Saturday, June 23, 2018

First Tri of Year, Chain-Drop Hill, & Tough Punchers - Westwood Standard Tri RR

Dynamic Race Event's Westwood Tri in Nanaimo BC was my first triathlon of the year and probably one of the first open lake triathlon here on the west coast racing scene. A good bang per buck for a challenging hilly course on the bike/run with ideal weather conditions. We got ideal weather conditions for this third annual event and better than the rainy one from last year.

I decided to go test the standard distance. A - to build fitness for Boulder long course, and B - since last week I did a accumulation of 32k bike, 10k run in the standard du, adding 8k more for bike and a small 1.5k swim component can't be too bad right?   

For standard, the swim is a two CCW loop course in the calm waters. There was a little more contact in the main than the sprint distance. I seem to get my fastest swim splits with more contact, which means more drafting for me. 

Credit: Dynamic Race Events

Coming out of the waters and into T1, we go down the infamous known chain-drop hill. 
The bike is similar to the Sprint with a little extension tail to the out-and-back. At the flux Capacitor, we do a little ziggy section only on the outbound.

The little extension took a little detour into the new residential area. After that was some significant hills. I had to shift down to small ring 4-5 times throughout the bike. I was counting the leaders. Jeff Symonds and a few others putting on a clinic. The honest hills definitely favours the all-rounded cyclists and not just big power outputters. I really enjoyed it, and especially chain-drop hill on the way back to the lake.


The run is definitely challenging and one of the more hidden ones. You don't realize if anyone is behind or ahead unless you can remember the positionings from the bike. Two CCW loops around the perimeter of the Westwood lake. Just a few 100 metres before the finish is a killer puncher hill which ruins your rhythm.
Credit: Dynamic Race Events
Credit: Dynamic Race Events

I ease my legs into gear for the first 2k. Maybe it was a bit too conservative? But I wasn't comfortable in the standard distance yet. Lessons to learn for next time.
Some yummy pancakes and sausages at the finish. This one was hard earned but a good build to the season's opener. Just missed the AG podium, but definitely a good challenge with the standard distance. :) Overall another great race with fabulous company and race support. It's becoming a must on my annual race calendar! :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Du Provincials Opener, Lucky 13s, Belt Buckle and Wine - Bare Bones Duathlon RR

Don't open that wetsuit bag just yet, this duathlon race was the perfect kick-start to the multi-sport season. Shake off some winter rust by adding a little bike component inside the 10k of running basically. 

The olympic distance for BC Provincials Championships was 5k/32k/5k for run/bike/run with a giant triBC provincial champion belt buckle and a bottle of wine on the line for provincial age group winners. Qualifiers spots for Spain in 2019 was also up for grabs.

This race attracted national level talents including a few local elite celebrities - all household names Jeff Symonds, Jen Annett and Jesse Bauer. 

This local race was a standalone duathlon, which doesn't happen often. Race awards were presented at the nearby pub (Barely Mill Pub) with burgers to refill those hungry bellies. It was a cute little transition zone inside a small parking lot.

Run Courses for both run 1 and 2:
A flat stick and 2x lollipops around the Skaha Park and beachfront. Ongoing beach goers must had thought we were in a rush for something... :)

Transitions for both T1 & T2:
A very quick out for T1, and a Z-shape for T2.

Bike course:

One out and back to OK Falls similar to the classic full-iron Canada route. A fast tail wind flat section along Skaha Lake and then a little hilly puncher section into McLean Creek road.

The race overall was pretty consistent for me. I started out fast and I started to fade gradually, entering T1 in 13th. Jen and Chris Yee took off with the front group.

Jumping onto the bike, it was a blistering tail wind section along Skaha Lake (going high 40s km/hr), which would only mean a killer headwind on the way back (~29-30 km/hr). Jen and a few faster runners went back as Jen Annett and a few uber bikers flew ahead. I felt like a spectator watching the strong runners and cyclists duke it out.

Once turning into McLean Creek, I saw my good bud Chris Yee. He's a strong runner. I gingerly passed him but I knew he would be close to catching me on the second run.

