My daughter races the Kids of Steel, I race the Olympic distance.
I have got in a habit of writing short and sweet race reports, so my next challenge is to fit two reports in the same space as one. Try anything once right? So here I go, KOS first, Olympic after.
They revised the course for the 7 & under as the boat ramp was pretty slippery. We would swim along the shore, up the beach, then into transition. Great, water, sand, and sensitive skin. I quickly tried to figure out a way to clean off her feet, and the wet grass would do the trick between the sand and pathway. We got in the water, waited for the start, and got our motorboat on. It was a long run, who I am kidding, walk to transition.
Once we got there, she changed and off she went on the bike alone. Before the race, she asked me to swim with her, but she could do the bike and run alone. Well after she came off the bike, she wanted me to run with her to the finish. So there I am, wet shorts and nothing else running the KOS run course with my daughter. It was kinda fun, but kinda weird at the same time.
Hit the aid station (always have to) and worked her way to the finish. The great thing about kids is that they don’t care about their time, or how they finish. Actually, I am not sure if she really knew it was a race.
No matter, we had a great time playing on the beach before and after the race, munching on post race snacks, and celebrating when we got home.
Now onto the main event.
I had a decent swim by my standards. The start was the most hectic I have been in for a while as I started near the front, smack in the middle of the pack. I didn’t get kicked in the face, but I did knock elbows, knees, and feet with most everyone around me. This lasted for about 300m, and once we hit the first buoy I was clear. Tried to catch a quick group 10m ahead of me, couldn’t for the entire 2 laps of the lake.
On to the bike. I noticed a racer that I competed against at Chinook (tough to miss a BMC Time Machine) who passed me on the bike with a little attitude. I made a point to pass him when I could, and succeeded at km 6 never to see him again. Come to think of it, I hope he is alright and didn’t have a flat or something. I crushed each uphill section, standing for the last 50m or so to keep my speed and cadence high for the flat section. Before I knew it, I was coming up the hill for the last time and heading into T2.
I was targeting a fast run, but today was not my day. Not sure if it was the effort on the bike, but I couldn’t convince my legs to keep my pace above 4:40/km after the first 1.5k. I settled in for a tough run, but was determined to finish under 50 minutes. I eventually crossed the finish line with total time of 2:23:23 (49:45 10k run split). I was a little bummed as my main rival was 3 mins ahead of me out of T2, and with a 42 min 10k, I would have raced him to the finish line.
Still, not too shabby; beat my time from last year by 8:06 and placed in the top 10.
Overall it was a great weekend. I enjoy the ability to share racing with my family and not just have them come out a watch as I race past. I may even try to convince my wife to participate in the relay next year. Stay tuned to see how good of a salesman I really am.
Question: Did you race on the weekend? How did it go?
Well I am back at it.
I has been a couple of weeks since my last post.
Vacation was great with stops in Coeur d’Alene, Seattle, Vancouver, Courtenay, Comox, and Sicamous. We had a lot of time together as a family, got real familiar with the seats in my truck, and visited family we haven’t seen in years. I managed to sneak in 80% of my planned workouts, opting to forego 3 swim workouts to ensure I got my time in on the bike and run.
Let me tell you, Seattle didn’t do much for me while we were there. The traffic was crazy, construction was all over the place, and the people didn’t seem too friendly; but when I look back on our time there, I like the city more and more. Some of the neighborhoods we visited, Queen Anne, Bainbridge Island, and West Seattle for example, were laid back and interesting to explore. I don’t think that I would move there, but I would go back in a heart beat.
Oh, and if you like Starbucks (who doesn’t right) I am sure you can find one. They are only on about every other street corner….
This weekend is my final race of the year; Lake Chaparral Olympic Distance. This is year number three participating and the first year I am targeting a high finish. I love this race, it is always well organized and with my daughter participating in the Kids of Steel race on Saturday, we make a family weekend out of it. I am riding my trusty Cervelo P3C instead of my new shinny Argon 18 Krypton. I love my new road bike, but as I found out pretty quickly, you sacrifice speed for comfort, and speed is what I am after. *sigh*, typical triathlete.
My training has been going great. I am averaging 1:28/100m in the pool over the past month. Not that I expect to clock that this weekend, open water always is a bit slower and considering it could be a non-wetsuit swim, that could make it even slower. Biking is also getting better. I am noticing my fitness is far better than just a few months ago; climbing and wind don’t bother me too much any more. The run is where I have noticed the most improvement. At Chinook back in June, I ran a 45:10 10k (4:31/km). Based on how I feel, I should be able to push the pace and come in with a 43:00 or even a 42:00 10k this weekend.
I am toying with the idea of weekly recap as a standard post. Not sure if I can keep up with it. Who am I kidding, I am not sure if my life is that interesting to be able to fill a post, let alone keep you guys interested each week. I can’t really think of a reason not to try it, so I will give it a try.
