Larry's Blog Pages

December 28, 2011

2011 - Year in Rear View

Sitting here as the final days tick down I have to admit I am not totally satisfied with my athletic achievements during the past 365 days. I set some big, but obtainable, goals for 2011 but only cashed in a few solid performances.

Looking in the mirror, as scary as it may be (HA HA), I can only blame myself for the short comings. I laid out a silly schedule that I hardly stuck to. On workouts, I got lazy on the bricks and it showed big time on the few duathlons I competed in. Lastly, I never really got serious about my eating habits and raced almost every event 5 to 10 pounds over my desired weight. If I really want to take my performances to the next level in 2012, I will have to get serious about cutting calories. This older body just doesn't have the metabolism it once had.

So thinking back on the year, here is a quick month by month account of how 2011 played out.

January - things were going really well to start the new year. Tyler had us geared up on the spinning and strength end of the training with several group sessions per week. I was getting through the routines with more ease than a few months earlier so I was getting pumped about the season. At the end of the month I went on a work trip to the USVI and this set me off track with the food and drink.

February - Back at it with the gang until I made a bad lift with the kettle bells and trapped a nerve in my upper back. This required several weeks of physio and reduced my running and cycling for most of February and March.

March -  A lot more rehab on the back continued to slow my desired speed work I had planned. Due to the condition of my back I decided to hold off pre-registering for any races until I knew I would be ready to race up to my potential.

April - My back and neck were feeling much better so I jumped into the Spring into Motion 5k to see how things were lining up. It turned out to be a tough day with wind and snow but I managed to go mid 17 minutes so I felt OK with speed. With Mississauga Half Marathon as a priority race in May, I had to adjust the rest of my duathlon schedule as I would not have recovered enough to race Victoria's Du.

May - As my first major race arrived, I felt ready to run fast but at the Mississauga Half Marathon the wind was not our friend and I missed out on sub 1:20, again. This time by less than 20 seconds so that was disappointing but I took the positives and keep training hard for my first duathlon in June.

June - This month was rather busy with the Milton Duathlon to start things off. I was third on the opening run, first off the bike but suffered on the run to finish second to a new friend. This should have motivated me to pick up my brick training but I brushed it off thinking I will get back in the next race. The second race was a four person, 5k relay. It was after work so I rushed down to Exhibition Place to meet Jo Jo and the crew. I ran a strong 5k but still mid 17 minutes. Lastly, I ran the 10k portion of a triathlon relay team in Guelph Lakes. With Ang and Richard, we pulled off the win but I still wanted to go faster than 37minutes. At the end of the month I changed my Peterborough Half Ironman Du focus to the Tri as Syd and Ryan asked me to guide Brian Cowie.

July - Brian and I completed the Peterborough Half Iron Triathlon on a very hot and humid day. It was quite an experience and I am very happy to have had the privilege to race with Brian. We have stayed in contact since the race so I am very thankful for this opportunity to make a new amazing friend. After Peterborough, I had to travel twice for work (Calgary and California) so my schedule had to be adjusted again. This meant I missed out on the Provincial Duathlon Championships in Cobourg.

August - With my commitment to Centurion Collingwood to my FMCT friends, cycling took a front seat for the next few months. I spent a lot of weekend time riding with the gang so running was not too important. I did not want to go into a 100mile bike race without the proper training. In early August I did wet my duathlon whistle one more time for 2011 and raced the Niagara Duathlon. It was a decent race and I managed the victory to add some confidence to my future training.
 
September - After joining the Ontario Masters Association (looking to do fall XC races) I decided to take a flyer and race Carrotfast 5k. It was the OMA 5k Championships so I tested my running legs against all my cycling training and was able to match my earlier 5k time of 2011, winning my AG for the 2011 OMA 5k Championships. After that it was all about Centurion. Leading into the race I ended up tearing a muscle in my lower abs that hurt my running but I could continue to ride. When race day finally came, I settled in with a good sized chase group and did well to navigate through the challenging hills of Collingwood. I did end up falling a part in the last 10k but still beat my expectations on time and average pace so that added to the cycling fire.

October - With our cycling legs still in fine working order, the FMCT gang decided to tackle the 100km Tour de Hans in Waterloo. My injury continued to hurt on my runs so I skipped a xc race and jumped on the tour and had an amazing race. I hung with the lead group for 30k and then battled hard to create a new chase group and ended up in 21st overall. My next race was suppose to be a shot at sub 2:50 in the Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I was not sure if I was up for it but the injury was feeling better. I was then called out to California the week before race and once again had to ditch my plans due to travel. I probably was not ready for the marathon but now wanted to finish the season on a good note so signed up for the Hamilton Half Marathon.

November - In this month I ended up striking one goal off my 2011 list. In the Hamilton Half Marathon, I raced to a 1:17:41 time and finally went sub 1:20 for a half marathon. I was then taking some time off when a friend asked me to run the Mississauga Canoe Club 15k so I decided to just go all out and try to see what I could do. It was not my best effort but I still beat the FMCT club record so I could take some positives out of the race.

December - This has been down time. I was going to race the Boxing Day 10 Miler but I had a conflict with work so I just kept running and added some swims and bike rides in there. I hope this time to recharge the batteries will get my motivation fueled up so I can get off on the right foot in 2012.

December 20, 2011

Some New Web Reading Material...

Hey Folks,

I made some changes to the site so I hope you have a chance to check out the new link tabs across the header of the page.  I have replaced some of the side material (results, links, etc.) and added pages for a nicer, clean read.

Let me know if you have any more comments of questions!

Thank you,
Larry

December 8, 2011

Interactive Reflection - Why?

I am sure most of you are in the same boat as I am and often have friends or family ask you why? Maybe it is even you asking this question when you are looking in the mirror in the morning?


Why do I train as frequently and as hard as I do for a recreational pastime?

When I think of my days in hockey and golf, I do not recall wanting to spend hours a day on training. Even though I wanted to be the best I could be in those sports, the norm (among the people I competed against and with) was not to practice a hour or two or three per day to improve my game day performance.

With hockey it was always just show up at the rink, once or twice a week, and play the game. In golf, we just booked a tee time and whacked the ball around a course (when you could find six hours of spare time). I would maybe go to the driving range a few times a month to try to fix the numerous flaws in my swing, but not five or six time a week.

There is definitely something different about triathlon...

I would love to hear from as many readers as possible. As the comments and email responses come in, I will add them below on this posting to create a motivational piece to spark everyone for the new year.

Please send me a comment or email (larrybradleytoronto@yahoo.ca) so I can post your thoughts!


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Larry,
the short answer is "it's in me".

When I was about 9 or 10, I got my first bike and, though I don't remember much about riding around on it, one memory that does stand out is circuit racing around the mini strip mall not far from my house. The tarmac went completely around the mall and my friends and I used to race around it. It was dangerous, as we'd have to weave in and out of cars that were driving in to buy milk or whatever, but that didn't stop me. The cars were just obstacles to go around. I loved this game; it was the thrill of racing but there was also the high from exerting myself. When I was a bit older, I'd used spend hours hitting a tennis ball against the school wall. This time I was by myself which showed that it wasn't just about competition; the activity itself was enough. Now I'm 55 and I still get the same feeling of elation when I'm out riding my bike or in the middle of a run. It doesn't happen all the time but often enough to keep me coming back. Throw the thrill of competition in there and the elation is magnified tenfold. So I don't know what the scientific or philosophical or medical answers are. All I know for sure is it's in me.

-richard    http://richard-westwood.blogspot.com/
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For me, Triathlon (SBR) is my thing and my lifestyle now. My kids have their hockey/soccer, etc. and I have my triathlon. I think what makes it addictive to most is when we see that little bit of improvement year over year. This just makes me want to train more and harder. In our sport, we have world championship events that are out of reach for most, but after doing the 70.3 World Championship in Florida, the Boston marathon and recently "qualifying" for the NYC marathon, the last thing that really motivates me is to earn and take a Kona slot for Ironman. It's that carrot that is out in front me and drives me to keep working harder and harder, even as I approach that magical 40 number in age. A lot of people in triathlon who give it their first go, quickly get addicted, as they, like me, can see those small incremental improvements year over year. In doing triathlon/running/cycling, you surround yourself with like minded individuals and you feed off each other. I'm not going to lie that I watch what you do and think to myself, "man, can I do that?"

In addition to the performance improvements, a lot of people see dramatic physical changes to their body the more training they do, which is also a huge motivating factor. I'm as fit now as I have ever been in my whole life, and that is awesome. I look forward to 2012 and the challenges that lie ahead, as I'm sure you do as well.

-Luke   http://mytriathlonandtrainingadventures.blogspot.com/
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The reason why I originally got into it is kind of funny. I started racing and training for mountain biking when I was about 12 because- believe it or not- I was a huge X-Men fan, and I wanted to push myself and my body to be as close to a super hero's as possible!
Obviously not my main goal now, but that's what got the ball rolling way back when! haha

-Sean   http://www.drdelanghe.com/

December 1, 2011

Mississauga Canoe Club 15k - Race Report

This race was not originally on my calendar so I wasn't totally prepared to go super hard for 15k. A co-worker, who has always been supportive of my racing and my tri club, is a member of the "Missy" Canoe Club and asked a few of us in the office to join in the fun. It didn't take much to convince me to run so I re-arranged my weekly schedule to make it fit into my training so I that I wouldn't miss out on any of my workouts.

