Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Had a ride today

I'm in the middle of the big long workout push for Ironman Louisville.  I switched out my bicycle seat last week, and installed the thick cushy gel seat that I've used for all my previous Ironman races.  I kept thinking that I could perhaps get used to a regular seat like on my commuter bike, if I only gave it enough time.  Once the rides got up over 4 hours, I couldn't take it.  It's like sitting on a rock for too many hours.  The gel seat wroks for me, and was fine for today's 4-hour ride. 95 km.  Today I followed the roads towards Port Burwell, but turned back after 50 km.  The ride felt good.  A bit of burn in my right foot around 80 km, so I might need to see what I can do for that issue.  I've never had trouble with blisters before, so I don't exactly know what to do.  I feel strong.  Last weeks 20k went really well.  With the bike-seat trouble a couple weeks back, I was still having the uneasy feeling that maybe I can't do this.  I'm just starting to get over that, and looking forward to race day as a battle which I will overcome.

It's Tuesday, so I had the Running Room group run tonight with the Scotiabank half marathon group.  I didn't eat enough after the bike ride, and was whupped after 10 minutes.  Tomorrow is the Marilyn Manson concert, so it's a short day for workouts, and then a rest day.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Ironman summer

Training log (Tuesday)
Run 5 km slow
Run 5 km hill sprints

Presently I'm gradually increasing distance at the start of the large training push for Louisville in October. 

Monday, 22 July 2019

Registered for Penticton 2020

I always wanted to race there.  It's like a patriotic duty.  It's the True North Ironman Canada.  After the city cancelled the contract with WTC (Ironman), I would still have gone, if it was the official course, but that wasn't always there in the selection of events that the new organizer was offering.  When I heard that it was once again the Ironman race, THE Canadian Ironman race, I was determined to be there.  Right now, I have the time, I have the funds, so I'm registered and off to Penticton Aug 30 2020.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Ironman Lake Placid

Other than the details of the race itself, how was the trip overall?  Good, really good.  the weather was beautiful, until Monday morning for the drive home. It was mostly sunny, but not ferociously hot like it could be.  Race day was pleasantly cool in the morning, with more and more sunshine throughout the day, making it a wonderful bike ride.  Cool again in the evening for the run.  No rain affecting any day's activities.

I stayed in the village of Willmington, about 20 minutes drive North of Lake Placid.  Hence my worst fear was having car trouble.  Friday and Saturday have required activities, so if i'm stuck outside of town, i'm screwed.  The motel was a typical room, but cost over $200.  For what it cost, a few years ago I got a condo with room for 8 and a full kitchen in Mont Tremblant, so Lake Placid was definitely pricey.  Both Madison and Chattanooga had cheap hotels nearby, so for the overall cost, Lake Placid has a problem that way. 

My trip last year helped tremendously with navigating the city.  I parked every day at the big field on WesValley Road, which is just a 10-minute walk over the hill to the race site at the Olympic oval. Sign-in on Friday was quick.  They were concerned that I didn't have a companion to provide race support.  This shouldn't be done alone. The drive in from Wilmington was fine on race morning.  I even picked up a racer hitch-hiking after his ride dropped him way too far from the start line.   

I needed shoes.  I brought my typical 4 sets of footwear, but gave one to a hobo whom I picked up on the highway out of Toronto.  I sometimes pick up a hitchhiker, who's usually a local without a car, needing a ride to the city.  This guy was a professional drifter, making his way to the East coast, with plans on going out west later in the year. I found him on the on-ramp just east of Toronto, and brought him for the 3 hours to Cornwall where I cross the border.  Noticing he was just wearing socks, I gave him the shoes off my feet. They were the burner shoes that I meant to wear down to swim start and abandon.  when I unpacked, my training runners were missing.  The hobo was admiring them, and we might have left them in the parking lot at the gas station, or perhaps he took them too.  I don't know.  That left me with my race runners, and my slippers.  I tried wearing the slippers for the day, but they weren't good for walking, and my plantar fascitis began bothering me.  I went to the local Marshalls and bought some cheap sneakers as walk-around shoes.  I left them in my morning clothes bag and went barefoot like most everyone else, to swim start.

