Monday, May 29, 2006
Today was a rest day before my last two days of pre-race workouts this week. Surprisingly I was a little sore today, especially in my hip area. I think it had to do with kayaking in a single vs a double and the increased rolling movement.
After dinner tonight I cut the grass and chased Egan around the yard. He lost two more teeth today which is a little unusual and Shelley is going to take him to the Vet on Wednesday to have him checked out. I note that the final racer package is still not out for the Shore2shore race this Saturday and I'm starting to get a little worried. As a result, I'm leaving my travel arrangements (booking ferries) until the last minute.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Egan was going strong again this morning and you would never know he had a few stitches in his mouth and had been under on Friday. I took him out for an hour walk in the park this morning but that didn't slow him down. I was going to cut the grass before lunch, but it started raining just after we got home.
After lunch, KF my partner for the Duncan MOMAR in June joined me for a brick. It was the first time he had joined me for training this year and despite not having done much training he did okay, just starting to fade near the end of the run. We did a 1:57 MTB ride at a good pace with some hills and technical riding thrown in. After a quick gel, a change of shoes and still wearing our packs we headed out for a run in Thetis Park. We did 50 minutes at a reasonable pace and once again half way through the run either the gel kicked in or I started to catch my wind. I was feeling good but kept the pace the same in consideration of KF and just pushed the pace the last couple of hundred yards. I felt good afterwards although KF admitted he was tired. He's got four weeks left before the race to get in some good training.
Egan was still full of energy tonight so I took him out in the yard and played with him for half an hour trying to tire him out. I'm not sure who tired whom out. He was running in circles around me and I was getting dizzy trying to follow him. Tomorrow is a rest day before my last two easy workouts.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Egan woke up today with lots of energy despite his surgery yesterday. As a result I took him on a hike up Mt Finlayson this morning. He even pulled me up some of it much like a sled dog. Of course going down he was pulling all the way and I had to be careful not to do a header.
After lunch I headed to the Gorge for some kayaking. Much to my surprise the rental place was actually open and there was someone there. I went out for an hour in a single and had forgotten how tippy there are and how touchy the steering is as I usually go out in a double with someone else. I had a good workout with no shoulder soreness and even managed to get in some sprints.
Dinner was steak on the barbecue with a little TV afterwards. Tomorrow will be a brick, my last hard workout before next weekends race.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Today was 25 minutes on the treadmill at noon. I did some speed work as a change of pace from the hills last night. A nine minute warm up then four sets of 3 one minute intervals increasing the speed each minute, followed by a four minute cool down. While my legs felt a little tired from last night, the run did loosen them up. Afterwards I did a quick routine on the rowing machine and the Windjammer followed by a good stretch.
On the way home from work I picked Egan up from the Vet's office where he was in surgery having a broken/infected puppy tooth taken out. It didn't seem to phase him much as he had his regular dry food for dinner and was chewing on one of his bones after that. As thoughts of a new new MTB keep fading....
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Tonight was the usual 30 minutes of weights, 75 minute spin class and 25 minutes on the treadmill. There were only six of us in the spin class but instructor KW pushed us hard. I got my HR to the highest it has been in a while and was anaerobic for a good part of the class. During some of the hard hammer drills at max rpms I slowed down a little by adding more tension to simulate a race pace. Afterwards KW and I headed upstairs for a treadmill run. I stopped for a gel and because I was out of my regular ones, used one of the ones that had been handed out at a race. The flavour was chocolate cherry and almost made me gag. My usual routine on the treadmill is to do some speed work. Tonight I decided to change it up. I increased the incline and lowered the speed, alternating this with a faster speed and no incline every five minutes. I am used to running on hills, just not for five minutes straight and it was tough. I think I'm going to have to do more of it. Afterwards I was tired but felt good.
When I got home both Egan and Shelley had gone to bed after having a tough day. I got caught up on some shows that I had taped but hadn't had time to watch.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Today was a rest day. All I did after work was play with Egan and mow the front lawn. I've got my kayak booked and registration done for the Shore2shore race in North Vancouver on June 3 so I hope it goes ahead. This will be my first solo adventure race and it should be interesting to see how hard I can push myself.
