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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Running 1000K in 2008

One of my goals this year was to run 1000K, as part of the "1000K in 2008 - Challenge".

I started out great - had 270 km in the books after just the first two months!

But then I had my knee problems (ITBS) following the 1/2 marathon I did in February. I was off running for several months, so now I find myself far behind.

At the half-way point:

Run distance completed: 322.5 km
To go: 677.5 km

With 26 weeks to go, that means running about 26K/week on average.

My running goals are fairly conservative for 2008. I'm doing a 1/4 marathon in July (10.5K), the Orillia Triathlon in August (7K run), and then the Toronto 1/2 marathon in October (21.1K). With the running and swimming training thrown in, it's doubtful I'll be doing all that much running training, probably around 20K per week for most of it, peaking in the 35k range working up to the 1/2.

It will all come down to November and December, and how much run training I want to do at that time. In 2009 I'm planning to do the Mississauga Marathon, so I would like to maintain a good running base at the end of 2008 to start from.

I'll keep updating this as I go!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Go Jump in a Lake!

Went to the beach today with the kids, which gave me a great opportunity to do some lake swimming.

This was only my second real lake swim (the first was the Try-a-Tri!). It was nice to get the time to get a bit more comfortable.

Differences from the pool:
  • Cold water - makes it harder to breathe, the lungs don't seem to want to take in as much air, or give it up when they've got it.
  • Deep water - Not being able to touch the bottom makes me anxious (actually just being in a large body of water does too!)
  • Visibility - better this time, but still not great.
  • Weeds - feel gross on your fingers
  • Fish - distracting and weird... and their ability to swim so bloody fast and breathe underwater made me jealous
  • No lines painted on the bottom - made it hard to maintain a straight line
Experience and a wetsuit should take care of most of these!

I didn't have a wetsuit today, but despite that I was able to get everything working quite well. It just took a little while to get comfortable, but once I was my swimming was close to how it is in the pool. Every so often I'd hit a cold patch, and my breathing suffered... I'm sure that's what hurt me the most in the Try-A-Tri, I gave up bilateral breathing pretty early on as I didn't feel I was getting enough air.

My next open-water swim will be in Lake Ontario at Enduro Sport, and will be my first time using a wetsuit. Can't wait!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wetsuits 101

Thanks to the great people at Enduro Sport, I now know a few things about wetsuits!

What a great store! I went to the location on Queen, it's a stone's throw from the Lake. Staff were super, but best of all they organize mid-week swims where you can get into Lake Ontario with a group of other triathletes (advanced and in training!) .

And to make it even better - you can do a 1-day wetsuit rental for $10 for those swims! I definitely plan to take advantage of this once or twice before race day. For someone starting off like me, that kind of experience is priceless. The guy at the store put me at ease, too, sounds like even a beginner like me will fit in OK with the group. I'll post a full report after I get out there.

I tried on the wetsuit I'm renting for Orillia. Interesting experience... I felt like a super-hero or something. Not hugely comfortable, but he told me that when you go to actually do the swim, you fill the suit with water which allows you to wiggle into comfort. I'll see when I get to that point I guess.

Taking it off wasn't as difficult as I'd imagined, you just have to pretend you're the inside of a banana - the suit peals off, and ends up being inside out if you do it right. It'll be an interesting transition...

Can't wait to try it all!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Next up: Orillia Sprint Triathlon

A week ago I said...

"I'm certainly not ready for the swim portion of a Sprint Tri, so I'm going to back off of that plan for this year."

But after some sober second thought, I'm going to take a go at the Orillia Sprint Triathlon in August.

Why the change of heart?

I was considering doing another try-a-tri for the swim experience, and a duathlon for the longer bike/run. I'm really combining these into one by taking on a longer swim.

Swim: 750m
Bike: 33K
Run: 7K

How well do I expect to do? Not that well! This is for experience, I have low expectations on performance. While I'm sure my bike will be fine, and I can get through the run, my swim will be a challenge.

I looked at last year's results. My pace from the Try-a-Tri was listed at 3:19/100m... it's not quite accurate as the time included a run up the beach to the transition area. But let's assume my pace ends up at 3:19/100m. In last year's Orillia race, that would put me in about 569th place (of 580 swimmers), with a time of about 25:00. Is that good? No! It's miserable. But it's not last... and I think I can likely do a better pace than that.

My current training regime is pretty hectic... 5-6 days a week! This week was:

Monday: Swim
Tuesday: Bike (30k)
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Run (5K)
Friday: Swim
Saturday: Run (7K)
Sunday: Bike (110K) <--- tomorrow! Can't wait! :)

I'm going to keep doing more of the same, getting into the pool 2-3 times a week, increasing my running distances, and continuing with the biking. Hopefully it all adds up to a good race in Orillia!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Race Report: Binbrook Give-it-a-Tri

Just got back from my first triathlon!