What Worked Well
- The motel in Wilmington.  I considered staying at the cheap Motel in Malone where i stayed last year, an hour away.  That's too far.  Wilmington at 20 minutes was just far enough.  I drove it quickly enough race morning, with no traffic issues when i got to the city.  I was able to drive home that night without being too tired.  I could even have eaten at McDonalds first, on the way out of town.  
- Nutrition.  I ate all 4 Clif Bars and all 4 Rice Krispies while on the bike.  It was great having them open and ready to go.  Fumbling to rip open the on-course food was no good in Wisconsin. 
- Riding easy.  I should have pushed harder, instead of cutting it so close to bike cut-off.  I loved having so much energy coming out of the gate to the run.
- Lots of run training.  Nothing like running to improve endurance and power.  I should have taken a refresher swim, but overall I wasn't hurt by my lack of swim training. If anything, I could have done more strength training to get my shoulders and back ready for the swim and bike.
- Lists.  I packed Wednesday night using a trip list and the triathlon list. Did i miss anything?  I meant to bring my bottle belt, but went for a run Wednesday, and it didn't make it into the packed set of stuff.  That's about it for the entire event.  I loaded my bags Friday night using the triathlon list, and everything that i needed was there when i opened the bag.
- The hitch mounted bike carrier.  A year ago I bought a SportRack carrier from a second-hand store.  I had to refit the hitch adapter for my 2-inch hitch instead of the 1.5 inch that it came with, but overall has worked great.  It is much easier to mount that the octopus rack which i used to use.
- Parking.  The field on WesValley road was easy to get to, always had a spot for me, and was really close to the event area.

What didn't work
- No bike computer.  My super-easy pace made it risky to make the cut-offs, so it was important to have the computer to measure my distance and figure out my estimated finish. 
- My feet.  Not sure it it was my shoe choice, or short taper.  I could have gone with my customary Asics.  Perhaps a set of new Nimbus 2000's, my favourites.  I could have  eased up further during the week or two before the race.  Who knows if either would have helped.
- No breakfast.  The McDonalds was closed at 5:30 in the morning.  I didn't know where to go for my customary coffee and egg sandwich.  All I ate was a granola bar.  I drank a Mountain Dew, but that just helped give me that bloated feeling during the swim.  With that little food, i had plenty of energy for the swim, but overall missed the coffee and eggs.
- Sleep.  I had trouble sleeping the week before, including the evening of the race.  I should have gone to the movies. That's worked well to calm my mind.  Going to the mountain Saturday to meditate on the race just got me worked up.  
- Mountain Dew. It was good to have in Chattanooga, but failed in Lake Placid.  When I dumped out the Run Bag, it split the can open and pissed Mountain Dew all over my stuff.  Half the can went down okay.  At run special needs pickup, i was starting to feel nauceus already, and the fizzy pop was no good for that, so I poured out most of the can.
- Running.  I probably could have gone back to my loping run after resting the ankle for a couple blocks.  After an hour of walking, I just couldn't pick up the pace to run steady again.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Ironman Lake Placid 2017 Race Report

Final 16:27:48
(2111th out of 2195 who finished on time - 2340 starters. 1572 men, 623 women; me 1523 among the men, 226 place in the M50-55 bracket)

The clock shows time of day at 11:25

The last time I wore my wetsuit was two years ago for the race in Wisconsin.  The last swim I had was for last year’s race in Chattanooga.  I should at least have done a cursory refresher swim.  I take several minutes to get into the groove, where my breathing has settled into a rhythm, and I’m at a steady pace.  This day, it didn’t want to happen.  I’ve gained 5 or 10 pounds, and the wetsuit felt tight.  I just couldn’t get my breath.  I took off the nose clip, to get more air when I breathe.  I did side-stroke for most of the first leg, out to turn-around for the first lap. My side-stroke is almost as fast as my front crawl, so I was making okay time, and could have finished that way.  I noticed a guy beside me with a really slow turnover.  That’s a good idea.  I slowed my stroke cadence down to half.  At that speed, I was able to get enough air, and calm my heart and breathing.  After turn-around, I was fine, and picked up to a comfortable speed doing front crawl.  I kept to the outside, letting the fast swimmers past completing their second lap.  The professionals set out at 6:30, and some made it back to the beach for the crossing to second lap even before I was in the water.  We age-groupers began at 6:40, self-seeding with the slower swimmers like me in the back.  I was with the final few, getting into the water at 6:58.  We each get 17 hours on the clock from when we start, so my deadline was a minute and a half before midnight.  I better not need that. 
Swim 1:56:11

I'm just going through the gate here. About 2300 in the water already.

Friday, for fun I decided to bike up the hill to Whiteface Mountain.  I didn’t get as far as the entrance where it transitions from the public road to the switchbacks to the peak.  Drenched In sweat after 5 km (it’s another 15 to the top) I turned and went back to the motel.  On that downhill I rode the brakes so hard, the wheel rims got so hot that one of the labels came unglued and peeled off.  Far from giving me confidence, it increased my worry over handling the long downhill early in the course.