I saw that the seven day Transrockies MTB race in August had opened up some spaces. LM wanted to do it but I jammed out this year and she couldn't find anyone else. I want to wait and see how we do in the two day Sea2Summit race before I commit to a seven day race. Anyway, I sent her an e-mail saying there were some spaces available and that I could buy a new bike, she could put off her surgery, we could train like hell for two months and enter it. She got excited when she read it until she got to the last line that said I was just kidding. It makes my legs ache just thinking about riding hard for 80km-100km a day for seven days over the rockies, but who knows.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Today I just had time for the noon spin class at th "Y". While it was only a 35 minute class, the instructor pushed us hard and I got a good workout in. I also squeezed in some time on the rowing machine. Tonight was Egan's obedience class and he was his usual bratty self. He paid attention for about the first 30 minutes and then he got bored. Of course once we got home and with no distractions, he had no problem following the commands. Tomorrow is a rest day before I'm back at it with a brick on Thursday.
Monday, May 22, 2006
We woke up to rainy skies this morning and I could feel the last two days of hard workouts. I dragged Egan out for a walk in the park and then we just lazed around the house for much of the remaining day. Unfortunately thats not good for Egan as he has too much energy and kept finding trouble to get into. I had planned to get out and kayak, however the weather wasn't cooperating. At about 3:30PM I finally got up enough energy to go for a run. Of course thats when the rain decided to start again. I took the new trail that they just finished that runs along the hwy between Thetis Hts and Thetis Lake Park. They did a nice job on it and gives me somewhere new to run. I took it easy and my legs felt good enough to go a little further than I had originally planned. After that it was a quiet night watching TV.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
This morning I dragged Egan up to the top of Mt Finlayson. I was hoping he would be pulling me as he usually likes to, but I ended up leading him. About half way up he started giving me dirty looks as if to say "why are we going up here". At the top we had a quick drink and a snack and then headed down with him now leading. Once we got home, I managed to do a little more yard work before lunch.
After having trouble in my last race generating any speed, the plan today was for a speed/strength road ride, short but hard. I headed up Millstream at race pace. Its a gradual uphill 10km ride out that I did as hard as I could and then turned around and pedaled hard back. On the way back I went up the back side of Finlayson Arm Rd, came back down and then headed for Bear Mt. I did one ascent of it at a good pace, stopped at the top for a quick gel and then headed down. At the bottom I turned around and headed up again, although at a somewhat slower pace as my legs were starting to feel it now. After a quick descent I was home, just before the rain started.
Tonight after a pork roast on the barbecue, Shelley and I watched the season enders of NCIS and CSI that we had taped but hadn't had time to watch yet.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Yesterday I got half the day off to play in a charity golf tournament for someone in our office who couldn't make it at the last minute. It was a lot of fun and despite not having played in a year I managed some good shots when it counted.
This morning I took Egan for a long walk in the park after which I did some weeding in the garden. After lunch Egan and I had a nap on the couch. About 4PM I decided that I had to get some exercise so I went for a run in Thetis. It took me a while to get my legs loosened up but when they finally did, I began pushing it a little on the hills. I was feeling so good that I decided to keep running (much like Forest Gump) past my usual turnoff. It turned out to be my longest run of the year and while I slowed the pace after the first hour, I finished feeling strong. When I got home, Shelley had a big plate of blueberry pancakes and sausages waiting for me.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Tonight it was back to my regular brick night at the "Y". I did 30 minutes of weights, the 75 minute spin class and 25 minutes on the treadmill. I took the last four days off to give my legs a really good rest after the Ucluelet race and they were a little stiff in spin class. I gave them a good workout and got into my anaerobic zone for a reasonable period. By the time I got to the treadmill my legs were loosened up and I had a good run with some speed work thrown in.
I got asked to take someone in my office's place in a charity golf tournament on Friday. It should be fun, the only downside being I haven't played in a year and my game will probably be crappy. Fortunately its a best ball format so there isn't much pressure.
This weekend I hope to get out for some good rides, a run and maybe a kayak. The registration for the Shore2shore in North Vancouver opened up this week, although given that its in two weeks I'm not confident they will be able to pull it off or get enough racers interested at this late date. I haven't found anyone to race with so will likely go in as a solo. I booked my kayak today and will probably send in my registration on Monday.