Although, the weather was a little cool and wet on the morning of the event, I was curious to see how close I could take this race to my 15k split in the Hamilton Half Marathon. This kept the motivation high while I warmed up in the chilly rain as the rest of the small field assembled near the starting line. As the gun time neared, I decided shorts were still acceptable but went with arm warmers and a tri top to kept a little warmer up top.

With the Canoe Club trying to keep costs down (rightfully so) they designed the course to stick to the walking paths around the Lakefront Promenade Marina. This made for a lot of twists and turns with some blinds spots out on the course so I made sure to listen to the lead bike guide during the pre-race instructions. When it was time to begin the run, I positioned myself behind some of the younger athletes and just came off the line in a relaxed effort. This was probably a good call as many of the teenaged runners went off like canons, getting out well ahead of me to the start of the path.

I was fairly certain a good number of them would burn out after their short sprint so I just set my target on a few of the smoother looking ones and slowly made made way through the crowd. By the time we had covered the first kilometre I had moved up to sixth spot with a couple solid looking runners chasing the bike very quickly. One of them was relatively young but had great form so I was not sure what to expect from him at this distance. The other was a familiar face from a few previous races. I knew he was a gamer so there was no way I was going to stay on his heels for 15k. I just patiently hung back as we circled RK McMilland Park to the west of the starting area.

After making the loop around this tree filled park (could not see the competition during this section), we doubled back past the beach cove and headed to the northeast trails. I was now running in fourth spot, about a hundred metres back of third, feeling confident that I could catch this guy somewhere down the road.

We were just over three km into the race as we zigged and zagged along Waterfront Trail and I was making solid ground on my target. From a previous 10k race on these grounds, I was now comfortable enough with the course to zone out (take my mind off the pain building in my legs) for a little while and focus on my form and pace.

As I reached the 5k mark (water station), I could tell I had fallen too far off the pace of the two leaders so there was little chance of reeling them back in. I now had to settle with the possibility of a third place finish. Not so bad but not exactly they way I imagined the day...

A little further through Marie Curtis Park, as I neared the turnaround at the far east end of the course, I noticed I wasn't too far off that podium position. I hurried over to the volunteer pointing out the turn marker and made a quick pivot to re-trace my steps. Two things hit me at this point. Firstly, my legs died on me right out of the blue. Secondly, I could now see how close two runners were just behind me. Oh Oh!

The twosome on my rear brought a bit of a spark but I felt like I was suddenly struggling with my form over the small rolling mounds of asphalt, fighting despreately to speed up. By the time I weaved through the kilometre in the forest, I had lost contact with the last spot on the podium. I hit the 7km aid station and was afraid that reaching for a drink would stop me in my tracks so I just kept my eyes forward and hoped to hold off the guys on my heels.

Watching my garmin on the way back to the marina, I could tell my pace was suffering compared to my early splits. My goal of fifty-five minutes was in jeopardy now so it was all about getting through the final portion of the race without losing too many spots or dropping out. Thankfully, my mental game was on to make up for the lack of physical game on this day and I talked myself into staying as efficient as possible.

This was not pretty, believe me. I couldn't see the guy running in third at this point so I was starting to doubt some of the upcoming turns on the course as we twisted back to Lakefront Promenade Park for another loop. I got through the loop for the second time in the race and was really not sure where we were heading next for the last four kilometres. I just hoped the volunteers were on top of the situation as they directed both 8k and 15k runners along the pathway.

Lucky for us, they did a great job! I travelled back along the Waterfront Trail, along the back edge of an industrial park, and counted down the distance knowing the final turnaround must be coming soon. Shortly after that thought, I watched the leader zoom past me with second place a litttle back from the young, talented runner. After I saw third place, I knew I was getting close to my final switch back and hit the line and blasted off to get back up to speed. I could once again see 5th and 6th place licking their lips so I just gunned it for the final two km.

My legs were too tired to put any length into my stride so I had to concentrate on just speeding up the cadence of my shuffle. This was enough to increase the gap and provide a respectable final few thousand metres. I was very relieved to make my way back to the marina parking lot and see a low 56 on the clock. I made a final sprint to keep it under 57 minutes and broke the tape in 56:32 (on my garmin).

This was good for 4th place overall and a nice, new standard for 15k (not including splits from longer races)for me to aim for next year. I still have not seen the actual chip time results so I am not sure how that looked for my age but I would assume two of the three runners ahead of me where under thirty years of age.

November 29, 2011

Hiperformance Online - Come run with us...

Hey Folks,

My coach, Tyler Lord, is rolling out an exciting new training program for 2012 and he would love to have everyone out for a FREE orientation run.

What - Hiperformance Online orientation run
When - Sunday, December 11, 2011
Where - Hiperformance Training Centre - 118 Thomas Street, Oakville

Tyler (Pro triathlete, Head Coach), Glenn Camplin (amazing, local AG triathlete) and myself will be in attendance to lead the group through the quiet streets of Oakville. There will be several distances to pick from so everyone is more than welcome to come out and see what the program has to offer.




Please come out and see what all the buzz is about!

If you have any questions, or would like to RSVP, please send your correspondance to the contact below -

tyler_hiperformance@hotmail.com

(I will post more information about the program specifics as they are posted up on the Hiperformance Online site! Stay tuned...)

November 21, 2011

Road 2 Hope Half Marathon (2011) Race Report

Missing the Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon a few weeks ago, I thought I would just pack it in for the season and take some time to rest and recuperate. Thankfully, other people had better ideas and I soon found myself gearing up for the Hamilton Road to Hope Half Marathon. I had put in a lot of work for the marathon and my coach did not want to see me waste all the effort so he recommended this date for me to compete.

Having raced this particular event last year, I knew it was a fast course but I still had to be ready and on my game to hit the time he had in mind for me. So I took the three weeks and made a very solid push in training to get myself ready to go sub 1:20 in Hamilton. As luck would have it, Tyler made a last minute change to his schedule to help pace my effort. Heading into the race with this support, I was feeling very good about my chances.

On Sunday morning, I grabbed my gear and headed towards the Hammer. On my way, I picked up Tyler and we drove to Confederation Park (the finish area) to catch the shuttle bus up the hill to the starting line. During the ride we discussed the strategy of the day so I knew what to expect and where I wanted to be in relation to his position on the course.

When we arrived at the high school (our warming centre), we grabbed a spot in one of the halls and I slowly prepared my kit for the race. I was not sure how warm it would feel come gun time so I was taking a long time deciding what to wear. As I weighed my clothing options, I had a chance to chat with Laura G (FMCT) and Luke Ehgoetz. Laura was gearing up for the full so she had a bit of a head start and was just about to make her way over to the line. Luke was running the half with us so I was interested to see what his game plan was for the 21.1k.

After we discussed this, and checked in our bags, it was time for a quick warm up outside. It was incredible running weather so I ended up ditching the short sleeve technical shirt I had under my top and just went with tri top and gloves on this early November morning.

At the start line, I tucked in behind Tyler and let him lead out of the tight chute. Unfortunately, I did not battle very hard once the gun sounded and I found myself falling off the pace, getting stuck behind some folks that were not hitting the pace the lead group was pushing. With a sharp right turn about 100 metres out of the school driveway, I had to wait to get around the corner before I could negotiate the crowd and then bridge up to the group I wanted to be running with. I wasn’t expecting to generate this kind of acceleration in this part of the run so once I caught up to Tyler I just sat on his heels for a few minutes to get the heart rate back down.

Over the next few kilometres we kept things under control, hanging slightly back from the chase group (the solo leader was well ahead of them). A few times I felt the urge to surge up to one of the other small packs in between us and the chase but Coach T wisely held me back keeping me just under our targeted pace across the flats leading up to the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

Just after the 5k marker we arrived at the downhill section as we merged onto the expressway. We had the benefit of a solid tailwind at this point so Tyler pumped up the pace and I just stuck on his tail. Most of the small groups were now strung out down the road so we just ran our own pace and did not worry about working with anyone else, for the time being.

On the decent, I was cruising along quicker than planned but I was doing well staying with my coach for most of this drop towards the lake, usually following him or just behind the twosome or threesome he was pulling along. This held true until the 8k area when I made a mental mistake trying to grab a cup of energy drink from an aid station. I missed the first one when I took my eyes off the cup and had to scramble to reach for another before passing through the zone. This brief lapse in focus seemed to knock me slightly off their pace and a gap opened up between myself and Tyler, Hugo Reyes and Michael Enright.

Tyler had mentioned Hugo’s talent level (as we watched him charge out at the start of the race) so when Tyler started to run beside Mr. Reyes, I figured they were going for a much quicker time than I could manage. My new plan was to just try and keep my gap around a hundred metres back. With the wind helping I knew I would be OK to work alone for the moment but I also knew once we changed direction, in a few thousand metres onto Barton, I would be expending a lot of extra energy going solo.

