Race week, my favorite kind of week.
Swim – 2:15:00 (p) – 3:10:00 (a) – 9800m
Bike – 3:45:00 (p) – 3:47:51 (a) – 99.57km
Run – 2:30:00 (p) – 3:02:46 (a) – 35.74km
Total – 8:30:00 (p) – 10:00:38 (a)
My first half marathon of 2014 is in the books, and all-in-all, it was a great race. I ran it solo in 2013, race report here, and finished with a great time even though I hit the wall at km 15.
2014 was different. I ran it with my brother, helping him finish sub 2 hours. No need to panic, the race report is to come.
As I was training though the race I didn’t taper this week, and good thing. Swim volume was high on both Monday and Friday, and they both went something like this:
400m swim / 200m kick / 400m drill
Alternate swim / pull
2x400m on 6:00
4x200m on 3:30
8x100m on 1:45
Needless to say swimming 3600m in 60 minutes leaves me a little tired in the office for the rest of the day. Standing desks don’t help with that by the way.
Speaking of tired, have you ever fallen asleep on the couch at 2030? I was sitting on the couch with my daughter, watching a little TV before bedtime. Next thing I knew the show as over, and my little one was poking me in the ribs.
I am noticing that every day that I have a brick session scheduled (Monday, Tuesday, and Friday) I am not only looking forward to my bedtime, I am looking forward to that 20 minutes on the couch before her bedtime.
How sad is that?
Spring is such a great time in Calgary. With the nice weather, the families in our little corner of the community gather once again at the park after supper. It is great to catch up with some that you lose touch with over the winter and seeing how the kids grew.
I got invited by my daughter and her friends to join in a game of ‘grounders’. What an absolute riot, the kids were laughing when I couldn’t hear them on the ground, and screaming when I got close to tagging them.
These kids kicked my butt. I was ‘it’ more often than not, and they had a couple of tricks that took me almost all night to figure out.
Can’t wait to play again this week.
Question: How do you deal with being tired?
It was a ‘tale of two weeks’.
Swim – 3:00:00 – 8200m
Bike – 1:01:32 – 35.4km
Run – 1:22:52 – 16.9km
Strength – 1:30:00
Total – 6:54:24
My week was going great training wise until mid-Friday. I noticed a slight twinge (is that a technical term?) in my inner left thigh and by the end of the night I was having a hard time walking up the stairs. Given I shouldn’t have been piggy-backing my daughter up the stairs, but hey, it is the only way we can get her to go to bed without fussing.
I decided to forego my ride that evening opting for a good roll and stretch. That seemed to do the trick and by Sunday afternoon I was off for a run while the girls were off to the movies. 8 degrees, sun shining, and clear paths made for a great experience. Only in Calgary can you go from a blizzard warning to running in shorts in less than 2 weeks.
I am not complaining; at all.
The path system in Calgary is awesome. There is close to 800km of pathways that connect most of the city together. I typically use the same 20km of it close to downtown as I run at lunch. It is pretty flat along the Bow River, so when I can run from home and rip through ‘blood and guts’ I take advantage. Yeah you read that right, ‘blood and guts’. The famed section tracks along the north section of Bowmont Natural Park with an elevation climb of 99m from the river valley to the top of Silver Springs.
I love climbing that hill; brings back memories of training for Ironman 70.3 Calgary two years ago. I have a feeling that I will be seeing more of it in the coming months.
I hesitated on registering for the Hypothermic Half marathon in February and now it is sold out. Crap. This is the second year in a row that I have missed out on the race by waiting to register. So without a half marathon to race in February, I am going to turn my attention to cycling for January, adding at least one more workout to the mix.
Registration opens for the Calgary Police Half Marathon on January 1, 2014. Needless to say I will be hitting that one soon after I recover from New Years Eve.
Who am I kidding, I will be in bed by 2200.
Question: Any specific training or race route bring back memories for you?
I thought Trevor Wurtele’s New Orleans 70.3 Race Report was pretty awesome, so I figured I would give a condensed race report in addition to a long, windy version.
So here I go.
This was my first time at this race, thought why not support 1/3 of the guys and gals who make Calgary the best city in the world. After a quick warm up, I positioned myself where I thought was about my pace. Was I wrong. I spent the next 5k passing runners. No big deal, just keep running I thought. Said hi to Oliver as I passed the hospital where he was born; I miss you buddy.
Passed the Lululemon support tunnel at km 7, high five on both the left and right. Felt like a super star. This guy in an orange shirt was tailing me from km 8 to 10, and I decided to try and drop him from my shoulder. I did, and he stayed there up to the hill at km 14, then passed me on the way up. Along with a couple of others.
Tried to hit it after the hill, but my legs didn’t want to cooperate. In the words of Trevor, “If you want to run with the wolves, then you best stop playin like a puppy.” So I sat back for a little bit, and once my legs felt better, I kicked up the pace and headed to the finish line. Crossed at 1:41:32, right about on my target time.
Need to figure out a couple of things for my next race. Eating before and during the race so I don’t get too hungry 3/4 of the way through, position at the start line, shoelaces, and pacing. Should be pretty easy hey?
Thanked the volunteers, had a blast, and supported a great cause. All before 1000 on Sunday morning.
“Toenails are overrated.” The best sign from the race.
Not my sole objective for this year, Sunday morning was more of a training run than a race. I was stoked nonetheless as this was my first half marathon without coming off the bike; FRESH LEGS!