Egan has been acting up at night all week. He has been getting me up in the night to go outside but then doesn't want to go back to sleep. A couple of nights he howled for 10-15 minutes but eventually settled down after we ignored him. He probably picked up some bad habits at the kennel last weekend. I think I'll pay him back by making him go up Mt Finlayson with me this weekend.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
This morning we rolled out of bed around 8PM and got packed up. We stopped for breakfast at a little place up the street where I got a great Eggs Benny for under $10. Then it was a long drive back to Victoria. After I dropped Lisa off I picked Egan up from the kennel. While he was happy to see me at first, he was also a little mad at having been left there all weekend and ignored me on the drive home. After dinner, Shelley and I took him for a long walk in the park.
I 've got lots of sore muscles today, especially my quads which I suspect is from the downhill run on Mt Ozzard. I plan on taking the next three days off from training and then start to get ready for the Shore2Shore on June 3.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
We were up bright and early at 6AM to have a good breakfast and get ready for the race. It looked like it was going to be a great day with blue skies. My stomach was bothering me again. I figured it was nerves relating to having to navigate my first real race. I took a couple of pills and it settled down for the rest of the day. At about 7:15 we loaded the bikes into my SUV and headed for the bike drop off, which was a couple of miles away. The road leading down to the beach where we were to drop them was narrow and crowded with cars lined up so we cheated, parked up the road and rode our bikes down. Every minute we wasted here meant less time to study the map. We quickly found a place to leave our bikes, helmets and shoes and then headed to the start line which was back by the hotel. When we got there it was already busy with other racers picking up their maps. We found out we were to get two maps, one for the kayak and bike legs now and one for the running leg after we finished the other two. I took a quick look at the map and there were no real surprises. A long kayak, followed by a MTB leg, a trek up Mt Ozzard and then another MTB leg back into town with lots of stops along the way. All the CPs were well marked and you had to do them in order, but you had to find your own route between them. Lisa and I went over the map until we had a good idea of what route we needed to follow. After that we went down to the beach to find our kayak supplier. Fortunately there were no problems. We got the kayak I had booked (a fast Seaward Passat) and put the paddles and PFDs in it. The racers meeting was next and Brian T. had some last minute instructions for us. We then went back to the truck to get our other gear ready, take a last look at the map and have a bathroom break (except there were no bathrooms). Fortunately most racers are not shy. At about 8:50 we headed down to get in our kayak, a little late. I usually wear my runners in the kayak, but today as we were riding and not running in the second leg, I decided not to. The upside was that I would start the run with dry runners on. The downside was that I had to carry the kayak in and out of the water in bare feet while walking on the rocks (I ended up with a few cuts but nothing serious). I was also a little worried about using the rudder pedals in bare feet, but decided to risk it. I strapped my pack to the rear rack of the kayak and put my shoes in my lap, under the spray skirt. By this time we were really late and had about a minute to get to the start line. Shelley gave us a push off and Lisa paddled while I tried to get my spray skirt on. I never did get it pulled up tight enough which meant the occasional trickle of cold water down my front. I also forgot until the last minute that I had to straighten out the rudder before adjusting the pedals. It was too late and resulted in one leg being really bent and the other not as much. I wasn't very comfortable but I could live with it. It also meant the kayak had a tendency to veer left if I relaxed my legs.
At shortly after 9AM we were all lined up about half way down Ucluelet Harbour and the kayak leg started. As we had a somewhat lousy start position, we were near the back of the pack. The course was to the mouth of the harbour then back to the other end of it where our bikes were waiting. It was a beautiful morning and the ocean was very calm. That was both good news and bad news. It made for easier paddling but also meant they wouldn't shorten the course like they did last year due to bad weather. It was going to be about 12 long km. We started at a good pace and were soon catching up to other boats. Lisa kept saying things like " See that boat ahead, catch it and pass it on the left". I said" Don't get too optimistic", but we slowly caught up other boats. The theme of this race was "pirates" and there were a couple of racers in costume. One kayak was even decorated with a pirate flag and a cannon up front made out of beer cans, We passed them. Due to my problems with the rudder, Lisa had to keep calling out course corrections. I had asked her to do this at the beginning and she took it very seriously. At one point Lisa told me to pass between two boats that were side by side. When we started there was enough room, however when we got along side they started squeezing us. We had to do a quick sprint to get ahead. We finally reached the entrance to the harbour and turned around. By this time all the racers were pretty spread out. My arms were getting a little tired and we were only 1/3 of the way through the kayak section. Everyone settled down into some sort of a rhythm and there wasn't much passing going on any more. After well over an hour the end was finally in sight. In the last 15-20 minutes there were two guys in a kayak behind us who I heard talking about passing us. Twice they tried and both times we speeded up. Finally they gave up. At about 1:24 (my longest kayak in a race) we hit the beach, well back of the leaders. Lisa ran up to get our passport stamped while I helped the kayak people get our boat out of the water. This was CP2 and the transition to MTB.