As I reached the 10k sign, I looked at my watch (35:23) to notice I was around ten seconds ahead of last year’s pace. This had me a little worried as I remember how much time I gave back in the last half of the run in 2010 and I felt like I was struggling a lot earlier this year. Shortly after the sign, I started to climb up the exit ramp from the expressway and decided to skip the aid station that would have added a few extra metres (on the far side of the curve). I saw Tyler, Hugo, Michael and another runner all head towards the volunteers so I hoped that my shorter route to Barton would allow me grab onto the back of their line to find some protection from the wind.

Similar to 2010, the wind was slowing everyone down along this short detour to Woodward Avenue. Tyler was now pushing ahead of the rest of us and looking very strong as I joined in behind Hugo and Michael. Once we turned right onto Woodward, we enjoyed more assistance from the wind and I just let my legs go and led the group for a few minutes with my coach a little ways up the road.

Over the next few kilometres, the three of us kept swapping positions leading the small pack to the lake front portion of the course. The cross wind was pretty tough along Beach Blvd as Hugo and Michael started to fade a little so I decided to just run on my own and try to chase down Tyler who was now about 50 metres up the street. When we finally reached the turnaround at 16k, I was not too far off but realized it would be a mistake to bridge up since the last five kilometres were going to be killer with the winds howling from our right.

On our way along the lake front path to the finish line, Michael ended up catching and pulling past me with about 4k to go. My form was getting very ugly at this point and I could not match his speed to work with him (to be honest, I don’t think there was any place to hide from the wind from the direction it was coming from so I just tried to use a training course landmarks to get me closer to the line as fast as possible). The Brooklin, Ontario native eventually hit a wall with about 2.5k to the line and I slowly got around him. He held on for a few hundred feet until a twosome from the London area smoothly glided past us, knocking both of us out of the top ten.

I had nothing left in the tank but Michael seemed to have a little juice and tried to track them down. He eventually came up six seconds short of their time and I was another eight behind him. I was just happy to reach the tape before having to crawl.

I ended up breaking through in 1:17:40 and finishing 12th overall and 2nd in my Age Group. Tyler also set a PB finishing 45 seconds ahead of me in 8th position. Thanks Coach!

Congrats to everyone on their races in Hamilton! Great work by Luke to easily beat his goal and qualify for New York in 2011!

November 16, 2011

Trying to bring things back up to speed...

Well, my plans to have my race report completed have been sidelined. I was too busy enjoying a weekend away with the family and I tried to keep sports and work out of the mix. I will attempt to get this wrapped up this week, but with work being crazy of late, I am not sure exactly when I can fit it in.

I am also getting back up to speed with my program. Since the half marathon, I have been recovering. Most of that has brought back poor eating habits so I am carrying a little extra weight around that I have to shed to make running easier. Last night's run was amazing in the mild, fall weather we are experiencing. I got home after the run feeling motivated so I drove over to the gym to throw in some weight training as well.

As you can see over to the right, we are getting very run specific at this point in the season. This will give me a good indication if I am feeling up to Boxing Day 10 Miler. I better decide very soon as many of these traditional runs are selling out quickly these days. Tyler has told me to focus on the run so I will just fit in some extra rides on the side to keep my cycling legs ready to go once we get geared back up for the hard work to come. I don't want to fall too far behind the machines I have in friends like Richard, Sean and Luke.

Next is the swim. I received all kinds of advice from folks which led me to a Friday morning session in Meadowvale, blocks from my house. JJ is coaching a group through a drill structured class which is exactly what I need to become way more efficient in the water for Muskoka. I know JJ has a huge following, and is an amazing coach, so I am sure I am in great hands for this swim each week. Now I just have to decide when I will swim a few more times during the week. FMCT swims are starting in the new year so I have to get cracking on this to make sure it is OK with family schedule. As the kids are getting older, they are increasing their activity calendars so I have to make sure that I do not book anything that conflicts with Sparks, Swimming or Skating.

Anyway, just another quick update. Would love to hear how everyone else is spending their fall this season?

Talk soon,
Larry

November 10, 2011

Just chilling...

Hey Folks,

Just a quick hit this morning before I dive into another full day of webinar action at work.

I am currently working on my race report from the Hamilton Half Marathon. Should be able to post by the end of the weekend. It has been a crazy week at work but the timing is good. I have not completed anything of note, athletically speaking. Coach told me to recover and I am doing just that. I don't think he told me to binge on junk food so I will have some work to do coming off this week.

Not sure what is 100% for my next adventure. I want to run Egg Nog Jog but it may have sold out. I am not organized at this moment, in that aspect of my daily world, to just go and sign up. Between family, work, hockey work, etc... I am not sure how that weekend is shaping up for free time so need to sit down and sort through things before making the committment. That may be too late the way the entries are filling up. Oh well.

After that, Tyler wants me to test out the Boxing Day 10 Miler. Once again, not sure of my schedule so got to take a look at all the factors on that day before jumping in. Hope I can check things out tomorrow night.

Anyway, must be going.

Make sure you read some of the blogs on the left side of my web page. A lot of cool posts from my friends of late.

Talk soon,
Larry

November 3, 2011

Getting the game face on...

Since I finally officially registered the other day, I cannot turn back now. I wasn't thinking about it anyway but sometimes you get up on a race day and would rather stay in bed. When you register on race day, such as I do very often (bad habit), there is no financial commitment so being lazy (especially when the weather is crappy) and staying home does not create such a guilty feeling.

So Sunday is my next challenge at the Hamilton Half Marathon. Looks like there is a good field of runners signed up so I hope I have a few people to work with to chase down my goal. I feel like I have put in an excellent fall of training and the weight has come down to a comfortable running level so I am excited to see how things pan out.

I know from the last few half marathons that the legs are going to hurt in the final 5k at the pace I raced during those events but I would really like to hammer a little more out of the gate to see how low I really can go on this downhill course. Tyler believes I have a faster time in my system, based on my training paces and shorter race results, so that may be just the vote of confidence I need to try to push the pace a little more. Hopefully, others will want to go after this time range as well so that I have some company on the road. I am sure we will encounter some wind down along the lake shore area so every extra body counts during this stretch!

Other than getting ready for this race, I have been trying to find a place to swim in preparation for the 2012 Muskoka 70.3. Not an easy task given my demands. I need something very close to home, something that is open early or very late and something that isn't crazy expensive. Not sure I am going to satisfy all these demands but I better pick something soon as I would like to be in the water 5 or 6 times a week before the new year to improve as much as possible before next fall.

Well, that's just a quick update for now. I hope everyone has a great race weekend and make sure you say HI! if you are in Hamilton this Sunday. Good luck!

Larry

October 26, 2011

Project IronReady Web Site

Hi folks.

Just wanted to jump on this morning to direct you to a new site out there in cyber space. My duathlon buddy, Mark Keating, has decided it is time to chase his goal of completing an Ironman distance race. He has started a blog to document his journey and has also included a very thoughtful charitable aspect to his adventure.

Please help Mark out by following along and adding some vocal support.

I know all positive messages will help keep him on track during those tough hours of training!

http://www.agegroupdiaries.com/

Thank you,
Larry

October 18, 2011

Like the flip of a switch....

I could have easily fallen into the routine of poor eating and lounging around every night like I did this weekend. It is amazing how fast the body can change,  forming bad habits in such a short period of time. You get lazy for a few days and the next thing you know it becomes tough to get up for the next workout.

Thankfully, I am surrounded by awesome friends that will not let me fall down that path. Over the past two days, I received inspiring messages from Richard Westwood, Tyler Lord and Glenn Camplin telling me to get back on the horse, so I did.

I made sure the family was down for the night and set out for an easy run on a beautiful, fall night. Since I was running on the trail system in Meadowvale, I had little to worry about so I was able to use the time to think about what I want to do to wrap up 2011. I didn't wear a watch or carry any other distractions and just enjoyed the quiet, evening air while building up my game plan once again.

At first, my direction was a little aggressive but I think the race and distance I settled on will be a fair challenge so I look forward to getting some revenge on a course that I know I can go faster on. As I was already prepared for last weekend's marathon, it shouldn't take much more to hit the line in 3 weeks with a good chance at reaching (and surpassing) one of my major goals this season.

Thanks to Richard, Tyler and Glenn for getting me rolling again!

October 17, 2011

A bit of this and a bit of that...

So, I was suppose to run the Toronto Marathon on the weekend and had a goal of 2:50 in mind for this event. When I agreed to be a back up pace bunny my schedule was wide open but boy did things change.

In the weeks leading up to the race, I received word that I needed to fly out to California for a week of business training and would return Saturday morning, only 27 hours before the marathon. I also noticed the hockey schedule posted online that showed games on Saturday and Sunday of the marathon weekend.

I continued to train hoping to find a way to fit everything into the short gaps of time that I now had to work with but, on my flight home from California, I realized that it would be better if I scrapped the marathon plans and help out around the house Sunday morning instead of running 42.2k.

