Monday, March 31, 2014

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.... next

Around the Bay, 30k, March 30, 2014.

For some reason, people keep coming back to this race. I don't know why. As a "runner" I'm glad I've done it. It was an "experience".... but certainly not one I want to repeat .... ever. Perhaps I'm just a wimp. I don't like discomfort too much, and this race has plenty of discomfort to offer.

My goal was 2:30 (solid 5 minute /km pacing). The long range weather was calling for sunny and 8 degrees - perfect running weather. Morning of though, it was cloudy and minus 2 with wind gusts of 40kph, and with a bleak outlook for the next 6 hours. Definitely a long pants, long shirt, jacket and gloves weather run -- except 15 minutes before race start, the sun came out, and it warmed up! A lot!

The Premier, Kathleen Wynne, was the guest countdown announcer: 7, 6, 5, 4, 2 ... 3, 2, 1, Go! (yes - read that again, that's how the countdown went). The first 300 meters was nice, and then I just wanted it all to be over.

I was going way too fast, I couldn't slow down. "Oh well, let's see what's going to happen". In retrospect, I paced a pretty good run, if I were doing a half-marathon. But the only problem is that at 21.1km on this route, all hell breaks lose. I was kind of prepared for the hills - the up part at least. I hadn't even contemplated the downhills. And it was the downhills that got to me. They are very steep downhills. The constant up and down after 21k took it's toll on me, and by the time I finished the really big hill - I had nothing left for the last 3k.

All smiles at the start of the race (bundled up for the cold)

Training Peaks Garmin File

Point form memories:
  • Race expo had a lot of booths - flashing lights seem to be the rage this year.
  • Hamilton in March is dusty and dreary
  • A local, at the race expo, had given us an excellent tip on where to find good street parking for the race --- unfortunately, we were apparently too late to get there, the roads were blocked off, and we ended up paying $20 at a private lot
  • We were in our Corrals with 20 minutes to spare... and we were the only ones there. People waited until the last 5 minutes to get to the start line
  • Race start time of 9:30 seemed oddly late - probably catering to Toronto runners who would drive in on Race Day morning.
  • At 1K mark, I just missed running into an old lady was crossing the road. I was probably in 500th place at that time, with 7000 runners behind me. Not sure how long it took her to cross.
  • At 4K mark, I was pretty much wishing the race to be over
  • Although it is net downhill for the first half, there are still steep overpasses and bridges to negotiate
  • For some reason, fatigue (?) I laughed out loud uncontrollably when crossing the bridge over the Burlington Canal. It is a 100m span of "this is why you should not wear Vibrams". I don't have anything against Vibram's, I really don't... but I did see a few out there and the bridge deck felt like a bed of nails poking through my regular running shoes - I can only imagine the pain those poor people felt.
  • There was a lot of cheering along the route - for some reason this surprised me - a lot of good signs too
  • Lots of pots and pans being used as noise makers - An old guy was using an Quality Street chocolate tin and a hammer - it looked like it had been used for most of the 119 previous races
  • There was pretty good water / gatorade support
  • The pavement condition was crappy to extremely crappy the entire way - lots of opportunities to twist an ankle
  • I grabbed an orange wedge at about 22K that hit the spot
  • I took 3 gels evenly spaced at 8K, 16K and 24K.
  • I high fived Stan. 
  • I photobombed somebody's picture with the Reaper.
  • The first 10K of the route was changed this year - and even the first 2k of this new route was adjusted because of construction - this added 250 to 300 meters of distance - at the start - my Garmin (and everyone else) would chirp well ahead of the markers. This drove me nuts, knowing I was going to have to run more than 30K.
  • When approaching the finish, you can see Copps coliseum First Ontario Centre from about 1.5km away... it takes forever to finally get there... and when you do get there... you have to keep going.... all the way to the back
  • The steep downhill into First Ontario Centre was not pleasant
  • The Quality Hotel / Hamilton-Stoney Creek is about 20 minutes drive from the Bay Race start/finish, but they went above and beyond in accommodating the runners: automatic late check-out time on Sunday, early breakfast race day morning, friendly staff that sincerely welcomed you, "We are the Champions" playing (on a continuous loop) upon arrival after the race, snacks and juice upon arrival after the race.
  • Showering at the hotel, after the race, and before the 6 hour ride home = priceless
  • Looks like at least 2 toenails will be popping off in the next week or so.. those darn downhills!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hello, I'm Dumb Ass

SO - Around the Bay is THIS Sunday.I haven't particularly felt "ready" for this event at all. I've pretty much stuck to the training plan - but I didn't feel I had any good "tempo" runs in to test the speed. This past weekend we were away, so I did my Sunday long run on Monday night. It was supposed to be an easy 13K. Somewhere, somehow, I ended up doing a hilly 18K at RACE PACE. My legs are still sore. I didn't run yesterday, and just did an "easy" 5K today, but I think I may have totally botched things up. We will have to see.

