishing time was just under 2.5 minutes faster than last year which was good to see.   The better weather played a big part of that, but I did have a faster overall bike and run this year compared to last.

Finishing up the run

2014 Woodstock Sprint Tri Run File

After finishing I grabbed some chocolate milk and food and chatted with a few other racers before checking results.   In the end, I finished 2nd overall in the M40-44 AG and 16th overall in the race which was an improvement over last year.

2014 Woodstock Sprint Triathlon Overall Results

40-44 AG Podium
As this was the first triathlon of the year around this area, the competition in Woodstock was pretty high.   The top two finishers in the race are totally capable of podium spots in most 70.3 races around the world.

Up next is the Waterloo Classic with my H&P teammates.   This one is going to be a good time for sure!!   Then I am doing Syracuse 70.3 again on June 22nd in hopes of grabbing a Mont Tremblant 70.3 World Championship spot.   So far so good though!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Baden 7 Mile Road Race - May 10, 2014 Race Report

This race was previously the New Hamburg Classic prior to being taken over by the Run Waterloo series.   I always put it on the schedule since it is a home town event for me.

The course changed slightly this year, making it a bit more challenging and running to the top of the Baden aerial tower, which is supposedly the highest point in Southwestern Ontario (but I couldn't confirm this on the internet).   

The view to the top of the aerial tower.   A short 200m climb at approx. 20% grade
What I can confirm though is that the view at the top is pretty spectacular.   This was more easily confirmed the weekend before the race when a bunch of us did a few practice runs on the course.   On race day, I wasn't trying to take in much of the scenery!

The race started back at the Wilmot Rec Centre (WRC) just past 9:30am.   We had a pretty large group of Health & Performance runners doing a mix of the 7 miler and the 5K.   In addition, my son Holden was doing his third 5K race of the spring.   Here are a few shots of the start.

Holden is on the far right in the orange

Cool shot of Holden jumping the curb to stay in the mix and of course H&P coach Sean leading everyone out at a blistering pace

The race headed around the WRC before heading out on Gingerich road and taking a straight shot to the aerial tower.  Wrapping around the WRC, I found myself in about 7th or 8th place, but the start was a combination of both the 7 miler and the 5K, so I wasn't sure exactly where I stood in the 7 miler which I was doing.

I quickly found myself running with fellow H&P runner Greg Dyce.   I was pretty sure he was doing the 7 miler, so I was thinking this was ideal, knowing I was really hoping to be running with someone on the way back, given the windy conditions on the day and the fact that we had a tailwind out and massive headwind coming back.

Leaving the WRC and ripping down Gingerich Rd.
The wind was howling out of the west on race morning, so we had a tailwind going out (which by the way, never helps you as much as a headwind slows you down!) and a big headwind coming back.

Just past the 1k mark of the race, we enjoyed a fast downhill section to Foundry St. in Baden.   At this point, we were all amazed how much of a lead coach Sean had in the 5K.   He reached the 5K point way ahead of everyone and at a blistering pace of 3:10 or so.   Crazy!

Once our group hit the 5K turn around, it became clear where everyone stood in the 7 mile race.   After a few more people made the turn, I learned I was in 4th place in the 7 miler, just a few steps behind Greg, which was perfect.   To this point, our pace was about 3:42/km, but we now faced a pretty much non-stop uphill run to the top of the tower hill.   It was a gradual climb for the most part, with a short little hill to get to the tower hill driveway off of Synder's Rd.   Here are some more cool shots on the way out to the tower hill.

I see quite a few H&P singlets at the front of this race

Trying to keep a steady pace

Working with Greg Dyce, just a few steps behind him

After making the climb up Synder's Rd, we made a 180 degree turn onto the driveway which took the runners to the top of the tower hill.   This was a gravel driveway and it was a bit soft in spots.

Part of the race was a race "Prime" for the fastest uphill/downhill part of the steepest climb.   The timing mat was right before we started the big haul up the hill.   Going up the hill, I just tried to stay with Greg and keep the feet turning over.   At the top, the race organizers had a 65+ pound cast iron bell that we could ring to symbolize our accomplishment of reaching the top!   It was super cool, but when I got to the top, my legs were almost quivering from the effort.    Here's some more cool shots of the hill climb.


The PAIN!!!

The cast iron BELL!!

The "I'm not sure I can feel my legs anymore!!!"

Tonnes and tonnes of blue and white H&P!!