Luckily, I was not called in to replace any of the original pace bunnies so I would have been able to run my own race, therefore, the decision not to run at the last minute did not affect anyone else but certainly gave my wife a little relief as I was able to spend more time at home than expected this weekend.

Now that this event has passed, I am finding it difficult to re-set my short term goals for the rest of 2011. I kind of feel spent from the past 2 years of training and racing. I know the hockey schedule is just getting rolling so I really do not want to book a new race on a weekend that also includes hockey. I also am not feeling motivated to race anything more than 10k so that drops a bunch of the event options off the table.

As you can see, I am currently stuck without a game plan for October, November and December of this year so it will take a huge commitment on my end to stay focused on training during this period of time unless I find a goal to work towards.

Thankfully, I do have someone to kick my arse back into gear but Tyler and I have decided to give this week a "what ever" attitude and I will see how I feel at the end of the week. He will try to his best to get me back into the flow next week. It may be tough but if I can circle something on the calendar about a month down the road, it will be much easier to snap out of this lull.

This morning I still feel tired from the traveling so I have not attempted any workout. I did not lift any athletic type shoes on the weekend either so hopefully, I find some inspiration very soon as sitting around and snacking are not a good combination for my weight maintenance. I am always amazed at how fast the pounds attach to my frame.

As I ponder my future, I will leave you with a pic from yesterday's Toronto Marathon. Maybe they can spark the fire in my competitive spirit soon!

October 3, 2011

Tour de Hans - Race Report

There is no mistaking it, fall is in the air. A few months ago, I was anticipating that the October 1st weekend would be a touch cooler so I was planning to race a XC Running event to ring in the season. As the race drew near, I continued to experience issues with my lower abdominal/groin region that has made running a little uncomfortable. A couple days before the weekend, Tyler and I decided to pull the plug on the Ontario Masters’ XC Race and take it easy on the running side.


Cycling, on the other hand, does not seem to bother the injury very much so I have ramped up the bike miles to stay active. I knew a large number of the Falcons were registered for the Tour de Hans 100k ride in the Kitchener/Waterloo area on October 2nd so I figured I would join the group and get in my scheduled long ride.

Coming off a successful Centurion Canada, I could tell I was growing as a cyclist so I wanted to add to my experience base and get aggressive out of the gate in the Tour de Hans to see how things go. If I fell apart because of a serious effort, I could accept it and walk away knowing what has worked and what has failed. My cycling partner in crime, Richard Westwood, and I had worked through this game plan a couple days before the event so we were prepared to push each other to maximize our efforts.

I had also spoken to my triathlon buddy, Luke Ehgoetz, who had mentioned that he was game for the challenge. This was his first cycling event and he was excited to see how his amazing triathlon bike skills translated on the road bike. Although, I am nowhere close to an experienced roadie, I passed along some pointers that I have picked up recently to help him join us to see if we could manage a three person team if we got into the same group.

On the morning of the tour, the air was a chilly four degrees with wind chills reported in the low negatives (CP24). Luckily, the predicted rain held off for the time we were out on the bike so it did not become a factor (unless you packed rain gear for the ride) and the roads were in fine shape for our race.

On to the race…

The opening 5k (out and back) portion of the event was used as a slow, warm up parade that was not timed. Guest rider, Simon Whitfield, led the group through a neutralized loop away from the staging area where I sat back a few rows from the front not wanting to miss out on anything once we returned to the actual start line of the race. When we wrapped up our warm up (although we were moving too slow to actually warm anything up as my hands were still numb), Simon continued to pull for a few hundred metres before the top guns gathered near the front of the peloton.

They were not blasting very hard, yet, so the group remained very large for the first few kilometres of the race as we continued on a straight away of rolling road. I was in close contact with most of the riders (Bruce Bird, Ryan Roth, Ian Scott, etc.) that I knew would be in the eventual lead group so I just stayed in among them as a few people attacked to test the waters.

Riding with experienced racers, you can see that they do not panic about breaks but monitor the rider out in front to see if they are going to stretch or come back to the group. During this stage of the race every minor attack came back quickly and the pack just kept pulling along until the 12k point, when things got interesting.

I saw a route marker on the side of the road that was directing us to turn right so I prepared and signaled that we would be doing so. Richard was right on my wheel so I knew he was committed to my every move. Unfortunately, for a bunch just ahead of us, the police escort did not turn and they kept following along. I was the first to turn right and started to doubt my move as a whole slew of riders continued straight for a few seconds. Luckily, a local rider pulled up with me and confirmed that I was heading in the correct direction.

The chaos to my left was kind of amusing to watch as riders scrambled to get back on route. Some were cutting across the grass in the ditch and on the gravel just to rejoin the front. This right hand turn put us dead into a strong wind so I was not really excited to be leading the charge now so I wisely slowed the pace and waited for the strong folks to jump back into the lead of the peloton.

This short connecting road into Wilmot was slightly up grade so things were finally starting to string out a little. When we entered the small town, we had a left turn that led us to a set of train tracks that looked pretty touch and go. I wanted to protect my rubber crossing these but was certain that the power riders would attempt a separation after the tracks.

As usual, the front runners took off after bumping across the railway and the race was on to stay in contact. I was hoping Richard and Luke would be right behind but I was struggling to hook on so I could not turn to peak back. I was on and off a few times as the lead group formed. Just as I was about to fall off on my last push, I got some help from a rider who managed to bridge across and grabbed his wheel. I thanked him for pulling me up and tried to recover for a few minutes before moving up to a protected position in the middle of the pack.

At this point, it was tough to tell what was happening behind us. I was not sure if the chase group had come up with us or where Richard and Luke had settled? With the strong winds most of us were battling to hold our lines so I didn’t feel confident enough to look back to see what was developing behind me.

During the next ten kilometres, I was fighting the cross wind hitting the right side of our group. I tried to get over to the left side of the train but just couldn’t find the right time to do so. At the 29k area, we finally reached the start of our longest climb on the course. It was not much of a hill, by Collingwood standards, but it was just enough to start shaking folks off the back as the leaders pushed the pace.

At the 32k mark, I started to fade to the back for a little breather. This quick lapse in judgment cost me again as I could not hold the wheel of the last rider in the group and watched as the gap grew inch by inch in front of me. As the peloton continued up the slope I noticed other riders slipping off as well. By the time we leveled off I could see several individuals on the horizon so it was now decision time.

Wait for a group (which I could not see coming up behind me) or just hammer and hope to work with others to create a group out of the shrapnel left from the peloton.

After the Tour de Terra Cotta, I could not waste another opportunity to push the limits in a cycling event so I opted to bury my head and leave it all out on the roads. If I blew up at least I did trying.

As I gained more speed, getting as aero as possible to cut the powerful wind, I passed a total of three riders all going solo. None of them seemed too interested in grabbing my wheel so I just kept pounding away as I could see a group of three making a left turn at the very top of our ascent. This was now close to 5km of time trialing up the slope so I was starting to feel the burn but not about to give up. Thankfully, I caught them a few hundred metres after the turn and pulled in front to show them I was very keen on making more ground.

I stayed out front for a minute and then waved the group through to catch a quick breather. Around the 40k mark we made a right turn and I could now see another bunch of three guys about 700m down the road. I figured this was our best chance to bring on more people so I moved up along the crew and asked if they were ready to follow up to the next few riders. I was happy to receive a positive response from the team and I got into TT mode for another hard effort.

As I pulled, I was encouraged by several of their comments as we made solid work of closing the gap between the two groups. I really started to feel the load of the effort when I got within ten metres of the last wheel ahead of me. I was hoping they would see us coming and let us hook up easier. No dice.

I really had to work hard to claim those final metres of the bridge so by the time we all moved across, to create a seven person pack, I was exhausted and having a hard time hanging on as we climbed a small hill before Linwood.

I watched as they began to increase the space and could not believe my luck as I worked so hard to create the bigger group and now there was a good chance I would be left solo with more than half the race left. To my relief, we crested the hill and started travelling down so I was able to get back on before rolling through Linwood where we turned right to finally catch some nice tailwind action.

Over the next several kilometres we became organized and started to work a pace line. I noticed one of our gang fell off during this quick period of time but we held a strong mix of six guys as we approached an intersection just after the half way spot. Unfortunately, we did not sight the rumble strips in the asphalt and the first set sent our group all over the place. Not exactly sure what happened (flat, loss of momentum, bike damage, etc.) to a couple of the guys but coming away from the intersection we were now down to four and looking unorganized.

(Note: I am throwing in the names of the gentlemen I worked with over the last portion of this race as I think I can tell by the finishing order whom they may be. I would like to point out that I had one of the most positive racing experiences of my short cycling life. These guys were total class and very supportive as we travelled the rest of the course as an efficient unit. Thank you!)

