Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The glory box and the experience box

For most of us age-groupers it is a given that we will not be chasing podiums in every race we do. However we prepare and target some races for a best possible scenarios such as “I want to be in the top 25%” “I want a top 10 age group finish” or else. If things go right we get what we wanted, and if they’re really OK many of us surprise ourselves and others with a great result. If things go wrong we find plenty of excuses and ways to deal with it.

And we also learn. If I am to classify the races I’ve done I could easily put them on either box. There will be two or three on the glory ones. And a bunch on the experience box. It is certainly an experience to race 10k for the first time and have a stitch the size of my chest and it is a whole new thing to ride a bike with a falling seat. It all tells me something I can improve for next time: be it race preparation or race execution.

Last weekend’s Rotorua half will certainly go in the experience box. It was meant to be a solid race, and on paper I should have had no trouble with race prep or race execution. But I did, and I paid with a sub-par run. Let’s go and see some numbers:

Swim – 28:15 – HRAv 144 HRMx 172

Nothing that you wouldn’t see in other races… a bit of punching here and there but all nice and clean after 500m. I realized I was doing all the work for 6 other people behind me after the 1st lap, so I let them share a bit of the effort for the rest.

Bike 2:40:35 (incl T1 and T2) – HRAv 167 HRMx 173

All of a sudden it started bucketing down like there’s no tomorrow. I got sights on a group of 4 guys ahead of me and would not let them go no matter what. It was testing… but certainly paid off. I was expecting a 2:35:00 or less and I did just that. The rain was a problem for visibility and safety, but I did not realize it would be a problem for later as well.

As a side story, it kept raining for the next 24 hours which was quite a bummer for the post race activities such as pricegiving and trash talking.

Run 1:38:36 – HRAv 155 HRMx 172
I don’t recall how and when, but somewhere after the first couple of k’s I started to feel cold. Not, chilly, not fresh, really cold through the spine and spreading all over the rest of the body. I kept pushing but the ticker would not go any harder. I kept the nutrition regime as per plan and added a few cokes here and there to see if the extra calories would heat me up. Unfortunately they didn’t and although I won’t throw away a sub 1:40 for a half marathon off road run, I was happy it was over. I jumped into the car for a hot bath right after I crossed the line. I was aiming for a 1:25:00 run and to go so much out of the way was a bit hard.
Heat loss by water evaporation takes a lot of energy. I did not feel any signs of it, and I didn’t feel the cold when I was on the bike, but moving onto the run something happened. It will be good to plan for this in case IM is a wet day.

Another one under the belt. That’s 3 years after my first half ironman, and 5 half IM races. Not bad for a beginner. I never quitted and I’ll make sure I never do. These are races to finish.

Now it’s Xmas holiday, so I will enjoy a couple of days off before starting with the schedule for the holiday.

Stay safe

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Inspiring names

I was reading a race report from the Taupo Half ironman and kept thinking that branded races are taking the flare of race naming. From the name of the race I can gather It was a half iron distance triathlon raced in taupo. It could tell me more.

Let's be a bit more clear...the name of a race says a fair bit about it. For example, The Ironman, is quite a descriptive name. But The Half Ironman... mmmm not so much. I mean... it is a full race, why call it half ironman? The alternative of 70.3 is not great either... it is a mere description of the amount of miles you've done, it takes the epic sense away.

Let's draw a parallel, whould you take a train that is called "London/Edingburgh" or would you rather ride "The Flying Scotsman"? I know where I'd put my money.

Naming is not just liking a word to a thing, it is way more than that and race naming should be taken as seriously as race organizing (well... not so much.. but it would be so cool if it happened). The names of the races should be more than a reference to the distance and where it was held... let's hope it gets a bit more creative in the future.

And here's my two cents. I've named the training sessions for my the holiday:



The great stretcher
The gentlemen’s TT
The final crash
the big easy
The parnell 5 K'yer
Santa’s big ride
the hangover cure

Pool Swim
1 hr run
swim squad 5k
150k ride + Run off
1:30 run

Gents TT
Working at SSS
45min run
sea swim


the airporter
the battle of Omaha
The Thorpedo
the west coaster
the top up
The well deserved hike

Ride 3hr + Run off
Trail Run (2.5hr)
Ultra swim (7 to 10km)
180km bike - 45min run off
2:00 run

sea swim

Friday, December 9, 2011

12 Fridays to IM!

I guess this is the time when it should start getting really interesting. In the meantime, I have a half next Saturday (predicted 4:35:00) then a week off (completely off for 4 days and then we'll see) and then nothing until February.

In the spirit of this blog I've entered the sprint nationals in February. Not a wise decision but hopefully a rewarding one. At the end of the day, I enjoy the sport, running, swimming, cycling and racing... don't have a favourite distance or one I hate, they're all different in their good and bad aspects.

12 weeks out of race day I can report that I'm tired. I am finishing a couple of hard weeks and entering a taper period. Coaches' observations are that I've been a bit too much keen on keeping up with the fast boys and I should be taking a step back.

but hey!... it's all learning

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Race Report – Auckland Triathlon

4:45am – WOW!... that’s early. Good practice for Ironman. Toast+coffee+banana+a double dose of sports drink in a single bottle.

6:00am – Walking into race HQ, liner coming into the harbour, body marking, get T1 and 2 ready. Did I check tyre pressure? Not.

6:30 – hang around sitting for a while, talk to mates, go for a nice warm up.

7:32 – there’s no swim warm up+walk to pontoon, jump in and pray water is OK. Water is OK!

7:35 – We’re off… surprisingly calm on the first two minutes!.... only a 2 punches and someone grabbing my shouder. Try to keep veering left as there’s a strong current. Where’s the buoy?

7:46 – Now swimming into the wharf, current going the other side, but not many others around? Where am I? is it OK to keep swimming this way? Stop. Watch. Go.

7:57 – Out – run – wettie off – sunnies on – take bike – Go.
8:00 – Head wind… what’s my heart doing? – get feet into shoe – get other feet into shoe. DON’T LOOSE SPEED! – Heead wind
8:03 – Hill – hurts – Mate passess me like I’m standing - He should be still behind for at least 10 more km – Am I going that slow?
8:06 – Steep downhill – pass a few – nice sweeping bend – heartrate back to near normal.
8:33 – OK it was only half an hour ago that I was suffering, but this ain’t that bad… keep it up! – Old man goes by – Catch him, pass him
8:48 – Steep hill going up, mate on the side of the road, high five – more cheers from people, hands off the bar and up to the sky – laugh – Go down fast, sweeping bend.
9:09 – bike off, socks on – Need new racing flats – Gel – go
9:11 – this ain’t working, I used to go fast off the bike, where’s the legs?
9:20 – Long straight, 20 people ahead, pass them all, SOON
9:30 – One more lap, go harder this time
9:44 – this is going to be a long sprint, GO
9:48 – I didn’t even know I could sprint for that long… did I go hard enough on the bike?. FINISH.

What a great race it was, the setting, the people, the massive field. I am already looking forward to the world champs next year.