Out of control on the DOWNHILL!!
Now that the hill was done, we now had to deal with 40kph head and cross winds on the 5.5K trip back to the WRC.   When we got back to Synder's Rd, Greg, myself and another runner were all very close.   At the top of the hill, I could see the runner that was in 2nd place for the first half slowing down just a bit and Greg was going to sit on his shoulder to freshen up.   I made a decision that we needed to make our move now, so I ran up to him and tapped him on the back and said "Let's Go", and off we went speeding down the hill towards Baden.

This strategy seemed to work really well.   We each took turns blocking each other from the wind for 500m stretches at a time approximately.   By the time we got back to Foundry, we had a decent 100m or so lead over the next runner.

The climb back up Gingerich at Erb Transport was tough!   Into a big headwind and up a hill.   Our pace slowed a bit obviously, but I wasn't feeling too trashed at that point, so I just kept working with Greg.   Once past the roundabout at the top of the hill, I knew we would be sheltered from the wind a bit because of the trees, so I tried picking up the pace to see where Greg was at.

Once we came around the corner and hit the wind again, I decided I would just give it what I had, and see what happens.   It was at this point that I started to pull ahead from Greg, so I just carried on hoping I wouldn't lose a sprint finish like I did at the Waterloo half marathon.

The finish of the race (as seen below) was inside the arena.   Just before entering, I made a quick check to see where Greg was at, but it looked like I had second place locked up and crossed the line in 43:52, 2nd overall and first in my AG.

So overall, I was pretty happy with the results. 

Holden did well in his 5K coming in with a time of 24:19 and 3rd place in the under 12 category.

With Ken MacAlpine, the 7 miler winner
Holden in the U 12 category (he's only 10, so big things to come from him!)
Congrats to the Run Waterloo group for putting together a great race!  The first of many Baden Road Races!   Up next for me is the first triathlon of the season in Woodstock on May 25th.   I hope the ice is all out of the water by then!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Waterloo Half Marathon - April 27, 2014 Race Report

It's been a while since I've raced a stand alone half marathon.   My previous half was the Hamilton Road to Hope back in November 2011 where I ran just under 1:22 and qualified for the New York City Marathon (but ultimately couldn't go to because of Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012).   The Hamilton Half is a pretty fast course, so I wasn't going into this one expecting to PB, especially since I just ran an 8K PB the night before in Elmira.

The race starts and finishes at Bechtal Park in Waterloo and the weather race morning was clear but a bit cool and breezy.   Pretty good conditions, but not perfect.

Some H&P Runners pre race
The full marathon kicked off at 8am and the half started at 8:30 am, so after getting warmed up and hitting the washroom for a final time inside the soccer house at Bechtal, I made my way over to the start line where I chatted a bit with Greg Dyce, another H&P runner doing the race.   I did pop one gel immediately prior to the start with a plan to take another at about the 10K point with some water, and then supplement with water/Gatorade at the aid stations as required.   Nothing too complicated.

Right at 8:30, the race kicked off with some bag pipers playing and sending us off.   Leaving the park, I was just behind Greg and in about 7th or 8th place overall.

Heading south on Bridge, we hit a steep downhill section just before the roundabout and grand river bridge.   Sometimes running fast downhill hurts as much as going uphill.   You just do it a lot faster!

Eventually we turned onto Bloomingdale Rd. and this is where we started a gradual uphill climb and into the wind for about 4kms.   I started this section running by myself, but eventually a guy came up from behind and passed me.  
This guy's name was Thomas Hope, and as it turns out, we would spend a lot of time together during this race.   I had never heard or seen him before, but he turned out to be a pretty solid runner and he as a BIG DUDE.   From here on in, I will refer to him as Gigantor, since he was about 6 and a half feet tall (at least) and likely over 200 lbs.   Just a big solid guy!!

He likely passed me at about the 2.5K mark, and I just tucked in behind him for a while as he did a great job of blocking the wind for me.

For the next several K, I just followed him, and we eventually started picking off some of the runners up ahead of us, including Greg.  

As we left Bloomingdale, I took the lead again from Gigantor, and we were running in 3rd and 4th place overall in the race.   Gigantor always just kept off my shoulder and within 10 or 20 feet from me the entire race.   Here is a shot of us as we coming up on the 10K point.

Trying hard to drop the big guy!

Shortly after passing the 10K mark, there was an aid station and that's where I took my second gel.   

As we passed 11K, we started a pretty steady and long climb up into the town of Conestogo.   This is where we finally caught up to the guy running in 2nd place.   On the climb up to Conestogo, we both passed him so we were now running in 2nd and 3rd overall.