Not very far after the cross in the road, we started to get back into a flow but the Time Trial sign was too much of a carrot for Andy Mill and Phillip Hodgkinson to pass up. They sprinted ahead to test their skills but I told them I needed to recover and just kept my pace. Andy mentioned that they would wait at the top so that we could stay together so I was cool with that. Kent Bauman joined me and we worked our way up the hill not too far off their wheels so by the time we crested we were all ready to roll down the steep backside and round the bend.

Shortly after the sweeping bend, Andy got us organized again and we started a very smooth rotation through our four man collective. The pace was high and the communication was strong as we worked through the different cross and tail winds, changing our line position based on the direction of the wind.

During this stretch, in the 60-65k range, we picked up another rider from Toronto (I assume, based on his kit) and got the benefit of an extra man for several kilometres. I noticed just how much quicker we became with five people as the rotation gave us just enough of a break to recover between the short pulls we were popping off at the front. Unfortunately, this gentleman must have extended himself earlier as he was only on for a short period of time and soon we had to drop back to our four person ways.

Then in the early 70k’s, we picked up another three riders that were waiting around for some help. They got up to speed and joined us but did not offer much in assistance. As we continued along, I could tell some of our core group was starting to tire but Andy was still looking very fresh. Kent and Phillip had certainly done their fair share of the work to get us to this point so I figured if Andy and I could give them a rest we could get them back for the final 5k to 10k.

We continued to rotate along at a solid pace through the rolling hills leading back to the finish line. Kent continued to throw in his local knowledge of the course to give us key warnings of the upcoming turns so we could whiz around the roads without worrying about going off the marked trail. He was spot on with his orientation so I believed him when he mentioned the final 5k would be a battle into the wind.

With six of us left for the home stretch, I was not too concerned with my position. I was already very satisfied about my effort for this 102k ride and knew we were all beat up (except Andy, who seemed to have endless energy and the two guys on for the 30k free ride). Based on duathlon experience, I figured I had just enough in the tank to take it home through the wind so I got down aero again and wanted to see if I could pull the train home. Thankfully, Andy was more than game and we started a two man rotation into the wind. Kent and Phillip threw in some spot relief as well so we made quick work of this section.

On the very last climb about, 2k from the finish, one of the other guys launched an attack. I was not up for that challenge but Andy went across and then Kent pulled up beside me. He pushed me along mentioning I had done too much work to leave behind. It sparked a little extra energy and I jumped on his wheel. In seconds, we had caught the attack to reach the final turn together.

As expected, the final 500m (or so) quickly turned into a sprint for the fresh legs of the guys sitting in our draft. Only Andy (of our original four) was able to react and he made it to the line second in our group. I pulled in as the fourth rider as Kent and Phillip held their spots, even though I am sure they could have sprinted past me. We were racing so I assumed they would move up a few positions for fun but they showed me that there is some mutual respect among cyclists, contrary to many of the forums I have read.

In the end, we covered the 97km of timed course in 2:41, which was well ahead of my expectations in this type of weather. I crossed the line in 21st position of 182 finishers and was 3rd in my Age Group.

Most importantly, I gained more valuable racing experience and enjoyed a very positive cycling experience thanks to the team effort Andy, Kent, Phillip and I shared for 60k. Awesome job fellas!

I also applaud the efforts of all the Falcons and my friends for toughin’ it out on the Tour de Hans course. Bruce (2nd overall), Ian (3rd), Rolie (13th), Luke, Richard, Jon, Ian, Colin, Craig, Shanta, Lori, Ryan, Jim, Peter, Bill, Brent, Stuart and Bernie. Nicely done folks!

September 28, 2011

Weekly Update

Things are coming along very well after Centurion. Getting my running legs back and bringing my weight down to a more favourable running weight. I am sitting around 2 1/2 weeks out from Scotia Marathon and it seems like I will be able to run my race as I have not heard from the Pacing Program so everyone must be healthy and able to fulfill their bunny obligations.

I mentioned that I had a slight pull across my lower abdomen/groin area leading into the bike race. Tyler and I decided to rest the running for a little bit and now it is feeling much better. Still not perfect but with a good warm up, I am able to train and keep the marathon on the schedule. I was hoping to run the OMA 5k Cross Country race in Taylor Creek park this weekend but we have decided it best not to risk a full out effort on this type of footing at this point. I am glad I asked Tyler as I was just about to sign up. Always good to get a professional opinion when dealing with aches and pains!

I will now stick to the original plan for this week and save a few bucks by not racing. I hope we have some solid weather as it would be nice to train with some folks this weekend.

Thanks for reading,
Larry

September 27, 2011

Canadian Results - 2011 World Duathlon Championships (Gijon, Spain)

Here are the results posted on Triathlon.org for the World Duathlon Championships from Sept 24 and 25 in Gijon, Spain. Congrats to all who participated and represented Canada!

Names in highlight and italics are AG medalists!

International Distance Duathlon

CAT    NAME  AG Result

Elite Men Lionel Sanders 29th

Elite Men Kevin Smith

M65-69 Ian Ross 13th

W65-69 Lynda Lemon 2nd

M60-64 Allan McCallister 4th

M60-64 Vaughan Bowen 23rd

M60-64 James Ross 27th

M60-64 Richard Kniaziew 34rd

W60-64 Pauline Kniaziew 8th

M55-59 David Field 1st

W55-59 Carolyn Silvey 2nd

W55-59 Meg Thirburn 4th

W55-59 Anita Yates 8th

W55-59 Liz Campbell 16th

W55-59 Jane Armstrong 18th

M50-54 Jean-Francois Fillion 4th

M50-54 Eric Froebel 28th

M50-54 Donald MacDonald 29th

M50-54 David Hazzan 39th

W50-54 Tatiana MacLeod 11th

M45-49 Peter Macleod 32nd

M45-49 Miguel Caron 43rd

M45-49 Jeff Shmoorkoff 46th

M40-44 David Frake 2nd

M40-44 Francois Lefebvre 19th

M40-44 Berthier Tardif 34th

M40-44 Andrew Dacanay 44th

M40-44 Pierre Regis 49th

W40-44 Stacy Juckett-Chesnutt 7th

W40-44 Michelle Ball 13th

W40-44 Lucy Forte-Elcome 26th

M35-39 Christian Milette 44th

M35-39 Adam Burnett 45th

W35-39 Christina Clark 8th

W35-39 Marie-Claude Gregoire 16th

W30-34 Marie-Michele Pare 12th

W30-34 Shannon Arnold 23rd

M25-29 Jonathan Tremblay 10th

M25-29 Jamie Haynes 27th

W25-29 Peggy Labonte 5th

M20-24 Justin Spalvieri 21st

M20-24 Kevin Gallagher 27th

W20-24 Tatjana Zaharova 1st





Sprint Duathlon
CAT  NAME AG Result


M65-69 Ron Vankoughnett 2nd

M65-69 David Campbell 10th

M60-64 Ivan Bern 10th

M40-44 Bernie Muise 25th

M35-39 Frederic Chenard 19th

September 21, 2011

Centurion Canada - 172k Cycling Race

Not going to lie; rolling into my first Centurion my cycling confidence was not exactly in the right place for the daunting task I had signed up for. After a horrible effort at Tour de Terra Cotta (DNF) and a few back of the pack results in earlier attempts, I was wondering how I was going to pull off my longest ride while keeping pace with some very experienced veterans of the sport…




With early start times in September you are bound to wake up to crisp, cool temperatures, especially north of the city. Centurion Canada race morning definitely held true to trends which meant I was going to have a difficult time deciding what to wear for my 172k ride around the scenic country side of Collingwood. The forecast looked very promising for the rest of the morning so the trick would be to wear enough to stay rolling in the early miles of the race, knowing too much clothing would come back to haunt in the final few hours of the ride. I used my previous fall experiences to apply the race layer and then added some items that I could afford to toss out at the start line.

The FMCT squad had planned to gather in our resort parking lot at 6:30am so I made sure to be ready to go before the group assembled. Once we had much of the team together, we made the short ride over to the start line at the main staging area in the Village of The Blue Mountains. The riders for the C50 Mile race were just getting into position for their send off so we milled about for a few minutes, took some group photos and then grabbed a spot in the line slowly forming for the C100 Miler.

Due to the incredible turn out for both races, they announced a delay in our start by 8 minutes so I got in some final prep work before joining Richard Westwood and Sean Delanghe in the start corral. Even though we were in the first corral of 1,000 riders, we still had quite a few people in front of us. It would have been nice to edge our way to the very front but I reminded myself that this was my first Centurion and I have never raced over 100k before so there was a world of unknown ahead of me on this day. My motto for today was “Be Patient!”

As the lead vehicles rolled the huge group out, it took us just over 30 seconds to reach the timing mats and then it was game on. The neutral start from the escort of police and officials allowed us to bunch up pretty close to front which led to a few close calls in the group as turns and round-a-bouts forced everyone to throw on the binders. I picked a safe spot on the right edge of the road and stayed alert to avoid rear ending the mass of riders ahead. With my attention focused on the sudden stops, I lost sight of Sean as he weaved his way closer to the front. I knew it was not a great place to take any risks with my bike handling skills so I stuck to my plan and held my line on the shoulder of the road.