We were told in the pre-race safety briefing that caution would be advised for the down sections at McLean Creek due to loose grit and washout from the recent snowmelt floodings. One biker pushed hard to pass me on the descent to OK Falls just before the turnaround. Once completing the turn, I caught the biker without effort and looked back only to see him blow-up.

Entering T2 also in 13th, a little more technical than T1 with the additional two lengths of running.

The final run was hot. I held a steady pace and managed to squeeze in a 13th finish. My quick transitions saved me from coming 14th! Those seconds do add up in turns out!


Jen and I had to coordinate wine colours! Also creeping Jeff Symonds and Brad Lee (race director)! 

Fraser Street Run Crew swept the  podiums for 30-34. This was Kang's return to multisport after a couple years and rounding out the AG provincials podium. :)

Overall a fun trip with Kang and Jen. I think we'll be back next year!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Ending the 'Golf' Season with a PB - Sun Run RR

Here's more of a data update. This year's sun run marked the end of the running season and the beginning of switching to multisport season. Currently signed up for 8 races, so it'll be a jammed pack season!

Coach Jen is a smart cookie by forcing me to run 88s laps on the track, which we got so used to that it was the only speed I had on race day.

She also mentioned a trick to execute the race at 2K,i.e. I get to sandbag the first 2km!! Interesting fact is I don't think I am fitter than year 2015 when I was biking nearly 3 hours everyday, but my race execution was better and feeling fresh to run the last 8K at 8K pacing, which is faster than 10k at 10k pacing. Go figure (no pun)! ;)

The first 2k are red compared to previous years splits

Here's another look in graph form (I got a little too excited in excel)

One more graph to update! :)

Photo Credit: Byran Andrwes

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Sun Run Team Report: Fraser Street bRUNch Club

Well what a weekend for the Fraser Street Run Club! A group of 20 brave women, men, boy and girl represented the team's debut proudly in the massive crowds and finished the Vancouver's annually cherished event in April known as the Sun Run.

The invitation all started on an ordinary Sunday post-run coffee chat, when a group of friends discussing feveriously over proper nutrition replenishment led to finding an excuse to go for brunch buffet. Hence, a sun run brunch club team was officially born.

But first style cannot be compromised. Logo specialist Alexis recruited some of the brightest minds (and hungry stomachs for that matter) to put together a fantastic logo that is surely to last the test of time. Some early works spoiled miserably despite some clever ideas including changing the logo with science world as a muffin, the ocean as bacon strips and the skyscrapers as milkshakes and juice boxes. Her efforts was surely to be paid off, as her birthday was also on the special brunch day. 

David Paps eventually stepped up to the 'plate' to serve us with this brilliant design.

Now onto to race day with conditions nearly perfect, the brunch team was excited for two things before the start of the race. (1) the sun run team debut and (2) the brunch that was certainly to transpired after the race.

World traveler Mike Prince finished a 100km adventure race prior to taper week before this race. Surely his legs weren't too happy but he got the job done anyways with a sub 40 performance! Judging by my math skills, his legs only hurt a factor of 10 compared to that 100km race.

Kang Wang aka the muffin muncher had a good engine. His wheels weren't making contact with the asphalt but still had a solid performance despite this fact.
David St-Germain aka the waffle destroyer had some secret training in the Quidditch finals prior to doing the sun run. He's also one of the quickest waffle destroyers I know at brunch.

Curtis Jung is nothing short of precision as compared to the arrival of a Swiss train. His 10km time matches his 10km time as scheduled from a recent Eastside race (2,189 seconds to be precise!). 

Despite being injured in the leadup to the run, David Tapia had the special yellow jersey racing effect when he received a boost(boot) with a Greek runner's help, landing him with a 50s PB.

Kathryn Drew was one of the biggest surprises of the day, finishing 8th in her age category as well as 25th overall female, and beating most of the ladies in the front starting pack.

Equally as impressive is super golfer Fiona Jackson. With at least a (-10) score, i.e. time in minutes doing the 10k subtracted by age, she finished 3rd in her age category with more than 1100 runners in her division. Her partner Scott also beat his age!

