Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Du before the Solar Eclipse - Penticton ITU Worlds - AG Standard Du RR

Me @ Penticton Finish Area

This year's world championships stage marked the inaugural multi-sport festival in Penticton, combining 6 championships events for the first time ever with various categories including elite, junior and U23, para-athletes and age groupers. I had the opportunity to represent Canada at the standard duathlon distance, which oddly enough happened on the same morning as the solar eclipse.

Taking photos of the photographers before the Parade of Nations
The parade of nations included a team picture, a walk down the scenic beachfront of Okanagan Lake and a pasta dinner. The atmosphere brought back the vibes of the old ironman. We met some cross tri and sprint du athletes in the mix.

Hanging out with fellow Canadian athletes at the Pasta Dinner

Athlete's Village and information about the weekly events

Run! Bike! Run!

The race course for the age group athletes was completely different from the elites.  I guess they wanted to challenge the elite athletes with 5 loops of a very technical and hilly bike course (not to mention starting them in the afternoon, when the temperatures were well above 30 degrees!).  Our run route was in the heart of the town with 4 clockwise loops in the first run and 2 clockwise loops for the second run. The bike was a fast and flat out-and-back along the beachfront of Okanagan Lake, which we completed twice.

The race didn't go as well as I had hoped. 

The first run was really crowded as we started half an hour after the first 3 heats. On the bike I had to deal with a couple mishaps including a crash (gentle fall) at the turnaround.  I later realized, after completing one loop of the bike, that my front tire was  completely deflated, likely a result of a slow leak. This race had a rule that you couldn't bring your own bike pumps into transition race morning, and it was my totally my fault for not checking the valve when the volunteers pumped them up. I completed one lap and realized something was wrong as a lot of people were easily biking past me. I think I lost about 5 minutes on the bike, but it felt like this world championships field was gone in that time. 
After these drawbacks, my heart wasn't in it for the second run. I finished 21/26 in my age category. Kept my head high, and knew that I have better races to come.

Jen was also racing the standard du.  I saw her before the race warming up and wished her luck.  She had her boxing gloves (bike gloves) on and looked ready to go.  The ladies got to start their race before the men (27 min before my heat).  It's not very often you get this role reversal.  I got a couple updates from Allen about Jen, and learned that she was doing very well early in run.  However, he failed to comment on my progress :).  Jen had a good race, just missing the podium for her age group by 5s.  This had it's silver lining though, as she ran and biked better than expected.

We got to stay the weekend with Kara, up on a mountain near Penticton.  She was a gracious host and we definitely appreciated it!  A fellow duathlete, Mike Fertuck, was also staying with Kara.  It was fun talking about the race beforehand and discussing a couple strategies with him.  Nerding it up.
Locked on the bull's eye

You get this neat scarf for finishing. I happily traded my Canadian uniform with a athlete from Mexico as they had the best clothing of all the nations! Not long after the solar eclipse came and we saw a little dimming of the sky. Perhaps representative of how my race went, i.e. it wasn't my brightest moment. I'll bounce back in the next one! 

Enjoying the "lazy" river

I had the yummiest ice cream, could you believe this was only the child size?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Watching the Little Ducks and Pros - ITU Edmonton RR



What is a summer without a long road trip?  Not much fun.  So when Jen asked if I wanted to go back to Edmonton to race the ITU triathlon, it seemed like a no brainer.  I had raced the duathlon last year and wanted to try the tri this year.

We decided to do the road trip to give ourselves more flexibility.  Jen and I have friends and family across Alberta, so driving up meant we could catch up with most of them.  In the end, I met up with ten groups of friends.  Not bad for a six day trip.  One notable visit was catching up with our fabulous ex-Running Room manager, Lori, in Banff. I had pre-race beer and Elk burger. Life was good.


The ITU moved the race from the September long weekend to July after having two very cold years in a row.  But being in the prairies, nothing is a given.  The day before the race was warm and sunny, and the forecast predicted similar conditions for race day.  But we woke up to the sounds of rain drops.  Bummer, this could be another cold one...