We stayed neutral much longer than expected as the peloton stayed tight up most of the first climb on the east side of the mountain. I was afraid this climb was going to be a free for all, forcing me to expend too much energy trying to stay near the front. Thankfully, it was much easier than anticipated and Richard and I stayed in touch right up until the neutral roll out was lifted. My Falcon teammate then picked up the gap really well when it formed and I followed in behind as we pushed harder over the final few hundred metres of the climb.

At this point, we were right on the back end of a pace line that was stringing out over the rolling hills that followed the major climb. It was tough for me to see what was happening up ahead and, by the time we had a better visual, the massive peloton had gapped our group. This was not a big deal to me as I was just happy to be in a larger group with Richard and some strong riders.

As we made a left turn to head south on Grey Rd 2, I started to feel the powerful breeze we were going to be battling for much of our journey. I made sure to stay mid pack, sheltered but also in position if a smaller group decided to break off the front.

Our chase group continued along the open roads at a very respectable clip during the next several kilometres on top of the mountain and I remained comfortable, slightly back from the stronger riders pulling us along. I did not want to make any crazy mistakes, especially, this early in the event and just tried to enjoy the amazing sights the region has to offer.

Getting closer to one of the trickier descents on the tour, I started to get a little nervous not knowing how the rest of the group would tackle this twisting, quick drop out of the hills. I was feeling good in this group and knew if I got too conservative there would be a chance they could create a gap which would be tough to close as an individual.

Thankfully, nobody went too wild in this drop zone and I actually descended very well. My bike was rolling as smoothly as many of the faster guys so I was able to move up near the front runners and was hoping Richard was able to stay close. After a few minutes of downhill action, we finally flattened out at the base and I could see that he was right behind my wheel and we were in a great spot to start our eastward push across to the Creemore area of the route.

Over these flatter roads, we were riding two by two but the wind was hammering on an angle and bashing the riders at the front and on right side of the line. Unfortunately, I was caught over on this side for much of this stretch of road and had to work a little more than those on the left but was still feeling good and held my spot trying not to disrupt the flow.

Coming across County Road 33, we picked up a few more riders that had been spit out by the peloton and they put in some nice work up front on this windy crossing. We then approached our right hand turn that would take us through the farm lands leading into the town of Creemore; I saw the signs up ahead and scanned down the road we would soon be traveling along.

I was a little disappointed at this time not too see any groups within reach on the road. I knew the peloton was huge and it would be tough to crack the top 100 (a secondary goal I had in mind) if we kept tight in our current spot but I remained patient knowing it was still early in the ride.

Once we made the turn onto Fairgrounds Road, most of the south bound asphalt was flat and some of the top riders were starting to get anxious to pick up the pace. I made my way up the pack to see what was happening and noticed a group of 10 or so started to rotate through a few strong pulls. I looked back and saw a tiny gap starting to form and didn’t want to lose contact with these guys so I jumped in for some time at the front.

As the rotation continued, a few guys dropped off and the numbers were getting down to just a few of us. I could tell this was starting to work the legs a little more than I was wanting at this stage so I decided to back out. Thankfully, the bulk of our pack had stayed close and were drafting off the tornado leading the charge so I dropped back to catch a breath and spotted Richard being smart, staying out of the trouble ahead.

As luck would have it, I had pulled off at a good time as I could now see the Creemore climb in the horizon. I regrouped and settled into a better spot for the uphill spin. It ended up being an easier hill than expected and also had a rewarding backside that took us into town so I was able to fully recover before doing a little zig-zag on some of the small town streets.

After passing through another feed zone in Creemore, we were directed west where we finally received some tailwind help and had a beautiful riverside ride along the Mad River. I assume most of the other riders knew what was coming up as everyone was strung out along the road with very few willing to jump on the front. I now know this was for a good reason as the climb was much tougher than it looked from the bottom.

At the beginning of the climb I was making good progress up the hill. As I focused on my breathing and cadence I must have missed Richard, and a few others, passing on my left side. Nearing the ¾ point, the climb was tearing up our group and I was in the middle of the two pods wondering where Richard had gone as I could not see him in the line of guys falling off the back.

Finally, on a steeper pitch, I spotted him leading the charge of the group in front of me. Damn, I now had some damage control to catch a wheel before being dropped off the collection of the climbers forming ahead. I dug deep and jumped out of the saddle to make sure I did not miss that train. Just as I was clipping back on to the end of this new, smaller chase pack, I saw Richard pull off the front and move to the middle of the lane to see if I was still on. I gave him a quick wave so he could easily spot me and we kept on rolling, a few people lighter than minutes earlier.

Moving on, the pace seemed to get more spirited heading towards Badjeros. I had not fully recovered from the hill effort yet and was working much harder to stay on the wheel ahead of me. To my relief, we crossed this section in fast order and had to gear down for the turn before shooting north on Country Road 63. This tiny break in pedaling was enough for me to catch a drink and find some energy for the next challenge.

As we continued, a few riders (including Merrill Collins - the overall female race winner!) attempted several breaks. I was feeling in control of my heart rate again and, as I had seen so many little breaks quickly reeled back by the momentum of the group, I decided to just monitor their progress. I was pretty confident we would stay in contact so I held my position and conserved as much energy as possible.

One triathlete, riding with aero bars, must have thought they were going to get away for the long haul and decided to time trial across the two hundred metres, which seemed to spark Richard’s interest. He started to gear up and I had to make a quick decision. I held tight knowing my split second hesitation would have missed the boat, which seems to have entered Richard’s thoughts as well as he instantly pulled back, giving up his chase before exiting our group. It was a good call on our behalf as it didn’t take long before the entire crowd had caught the four escapees.

All together again, we then turned left onto Concession 10 where we had encountered a 500 metre gravel section during our scouting ride two weeks earlier. The Centurion organizers had warned us that we would have to negotiate this during the race so we were all prepared for a gravel encounter. Being a very cautious rider, I knew I needed to be up near the front of the group so that I would not be spit out the back. As I saw the construction sign, I readied myself for the bumpy ride and got up to lead the group. To my surprise, the horizon was dark black and looking much more inviting.

Somehow, work crews had delivered a patch of fresh, smooth asphalt in the place of the dreaded gravel. This made my day and I settled down, pumping myself up for the next big task 20 miles up the course. I knew it would be very important to conserve as much as possible before the KOM climb in Kimberly so I just stayed tucked in the group as we passed through Feversham and Eugenia.

During this stretch, we actually picked up more stragglers who seemed very willing to stay out front for our group. This helped our pace a great deal as we reached the big descent out of Eugenia. It is a fairly straight road down into the Talisman Resort region so we safely stayed two by two with most of us just holding our positions.

For some reason, I thought I had several people behind me coming down this hill so by the time we got through the valley and reached the start of the KOM climb; I was shocked that Richard and one other gentleman were the only people to start the timed ascent behind me.

In my practice ride, I took this climb far too easy. I knew I would be left in the dust on this day if I assumed that pace again so I pushed a little harder on the pedals and got into a good rhythm. Before I knew it, I was making very good time up the hill and past most of our group. I actually settled into the three hole before Richard decided to pull around me and attack the front two riders in a powerful acceleration. He looked super fresh so I was not about to match his effort but tried to stay close without over cooking the system.

This turned out to be a wise move as I had a very respectable KOM split and held onto the group which was now even further reduced as some failed to catch back on at the top through the feed zone.

We now had about 40k to go. Richard warned me this would be the real racing section and he was bang on. The group covered the next downhill mileage in very quick time and before I knew it we were staring at the infamous Ravenna climbs where I had a bunch of trouble during our pre-ride.

In the first portion of the climb I was actually feeling confident and ready to roll. The momentum of one of the early slopes had me out leading the charge before Richard wisely caught my attention, reeling me back in due to the head wind and tougher hills to come. We kept pace with the rest of the crew for a few more kilometres before Richard looked over to me and stated he was going for it. I quickly evaluated my situation and decided I would be best to hang on with the group until we crested the steeped portion as I didn’t think I had break away legs for toughest section still to come.

Showing perfect timing and amazing conditioning, Richard darted out on the hardest section of the race and nobody could match his move. I hung on to the back of the group around the corner in Ravenna where we were presented with a crazy, steep test that knocked my legs off. I looked down at my watch and noted 160k and 4:28 as the exact place and time that I lost touch with the group.

I then struggled up the rest of the hill and tried to time trial my way back to the splintered line of a few riders that remained from our group. Just as I was about to reach that last wheel we hit another 15% grade and once again I lost all forward progress. I was now in survival mode.

I knew I had to get to the next corner where the downhill speed of Scenic Caves Road would allow me to reach the finish. Unfortunately, some of the guys I had left behind (before the turn at Ravenna) had pulled together, recovered and were now easily passing me. I tried to grab their wheels but just could not latch on. I put my head down and burnt every last calorie in my body to make it to the corner to accept my free ride down the mountain.

After making another solid drop down to the base, I now had a little finishing kick to hammer it back to the Village. I got on the end of a small pace line and entered with a huge smile, very happy to reach the end of a successful and incredible rookie century ride.