It was a very beautiful area, nice calm lake, lots of space for spectators. In fact it's a fantastic race to be a spectator, the participants go by several times on the run, and the run and swim are right next to each other.

Full Results

The Swim

I got there early enough to get into the lake, which was really important... the cold water made my lungs feel like they shrunk! It took some getting used to... the first time I got a little tired, I instinctively put my feet down expecting to feel the floor of the pool. :) But nothing, just water. All these little things your don't realize you rely on.

I'd also never swam with a swimming cap, which is mandatory. This made my goggles fit looser, so fortunately I found that problem and was able to tight them up before the race.

My swim didn't go that well... I couldn't see anything, and it was just too different from the pool for me to get comfortable. I found I couldn't focus enough on my form, I was too busy concentrating on breathing and other really basic things. Bilateral breathing went out the window and I'm sure my body position wasn't good. I need to get into open water more to practice, it's a lot different than a pool.

Swim time: 13:14, a dismal 89/111 (3:19/100m, but that seems a bit off, as the time included the run from the water to the transition area)

Transition 1

Transition went fine. Glasses on, race bib clicked, helmet on, socks, shoes and out.
T1 time: 1:28

The Bike

I hit the bike with a vengeance, but within the first 100m or so I realized my race number had half ripped off that race belt! They were really crappy, made of thin paper... next time I'll reinforce it somehow. I ripped it off entirely and tucked it into my jersey. That's probably grounds for disqualification or something, but nobody noticed or said anything.

Once I dealt with that drama, I started picking people off one by one... pick a target, get by them, hit the next one. It was a really fun, and I felt like I was flying. That's one advantage of coming out of the water near last I guess!

Bike time: 18:42, 9/111 (tied for 8th actually ;)) at 32.1km/h average.

Transition 2

Transition went fine again, racked the bike, tossed off the helmet and swapped shoes.
T2 time: 0:42

The Run

The run is where it alllll came apart... I was just so bagged, the floundering swim and strong bike pace all caught up to me. I had a brutal stomach cramp as I started the run and had to walk for a little almost right out of the transition area. I managed to get going but never found any pace, I was too far into the red to recover. It was a slow plodding run, not at all the pace I'm used to being able to keep.

The run course was also quite challenging, mostly on grass and gravel, with a few hills thrown in. Beautiful, though, in the trees and along the lake. I wish I could have done it justice!

Run time: 16:59 63/111 (a nasty 6:48/km)

Overall time: 51:02 35/111

The Post-mortem

As proud as I am to have finished my first triathlon, I am pretty disappointed at the same time... I can understand my swim being slow, I'm still a beginner and all, and this was my first real lake swim... but my run pace was off my usual. I wasn't even close to even my 1/2 marathon, slower by over a minute a kilometer! This was a shorter event so I really expected to be able to keep a better pace, even with the tricky course... but ultimately I just spent too much time in the red in the swim and bike. The swim didn't go well so I put a lot of pressure on myself to set a good bike time... and I did! :) But it didn't leave enough in the tank for the run.

Every race is a learning experience, I'm going to take what I can away from this one and move on. I'm certainly not ready for the swim portion of a Sprint Tri, so I'm going to back off of that plan for this year. Maybe in 2009. I'll likely do another Try-a-Tri before the year is over, and maybe a longer distance of duathlon. I want to keep progressing the running and will work like a dog on the swimming over the winter especially!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

'Twas the night before Binbrook...

... and all through the house, Triathlon Jon was stirring, trying to get everything ready for tomorrow's race!!!

(Sorry, I couldn't make it rhyme!)

Tomorrow is my first triathlon, the Binbrook Give-it-a-Tri.

I came up with this list of items that I'll need... this takes a lot more preparation than just a run or a bike ride!

To get there:
  • Map

For before:

  • Sun screen
  • Food
  • Water

At the start of the swim:
  • Goggles
  • Tri shorts
  • Cycling jersey (will wear in water)
  • Gel (maybe)

At the transition to bike:
  • Helmet
  • Glasses
  • Socks
  • Water bottle (with water - to clean feet)
  • Towel
  • Cycling Shoes
  • Race number holder belt

On the bike:
  • Water bottle (with Gatorade) (for bike)
  • Pump
  • Spare tube
  • Tire levers

At the transition to run:
  • Running Shoes

For my wife to capture the moment:
  • Camera (regular and video)

For after:
  • Food
  • Change of clothes
  • Water
This morning I went for a short swim, wanted to test swimming in my cycling jersey. It went well, but I did find that I need to tuck it in or it rides up. Later today I'll get my transition items ready and will do a few dry runs.

Can't wait! Full race report tomorrow.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Weight Loss - Down 8, Feeling Great!

A few years back, I hit my all-time high of 235 pounds. It was an all-time high weight, but all-time low in my health.