Luckily the clouds cleared as we rolled into transition.  Ironically the rain had warmed Hawrelak lake overnight to a balmy 22.2oC.  This meant that we would have a no wetsuit swim.  Of all the scenarios for a 'most potential' swimmer, this was the least ideal.

There is:
  • wetsuit in salt water (most favourable)
  • wetsuit in fresh water
  • no wetsuit in salt water
  • no wetsuit in fresh water (least favourable and our situation)
  • There is also a no swim scenario, though that would be a duathlon... :)

Before the race, Jen ran into one of her class mates from undergrad.  He is also an engineer, and recently started triathlons.  We got chit chatting so much, that I completely forgot about the warm up.  Not good.

The swim course was two clockwise loops around the perimeter of the lake and around the little island.  You could tell that they had protected the water as you could smell chlorine.   My swim was at a pedestrian pace and I lost a good chunk of time to the leaders.  Surprisingly, the lake water felt much more comfortable than the air temperature. Since the pros would be racing later that day, they had an exit ramp leading onto the blue carpet which lead to the transition area.  It was a long run, but I enjoyed my TV time.

The bike course was a closed course with four laps around the University including two big hills.  The first was Emily Murphy, a steep punchy hill (this would be the same hill the pros would climb six times this afternoon), and the second was a long twisty climb along Groat road.  This was a really fun bike course.  You really had to engage by using all your gears and tuck in on the hills and tight corners.  They had repaved Groat road this winter, making that section of the course more enjoyable to ride.
From my experience racing here last year, I knew that attacking the climbs with a steady effort and recharging on the downhill would provide huge gains.  This strategy worked well for me as I was catching several men ahead of me and felt strong the entire way.  There were a few men surging past me on the flatter sections, but then I would easily drop them like a bag of bricks on the climbs.  I surged ahead of Jen at the top of Emily Murphy hill on my fourth lap and yelled out a couple words of encouragement.  But she was too busy admiring her bike in her own little bubble space.
Coming into the final corner of the loop
Hopping into T2
The run course changed from last year.  Instead of the 'super fast' three out-and-back loops of last year, we had two out-and-back loops counter-clockwise around Hawrelak park and along a gravel footpath to and across the truss pedestrian/cycling bridge where the turnaround was.  For those of you who looked at the results from last year, you may have noticed that Jen ran a 29min 10K split.  That would put in the same league as the Brownlees, Mario Mola and Javier Gomez!  Could she do it again?  (She was just shy.  But, the course was only 7.8 Km last year.  FYI, the ITU allows a 20% margin or error in the race distance, but that was too much).

This year, I decided to run based on my heart rate instead of pace.  I caught up to one guy in my age group comfortable twice, but unfortunately and annoyingly he surged at the last two turnarounds after realizing I was right with him.  I simply ran out of distance by the end, finishing 15s behind him.  Even though I felt great, I didn't have a faster gear to catch him a third time.  More impressively, I had run a huge negative split (4:12 pace first loop and 4:07 pace second loop)!  This has never happened to me in either a road or multi-sport races.  This new discovery taught me a valuable lesson about running on effort, rather than by pace output.  This is also something that Jen has been telling me for years, but I did not understand what languages she was speaking until now.
I finished 4th in my age group and qualified for Worlds next year in Gold Coast.  Jen and I both talked about going, though we need to think about the food choices and make a business case for it.
After our race, we stuck around to watch the pros race a sprint.  The women's field included Flora Duffy, Paula Findlay, Joanna Brown and Katie Zaferes.  At the start of the race, a couple ducks decided to swim in the lake in front of the pack.  It was really funny to watch them wag their tails to try and get out of the way.  After three failed attempts, they eventually flew away.  Flora Duffy and an American girl (Taylor Knibb) swam well and broke away from the pack on the first climb up Emily Murphy.  The group tried to catch up, but lost more time after every lap.  Duffy would win this race easily by almost a full minute.  It was interesting to see how hard the girls were pushing on the run.  Clearly every second counted for them.
Top 4!

