Larry's Blog Pages

November 29, 2010

Here comes one of those busy weeks!

It's not so bad but lots of regular and hockey work this week so I have to manage time wisely to get in all my workouts. Being back to a run/bike focus has really cleared up a lot of things and I am making the most of my training these days. I am really trying my hardest to push down run times and, from the results in training, I believe the progress is coming along very well.

On the bike, the Thursday morning spin classes are kicking my butt and that is they way I like it. Coach is going to make us all tough as nails with the routines we hammer through at the gym so I am not complaining one bit. The good thing about hitting the sheets early these days (thanks to zero diet cola in the system) is that this very early class is not as tough to make as I thought it may be. It actually works out very well as I have time to throw down 1:30 on the bike, clean up, drive home and still be back before the rest of the house is up. I get my workout in and still help get the kids ready for their day. It's win, win!

As the training has ramped up I do have one area that I have fallen way behind, updating my training log. I get an email out to Tyler but get too lazy to jump online to fill out my daily report on . This organizational tool would save me so much time if I kept it as current as I used to, especially, when I look for previous bests.

This came to light last week when I did some quick (for me) 800s and was wondering what I had put down the last few times at this distance. I am pretty sure I bested my old training splits but without the online report to fall back on, it will take me some researching to know for sure. Thankfully, all my emails sent to Tyler have been saved so I should make a point of transferring the data into my training log soon.

This past weekend I followed the XC Nationals from my phone and computer. I had planned to run in the 5k race but had to work and it would have been tough to get downtown without rushing things so I decided to save my energy for the Egg Nog Jog.

I noticed a lot of great performances in some tough racing conditions. Check out the photo below from the event.

Fellow Duathlete, Kevin Smith, battled hard in the Senior Men's category against some very impressive 10k runners. Even in these wintery conditions, Cameron Levins was able to go under 30 minutes for the National Title. Amazing!
In the Master's 8k, Rob Tolman, went out and had a great race against a lot of the top 30 year old + racers from across Canada. We get to run together and test ourselves on the roads of Terra Cotta in a few weekends and he looks to be in solid form!
I noticed some other names in the 8k and the 5k that I have raced against of late so it makes me feel good to think I am coming along in the running game. That being said, I know that I still have lots of room to improve if I can work on my form, hammer the training and drop a few pounds.
Time to run!

November 23, 2010

Du the Du

I gave it a whirl but it just wasn't what I was hoping for. I knew the swim portion of the triathlon was going to be very tough for me for a number of reasons but I battled through it for one full year to see if I could learn to love it and join the great athletes in the next step of the multisport world.

When this journey started back in 2006, I was just getting into the running game. I was looking for a fall challenge to keep me motivated so that I would not stray back to  my chicken wings and beer lifestyle. I had completed a marathon the previous year so I really did not want to run another one so quickly and these were the majority of the running races I noticed in the autumn months. As I flipped through the websites, I came across a Triathlon Series page and started to read the options for the races remaining on their schedule.

As I became more interested, I selected the duathlon. This was not because I was certain I could learn to  cycle but because I was sure I did not enjoy the water enough to learn to swim for a triathlon. I had not even been on a road bike in my life but could imagine myself enjoying that freedom and speed out on the bike. The funny thing is that I decided to race my first multisport event two months before the actual date and I did not even have a bike of any kind. I had better access to a pool during the lead up to Guelph Lakes 2 so you would think the triathlon option would have been easier. Something deep inside just would not budge on my swimming stance and duathlon won over the triathlon.

On the other side, I was so certain that I would enjoy the cycling that I shopped around for almost the full two months to make sure I had the fastest option for the money I had available at the time. I finally bought my first road bike on the Wednesday of the week of GL2. I rode it twice before the race and was only disappointed in one thing. Why had I not tried this sport earlier in my life!

Come race day, I had such an eye opening experience seeing all the fancy bikes and great athletes. I had a solid first run and then hopped on my entry level road bike with the strap style shoe holders on the pedals. I gave it my all on that 20k bike course (doubling any of the two training rides I had attempted). By the second run I was wiped but the other athletes were amazing, offering me encouragement along the route when I was forced to walk due to cramps. That picked up my spirits and I fought to finish that last 5k run.