Our transition wasn't particularly fast and we were getting passed by other racers as we put on helmets, bike shoes, packs and had a quick gel. I strapped my runners to my pack while Lisa had room to put hers inside. Finally we were on our bikes and heading out. Someone ahead of me dropped their map and didn't notice it but a teammate picked it up. Not a good start. Right away my legs didn't feel very good. I hoped they were just tight from the kayak. We were still on paved roads at this point and Lisa headed off in the lead at a fast pace. I thought "oh oh, either she's going to burn herself out before we get to the running leg which was our weakest, or she's got a lot more energy today then I do". During our training I always felt that I was stronger than her, but today she was going to be the one to pull me along. Her competitiveness was really coming out. I cranked it up and tried to stay right behind her. It wasn't long before we made our first turn onto a gravel road down to CP3 and the fish hatchery. I made one quick stop to check the map and we were soon there. This CP consisted of running along a wooden walkway and then onto a narrow bouncy plank in front of a waterfall. You then had to reach out to the passport punch while balancing on the plank. It would have made a nice picture, but I'm glad Lisa was the one doing it. We did this one very quickly and it was back on the bikes and up a moderately steep hill. We crossed the paved road we had been on previously and started a slight ascent up towards where the trek started. At this point I was still having to work hard to keep close and we continued to pass other racers. We then came to two short steep hills in a row with loose rock where a lot of people were walking their bikes. We both made it up the first one but I spun out on the second one while Lisa powered her way up it. I ran to keep up. CP4 was at the top of the second and the transition to the trek stage up Mt Ozzard. This MTB stage had taken us about 39 minutes.
There were a lot of racers milling around, however we quickly dropped our bikes and put our runners on. After a short run on the road we turned onto the trail. This was a very steep, almost vertical in places, MTB trail with lots of stunts built on it. I thought you would have to be crazy to ride it, but one of the hard core MTBers that I talked to at dinner that night said he would have no problem doing it. There were places where the stunts were built so high off the ground that it was easier for us to crawl or walk under them then climb over them. Given how steep it was there was somewhat of a bottle neck as slower people in front of us did not seem inclined to let faster racers by. This was starting to bug Lisa who was still going hard. I managed to keep up but was a little disappointed with my performance as this type of hiking was my forte. We passed a father and son team and I heard the son ask how to tell if he had a cramp. I told him "when you're screaming in agony from the pain." He said "oh". About half way up the trail was CP5. Eventually we reached the top of the trailand were greeted by one of the most panoramic views I have ever seen. We were looking out over the Pacific and could see the coast stretching north and south. It was almost worth the grind getting up there. At the top of the trail we were back on the gravel road for a short uphill run to CP6. We had to do a pose for the camera imitating two whales or seals or something. They had told us this at CP4 and Lisa had spent her time on the trail thinking up what our pose should be. I just did what I was told. After that it was a steep downhill run on the road back to CP4/7. We were warned that there was a bear and her cub on the side of the road and to be careful. A forest service employee had been brought in to keep an eye on them and we made lots of noise as we went by where they were supposed to be. Lisa took off ahead of me as according to the rules all I had to do was to keep her in sight. The footing was a little treacherous and I didn't let it all out as I was worried about twisting an ankle. However, it was a nice break from the previous uphill grind. A solo male went by me and went to pass Lisa but she was having none of that and speeded up. He eventually just fell back behind her, but I had to let myself go to keep up. We finally reached the bottom of this 4km leg at CP4/7 which took us about 40 minutes up and down.