Alexis dancing during the run with her dad.
Alexis just narrowly missed her PB by less than 10 seconds. Rumours from witnesses claim that she started dancing when the rock bands started playing happy birthday for her along the course - her dad may have to be blamed for such shenanigans.

Katie Fountain puts on a clinic both at the store and on the run course. First off, being injured with shin splints normally doesn't allow you to run a PB. Despite those constraints, she was all kin taped up like a mummy and crushed her PB. Very impressive. 

Katrina has a full calendar, with the sun run, bmo and a wedding in June. Watch out for her as she joins Fraser Street team in the BMO race as well! Her other half Eric Zhao also cruises into the finish line with the team's top time. Erik Allen also getting married weeks before the race was happy to complete the race.   

The run this year had new meaning for Andy, who ran for his dad. He PB'd easily!

Daniel Lee known as the anchorman did exactly as predicted securing the 10th and most coveted spot in sun run team racing.

Kudos to Ben Hanke for his Boston run, but also recruiting his daughter and son to run for us! The future draft pick runners, both finishing with impressive sub 1hour. Mark Schellenberg ran the race and then shortly ran straight to the hospital the next day to deliver his first new born. Congrats to him and Jess!!

Overall, the top ten times had an average of 37:36 and pretty strong depth considering the standard deviation was only 1:33. Top 5 runners finished sub 37 minutes and top 9 finished sub 40. I think it's safe to say that everyone was in a rush for brunch.

Photo Credit: Fiona Jackson

Some honourable mentions for Fraser Street peeps who did well-ish in their own sun run races outside of our team.

Humphrey arrived 11:55pm the night before the race after doing the Boston marathon less than a week ago and was escorted with his race bib just in time for the start.

Lucas ran a killer PB by 50s and claims he's excited and ready to ditch his currently company sponsored contract and join our team for next year.

Jen Jen Jen! She was the only elite women to run in the front pack women's field from the team. Some unfortunate "dumb-dumb" race tactics as she calls it, inspired her to draw this in her post race interview. I think had she joined us for brunch, she might had been a bit more happier about her year we'll recruit her on the team! ;)

Cat tail bushed and claws out!!

The next race BMO marathon also has some competitive teams from Fraser Street to watch out for! Stay tuned! I'm excited to watch and eat brunch from the sidelines. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Impossible to get good data in a fast race! - St. Paddy's 5K

This year's St. Paddy's 5K run around Stanley Park marked my third time racing it.

I'm 0/2 when it comes to quality data collection. My heart rate band fell off in 2017 and had to carry it by hand the entire way. Now while my heart rate band stayed on this time in 2018, however I was wrestling with it the entire time.

It's a challenge to keep the heart rate band on in elevation change, hence the poor wardrobe fashion!

Photo Credit: Kudos to Lucas Socio for these pictures.
The course included a slight change for the non-athletics bc members and non-elites. An additional razor sharp hairpin bend to start the 5k counter clockwise loop. So cruel!!

The race starts and finishes at the scenic Stanley Park Pavilion. The course is a slight net uphill course and the big payoff comes in the last 2km. You could taste blood up the pipeline road hill.

The race fell on the actual St. Patrick's day, which made it special. Too bad I only forgot the wear green memo once arriving at the start. :P

The splits in the elite field were fast with the course records broken in both men's and women's. Here's my splits - I think it's safe to say the conditions were nearly perfect, with clear skies and ideal temperatures for 2018 - exactly want you want to PB.

My weak attempt at collecting some advance dynamics data :(

Overall quite satisfy with the 18:22 despite not PB-ing. This one's definitely a working man PB. Channeling the Yuki factor. :) Until next time. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Historic Houses, Rolling Bridges, and Scenic Lakefront - RNR Nola Marathon RR


Jen and I don’t like crowds, perhaps that’s why we run as much as we do and also away from those crowds.
The Rock and Roll race in New Orleans, Louisiana, 2nd one in the series calendar, was the perfect early season race in early march sandwiched between the busy season of Mardi Gras and St. Paddy’s parades. Everything was huge value for dollars including the flights. We were able to fly there cheaper than travelling to most other cities in the rest of Canada! We even got a free car rental upgrade – the Maxima with Enterprise! Next year’s race will be moving to early February for 2019 which may have even favourable weather. The weather was in the high teens and 20s degrees C like our summer in August. For the locals I'm sure this was their cold season. 