The men's race had more depth, with Jonny Brownlee, Mario Mola and Javier Gomez all on the start line.  The men's race was much closer on the bike.  The ITU had set up a TV screen at the transitions so that we could watch the race.  At one point, you could see the men casual conversations coming down Emily Murphy hill.  The announcer predicted that they were going ~80 Km/hour down the hill.  In response, he said in admiration, "That's confidence on the bike, folks" ;).  The men were hammering the run.  It was mind blowing how fast they were going (about 3:00/Km) and making it look so easy.  One thing I noticed was that they all had their arms high and were pumping them hard.  One Australian guy forgot that the run was three loops and hammered past Mola.  It was only when the crowd yelled at him to keep going that he realized his mistake  Bad oops.  This was an exciting race to watch in person!  I would say that my race entry fee was amazing value.

Rainbow heart rate zones!




Friday, July 28, 2017

Multi-Day Multi-Sport - Oliver WCOC & Half RRs

A weekend of triathlon in Oliver 

The next event in the Dynamic Series was the Oliver triathlon.  It was the same weekend as the Victoria triathlon, so the race was a lot smaller than in previous years.  Despite this, Oliver was still the BC Championships for long course triathlon and attracted a range of many local veteran and beginner athletes. Again, there were many familiar friendly faces from the Abbotsford tri club, which was nice.

Athletes had the option to race the sprint or standard triathlon on the Saturday, and the half Ironman on Sunday.  Generally, athletes are not allowed to race two multi-sport events within 36 hours (after the ITU introduced a new rule back in 2015... which I learned the hard way :( ).  But, Tri-BC made an exception for athletes provided they got medical permission.  Having dangled the carrot of two races, I took the bait!  After all, I had already paid for the season pass, so might as well get my moneys worth :D.

Saturday was a fast day.  The swim was a long straight out and back course in scenic Tuc-el-Nuit lake.  Sighting was difficult as the sun was in my eyes on the way.  Luckily I was able to swim straight and found the buoy in good time.    The bike course was fast and flat.  Mikey Ross was right in front of me on the bike (having not worn a wet suit).  It was fun trying to catch him, but he was just too quick.  The run was all along the road.  It follows the same portion as the half; all flat meaning that I could make up ground on my competition.  I was averaging 4:04/Km.  I finished 8th overall and 3rd in my age group!  The nice thing about racing the sprint was that I was finishing just before the temperature heated up.  This was perfect for helping me recovery and prepare for the half Ironman the next day.

This was my first multi-day, multi-sport.  My road trip partner, Andrew, has previous experiences with this from racing the Ultra-man in Penticton and Florida. Also Stu had some expertise as well as he also supported Andrew in his Ultras.  I tried to tap into their knowledge.  So when I checked in my bike after finishing a race, it felt really funny.  But there were several athletes doing the double, so I wasn't in lone company.

I woke up early Sunday morning feeling ready race.  The sprint from the day before was long gone.  My legs felt fresh and my energy was on point.  As we were gathering at the swim start, I noticed that Mikey Ross was wearing his wet-suit today.  That means that he was here for  serious business.  No more monkey business.  The swim was a double loop triangle course in a clockwise direction.  The final segment from the swim was the same as the sprint.  Having experience from the previous day, I knew that you could swerve along the lake front to cut some distance.  The water was super calm race morning.  Not a ripple to slow you down!  My swim was as expected.  I haven't been swimming as much as I would have liked leading into this race, so my time was a bit slower than usual.  Oh well, at least I'm still good at transitions. The transition from swim to bike was a long one to get to the elementary school where the bikes were located. 

The bike course was two and a half loops passing through the Golden Mile.  It was a scenic and enjoyable ride.  The first half loop along Black Sage Road was really fast, and I was averaging 45 Km/h.  But coming back along Highway 97 was where the men were separated from the boys.  The conditions were very windy and this slowed us down a great deal.  For reference, I was probably averaging not much more than 20 Km/h.  Whomp, whomp.  A couple friends advised me to get a power meter to help my cycling this year.  It is beneficial to judge your bike efforts based on power output - especially on hilly or windy courses.  I did my best to hold just under 200 Watts, but the wind wore me down on the second loop.  Seeing the drop in power, I guess I should have been more conservative on the first loop as my bike training was more geared towards shorter distance this year.