If I remember correctly, I had only a few running races under my belt at this point (2 x 5k races and 1 x marathon) but still thought I could run a 20:00 5k coming off the bike for some reason. Man was I surprised how hard it was to run after putting so much effort in biking. It ended up being one of those, "I am going to teach you legs to run fast of the bike!" lessons that I have never perfected but has kept me coming back for more and more.

Two races (Niagara on the Lake Du as well) in 2006 led to three full seasons of duathlon. I was very passionate about the sport and just could not believe how few people were competing compared to the triathlon. It seemed like all the people I was meeting in the early years would move along to the tri or cycling so during the 2009 season, I decided that it may be best if I moved along as well.

I started to slowly introduce the swim into the routine but those days never seemed to be as enjoyable as my running or cycling days. Even during the first bunch of classes in my instructed lessons, I got nauseous and dizzy, having to leave a few of them mid-class to avoid being sick in the pool. Eventually, things started to improve to a certain point but to get to the level I wanted to be at, I just could not fit the local pool schedules into my work and family plans.

If I really wanted to get better I would have needed to join a masters class or have some one-on-one instruction a few times a week. Unfortunately, many of these in the Meadowvale area could not fit into my training hours and would have cost me additional money that is most likely better used for other aspects of my life.

The usual struggle to get my proper swim workout created several issues but I tried to keep a positive spin on things as the 2010 season approached. After a few real triathlons, I started to question my choice to jump into this side of the sport and was pretty frustrated due to the swim. I had one big event in August that I was already registered for so I tried to plug away. Thankfully, after the Welland Half Iron race, I got talking with Tyler Lord and he got my pumped up about the Timberman 70.3 race with a focus on the bike and the run. I ended up having the race of my life (to date!) but the reality of the day also set in seeing how amazing the talent is out there in triathlon. Without enjoying the water and being driven to swim as much as they do, I stand little chance to get to their level (70.3 Worlds or Kona). It would also require me to pass along some family duties to be in the pool during open hours and that would not be fair just for a hobby or recreational sport.

So in 2011, I will return to the duathlon world and really try to hammer down some of my past times. I didn't want to post this without running it past Tyler first so I am happy that he is staying on to help me get faster in the Run/Bike/Run. Hopefully, some of the strong duathletes of the past few years stick around so we can battle it out and have the same fun we used.

So now that I have had time to revamp my schedule, here are a few races I will be aiming for in 2011.

-Run 4 Hope 10k (FMCT organized event)

-Mississauga Half Marathon (go after sub 1:20 again!)

-Victoria's Du (a big race for du'ers as we get to race some great triathlete for the only time of the season)

-Ontario Du Championships (not sure of the location, yet)

I have picked a lot of other races but I should wait to see if I will be back with a particular sponsor next year before posting.

I am once again super excited about 2011 and just happy to be able to focus on my two favourite sports.

November 19, 2010

Quick Update

Let's see... Legs are starting to feel a lot better after the downhill beating they took in Hamilton on the 7th of November. I had an easy day on Monday before hitting the track on Tuesday for a barn burner. The workout was hard but I was able to pull off a good effort even in the cool, windy conditions on a gravel track. It is the closest one to work so I did not have too many options for a lunch time workout.

On Wednesday, I just stuck to the easy run that was prescribed and had to miss the swim due to a meeting during that swim opening. At this point of the season, I just don't have the motivation to seek alternative places to get that swim in so I have just done what I can during the time available. Thankfully, my faithful running and cycling can be done when ever I am ready to roll.

Thursday brought a very early call to get down to the gym for a spin class with a group of the Hi-Performance athletes lead by Coach Tyler. Coach put us through a very solid routine that had me sucking for air and sweating up a storm. Without the pop in my life, I am sleeping a lot more these days (huge caffeine reduction) so the early class did not go as bad as I expected. I have not been a morning person for several years (since my road construction days) so I am just getting back to the habit of early to bed, early to rise.