I say this a lot, but I am glad to be back in Calgary. It is nice to get away, but I love this town too much to stay away for long.
Question: Is your Triathlon season coming to an end? Did you achieve your goals?
This was my second time registered for the Chinook Triathlon Festival. After breaking my collar bone 3 weeks before last years race, this is the first one I participated in.
I had a great swim, by my standards. Out of the water in 23:28 with my second lap 11:23; maybe I am getting an handle on this negative split thing. Hopefully I can use the same strategy for the run. Got kicked in the face trying to pass a swimmer at a buoy, that will teach me for getting too close. I ran past the wetsuit strippers, opting to strip myself on the way to T1, and made the long run to my bike. Had a little difficulty finding it this time. Usually I have no issues.
On to the bike. This course is known for a tough first half, uphill and into the wind, and it lived up to it’s reputation. On some of the downhills, I had to pedal just as hard as I had a few moments previous going up. At least coming home is gonna be fun. At the turn, I set my sights on 2 bikers who were about 1 minute ahead of me; they were hard to catch. I passed the first one about 10k later, then passed the second one on an uphill section 5k after that.
Headed into T2 I knew I had a good chance to hit my target time of 2:15, so I settled in for a quick, but manageable run.
Leading up to race day, all I could think about was the weather. Rainy all week with some pretty cold temperatures. Not today, the sun was out and the temperature was rising for the run. I held a 4:30/km pace for the first 2k as I had planned, stopping to tie my shoe once. Crap. After that, I decided to kick it up a notch and run on feel and not pace. The last 3k hurt a bit, and that hill didn’t help. I was passed by 3 runners around km 9, with one holding his hand back for a thank you handshake for pacing him around the course.
That is why I love this sport.
Highlights – I raced real well. I was happy with my bike, even though a couple of guys passed me before the turn, and my run was solid.
Lessons – Continue to work on my run; with my focus on the run over the past 5 months, the results don’t lie. I am a full 0:20/km faster coming off a harder bike than Chaparral. Don’t mess with my GPS just before race start. There is a stupid reason why I don’t have my GPS data.
Result – 2:18:08 Finish Time 17/134 Overall 8/52 Age Group
All-in-all, it was a great race and a great result. I will definitely be back next year.
It doesn’t get easier, you just go faster.
I was watching the Olympic Triathlon the other night on You Tube. I know, nothing better to do on a Friday evening hey triathlete?. Watching the Brownlee brothers split by Gomez was just as amazing almost a year later. Those boys know how to race.
A couple of points as to why these guys (and most professionals) are awesome:
1. In an Olympic distance race, they are finished around the same time I am coming off the bike. Seriously.
2. Alistair’s 10K split time was 29:07, a mere 2:50 off the world record (26:17). Pretty amazing considering he came off a 43k bike.
3. It’s not just the run that makes them awesome. Their swim and bike splits are just as impressive.
4. These boys know how to suffer.
My wife made a comment after my last Olympic distance last year; she said it looked like I was having fun out there. I was. It was an absolute riot. Watching Alistair, it did not appear that he was having much fun out there. Sure, winning is always fun and doing something that you love for your country has to be on the top 5 list of anyone out there, but as they lapped through Hyde Park, the pain in that moment must have outweighed any of that.
We have all been there, in either training or racing; the point where you want to slow down or quit altogether. I have been there and made both decisions. I have quit a training session early as I just couldn’t keep going, and I have pushed through and finished strong in a race. In my opinion, it all boils down to mental toughness. Your ability to suffer is not located in your legs or gained through more training. It is located in your mind, and the more you can keep pushing when your mind says stop, the better you will train/race.
To compete, you need the ability to suffer. I call it the ‘pain cave’.
So how do you fight through the pain and keep the pace? Here are my thoughts.
1. Blue sky’s in, grey sky’s out.
Smile, high-five some volunteers, or chat with a fellow competitor. Eliminate any negative thoughts and replace them with positive energy.
2. Repeat a mantra.
Mine? “Keep Calm and Drop the Hammer” and “Run Like a Ninja”. Use it in training, racing, and life. This is the most effective for me.
3. Loosen up any tight muscles.
Spin freely in a low gear, get out of aero position, or shake you arms out. You use energy tightening muscles and if they aren’t helping you propel forward, they are taking up valuable energy.
4. Focus on the next landmark.
The top of the next hill, aid station, mile marker, racer. You name it, if you can catch it, focus on it and don’t quit till you get there. Before long, you will be at the finish line.
5. Have an internal iPod.
Music helps me get through a tough workout. Right song at the right time I can hammer a 350W Power Interval. Sing to your self, quietly if you don’t want anyone to think you are crazy. I repeat “Over and Over” by Hot Chip when I need some energy.
6. Don’t take it too seriously.
Remember, you ain’t a professional. Let’s face the fact, we do this for fun, not profession.
Question: How do you deal with the tough spots? Have you figured out how to suffer?