Heading into T2, I couldn't have been happier to see my running shoes.  Last year, I got a FR 735XT Garmin, which provides heart-rate data.  This was the first race where I judge my pace efforts based off of my heart rate.  Where I noticed the greatest impact was in the final 5Km of the run.  Normally, I would be fading very quickly here.  But I was able to still hold a consistent effort and finish strong.  Time-wise it wasn't a huge difference, but the execution was much better.  I just missed the podium for the BC champs, finishing 21st overall and 4th in my age group.

The post race food at both Sprint and Half were incredibly delicious. We had pancakes and sausages after the Sprint, and a choice between chicken or beef burgers after the Half with beer! I picked the Chicken burger and I still remember the juicy goodness. One of the best post race meals I have had in recent memory.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Steep Hills and Just Escaped the Rain - Westwood Tri Sprint RR

Nanaimo's Westwood Tri was first of the Dynamic Race series for the season. I decided to do this trip solo, as most people had already arrived days in advance. This was a bonus race for me, as I wasn't sure how quick I would recover after Nashville Marathon two weeks ago. In the end, I ended up making more friends than I bargained for racing this local race. I stayed with the Abbotsford Triathlon Club's headquarters at the Vancouver Island University (VIU) as they had nearly 20 or so members staying there. It felt amazing to be part of their culture, which reminded me of what our tri-club had back in the Subaru Western Canada days.

This short course distance was a bit unknown for me simply because my last 7 sprint events were all in the comfort of an indoor pool and these were all competed way back between 2005 and 2008. Nearly a decade ago, nine whole years of sabbatical in this discipline and this would be my first open water sprint. :)

A third layer unknowns was that this course was super fun with hilly challenges. Joe, race director, said "Tell your friends to race here if they like the challenge". I studied the course by riding it the day leading up to the race and the race morning to ensure I knew where to make gear change because those 15% grade towards the elevated lake didn't allow you to cheat on big ring.

A Norwegian friend and I biked from the ferry and we only had 30 minutes to make the 6km trip to race expo. Too bad it was pouring rain and steep hills, we quickly got a taste of this beautiful challenging course. In return the swim was pancake flat and as calm as a safe haven. Not a single wrinkle of wave on race morning.
Here it goes, a steep downhill to start the bike.
Photo Credit: Rainer Plendl

A small change to this year's bike course to the descent out from the lake made things safer. This was only the 2nd annual event in Nanaimo and many returnees brought their road bikes this time instead of their tri-bikes. More on which has a greater effect later!

Equipped with the power meter, this was really neat to see all the spikes on the hills. Changing gears was the name of the game as when you did settle in to a comfortable power, the course throws some turns and false flats to get you out of saddle again. A boxing match, in which luckily I was not penalized too much for not using my nice wheels.

The bike course was one out and back, the out part has an additional out and back. The standard distance went along the same course but headed out further along main Jingle Pot Road.

As we were heading back towards the hill to the lake, you had to ensure you take the blind turn with the right granny gear otherwise you won't be getting far.
What a fun course!
Photo Credit: Rainer Plendl

The run was a counter clockwise loop for us around the lake. Punchy near the beginning. You hear a loud echo in the middle portion from the lake from all the finishers. I heard the winner being announced as I was still half way around the lake. The final kilometre felt like a gut check, with a killer puncher hill. Once you got over the hill, a short steep downhill and you're not too far from the finish. I'm pretty stoked on the result: 5th overall and 2nd in age category but I was more happy that I finished this tough speedy event.

I was so glad to be done, the rain came pouring down on the poor standard people, as they were still on the bike.
Last stretch to finish!
Photo Credit: Rainer Plendl

We were welcomed with fresh pancakes and sausages from a food truck after the finish. Heated tent was a brilliant idea. A large chunk of the participants were BC locals and we were able to hang around and watch the sport we loved. So it was easy to make friends.

