Saturday, September 26, 2009

Clearwater 70.3

Ryan got an invitation to compete in Clearwater this november.  So I am tagging along (or I guess technically leading along :P) to help him out.  Aaron Schiddes is going to be racing as well (stupid fast blind guy).  He is kind of our only real competition.  A little out of our league, but something to aim for!

The coolest thing about this is that we are going to be starting out in the pro wave!  How cool is that!  We will be last, but who cares.  We will be hanging out with the best of the best.

So, the training needs to start again, but it is definetely worth it!

Say hi if you see us down there.  Blind dude tied to me.  

Monday, September 21, 2009

Muskoka 70.3

Winding down the summer with a major race is always fun.  Especially an Ironman sanctioned event, because you really feel like you are involved in something big.  Especially with big name pros attending.   Muskoka 70.3 lived up to this.

I decided to camp on the saturday night as opposed to getting a hotel room.  Not only did this save me from having to book months in advance, it also saved me a bunch of cash.  $30 for the night.  Nice!

Got up there saturday early in the afternoon.  Plenty of time to get acclimated and set up.  Parked at the airport and rode my bike in.  Dropped it in transition and headed in to register.  With that out of the way I took a stroll through the expo and headed down to the swim start.  A bit of a hike!  The swim out is a good jog uphill into transition.  Wasn't looking forward to that!  The swim looked fun, and I was excited to get in the water on sunday.  That is, until I drove the course!

Headed out on the bike course before dinner.  What a beauty!  Probably the nicest bike courses I have ever ridden.  However, it is very very challenging.  Would love to ride that course without having to worry about running after!

Then I decided to drive the run.  Ugh.  Uphill to the turnaround!  Now that would be a challenge.

Headed into town for some prerace spaghetti and meatballs, then back to the tent for some sleep.

Up early, at 5:30.  Packed up, and headed to timmies for a coffee.  Had breakfast and parked at the airport again.  Took the shuttle to the site (this worked very well).

Got all set up nice and quickly and just milled around.  Watched the pros get set up for a while, and exchanged words of encouragement with a few of them.  Time to get the wetsuit on.

Headed down to the start.  Feet were a bit sore from the walk down, but was excited to start.  

The put us into pens ala a bike race start.  We were the 4th off.  The pro's were on the home stretch by the time we started.  Got a good spot on the front and hammered it when the gun went off.   Had a good start to the first buoy and a good draft as well.  After the first turn I was in good shape, then I felt my watch come most of the way off.  The velcro strap came loose.  Had to stop to take it off.  Shoved it down the front of my wetsuit.  This sucked because I lost the strong group that I was with.  Started up after a few secs.  Had to readjust the the position of the watch shortly after.  Probably lost 20secs to this.  Kinda annoying.  Managed to catch some more feet, but we hit a bunch of traffic down the back stretch of the swim.  It started to get a bit hairy.  We were dodging back and forth avoiding the previous wave.  They were spread everywhere.  Over the last 10min. of the swim I was feeling fantastic.  I started to push a bit more and gained a few spots.  Pushed hard to get some clear water coming into the swim exit to avoid traffic in the stairs and at the strippers.  I was out in just over 30min.  Was hoping to go sub 30, but the watch debacle and traffic stopped this.  

Got stripped really quickly with some helpful volunteers and started the trudge up to T1.  Got a quick transition and headed out on the course.  Some vigorous cheering from Canadian pro Tara Norton (headed to Savageman last weekend so wasn't racing here.) which was helpful.

Onto the bike.  I had shattered my quads training with the XC team a week previous, and never really let them heal properly so that coupled with a sore butt from driving made me feel a bit nervous about the hilly course to come.  Legs weren't feeling great, but I was managing a decent pace none the less.  It wasn't until we hit 35 that I started to feel strong.  The first leg of the course was mostly uphill until the turn off of the shared road section.  The actual scenery was fantastic, along with the roads.  Some super curvy stuff.  It was a load of fun to hammer through.  I made up a fair amount of places by being really aggressive on the turns and hills.  It was a lot of fun.

Ended up passing a bunch of people from the previous wave, and didn't lose many spots in my own.  I was feeling really good and was moving well, until I hit the turn onto brunel.  It was weird, immediately as we hit the head wind there, all of the juice went out of my legs.  I knew that I had screwed up my nutrition.  Took a gu and ate the rest of a peanut butter sandwhich I had started earlier and backed a little off of the effort.  This is a really tough section of the course and I suffered a little.  After about 20min. my legs started to feel good again.  I upped the pace a bit, but remained conservative.  Finished the bike feeling relatively good.  That being said, I couldn't imagine running that course at that point!  The bike was a little long (94km) so the 2:43 split was good enough for me.   

Into T2 with a really fast transition.  Got into my distance crushing pace (which is admittedly a bit slower than I hoped to be running).  Basically just pick an effort level I know I can maintain over that distance.  It was slow, but I didn't want to blow up on the way out.  Now, I didn't drive the entire course.  Basically up to the turn around and then I went for dinner, so I didn't check out the path on the way back.  Not a mistake, but mentally I prepared for it to be similar to the out section in topography.  It wasn't!

Felt OK the whole way out.  Packing in the GU's on schedule and just ticking off the kms.  The hills were tough, but I really just focused on the few meters infront of me, and didn't worry about what was to come.  Made it to the turn around without draining the tank.  Now I wanted to push a bit on the way down.  

Well, there was a lot of down, but the legs started to get heavy around 15km.  Just in time to hit the path.  Very pretty, but it had a bunch of short punchy hills.  Now my legs really didn't have an issue with running easily on flats or downhills, but those short hard efforts really took a toll.  I was running out of steam quickly.  It was also very hard to judge where you were, and how much longer you needed to be on this path.  Mentally, I was in a rough spot.  

Eventually that section ended, and I was on the the relief of the open road.  I was also very sure of what the roads were like on the way in.  So I knew what to expect.  Not easy, some big hills, but I knew about them so they didn't seem too bad.  Cruised the last few km relatively well and circled around transition to the finish line.  Came across at 5:02 which was close to my goal finish time.  Kinda weird since I haven't finished over 5hrs in a while.  The 1:44 run split was definetly slow, but I can't imagine going any faster.

I love the race and the venue.  Everything was organized and ran very well.  The challenge of the course was awesome.  Huntsville is beautiful.   Thanks to all of the supportive locals and awesome volunteers.  

So now, it is a few weeks off, then starting to prep for Clearwater (not alone, but with Ryan)  Should be fun!