Today, I have off so I am taking advantage of the rest and letting things heal up. I will have a brick tomorrow and long run on Sunday to round out a recovery week. I am sure the big running weeks are coming again as I gear up for the Egg Nog Jog on December 12th in Terra Cotta.

Hope all the folks in Arizona have a great race (Glenn, Brian, Jennifer) this weekend. I will be rooting for ya from the computer!

Have a great weekend folks!

November 10, 2010

Road 2 Hope Half Marathon Race Report

,I knew it was going to be a chilly start to the day so I had a bunch of clothing options packed for the 2010 Road 2 Hope Half Marathon in Hamilton. With the extra hour of sleep it was easy to get out of bed in time to make the early drive to Confederation Park to grab my race kit and jump on the shuttle bus that would drive us to the start line up the "mountain" in Steel Town.

Since I arrived at the park over two hours before race time, I had very few people to worry about in the pick-up lines and breezed through this task and was back to the car debating as to what I would wear. I finally decided to go with long sleeves and my Falcons tri top as it seemed a touch too cold to go with only a tri top with arm warmers. With that job checked off, it was time for a bus ride to the start line.

Once at the school (where we could stay warm in the gym) I ran into a bunch of familiar faces so I spent most of my pre-race staying relaxed chatting with many of the folks I have met over the last few years through running or triathlon. Some of them (Stuart, John, Shanta, Rick and Hans, etc.) were tackling the full marathon while others (Ang, Dan, Jo-Jo, Brent, Gavin, Richard, Dave, Kevin, etc. and I) elected to test ourselves against the shorter half marathon.

As the time ran down I made sure to talk a little strategy with Jo-Jo as he was chasing the same sub 1:20 goal that I was. He has a lot more experience at this distance than I do and I knew he would be right there in the end so I made sure that our plans were set before hitting the roads. Once we got things organized, I headed out for a warm up and ran into Glenn (fellow Hi-Performance athlete getting ready for IMAZ) who was acting as support for his wife on this day.

Next it was go time so I made my way up to the front of the starting line and waited for the final few minutes. I looked around but could not find Jo-Jo so I wondered where he had settled in among the crowd. The clock was ticking down and I had to focus and pick my line out of the gate to make sure I got clear of the rest of the field. As they sent us off, I darted ahead with two other athletes to reach the first corner out of the school parking lot clear of the masses. We quickly hit the first road and started to settle in a line on the yellow road divider.

For the first five kilometres I sat in a small group of runners, including elite triathlete Sean Bechtel, trying to hide from the slight wind behind a Longboat member. We were clipping along pretty well as we made our way towards the expressway. My plan (set up by Coach Tyler) was to get to the 10k marker in 36 minutes so I knew I was on track when I hit 5k in 8:15 with a major downhill portion for the next 6 or 7 kilometres.

When we reached the on ramp for the Red Hill Valley Parkway a few runners started their accelerations so I knew it was time to go or be left behind. I stayed with the main group as we let Sean and another younger fellow travel ahead. It was at this point that Jo-Jo moved up with the group in a solid show of form. We were running around 5 or 6 strong and quietly working together as we snaked down the highway trying to pick the best line.

The splits were very quick during the decent and I ended up hitting the 10k marker in 35:35 (my fastest 10k ever) and in very good shape with only 11k to go. Making a slight climb off the parkway, I found myself leading the pack down Barton Street where we hit a stronger head wind than expected. The others were suddenly several metres back so I didn't know if I should wait or if they were fading? I decided to hold my pace and I hit the next stretch (Woodward Ave.) still feeling strong.

A few hundred metres down Woodward, the group had worked together to pull up and two runners jumped in front of me. I looked at our pace on my Garmin and we were still below race pace so I tucked in behind them knowing the QEW overpass was just a few km up the road and I wanted to save some energy for that. The three of us continued along and held a solid effort over the bridge just seconds ahead of the others chasing us down. We had hit the 15k marking in 54 minutes so I was really happy with the race plan and was sure that I would reach my goal if I could get to the 16k marker and throw down an average 5k.