So back to the road vs. tri-bike debate. No race wheels, no road bike, and yet you can still perform very well on this course. It favours the power to weight ratio regardless of weight of the bike. My heavy (21lbs) tri-bike was averaging about 200watts on the course. I was surprised to hear from Martin (he pulled off the fastest bike split of the day) that he said he worked harder on his road bike in this year's race. He said he was slower than on his tri-bike from last year, despite the hillier course and heavier tri-bike. A tri-bike almost always wins in a triathlon. There simply isn't enough of a draft advantage riding individually to warrant the road bike, unless you prefer comfort and better handling, which comes at a cost of speed.

I think I'm hooked on this distance again. I think I'll definitely be back for next year.

PS - Thanks to Brendan for dropping and picking me up from the ferry.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Beats and Heat in Music City - St. Jude RNR Nashville Marathon RR

Last month, Jen and I traveled down to Nashville, Tennessee to race the Rock 'n Roll half and full.  I have a bucket list goal of racing a marathon in every state, so it was hard (really impossible) to say 'no' when Jen brought up the race.  The Rock 'n Roll races are well known for having rock bands at every mile and the awesome race bling.  What better place to go than Music City itself?

We arrived in Nashville with a warm welcome.  And by warm, I'm talking 20+ degrees Celsius and 80% humidity.  Ugh.  This was going to be a rough race.  But more on that later.

Nobody was using the commuter bikes, because they were all on the party-beer-bike-mobile. 

We were doing a marathon, seems fitting that Nashville is nicknamed Athens of the south.
Parthenon replica in Centennial Park


Statue of Athena Parthenos holding Nike, the Goddess of Victory

The race expo was pretty cool  Jen signed up for the remix challenge (2 races in one weekend, for 3 medals), so we had to stop by on Thursday.  This actually worked in our favour, as we didn't have to wait in any lines.  Score!  Toyota was one of the title sponsors.  They had a little area set up with fun and games, which included making your own tie dye headbands!  Jen and I went the matchy-matchy route and got them made in the same color as our shoes.

Race Bling for Mile, Re-mix Challenge, and Half
(this one has a light up display inspired by Broadway!)
Tie-dye Headbands to match our shoes!

So now for the first race; Jen's mile.  I had the luxury of leisurely walking to the finish line and watching the race unfold from Shelby bridge.  On a side note, my past job looked into a conceptual design a marina here, but it never got constructed.  Now back to the race, Jen and this other girl were battling it out down a long winding hill.  I captured the moment Jen passed this girl and went on to win the race (note the double Mohawk which reminds me of a cats tail when they get scared).

Double Mohawk!

View under Shelby Bridge of the would-be Marina

With the scorching temperatures, the race director decided to start the race 30 min earlier, meaning we had to be on the start line at 6:45 AM.  This didn't make it any easier, as the heat and humidity had already reached a record high for the race (24 degrees Celsius and 80% humidity at the start).  Prior to this race, I got some expert advice from Canada's favourite marathoner, Rob Watson, to adjust my race goal by 5-7 min.  Honestly though, the heat made the race feel similar to a triathlon run.  So, I treated my nutrition and race strategy like a triathlon. I felt like a bag of bricks right from the gun.

Pre-Race already sweating (no pun intended) :)

When the gun when off, a whole sea of people took off down the hill.  I tried to hold back knowing that most of that group was doing the half distance.  The course has a lot of history, passing through some of Nashville's most iconic areas.  This includes the Honky-Tonks, Music Row, 12 Ave South and Centennial Park.  So the first 7 miles were basically all up hill.  Though most of it was gradual, there were a couple punchers.  I tried to stay relaxed and mosey my way to the top.

Because of the heat, the race director told the marathoner's that we could divert towards the finish line at the 18K and 30K marks if things got tough.  When we reached the 18K point, only a small trickle of people turned off for the marathon (curse them!!!!).  It was deflating knowing that I would be running solo for the rest of the race. A group of 4 of us ran for a bit. A triathlete in the group became friends with me after the race and told me he signed up for the season tour pass (great idea)! I eventually caught the lead lady and ran with her a bit.

