Friday, August 23, 2019

Fat bikes and roadtrips

Finding the motivation to keep fitness a priority is a hard one to put my finger on. I don't know if I can say why I like to race other than I do like the fight for who can push themselves the furthest. But, a significant portion of it is just the process of training for a race that gets me through the roller coaster called life.

I rarely get the "ideal" training program completed in my mind. With picking up kids from school or daycare schedule, along with unplanned kids sicknesses or daycare closures (these both have higher priority in the grand master plan) I don't get what I set out to do. Also, I have a certain amount of responsibility at work to keep my business moving forward.

Sometimes it feels like I'm not moving forward with anything I do... just spinning my wheels and going about everything mediocre (or worse!). Possibly, however, this is just how it's going to have to be with where my life is at right now. And maybe it is the best training I will get for the next few years. I think sometimes that just the ability to train is a special gift.

This year I was put together a plan after my disappointing marathon this spring, the BMO Vancouver marathon. I exploded at 32km (of 42km!) and dragged my sorry (albeit cramping) ass around Stanley park to finish 20minutes off my goal. I did snag my Boston qualifier spot but not in a very exciting way and leaves me wanting more.

This summer has transitioned into the off-road triathlon race season. With the inaugural Whistler X, in chilly early June. I was able to hammer a great race, where finally everything was clicking, and nab the first Amateur spot and 10 minutes ahead of the next competitor.

Portland Xterra was on Aug. 8th and it turned into a summer road trip to let loose with a bunch of local guys. I had a stellar day and came away with 3rd overall amateur and I beat a few elites along the way. I did build some confidence from this even  and I even had my heavy plus sized tire bike to race.

Next up was the Provincials for Cross-triathlon at the Dodge City X, in Cumberland, BC which also happens to be the 2020 World Championships qualifier in Netherlands, my hinterland. The race went well, better than planned after a hiccup the week before injuring by hip/hamstring in a freak waterskiing accident (read dumbass move). I took the qualifier spot and the top step of the podium, with the unfortunate mechanical of my closest competitor and friend Clay.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Early 2019 Training and Racing

This year so far I have had more on the run-focus training program. Though, to be honest, I still always keep up with biking and strength training for injury prevention and variation to keeps things fresh.

Comox Valley 1/2 Marathon Recap
I went into this race with the idea of some marathon pace specific training before the Vancouver Marathon. I was going to run just faster than my marathon pace (3:45/km approx) then, if all felt good, going to push the last 3-5km. It was a perfect day with a good group of fast runners showed up for the day. I ran out to the turn-around point with a youngster to pace with plans to catch the top two guys in the last few km. I did not feel great at 18km so I cruised it in for a 1:16. The 18 year old I ran with, Anton, was a local who set a 6 min PR in the race and finished strong!  I was actually quite happy with my results but was wondering where my legs were later in the race. I had done more road miles than in a long time but it did not seem to translate to road race speed (this should have been an early warning signs for the marathon).

Vancouver Marathon
 In an amazing stroke of luck, I was selected as an "elite athlete" for the race and was able to meet the other elites and professional athletes at the meeting and dinner before the race. I really enjoyed this evening and was able to feel myself and have good conversations with top athletes. Everything in preparation went as plans; nutrition, hydration, and sleep was good compared to previous experiences. Getting to the race and my warm-up was normal and better than usual. Though, my performance leaves more to be desired. I was aiming for a 2:45 finish time (3:48/km pace) till 30km and then see how I felt and try to push it. I turns out, I got to 30km on pace.... and then rapidly blew up. Most muscles in my lower extremity took turns cramping, usually both legs AND at the same time. First hamstrings, then groin, then quads and followed by calves. I had to alternate between altered side-stepping gait and stopping to stretch out the spasm. I could run in 500m portions before muscular lock-down would occur. I finished in 2:59:11, I got my Boston Marathon Qualifier but not the way I wanted it.
At 25km & still smiling. Photo W. Crowe

I still don't really know what happened but it mostly has to do with my training leading up to this and not doing much intensity with volume. I would do long runs of 30km+ multiple times but not with any intensity and I would also do speed workouts with only 8-10km of actual "work". Possibly some dehydration or overheating was at play with this but I cant really say it was really that bad.

I'd like to redeem this in the future. Possibly the Victoria Marathon in October or something similar. I will keep the training moving forward with some more volume and intensity.

Cumby Trail Race

What a day! Perfect weather and awesome conditions for just an amazing day on the trails. I had an epiphany that I really enjoy running on trails and I feel I'm fairly good at it. I would like to explore the longer distances in the near future and test out a few 50km Ultramarathons. I'm not sure what will be first on the plan but a trip to cool places for these races might be in order.

It was hot and hilly but I didn't run into any cramping issues, even though it was only a week after the Vancouver Marathon where I exploded fantastically and dragged myself to the finish line. I will explore this further in the near future.

Moving into Summer months I would like to still do some triathlons to keep connected and hit some destination races in Whistler and Portland.