Second year in a row I have ran this race, this year I convinced my brother to run with me.
Race morning was a touch chilly; it was 0 degrees when we parked. I was carrying a GU Salted Caramel gel, and with the yeti on the package, seemed fitting. Our goal was simple, start together finish together (hopefully under 2 hours).
We started off pretty fast at 4:30/km. Keeping in mind the first 3k is pretty much downhill, I slowed our pace to hopefully save our legs for the return leg. We found out later that our attempts were futile.
I ran through the fist aid station at 5k, my brother opting for a glass of water. Well by 8k he had a stitch in his side and nothing helped; breathing on alternate sides, slowing down, and eventually walking. The next aid station provided a chance to stop, grab some energy, and keep chugging along.
We ran down into the Weaselhead, I opened up and cruised down the hill slowing down at the bottom to let my brother catch up. Onward to the bottom of the biggest test. I went to grab my gel looking for some energy for the climb, only to find that my hands were numb and I couldn’t grab the gel from my pocket. My brother gave me his, saying that he wouldn’t need it. Awesome, thanks dude.
I hammered up the hill, clapped for the bagpipe band at the top, and stopped at the aid station to wait for my brother. Not much to report in the last 5k, except for anyone who maps a half marathon course with an uphill finish sucks.
Coming around the last bend, I stopped and let my brother go ahead. He worked so hard in the last 4k that crossing the finish line first seemed pretty rude. Our official time was 1:52:52. Needless to say we were stoked, not only meeting our goal, pretty much smashing it.
I love this race, it is always well organized and the route is probably the best in Calgary. Sure, I can run the reservoir any time, but there is something special about running it with a couple hundred others. Bring my brother along, and man, what a great way to spend a Sunday morning.
I was also able to rest my nutrition plan along the Ironman 70.3 Calgary run course. I understand that running a half marathon differs greatly from running an Ironman 70.3 half marathon, but I reckon any testing is better than wingin’ it.
So there you go; a PR for my brother, half marathon under me for 2014, and triathlon season right around the corner.
Week one of the CTS Half Ironman plan is in the books.
Swim – 1:30:00 (p) – 3:00:00 (a) – 8400m
Bike – 2:45:00 (p) – 2:29:03 (a) – 71.67km
Run – 2:00:00 (p) – 1:58:29 (a) – 25.26km
Total – 6:15:00 (p) – 7:27:32 (a)
This week was all about getting back into the interval training, high intensity if you will. One thing is for sure, intervals suck. I mean who wants to be hunched over, gasping for breath with sweat pouring off your forehead. Oh, right, I do.
Good example; Saturday afternoon’s run called for a 45min ER with 4x5min Tempo Run (4:13-4:03/km) 5min RBI. If you do math real quick, skip this next part. With the intervals, I have a total of 5 minutes to warm up, get my heart rate in check, and decide my route before I am switching between 5 minutes of high pace and 5 minutes of rest. That is all.
No rest for the wicked, eh? (Ha, slipped a Canadian phrase in there).
I had an absolute blast, even though everyone in Baker Park thought I was a touch crazy. My route was a 1.2km stretch from one end to the other, I would run hard out and easy back, sometimes past the same couple two or three times. The look on their faces were priceless.
I had to cut my bike 15 minutes short on Friday morning, conference call at 0900 was looming. I was able to get all of my intervals in mind you, so I reckon that is a decent trade off. Not a big fan of riding on the stationary at the YMCA, but I am a huge fan of swimming with the tri club, so something has to give. I have no issues packing my bike and heading for a ride afterwards, but being downtown is not conducive to a lycra wearing roadie with wet hair. So the stationary is where I will stay.
The Calgary Police Half Marathon is just less than 2 weeks away, and for the first time this year, I am feeling pretty optimistic about it. Now, I am a pretty optimistic guy, but after slacking on the longer runs over the past 4 months, I was worried about lasting the distance.
Well after a couple of great runs last week and the prospect of one more long run this weekend, I am confident that it will be a great race. I am going to remember to bring some sort of energy with me this time, don’t want a repeat of last year now do we?
Question: What are your thoughts on intervals?
Back at it, in more ways than one.
Swim – 3:00:00 – 9100m
Bike – 2:02:51 – 61.0km
Run – 2:25:25 – 26.48km
I said in my last post “Wow, Wednesday already. I wish every week would go this fast.” Yeah, well it is now almost 2 weeks since then. Jeez time flies.
This was my last week of semi structure in my training. I always have a plan, but for the next 8 weeks I am going to live and die by my training schedule. There is something comforting about having a plan written and all you have to do is hammer it.
Easy enough right?
The Half Ironman plan from “The Time Crunched Triathlete” will be my main stay for the next 8 weeks, peaking for Escape From Alcatraz June 1. I then have a couple of weeks to recover before cycling through the plan again for Ironman 70.3 Calgary.
I am tired and hungry just thinking about it.
Saturday afternoon was perfect for a rip on my bike; the earliest I have been able to get on the road and it was awesome. It was so great to have the fresh air, wind, and dust in my face rather than the stale air of my 70’s inspired basement. You read right, even dust is better than the trainer.
Sunday afternoon I took my brother to run part of the Calgary Police Half Marathon course as he has never run the race before. No one should ever run the Weaselhead hill for the first time at 14k into a half marathon; that is just cruel. It was a great run with great company. I don’t usually get the opportunity to chat much while training, so it was a welcome change.
Some really odd trends in my top posts. I wonder what it is about Recap – Week 50 that has people interested. I can see Ironman Tattoo, that is a good post…..
Friday afternoon we made an impromptu trip to the zoo here in Calgary. Not sure if you knew, but the zoo was almost washed away by the floods last year and this was our first time there since.
What a blast. I forgot how much fun it can be to just let the afternoon run by without much of a plan. Fortunately for us we received an invite for supper around 1730, so no need to rush home and utter our favorite phrase, “what should we make for supper?”.
Question: Now spring is here, has your training ramped up for race season?
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?