I don't think Jen was here for the race...

The course took us to a baseball stadium at the 28K mark.  I hit a home run and had to run the perimeter of the stadium.  Too bad the stadium wasn't full of excited fans, because I could have used them.  Lol!!  The second half of the race was much harder than the first half, despite being flat.  The racers were all spread apart, and temperatures reached the low 30s.  My pace slowed drastically, but I was catching people.  It was encouraging to hear spectators tell me that I was in 24th place overall.  Normally I never hear this (being ranked over 100+)! The loop around Shelby Park was near death at 38K! Temperature was well into the 30s Celsius by that point. I eventually caught 4 more men and finished a personal best of 20th overall and won my age group (which never happens in a marathon).  Even though I ran a 12 min positive split, I still felt strong. I was very happy with the race, despite running 15 minutes over my PB.  After all, the winner also ran a positive 12 min split. Jen finished 3rd female overall in the half. :)

After crossing the finish line, Jen and I went out to explore Nashville.  We went to the honky tonks (live music at the bar on at least 4 days of the week - odd criterion) and learned that marathoners are ultra-light weights.  Haha!  Nashville is well known for its barbecue.  Basically meat that has been smoked all day and so tender.  My mouth is watering just thinking back to it.  One of our friends at Mile2Marathon recommended going to the Swingin' Door Pub for honkey tonks.  It was so good that we had to go for barbecue two more times (one was with Jen's friend from university).


Post Race Barbecue, I reluctantly posed for the photo, but I was so hungry, I just wanted to eat!
Nashville's Favourite Treat

For those of you who follow hockey, Nashville was in the playoffs.  They had one home game while we were there.  They had a large TV set up outside the stadium for fans to watch.  The atmosphere was electrifying.  Before the mile, Jen was talking to a fellow competitor from Nashville.  He was saying that down town Nashville had a sketchy vibe, and until the Predators came to town, few people would hang out there.  That must be why the city supports their team so much!  I can say it feels safe like here at home. Everyone was supporting their team by wearing cow boots and hats. As a fun activity, they had a car with for the St. Louis blues that people could smash with a hammer.  Afterall, we were in Smashville :).

Overall, this was a really fun experience.  Jen and I got the 3 pack pass, which means you will be reading about two more Rock 'n Roll races this calendar year.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

St. Paddy's 5K and Sun Run 10K RRs

Quick updates from two local races.

St. Patrick's 5k

Fun race as usual for me and hard for me not to do it since the race director is Steve, but the competition was fierce as advertised. After party with beer was fun too. This year I ran a bit slower since it was only a week after my UBC du race. Only steps from the downhill start, I got overly excited and got this unusual feeling when my chest strap heart rate hinge came unsecured. I had to hold the monitor for the rest of the race (pretty much the entire race), here's a look at the messed up data, which some heavy vertical oscillations. :)
Lessons learned: always check that chest strap is secured. I was stoked to still sneak into the top 100 - finished 97th overall.

Sun Run 10k

I was hoping to represent our tri club team but we didn't secure enough members to qualify. So Winston had to go rogue and run for himself. Less pressure, more individual glory. Race execution went slightly better! I started the race with Nathaniel, UBCTC alumni, near the back of the blue group. I was afraid of getting run over by the speedsters but mostly didn't want to get in their way. :)

I could see one of our M2M training partners Judy most of the way, stoked for her for crushing a PB time! For me, I had a black cloud over my head and had to not take too many risks as my marathon was coming up in 6 days in Nashville. Still a great time, finished pretty much where I expected to me based from recent interval efforts. 37:43. Here's a slightly better representation of my run dynamics. Here's the data:

Two races, two about 20s shy from my PBs from last 2 years. One was a build down, and the other was a build up. I'll have to race both the 5k and 10k distances properly another day to hit a PB again one day. But the focus this year is some marathons and multi-sport. :)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Another Wet Rainy One! - UBC Tri/Du RR