Once at the top of the hill, we were in the middle of the town and we had a short flat run to Northfield, before heading south and with the wind.   This section was a bit rolling, but overall, a net downhill.   The pace picked up a bit again, as we ticked off a few K's in the low 3:50's.  

I did get a bit of motivation from fellow H&P athlete Dave Rutherford as he drove by on this section, but Gigantor also got some motivation as his family drove by and were screaming and cheering for him!

There was a slight uphill again as we got onto University Ave and then faced a bit more headwind while running slightly NE for a little while.   A short bit down Northfield, we had to do a small out and back section that I was totally not expecting.   I looked over the course maps prior to the race, and I thought we ran straight back University to Bechtal Park, but there was about a 1K out and back on Country Squire Lane and Rd. that we had to do and that was a bit deflating.   Gigantor wasn't even aware of it, so we were both surprised.

It was in this section that we saw Ed Cyr, the race leader, so we got an idea how far ahead he was.   At this point, he was out of reach unless something terribly went wrong for him.   I'd say he was a good 500-600 meters ahead.

Once back onto University, we cruised a bit of a flat section before the downhill/uphill at Lexington.   I picked up the pace a bit on the downhill, and tried to just focus on some quick turnover back up the hill past Lexington.   I was sort of hoping that I would be able to snap the elastic band between Gigantor and I, but no luck, he stuck to me like glue.

Just past the 19K point in the race, coach Sean Delanghe was out ripping around again on his mountain bike, so he decided to ride with us for a bit, offering up words of encouragement (mostly to me I think, but because he is such a nice guy, he would keep everything plural).

I had in my head that with 20K to go, I would try to find that extra gear and hopefully lose Gigantor once and for all.   Unfortunately, he had the exact same idea, and as soon as we hit 20K, he made his move past me and was really picking up the pace!   I thought crap, I guess he has something in the tank after all!

It was at this point that Sean spent a bit more time back with me and was REALLY pushing me and making sure I kept up and didn't get dropped.   Looking back at the garmin data, we were running into the 3:30 per kilometer pace at times, and at the end of a half marathon, that is really pushing it.

I managed to keep within 10 feet of Gigantor, but he just wasn't slowing down.   As we turned the corner onto Bridge from University, Sean was really pushing me to make my move.   Unfortunately, I really was pretty maxed out at this point and just couldn't make the re-pass.

We entered the Bechtal Park again and I tried my damndest to pass him back, but to no avail.    With only about 100 meters left in the race, I sort of mentally gave up, as he was slowing pulling away and I was going full throttle!   In the end, after running in 2nd place for half the race with Gigantor right on my heels, I lost the sprint finish and had to settle for 3rd.

It really was a great finish nonetheless, as I can't say I have had too many sprint finishes in races like that before.   Here is a finish line shot, so you can see how close we really were.

As I said, I finished 3rd overall and was first place in my AG and the first master runner in a time of 1:23:50, 2 minutes off the race winner Ed Cyr (who is in his 20's!).   This was just 1:50 off my half marathon PB time, but on a much tougher course, and without running a hard 8K race the night before!

2014 Waterloo Half Marathon Results

Training Peaks Race Data

Garmin Race Data

After grabbing some food and chatting with other racers and friends for a bit, I headed inside to warm up and collect my cool emergency road side assistance prize from St. John's Ambulance for winning my AG.

So with 4 races under my belt in 2014, and 4 overall podium finishes, I am pretty happy with how well my running is going at this point.   We just need things to warm up and dry out so I can start getting in some solid and consistent bike training.   Tri season is right around the corner, and I am very much excited to get it off to a good start as well!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waterloo EndurRace 8K - April 26, 2014 Race Report

This 8K was the second race in the 2014 Waterloo Running Series EndurRace challenge.   The first race was the 5K two weeks ago which I finished 3rd overall and won my AG.

The temperature for this race was quite a bit cooler than it was for the 5K.   I think it was around 4 or 5 degrees and a decent wind blowing at times.

Similar to the 5K, the race started at 6pm at the Lions Club up in Elmira and followed much of the same route, except we had to go a bit further south.

The race kicked off right on time, and just like the 5K, a whole bunch of runners shot off the line like they were doing a 200 yard dash!   I pretty much found myself sitting in 3rd place after a few hundred meters, and shortly after the 1K mark, I passed the runner that was in 2nd place overall.   The lead runner was Brendan Hancock, another speedy Health & Performance runner.   He slowly but surely pulled away over time, and I really had no chance of catching him.   He's just faster than I am!