As I saw Richard waiting at the finish, I could tell just how excited he was about our ride. He had a similar experience at Tour de Terra Cotta so it was great to see him pull off such an impressive ride.

Congrats to each and every Falcon that participated in this amazing event. Every one of you worked so hard to prepare for this challenging ride and you should be very proud of your achievements!

Bravo to all the family and friends of the Falcons that helped us through this incredible weekend!

Lastly, I have to give kudos to my duathlon buddy, Bruce Bird, for pulling off an impressive victory. Tough to match that performance!

September 14, 2011

Weekly Update

This weekend should be a blast as a large group of the FMCT Falcons are heading up to Collingwood to ride in the Centurion Canada event. We are jetting up Saturday to enjoy the atmosphere and then hitting the bikes Sunday morning. We have several folks in both the 50 miler and 100 miler distances so you should see a lot of our jerseys along the routes.

A few of us, plus some of the guys I know from duathlon and triathlon, hope to hang on with some of the quicker cyclists through this hilly adventure. This is going to make it tough but we have put in a bunch of solid training so we should do pretty good for hacks (as a number of the elite cyclists tend to think of us).
Another great Mid-Night Ride on a Fall Like Night

As we have built up for this event, and others like Tour de Terra Cotta, etc., a number of us have found a love for cycling and bike racing. This has us looking around for a local bike club that has a racing section attached to the membership. We have looked at several web sites and have a few groups in mind but would love to hear any suggestions. Some early possibilities are Mississauga Bike Racing Club and Kurzawinski Coach - Racing Team.
Chasing down my shadow on the Night Ride

On the running side of things, I have Scotia Bank Toronto Marathon coming up in mid October. I had been doing really well getting prepared for this but a slight groin pull/tear has made running difficult in the last week. It is fine during cycling efforts so I have reduced the running volume for a few days to let it get back to normal. It really is not a bad thing as I was going to give myself a little break to make sure my legs are ready for the 172k ride this weekend.

Hopefully, next week I can get back to a run focus and also hit some of the XC running races I have been looking at. Here are some of the races I had in mind and hope to be able to toe the starting line for...

Oct 2 – Taylor Creek 5K Cross Country - OMA Cross Country Series Race#1

Oct 16 – Ontario Masters Marathon Championships - Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Oct 30 - Sunnybrook 8K Cross Country - OMA Cross Country Series Race #3

Nov 6 - Hamilton Marathon????

Nov 13 – Ontario Masters Cross Country Championships – OMA Cross Country Series Race #4

Nov 20 - Winter Running Fest XC - Guelph

Those are my options right now. I will not be able to do all of them, even if I am healthy after the Centurion, so I highlighted the ones that seem to be more realistic but nothing is in stone at this point.

 Thanks for reading!
Larry

September 7, 2011

CarrotFast 5k - OMA Championships

Recently, I was checking out the race calendars looking for some filler races due to the scheduling conflicts I have experienced of late. I missed a few important events because of work travel and other weekend events that have popped up.

As I read through all the upcoming attractions in the area, I noticed that one of them was going to serve as the Ontario Masters 5k Championships. I have looked into joining the OMA for a few years now as they hold a number of great Cross Country races in the fall. Usually, I wait too long and end up missing a few of them so the membership fee becomes a little steep for a single race or two.

This year I got organized and placed my membership with the OMA and therefore decided to test out my first official event with their 5k Championship. The association selected the community 5k in Bradford to hold their provincial finals so I added this to my wish list, on account that I could get down to race weight in less a week.

Well, I managed to cut out a bunch of junk from my horrible diet and kept up my training volumes so I was able to get down to a weight that I was comfortable running at. With this being a "B"ish race, I did not taper heading into the weekend so just made sure not to hammer too hard in the two days leading up to the Saturday event.

One race day, I showed up nice and early and put in one of my best warm up of all time. Lots of stretching, strides and a medium effort around some of the course. The air was humid and I was sweating up a storm before the start but kept well hydrated.

As we eventually lined up on the road, I could tell there were quite a few good athletes out for this one. Many of them looked very young and associated with the Newmarket Huskies Club which meant it was going to be a solid test. Once the gun went off, we had a quick downhill to the first street. I kept thing under control and settled into a comfortable pace about fifteen people back in the pack.

In the first kilometre, we rounded through an industrial area so the roads were very quiet with lots of room to pick a solid running line. I looked down at this point and noticed we hit the first marker in 3:15 but I knew the next 1000 metres would slow as we headed back up the minor slope up to 8th Line where we would complete the out and back portion of the run. In the last piece of the industrial park, I was now running in 12th place keeping one of my targets close.

I had seen a few familiar names in past results and figured I should be able to run close to those times on a good day so I did not want to fall off their pace. As we turned right onto 8th Line we started to get the benefit of a strong tail wind as well as another slight downhill speed zone. We all picked up the effort to take advantage of this and I was actually able to pass one of my targets and start to move up on the next group of three runners before the turn around.

I knew the last part of the race was going to be a little more challenging as we headed into the wind and had to gradually make our way back up to the hill. I also have a lot of confidence in my uphill running and hoped this would work to my advantage against the group a few seconds ahead of me.

Not too long after the turn I noticed one of the competition had lost a bunch of his speed so I jumped past him a hundreds metres past the pylon and set my sights one the remaining two from that group. As we pushed through the wind I could tell I was slowly making ground on them but it was taking a good effort so I was not sure how much I would have left for the final sprint to the line. Just after the midway point of the hill I finally caught those two and was up to 8th place with mostly younger runners up ahead.

I was now approaching the final left turn with only a few hundred metres to go. Seventh place looked too strong to catch and I was trying desperately to hold of a surge from behind from Kevin Farr, one of the athletes I had just past. On this day, he saved much more than I had and he easily beat me down to the finish line, leaving me with a 9th place finish on the day.

All in all, I was quite happy with my 17:25 race result on this day. I ended up 3rd in the 30-39 AG and 1st in the M35 AG for the Ontario Masters Championships.

Pic - OMA 5k Medalists (courtesy OMA - D Smith)

Next up is the Centurion Road Cycling event followed by some XC running races and a marathon or two. Time to make up for a slow start to the 2011 season!

Thanks for reading!
Larry

August 18, 2011

New Info Box on my Site >>>

I received a few emails lately regarding my weekly training schedule. I am more than happy to give you the basics of my day-to-day workouts so I am adding a text box to the right side of my blog to show how my week should break down.

I am given a program once a week from Tyler and try to stick to it as much as possible. As I have other responsibilities, I sometimes have to switch things around but usually find the time to get each element included during the corresponding seven day period.


Ideally, I would like to stick to the original layout as it is created with speed days, rest days, easy days, long days, etc. in a particular order to get the most out of my body. If I am forced to switch things around, I must get creative with the schedule but, with experience, I am usually able to re-arrange the week to make it flow smoothly so I do not place conflicting workouts close together. This can kill the performance of future workouts so I have to be careful not to tax my body too many workouts in consecutive order.

I also train with friends on occasion so I have to flex the schedule here and there to allow for some of these training opportunities. I will usually go with the flow with friends and then check out my schedule to see what workout the run or ride resembled the most and then cross it off the "To Do" list for the week.

If you have any further questions about my training, please send me an email at larrybradleytoronto(at)yahoo.ca

August 11, 2011

Niagara Duathlon - Race Report

Having registered for the Niagara Duathlon some time ago, I had to work some magic and get a whole bunch of things accomplished at home/work in order not to waste an entry. The timing of the race was brutal for me with travel the week leading up and the need to fly out right after the race but I knew I could regain a lot of confidence if I could get to that starting line.

Thankfully, I had a ton of support and by mid-week I had my pass punched to make the short trip to Grimsby for the event. I knew this was not going to be a blazing fast race for me so I treated it as more of a great training opportunity and stuck to my regular program leading into the weekend. This included a killer treadmill session on Thursday night. Tyler had posted a 3x2mile workout and I upped the ante by increasing my previous efforts by a large margin in an attempt to strengthen my mental game.

That part of my race was lacking in a big way last Monday, in le Tour de Terra Cotta, so I needed to push the limits and pull through the dark spots of doubt that a “track” workout presents. I admit it was a very tough night at the gym but I passed the test and used the positive vibes to flow into the weekend. Unfortunately, the sore muscles from this treadmill run also followed me into the weekend...

On the drive to the race site, I plotted a simple plan as this was my first duathlon in quite a while (since Milton). I knew I was not going to be on top of my game so the game plan was to hold off on the opening run, control the heart rate on the bike and battle through the negative thoughts running those final 7k. I was not racing for a PB or a win. I told myself to go out and have fun and let the chips land where they may.

After setting up transition, stretching and going through the many other pre-race routines, I got over to the duathlon starting area for some final instructions from Mitch. He confirmed the course would be exactly the same as 2009 (the last time I competed in this race) which meant a 2.3k run, 25 bike ride and 7k run.