Our next stretch of road was along Beach Blvd and we were again heading into the wind. It was not super strong but the pace was slower, up in the 3:55 range. One of the volunteers announced us as positions 7, 8 (me), 9 so I was also getting thoughts of top ten in my head at this point. This was short lived as the top lady, Nicole Stevenson, soon sailed past us followed by another two athletes with amazing form.

I stayed put as we rounded the top end of the loop and then started our home journey on the lake front running path. We only had 4 km to go so I just wanted to keep the pace below 4:00/km. The gentleman that was running behind me finally made his move and the two I was working with started to add a little distance between me. I had no answer but was just happy to be running sub 4 splits.

I was now just counting down the final markers and trying to visualize the finish as my legs were mush. Thankfully, my Mom and Aunt were on the course to cheer me on so I got a good little boost from them and knew I would make it to the finish.

At the 20k marker (which was right on the button with my Garmin), I was in good shape to break 1:20 and could not wait to celebrate at the finish line. Only one problem, the final 1.1km was taking much longer than usual to reach? What was going on? I soon watched as 1:20 passed and I was still not at the line. I was destroyed and had another athlete pass me so I was now unlucky 13.

I commented to the guy as he passed, "this is running long?". He agreed and was upset as well.

We finally hit the last hundred metres so I turned on as much gas a possible but could only manage to grab one spot back and ended my day at 1:21:10 in 12th spot.

After the race Jo-Jo, myself and several others commented on how the final 1.1km of the course was easily 1.5km or more. All our Garmins were bang on with all the signs heading up to the 20k marker and we were all on pace for our goal.

It was a little disappointing that it will not get recorded properly but I have a bunch of positives out of the race. 1st in my Age Group, 3:46 Race Pace of 21.5k, 35:35 at the 10k, 54 at the 15k, etc.

I also got to see a bunch of BQ's (Stuart, John, etc.) and PB's!

The Disappointment is Obvious

Road 2 Hope - Hamilton Half Marathon (photos)

Here are a few from my Mom's camera near the finish of the race.

November 1, 2010

Road2Hope (Hamilton) Half Marathon Week

I made it through the Halloween holiday without incident and stuck to my plan of zero treat intake for the past few weeks. It feels very good to watch the pounds fall off as I get closer to my usual race weight.

I am now only a few pounds away and know I will get to my happy spot before Sunday. Anything above that weight and I start to let it play on my confidence during the drive to the race. Bad habit but I know I don't need to be carrying any extra poundage down the 21.1k course.

With my registration officially submitted, I am now very excited to make the trip over to Hamilton this weekend and hope to reach my lofty goal of a sub 1:20 half marathon. I will easily break my PB in this race as I have not competed at this distance outside a tri or duathlon in several years.

At last year's marathon (my header photo comes from the 2009 Road2Hope), on the same course, my 21.1k split for the 42.2 distance was well below my last official half mary time so I cannot see how I can mess up the PB effort. The goal time is another question but I trust that my training and experience will get me in good position to take a run at it. I also found out that a good friend, Jo-Jo, will be chasing a similar goal so we should be able to work together to keep a consistent pace and for moral support. There are also a bunch of Falcons (Ang and Richard for sure!!) heading down the QEW so that makes it even more fun to race with some of the FMCT crew.

This is my first running race since the 5k in the spring (I, it's been a while) so I look forward to getting out on the open road and not worrying if I will make it through a swim or running into mechanicals on the bike. It is always nice to pack light for a race! HAHA

The marathon I ran here last year was a very good race and was a solidly organized event. I was debating as to which Half Marathon I wanted to run a month ago so I am glad my coach talked me into this race. It is close to home, well run, good roads, fun atmosphere and competitive at my level (so I have others to push me). Now if the weather works in our favour, the day should be very enjoyable once I get a few kilometres under my belt to burn off the pre-race nerves.

Before I hit the post button, I want to send my best wishes out to a bunch of friends hitting the Ironman Course in Florida this weekend. Coach Tyler, Bill V, Terri R and Nathalie B are all prepared and going to have a great race this weekend. Go Falcons and Coach!

Coming Soon - 2010 Egg Nog Jog!