In the years since, I've done a few rounds of weight-loss since then with varying success. First I dropped from there into the low 200's, then let it pop up a bit before tackling it again.

What doesn't work:

- Exercise without diet change doesn't take off weight
- Dieting without exercise takes off weight, but it doesn't stay off

The only thing that's worked long-term is consistent exercise and controlling calories.

Last year, I dropped from 212lbs to about 190lbs. That was great. Over the next year I started to ignore diet a little, and the weight started to come back on, right back up to 196lbs.

So I'm back to dieting. In the last month, I've dropped 8 pounds, down to 188lbs. My target is to get into the 170's, then I will re-evaluate just how much weight I should be carrying.

How many calories?

I use this calculator. I set the activity level to "Sedentary" to find out how much I need before any exercise or activity is considered. Based on this, I burn about 2400/day just living.

To lose 1 pound a week, you need to burn about 500 calories more than you consume.

This time I've chosen 2000/day. It's worked out to about 2 pounds a week when activity is factored in, I tend to be doing a lot of long rides and such that burn through thousands of calories. I don't count calories consumed during exercise, and for long runs or rides I don't count my post-activity recovery food (usually 200 calories or so).

And I do take cheat days... I just make sure I don't go nuts with it, and don't take too many.

All of it adds up to (1) not feeling deprived at all, and (2) seeing great numbers on the scale.

Based on my BMI, I should be 185 just to not be "overweight". That ignores body composition, and I think mine is quite favourable with all the working out, but since I'm nowhere near the "athletic" category I'm not going to make excuses, I should be under 180lbs.

Feel free to ask me questions if you're going to do something similar! I love to hear other people's success stories.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Training Last Week

Last week was fantastic.

Sunday - Bike - 50K Ride for Heart (with daughter behind me... felt like more!)
Monday - Swimming - 15 min warm-up + 1 hour tri swim lesson (a toughie!)
Tuesday - Running - 5K
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Swimming - 45 mins
Thursday - Biking - 28K
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Biking - 75K (Temp = 31C!)

It was a very active week for me... I don't usually get out 5/7 days! This week will be a little lighter as a I gear up for the Try-a-Tri in Binbrook. I plan to do a lot of swimming so my form will be fresh in my memory when I get out there.

I'm going to start charting my Ironman readiness. Obviously since my target is a few years out, I'm not ready now... but for each sport that I'm doing I'm either close or far from being there. I'll keep this updated as time goes on.

To the moon, Alice!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Orthotics - the answer to my ITBS?

I've been suffering from ITBS on and off for a few years now. It's basically a pain on the outside of the knee, caused by a tight IT band rubbing against some bones in the knee. Very painful and crippling, you can't run through it, it's been the biggest hinderence in my progress.

I was going to physio for it, and they suggested I see a podiatrist.

Sure enough! I'm an overpronator. It's not uncommon, but mine was really quite bad... they did X-rays and showed me a lot about my feet that just wasn't right.

They took a plaster cast of my foot and ordered orthotics. I'm self-employed, so I don't have extended health coverage, and these were NOT cheap... $400 per set, plus $200 for the plaster form, and I needed two sets (one for everyday, one for running & cycling)... ended up at over $1000!

It was an easy decision, though, the podiatrist was telling me my symptoms before I could tell him... everything he said exactly matched my experiences, so he was either psychic or he had it right.

I finally received them a couple weeks ago... at first they felt pretty uncomfortable, but it only took a few days before I got used to them.

Running - I finally tried a few runs, and WOW, what a huge difference! I feel like my running style has completely changed, my push-off feels "complete", like I'm actually rolling off my toes properly and evenly. Best of all - no knee pain!

Cycling - same thing, it feels so much better, straight up and down with no wobble.

Walking - also great! I used to get sore feet and lower leg pain if I walked too much, but now I can walk and walk with no even a niggle.

I'm very excited, I think this has solved my problems. I'll keep at it and will post my results! But if you're suffering from ITBS, I'd strongly urge seeing a podiatrist, it just might be the root cause...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ride For Heart - A Successful Day!

My 5-year-old daughter Meghan and I completed the 50K Ride for Heart today! We took part in the Corporate Challenge, riding for

We used a trail-behind bike for her, it's a bike trailer but has its own set of pedals. You'd think a 5 year old would coast for most of a 2 1/2 hour ride, but she kept pedaling and pedaling for almost the entire thing! I was very impressed.

Our pace was quite good for the entire ride. I get a kick out of passing people in general (it's a guy thing), but passing people with your 5 year old daughter trailing behind you is very satisfying. Her and the bike probably add about 60 pounds, and an extra tire, so it was quite a work-out! Toughest 50K I've done in a long time.

Meghan had a great time, I hope this encourages her to keep in shape for her entire life! We enjoyed some quality bonding time, and that's priceless. And we raised some money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. And hopefully got some business for my wife's web site!

I'll be back in 2009!