As usual, I got out into the clear and started to work on the pace. The air was very heavy with crazy humidity so breathing was not easy and the sweat was pouring out of my system. No worries, we are getting used to it these days, just relax and avoid pushing too hard.

With the opening kilometre rolling downhill most of the crowd stayed tight. One younger gentleman decided to pick it up a touch so I filed in behind and let him lead down into the wooded trail that made up a 300m loop into the bush. This year, the trail was marked out amazingly with lots of highlighted paint on the roots and obstacles. This made it very easy to concentrate on the task at hand so I just kept on his heels and forgot all about the Garmin.

Without looking back, I could tell we had a just a few others on our tails now so things were shaping up the way I had hoped. As we trudged up the wood chipped path out of the forest, I could tell the leader starting to slow a touch so I pulled through and took over as we ran up the sidewalk back to transition. He must have dropped off a little more in the final 750m as I only had one other athlete join me into the park entrance to wrap up the first run of the day. I stayed up in front through the run course sign and quickly clicked on my helmet and grabbed my bike off the rack.


Although, I have not practiced my bike mount in a long time, I executed a great start to the cycling leg of the race and was strapped into my shoes with one of my best transitions ever. Right away, I started to move through the triathletes already on course and worked the average up to prepare for the tough climb to present itself around three kilometres into this portion of the duathlon.

As I reached the bottom, I could see several people struggling and walking their machines up the hill. The thick air was causing some issues here so I knew I had to spin up or risk burning out. Luckily, I have been working on this a lot of late and I made smooth work of the hill and got back to speed before starting my zig zag around the Niagara countryside.

On the flats, I was comfortably reaching a solid pace for me and was happy with my progress through the field of triathletes. I was clipping along untouched until close to the half way mark of the ride when a speedy cyclist whizzed past. I did not know this person but his number seemed to be in the range of those assigned to the duathlon so I wondered who this could be?

“Oh well, no worries, don’t panic.” I told myself as I knew the run would be the place to see him again. I hoped!

Keeping this person in sight (albeit, in the distance), I picked up the intensity a little just in case he created a huge gap but held the effort within my limits. At this point, I had another duathlete catch and pass me. Wow, these guys were riding hard today!

Just after he passed, I backed off wisely and held a legal gap coming into a twisting section of the course. In my slowing, I had a female triathlete pass me and get in between us. I backed off again but she was almost on his wheel as we went through a corner where a motorcycle official was sitting. He pulled out and followed for a very short period of time but did not say a word. Wow, if that was me on that wheel I would have been hammered with a penalty for sure.

Oh well, I just kept my distance and then moved past her when she fell of his pace nearing the tricky and speedy downhill section leading to the lake. I entered the decent a few seconds behind the second place duathlete and made up my mind to get aggressive down the curving drop off. I was moving slightly quicker than he was and ended up having to brake just as I was about to pass as he moved to the centre of the lane to avoid a man hole in the road. My speed dropped so I backed in behind him and was now content to follow him into transition. The next few kilometres back offered several short burst between turns which should have been very routine but I put a scare into myself on the second last corner.

Leaning into the turn, my hand slipped of the handle bar due to the sweat pouring out of my body. Luckily, I kept the bike up right and was able to continue on for the last few minutes to the bike dismount sitting in third overall.

As we hit the line, I saw the athlete ahead of me still had his cycling cleats on so I knew I would have an advantage and leave the zone up one position. This held true and I executed another smooth change over into my runners and was out through the gate to finish off the race.

Having not run very hard off the bike for a long time, it took awhile to get comfortable. Within the first 500m, I was dropped back into third place as Tim Little easily made his way up the road. Trying to think up a new strategy on the fly, I was surprised to notice Erik Box (the super cyclist who easily had the quickest bike split) mixed in the middle of several triathletes. I figured he would be way out on the course by now so I was amazed to see him so soon. Making my way past him, I could now focus on the new leader just ten yards up ahead.

At the 1km point, I was starting to feel much better in the legs. We rounded a few corners heading into the quiet, lake front community and I was closing the gap nicely. By the time we reached the 2km marker, I had pulled even and just kept my eyes looking forward not worrying about his position behind me.

During most of this stretch, I had a female triathlete (she posted the top ladies run split of the day) either right beside me or just in behind. I could tell we were doing a fine job feeding off each other. Anytime I started to slow, she would start to move up which motivated me to pick things up.

When we hit the turnaround near, the midway point of the run, I finally looked back through the field to see my competition. I was now around 400m clear of second so the gap was growing, although, another fellow (the person who ran the second fastest opening leg) was looking strong now positioned in third. There was no room to cruise for the time being.

After running another kilometre or so together, my female pacer started to drop off so I had to use the other targets up the road to stay on track. I felt really confident heading into the final two thousand metres as I entered the wooded trails again. I looked back to see if anyone was in striking distance and I was clear so I pulled back the reigns a touch to avoid any stupid slips in the mud and loose wood chips.

I navigated through the lengthy forest path and finally hooked back up with the sidewalk, having a kilometre left and still holding a comfortable lead. I was starting to get excited to wrap up the multisport season with a victory and coasted into the park under control. I could have posted a slightly faster overall time but there was no need to hammer in this heat as I was already a soaking mess after racing through that thick, moist air.

In the end, I had a little over a minute up on the second place duathlete (the gentleman in third at the turn around) which was marginally slower than my 2009 result. With all the things going on of late, I was very happy with my race and stoked to rebuild my confidence to help get through the off season training.

With work asking me to head out to Modesto for some training, I could not stick around after the race. I’m sorry if I did not have a chance to catch up with some of you. Enjoy the rest of your race season!

Thanks for reading!

Larry

July 25, 2011

Quick Update

Hey Folks!

Sorry for being horrible at updating lately. Work, family and training are keeping me very busy these days so I have been a little distracted. Not to mention the tdf coverage I have been glued to...

I plan to write a report on my amazing experience at the Peterborough Half Ironman a few weekends ago with the Won with One program. So happy I accepted the challenge and had an opportunity to spend time with many awesome athletes.

Other aspects of training keeping me on the go are the miles required on the bike to get ready for a few longer cycling events (Tour de Terra Cotta and Centurion Canada) plus the usual running to stay ready for one or two more duathlons.

This season has not really lined up the way I expected and many of the races I thought I would be taking part in have changed or been dropped to allow for other weekend adventures. This being said, work has now asked me to travel to California the week of the Duathlon Provincial Championships.

I have been gearing up for this all summer thinking it would be my big "A" race of 2011. As I am also traveling the week before (Calgary) and racing a few weekends leading up to that date, I just cannot see how I am going to manage to enter that race without adding a lot of extra stress to several aspects of life. Also, coming back on the Red Eye from the West Coast always kills my body so I don't think I will be in great form for a Saturday race. I hate to walk away from this race but it may be the best for many reasons. Stay tuned...

Talk soon,
Larry

July 8, 2011

Peterborough Race Weekend - Preview

Well, it is here and I am really excited about the race this weekend with Brian Cowie. I have had the amazing opportunity to hang out with Brian for the past few weeks as his hotel is very close to my house and work area in Mississauga.

Brian was in town early for the Canadian Cycling Championships where he and his pilot, Ed Veal, captured 3rd in the ITT (even after mechanical problems) and 2nd in the Road Race.

This week, we were able to take out the tandem bike for a tour so I could get used to the unique characteristics of the ride. It wasn't quite as bad as I feared and we had a fun morning booting around the outskirts of Mississauga. We also got out for lunch and some other bonding time so I think we will have a solid race now that we have been able to meet in advance of the event. Brian is very easy going and is not putting any pressure on the race so this will help keep the atmosphere calm come Sunday morning.

As the Peterborough race weekend (Sprint and Half) will be a large gathering for the Won with One program, we are heading up Saturday afternoon to meet the rest of the group and pick up our race kits as a team. This should be a fantastic chance to get to know a bunch of the athletes and guides in the program so I am looking forward to the weekend.

Coming out of this opportunity, I have stepped back and reconsidered my stance on swimming. Sure, I may not love crowded swims at restricted times but I did not mind the open water aspect of the sport. I put way too much pressure on my training in year one and set myself up for failure. 100% my fault.

I am now going back to the drawing board and going to give triathlon another go and ease my way into the competition. I might not be ready this season but in 2012 I will probably enjoy a mix of my favourite duathlons and triathlons.

For triathlons, I will get away from unrealistic expectations and will not walk away from a race disappointed in my results. It has to be a learning experience and I now know it is going to take some time. There are too many neat races out there for the triathletes and I would love to get involved. This may eventually lead up to the iron distance in a few years which I still have on my "To Do" list.

Other than this, not too much is new. I have been training very diligently of late and I think things are coming along very nicely. Indications from my cycling rides are that I am getting stronger and my running is slowly improving as we jack up the track work now that the outside sessions are bearable. Although, my treadmill training was really solid this winter, I finally realized that you cannot totally replace the track with a machine so I had to toughen up again in the elements!

To learn more about these great athletes and the program...

http://wonwithone.com/one/index.php

http://briancowieparalympian.blogspot.com/

http://swimbikerunryan.blogspot.com/