My goal for this event is 2:30. And based on McMillan, it should be almost possible.. that is to say, I think that right now, I could run a 46:03 10K and come close to a 1:43 half-marathon.

Oh yeah, but the hills.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Red Rock Canyon 5K - Las Vegas

After booking our trip for March Break, in Las Vegas, we looked for a race. As luck would have it, there was one near us, the day after we arrived: The Red Rock Canyon 5K (143 participants), Half Marathon (389 participants) and Full Marathon (106). This is a beautiful conservation area about 45 minutes off the Vegas strip. For trophies, they were using rocks from the area. Andrew and Laura both got 2nd AG, Guylaine got 1st AG - and 4th OA woman.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Frozen Sole #4

The Frozen Sole 5-mile Race Series reconvened today, for round 4. We missed Round 3 due to the fact that we didn't feel like running in 2-feet of fresh wet snow. Today, as per usual, the weather held up to it's reputation: 1inch of fresh slippery snow, and wind gusts of 40kph to bring the wind chill down to -13. We're 3 weeks into our Around the Bay training schedule, and slowly (ever so slowly), my Christmas pounds are slipping away (I tipped in at 166.6 this morning). I was hoping to be faster, but it just wasn't so. I stayed in control for the first km, and felt pretty good for the next 5, but the last 2 were very long - and I just couldn't wait for it all to be over with.

Final time: 38:08 (fourth place overall).

The training peaks link...

Despite what the chart shows, I'm pretty sure I was in the 150-160 range for km#2 and not up to 190.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

It was a dumb idea anyways...

5K on the schedule today. Got bundled up for the minus 26 weather and headed out. Falling down the stairs at work should have been my first clue. Got out onto the icy highway, with the 60kph wind at my back, only to get literally knocked over by a gust. Decided to turn around - thankfully I was only 350 meters out. That was a very very cold 350 meters back to the office.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Santa Run

Pre-Race.... which one is the real Santa???
Over 200 Santas with Pacing Elves
Being chased by... Santas!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Time Calc

Just when you thought couldn't get any better. A NEW widget is added: Time Calc. Time Calc is a simple Time Adding app that works inside of TriCalc3 (The Ultimate Triathlon Calculator).  Time Calc is a free, simple, on-line calculator for adding time. It is able to compute the sum of up to 10 time lap splits. The input and output format is h:mm:ss.0. It outputs the running total time, and the average time. The code and CSS has been optimized for iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android, Samsung, Google Play, HTC and Blackberry.

Screen Capture of Time Calc, running inside of TriCalc3.
This is an HTML optimized web-app that does not need to be installed via Google Play or iTunes. All you need to do is open the app in a browser, and then use your device's ADD TO HOMESCREEN feature.

Here is a direct link to Time Calc.

For the complete experience, go to the TriCalc3 web-site at

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Frozen Sole #2 - Race Report
Despite what the graph shows, I'm pretty sure I didn't have a heart attack during the first kilometer. (Wonky Garmin, but it looks like it leveled itself out after 5 minutes). It was a cold, cold, cold, windy -18*C day. I had a strategy this week...  I didn't stick to it. I went out way too hard again, and blew up at exactly 4.85km; I pitty-jogged the next 2km and then tried to salvage the last bit. I was happy when it was over. 8K @ 37:16... a minute slower than last month. Next time will be different!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Turbo Crankin'

The Turbo Crank Studio

Two weeks of group Turbo Crank sessions, and I'm back to (almost) liking riding the trainer again.

Here are my updated heart rate zones based on my 20 min FTP test using the updated Turbo Crank Zone Calculator.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Record

1:15 in the pool for 100 meters. Saturday morning masters practice, 25m short course, at NavFit. Had a good pace bunny in the next lane. 1000m warm-up before, but completely dead afterwards. Possibly a slight false start... but I'm keeping it!