This race was in the heart of the swamp lands, the course elevation in general is pretty flat, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t some awful little punchers in the second half. With the except of Garden District, most of the marathon course would be under sea level which means increase oxygen doping! The unfortunate Katrina flooding in 2005 caused havoc in most of the swamp lands, which bought 12 feet of waters. Only the French Quarters and Garden District were spared because they were close the highlands bordering the Mississippi River, which was the first part of the race.

I think the course can be described as three general parts:

(1) scenic Garden District out and back which was shaded and protected from winds by the large trees.

(2) a little transition to cut through the historic French Quarters and the half marathoner turn into City Park directly. The actual half way point of the marathon was on a climb up a bridge. You can tell this is a City that welcomes the race if the course cuts straight smack in the middle and stops traffic from both sides of town. Compared to the Mardi Gras, this was probably chump change!!
(3) once you reach the lakefront, there’s two more out and backs (BRUTAL) before returning back down to City Park where the Half finishes.

Race start and finish are about 6km apart. There is a shuttle service in the morning to take you there.

How my race went?
I stayed with the 1:30 pace bunny along with some other strong half and full marathoners. I think there were points in the Garden District where we each exchanged jokes on engaging the bunny to stay for the entire marathon. I enjoyed the shaded portions and legs and cardio felt comfortable with the group. I hit the half mark at 1:29.

There was a few runners that passed me and a few that dropped back immediately at the half point. As we reached the lakefront the conditions got tougher. By this point it was becoming abundantly clear that pacing wasn't going to be steady and this race was going to be a survival race. Despite this, my age group rank throughout was consistently between 7-10th placing. So the race was pretty strung out for the marathoners at least. Finished 30th Overall with a 3:11. You'll know that the heavy positive splitting was because the course conditions. It would had been nice to repeat the garden district.

Funny that there was another little diversion at the finish and the marathoners were treated with a red carpet finish. I guess to compensate for the lack of the traditional finisher's jackets. Jen was able to point this out to me after the fact (I was in too much pain to appreciate the experience). ;)

Jen did amazing, winning the 5k on Saturday and then placing 3rd overall ladies in the half. Her blingware and plaques were impressive!

Although the aid stations were pretty far apart, the water did stay cool with those giant water tanks at each aid stations. I really enjoyed that!

Katherine Switzer, first woman to run Boston, give two heart felt speeches at both the 5K on Saturday and half/full on Sunday. Like Jen, she got in the remix challenge for racing both days. Very inspiring, can you believe she's 71 years old?

Crawfish, was one of the many pre & post race food. Thanks for reading. :)

Friday, February 23, 2018

First race at First Half as a Thirty Something - First Half RR


Hot chicken noodle soup at the finish was pretty much a highlight to this year's First Half half marathon. Last year's race had some unfortunately sections closed along with heavy snowfall and resulted to eventual cancellation, and two years ago had some heavy rain.

The course is one of the fastest. A counter clockwise loop around the BC Stadium back on reverse direction towards the start line and then a giant loop also counter clockwise along the Beach Ave into Lost Lagoon and around the Seawall and back into Lost Lagoon and to the finish. Mostly all flat, one small hill if you can call it that just under the Granville bridge near the final stretches.

I wasn't close to my PB in 2016 but I am satisfied that my 1:24 and change (3rd all-time personal fastest). Considering I wasn't even working full-time in 2016, I'm calling this a "WMPB" working-man-personal-best!
Winter Boxzing Gloves - Photo Credit: Jan Heuninck

I didn't quite have the fitness in 2016 but I did employ a completely different strategy. Run in these bad boys: New Balance 880v7s.
Yes, gone are the days of thinking I need to always run in racing flats. Cushion can help preserve my form longer and make the run more enjoyable. I learned my hard lesson in Las Vegas marathon last year when my foot was crushed and yet my legs were fine from ankles and above.
FsRC Gang Photo Credit: Lucas Socio
The Fraser Street Run Club has been whipping me back into shape. Kudoz to all those speedy runners on the team.