This race has been plagued by some pretty nasty weather in the past, luckily for me this year was not one of them. The temperature at race time was 5 degrees with a slight wind out of the west. Not too bad in Calgary. In April.
Package pickup was on Friday and Saturday; no pick-up was allowed on race day. The main gym at Mount Royal University (it will always be College for me, by the way) was easy to find and navigate. It was the easiest and most efficient package pickup I have experienced in my short-lived competitive career.
Race morning was more of the same, well-organized and easily navigated. I hung out inside as I wanted to keep warm, and maybe even do a quick warmup on the track. With 10 minutes to race time, I headed to the start to find me a decent spot.
Run – 21.2km – Glenmore Reservoir (and surrounding area)
I started out conservatively, trying to keep mind that 21k is a long way to run, and being a typical triathlete, I always want to go as fast as I can right off the start. Did I say triathlete, I meant man…..
I passed a lot of runners in the first 5k, averaging 4:20/km; so much for holding back. The road was pretty packed, but there was also plenty of room to navigate around the slower runners. The course narrows once you enter Glenmore park, and I was glad that the pack had thinned out by then. I had to stop and tie my shoe around km 4; I really need to figure out a better system. No problem, as I got right back on track going up the next hill.
Passing behind the RockyView Hospital, I said little something to my son Oliver, as he was born there earlier this year. I miss you buddy.
Through the aid station, and on toward Heritage Park continuing to hold a 4:20/km pace, and still passing runners. At km 7, there was a cheering section from Lululemon; we could hear them for 3k on either side. They were the highlight as they made each runner feel like an old school wrestler heading to the ring; high fives for everyone.
Once on the south side of the reservoir, the pack had separated into decent pace groups and it was harder to pass the runner ahead. I set my sights on a group of 5 runners and kept trucking along. I caught up to them around 1k later, the first being racer 523, more on her later. After passing them, I could feel a runner right on my heels. Up to this point, I hadn’t been passed, and I wasn’t about to start. I picked up the pace and dropped him from my shoulder, heading to the hill at km 14.
That hill sucks. I am no stranger to the Weaselhead hill, but there is something about a race that makes you forget about how high and steep it is. I have never been happier to hear the sound of bagpipes as the Calgary Police Service Pipe Band was playing at the top. I hit the aid station and pressed on.
I mentioned runner 523, well she had been tagging along with me for about 3k, and unlike the previous runner, I couldn’t drop her. My legs began to tire, and my pace was steadily dropping into the 5:00/km range. She, along with 2 other runners, passed me on 50th avenue, about km 17.
From here on I struggled to keep my pace in below 5:00/km. My legs were just too tired and I was feeling real hungry. I pushed thru it and crossed the finish line with a burst of speed.
Result: 1:41:32 4:48/km Average 166/1289 Overall 25/92 Age Group
Highlights: Held a great pace over the first 15k and when I struggled physically, mentally I was strong.
Lessons: My pre-race and race nutrition was too little for a long distance; I was hungry and my energy faded at km 16. I will wake up 3 hours prior to the start of my next race, eat, then either take a walk or go back to sleep. My pace was too fast at the beginning, causing me to lose my legs after the hill. Need to pace over the first half, then negative split the second half.
This is a great race, and I will definitely be back for next year. It is a worthy cause, and hey, to support our Police here in Calgary, why not go for run?
Question: Did you race in the YYC Police Half this year? How did it go? What was your nutrition plan?
It sucks. All athletes know that.
I am currently tapering for the Calgary Police Half Marathon which goes on Sunday. This is my first time running a half marathon without having come off the bike; I reckon it will be a weird feeling to race on fresh legs, but nonetheless, I am stoked. If you have ever raced, which I am positive most of you have (because that is what it is all about) then you have also reduced your activity leading up to race day.
Ah yes, the dreaded Taper.
I have spoken with a couple of athletes who describe the taper period as ‘unbearable’, ‘horrible’, and the ever popular ‘I am going crazy’. It can be all that and more for your spouse who has to deal with your constant complaining during this time.
When you taper, you purposely reduce both training volume and intensity to ensure you are rested for the event; typically your ‘A’ race for the season. This period can be as short as a couple of days or as long as a couple of weeks. It all depends on the length of the event, your fitness, and current goals. I am not an expert, so I digress.
It can be hard to rest leading up to an event. You are hyped about racing and want to make sure that when the gun goes off, you hit the water with the best fitness you can. Why let your hard-earned fitness slip away along with your finishing time? It can be tempting to keep crushing your workouts; intervals, speed work, and distance.
Resist the temptation. RESIST. RESIST.
I have blogged about the importance of rest days in the past, and did not mention this benefit; they allow you to watch how your body reacts to rest. By watching how your body reacts, you can not only gain confidence that a taper period will benefit you in a race, but you can effectively plan your taper period as well.
My body does well with a 3 week phase, either ‘base’ or ‘build’, ending with 4 days of lighter, active recovery. I tried following Joe Friel’s advice and used a 7 day ‘rest’ period, it took me another 5 days to get back into the training grove. For the past 4 months, I have used the 3 week on, 4 day off with great success.
So test it out and find the right balance. It ain’t easy, but if you execute it just right, then you will reap the rewards.
Question: How do you taper? Do you find it beneficial?