The first few K were pretty quick, as we mostly headed south on Arthur street before making a right hand turn onto Whippoorwill street.   I'd say the wind was mostly out of the NW, so running along this stretch was not too bad, as we were protected by some forest and some subdivisions.   Near the end of this street, it opened up and we were hit with some decent winds.

Near the end of this section, coach Sean Delanghe was ripping around on his mountain bike talking to a few of the runners, including myself.   Here is some video he took during the race:

We eventually turned right onto Barnswallow drive, and this was likely the toughest part of the race.   It was mostly into a headwind and the pavement on this road was terrible.   You had to be quite careful with your footing or you could easily go over your ankle in a pothole!

Still holding 2nd place overall, we made the right turn onto Church street and out of the wind.   This section was fairly fast, as it was mostly downhill before climbing back up to Arthur street again.   Back on Arthur, we headed south and retraced a bit of the course over again before making a couple rights onto First street and then Synder Ave.

Getting a police escort down Arthur Street in Elmira

The final push back to the start along Synder was a bit tough as we battled the wind one more time.

I eventually made my final turn back onto South street and crossed the finish line 2nd overall in a time of 29:39, a new 8K PB for me and the first time in a race I have run under 30 minutes for 8K!

So yah, I'm 41 now and just set back to back 5K and 8K PB's.   I guess training has been going well.   I think the key right now is (knock on wood) I am not dealing with any injuries and have been getting some steady, consistent training in across all disciplines (Swim, Bike and Run......remember, I'm a triathlete, not a runner!  LOL!).

With my 8K result, I also had the fastest combined time for the 5k and 8K (I guess I'm just lucky that none of the guys who beat me in both races also ran the 5K and 8K!).

After the race, I got a quick massage (since I was running the Waterloo Half marathon the next morning in about 13 hours) and chatted to other team members and friends while getting a bit of food into me.   I left right after the awards to get home, fuel some more and rest for tomorrows race.   Given the success of these two races, I was hoping to keep things rolling in the half marathon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Waterloo EndurRace 5K - April 12, 2014 Race Report

After the long cold winter, it was great to see warm conditions for this local race.   Unlike most races, it started at 6pm up in Elimira, instead of the normal morning start.   This meant I had to watch what and when I ate my food on Saturday so that I didn't start the race with much in my stomach, which would not have gone well.

Once again, I was racing on the Health and Performance Open team, as well as the Parent/Child division with my 10 year old son Holden.

We got to the race site about 45 minutes before the start, so Holden and I did a bit of warming up prior to getting to the starting line.

With Holden at the start

My wife Deanna was at the start, so she got some video of the race start as well.

When the gun went off, it was crazy to see how many people sprint off like they're doing a 100m race.   After a few hundred meters, I was likely still in about 20th or so overall, but slowly but surely started passing these sprinters as they ran out of gas.

Mike Piazza, also from Health and Performance was doing a great job of sticking with me, as we went through the first kilometer in about 3:32 (even though I did hear him say yikes or something like that after we heard the time from the volunteer yelling them out).  

Luke and Mike moving through the field
By now, we were in the top ten and were still moving steadily past other runners.

Just before the 2nd kilometer marker, I made my move past another runner into 3rd overall in the race.  

Not long after that, I got a bit of a stitch in my side, which isn't surprising given the fact that I was running much faster than I normally do, except when doing intervals.   Luckily, it didn't last long.

From here on in, I had a nice young lady on a bicycle basically pace me around the course through until the finish.  

The final push to the finish line
 I held my 3rd place spot right to the end, and crossed the line in 18:12, which is a new PB for me at this race distance.   Holden also had a great race finishing in about 23 minutes, which was good enough for us to secure the Parent / Child team race also.   Here's a great shot of Holden finishing up his race.   Awesome form.  If only he trained!

Holden has great form sprinting to the line!

Holden and I winning the Parent / Child team event

Our Health and Performance team also won the Open division (only one team though), but I think anyone else would have been hard pressed to beat us.   Our top 5 runners were all under 20 minutes and our top 3 under 19.   We had 3 of the top 6 overall finishers!   Solid team effort for sure!

Next up is the second part of this race, the 8K run April 26th.   There are awards for the fastest combined time between the 5K and 8K.   I hope to have another decent run there.  

The next morning I am doing the Waterloo Half Marathon, so that should be interesting.