It's been a few months of off season, I'm excited to get back at it. UBC Tri-Du was my first race of the 2017 season. Also last February, I just transitioned into a new job, I can become a working man again! No more mid-day naps between jobs, unfortunately. PB's will now be tacked on with an extra minute or two of grace. :)

Of course just when I thought I can escape the swim, the rain comes pouring down. The sky just came down. The previous 3 of 4 du-s at UBC were some of the wettest I've been in. This one was one of them. At least this beat the snow that came down from last week. One cancelled race earlier this year is more than enough. 
Instead of the swim, stick a run, and you get run/bike/run for the duathlon but really it felt like swim/swim/swim with the cold miserable rain.

Run1 - Jen and the lead group took off, I hanged onto 4th into T1. Jen had cold fingers and unfortunately had a little picnic in T1. I will need to help her with getting some speedy laces for next time!

Bike - It got windy along SW Marine Dr. I was averaging a little slower (mostly due to caution) on the course on this day around 36.X km/hr when normally it would had been maybe a kilometer or two per hour quicker. Our friend Morgan almost caught me at T2, she was only a few meters behind me when I dismounted. I didn't dare jumping off the shoes as the bike rack was within a parking spot reach.

Run2, I couldn't feel my toes. Probably I should had dressed more than just tri-suit and arm warmers on this day. Luckily the race was just long enough to bare without them. I hung onto 3rd overall to finish.

The finish was too cold to hang around! I was frozen but I survived.

Overall it was a cold race. I got a little running nose afterwards and had to take the following week easy.
Credit: UBC REC

I didn't mount my new bike gadget (Edge 520) on the right aero bar (had to be on the left one to sync better with the power meter). So a lesson learned for next time. Here's some neat run dynamics by the FR735xt. My form became less beautiful the second time around, as expected. :) 
Run 1 vs Run 2

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Year 2016 Recap - Brace Yourself for more Graphs.

Being process driven, I like to marvel the new set of dorky graphs from 2016! Put on your nerdy glasses for another boring post on number crunching data. For the original post from 2015, click here

1. Shoes by Year

Last year I wanted to start training with cushion shoes. This method has given me an advantage in getting more softness and protection for my poor aging joints and calves. For racing, I can then use the lightweight racing flats and feel like I'm flying and get those ground contact times down. :)

The Brooks Ghost is a great cushion shoe for 20km-25km LSD runs. Still light enough but cushy enough for protection. 

The asics Cumulus is a slightly greater mid-cushion, perfect for sprinting down hills and is built like a tank. Be careful of its obnoxiously long shoe laces, as I do tuck them in so I don't trip. Its secondary gel cushion technology makes it soft on the heel especially.

The adidas Boston and adios are new editions from 2016 too. Watch for them in 2017, they are dangerously fast, I'm slowly transitioning into racing in them. :D I normally have been racing in New Balance's 1400s.

2. Distance and Intensity Flow Diagrams 

Since 2015, I kept track of workout intensities for each day.

Red meant Race Days/Time Trial Efforts,
Orange meant Lactate Threshold,
Yellow meant Intervals,
Limegreen meant Steady State, and
Green meant Easy Only Days.

Usually after a big race in red, you'll see some solid green easy days.

Lots of easy bike workouts here in green, which gives me more base to focus on running.

You might be wondering about the missing data after September. I did take a little break from swimming, that's indeed just me slacking off. :) 

3. Intensity Breakdown

Here's the aggregation by intensity. The run comparison is neat as more percentage is spent in easy and more racing as opposed to 2015. Less volume and less intervals, and yet despite more racing, was the strategy for 2016, which resulted in personal PBs in half and full marathons last year.

4. Bike Terrain

For 2016, I was still training blind without the power meter for the most part, but the volume is up there. 2017 will be fascinating with the new power meter.  :)

5. Lucky Shoes for Long Course Races

A Winston's classic graph. It looks like there might be one more big race for the 1400s before I retire them.