Me at left, in shirt with white and red swoosh pattern
My bike strategy was take it easy.  Real easy.  Save it all for the run. I took a lazy, slow pace through the early section, always using the lowest gear up the hills.  The long downhill section to the village of Keene wasn’t as frightening as I remembered from my scouting ride last year.  It’s long, but not nearly as steep as that incline to Whiteface.  I’ve practiced a bit of downhill, and learned to stay in the saddle instead of putting my weight on my legs.  I still braked plenty, keeping it under 50 km/h, a speed I’m comfortable at.  It was still surprising how long the descent goes for.  The first section is through the gorge alongside the river, where there was a headwind blowing on us, keeping my speed down.  Then another downhill.  After that a “use low gear next 2 miles” sign, and more downhill.  Another low gear sign, and still more fast descending.  Finally comes the village.  Not over yet.  The sign says  “Welcome to Keen.  Use low gear”.  Another fast downhill. 

He's got my bike. In five minutes they start taking timing chips
The weather was perfect.  Cool around 20 C in the morning, with the water about the same temperature as the air.  Mostly cloudy at first, with more and more sun coming out as the day went on, but still comfortable.  Cool again after sunset.  Monday it rained all morning.  That would have sucked going down those long hills.  

Next comes the flats.  Many kilometers of flat, straight road by the river.  It’s a slight breeze as headwind from the North here.  This is where the aero bars excel.  I put my head down so I could barely see ahead.  This was the only section where I pushed a hard pace.  I flew along, banking time.  An hour of that, and more hills.  I turned the corner going past my motel, and he’s put out a sign for me and the other two athletes staying there.  That felt good.  Down the long hill.  It surprises me for the second time today with how far it goes on with the downhill sections.  I just don’t get the feeling of doing that much climbing to come back.  The climb may feel deceptive to me because it’s slight and steady along a river.  Lots of river on this course.  The flats have a long out-and-back.  I count riders behind me.  52.  About 30 of them will start the run.  My bike computer turned up dead this spring.  I don’t care how fast I go, so I just left it.  That made it really difficult for me to judge my pace on course. I can’t tell how far I’ve been or how long to get there.  At the Wilmington aid station, she advised me to hurry, because it was getting late.  I was estimating my bike finish at 5:00 pm, half an hour before cut-off, but I had all those hills to climb.  By the time I made the outskirts of Lake Placid, it was 5:15, with another hill to go.  I rolled down the chute at 5:25.  No time to saunter through transition.  Have to be on the run course by 5:40 or they close the gate and we’re done for the day.  I’ve made it by 5 minutes. 
Bike 8:11:36
I had a good, but slow, run for the first hour and a half

The intention was to save it for the run.  That worked out well.  I settled into the 5-hour marathon gait which I perfected at the Ottawa marathon.  The splits on my watch showed that I was behind target, but I had the energy to go for a long time.  Most everyone was on their second lap, heading to the finish line.  At 15 km in, my left ankle suddenly gave in.  It hurt a lot, but I wasn’t going to slow for that.  I talked to it, and told it to hold together, but  the response was, “No, we’re limping”.  I couldn’t make it run smooth.  I hobbled along like that for half a block, deciding what to do.  To carry on might mean permanent injury, or worse: being expelled.  I settled into a fast walk, which the ankle was able to do.  Like that I was about 2 hours 45 minutes getting to start of 2nd lap.  Every now and then I stepped up to running for a spell, and the ankle was okay.  Everything hurt through my legs. How do I know when it’s going to give out again, or if it’s for good next time? So I ran down the occasional hill, but mostly kept to a steady fast walk.  The long walk to the finish took the next 3 hours.  Finally I got there at 11:30 with Mike Reilly shaking my hand, welcoming me in. 
Run 5:57:25.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Hypothermic Half 2017

Every time I raced this, I said never again.  When I saw the medal with the abominable snow monster, I chose to come back.  There was some snow blowing for the drive there, but it stopped by the time we arrived. I went with Tammy from my running group training for Around The Bay.  I was nice weather this year; right around 0 C.  Had a good run.  It's a great brunch afterwards, and now I'm very tired.  The next 6 weeks have 20 km runs on the ATB training schedule, so that will be a regular Sunday thing.

And we're off

Some things didn't work well.
  • Carrying a water bottle and fiddling with my gloves and phone was a problem.  I kept dropping one or another of them. Shouldn't have brought the bottle. Shouldn't worry about pictures. 
  • The clip to attach my phone to my belt is really important.  My jacket pockets aren't any good for that. Dropped the phone twice. 
  • The Powerbar chews were no good, because they were too hard to get out of the package wearing gloves, and also because I wasn't drinking enough water to get them down.  Need to stick with gels in winter.
I updated my prep list so I don't make these mistakes at ATB.

Race prep
Finished in 2:07

On your marks

Perth Kilt Run

Was waiting for the Guinness certification to post this, but it never came.  It seems something went wrong, and we didn't get the largest kilt run. Never heard why.  Looks like they will try again in 2017.  No marathon in 2017, so i guess i should have done that last year.  Once in a lifetime.  It was a hot day.  They had the most music I've come across during a race.  A piper (bag) on many a corner. 

Long kilt over long legs
On your marks

Thousands came to run

Kilt runners

Chafing set in about here