We quickly changed shoes again and it was back on the bikes down the two short, steep sections we had ridden up. We were going pretty fast and at one point I felt something bounce off my leg. It was one of my water bottles, but it was too late to stop. Fortunately I had another plus my hydration pack and usually didn't have a problem with hydrating. At the bottom of the hill we took the first right onto another logging road and passed two racers stopped with mechanical problems. It was about 3km to CP8 and Lisa kept the pace hard. At CP8 we had to show two pieces of mandatory gear (which were at the bottom of my pack) and then we were off again. The road was fairly flat but the surface was rough, which made riding hard a little tough. Lisa was on a full suspension bike and had an easier time of it. I tried to draft her but the conditions made it a little tough. Lisa rode right by the next turnoff we needed, but I let her go as it only would have saved us a couple of hundred yards. We made a couple of more turns and then we were heading for the Hwy where CP9 was. A flag person directed us across the Hwy and we dropped our bikes where everyone else before us had. This CP was called "A walk in the woods" and the map showed the CP was a little ways in the woods beside a stream. Unfortunately the bush was very dense and we could hear people stumbling around in it. We decided to run up the Hwy a little further to see if there was any way in, and saw a big sign that said "A walk in the woods". It was an interpretative centre with a walk along trails and boardwalks with various informative boards along the way. It was our first mystery challenge and we had to answer three questions by reading the boards. Not everyone had the same questions and you might have to read ten boards before you found the right ones to answer your particular questions. We zipped through this one and after a quick pit stop were on our bikes again. This time we were headed along the Hwy for a short ride to the Pacific Rim Visitor Info Centre. There was a pretty strong head wind and I tucked in behind Lisa and let her pull me. Once there we had to line up two flag poles and take a NW bearing off of them and look for CP10 about 70 meters in the woods. It wasn't difficult to find as there were a lot of other racers around.
We then crossed the Hwy and got on the paved bicycle path that headed into town The next CP was back at the start area, 6.5km away and was the transition to the running stage. Lisa was going hard and we passed a couple of other racers. I drafted her and planned on taking a turn at the front after a bit. The road was up and down, and we got going pretty fast on some of the downhills. I think I may have even been in my top gear. I pulled out in front at one point but didn't have the legs to go as fast as Lisa and she took over after a few minutes. In no time we were back at the start area having taken just over an hour to do this riding section. Shelley was there to yell some words of encouragement and take a few pictures of us. We changed shoes again and got our new map. As expected it showed the run was primarily along the Wild Pacific Trail, and 10km+. Shelley mentioned something about a swim, but I didn't have time to think about it or look at any part of the map other than the first checkpoint, CP 12.
We started out running on the streets until we found the start of the trail after one wrong turn. My legs were feeling reasonably good, although I didn't have any speed. The trail we were on led us to the main trail along the ocean. The map was a little confusing and we weren't sure whether to go right or left to find the trail down to the beach and CP12. Unfortunately we listened to one of the other racers as there were lots around and went right. We took the next trail down to a cove but it turned out to be the wrong one, and we wasted 5-10 minutes on it. Eventually we retraced our steps and found the right cove to the left of where we were previously. There we had to find some gold coins in the sand and keep them for a draw later at the party. We took off towards the next CP and made another navigational error. After running on the trail for a while we thought we should be at the CP and kept stopping to look for a way down to the rocks. Unfortunately we hadn't gone far enough and wasted more time looking until we finally went far enough to see CP13 out on the rocks. One of the volunteers manning it mentioned something about the cutoff time for the next two CPs getting close. Hearing this we took off running hard and pulled away from the couple of teams that were around us. We were back on the streets by this time and had a ways to go before reaching CP15 (CP14 had been cancelled). The map showed a path leading to the next section of the Wild Pacific Trail but as it wasn't obvious to us we stayed on the road hoping to meet the trail further along and then double back. This ended up costing us some time. We passed the father and son team who had somehow gotten ahead of us and I told Lisa that no 15 year old kid was going to beat me. By this time my legs were getting a little heavy and even Lisa was slowing down. We found CP15 without much trouble and CP16 (by the lighthouse) and CP17 (by a red flowering plant on the trail) in quick succession. It was then time to head back to the finish line along the road with 4 CPs in between. I started to feel better knowing we were on the homeward leg and tried to push the pace a little. As we got close to CP18 I took a quick look at the map and realized we were going to be swimming soon. The volunteer on the road said to head down to the shoreline and follow it. As dense bush grew right to the edge this meant we were wading through thigh deep water. It was very cold and slow going. I was a little worried about my leg muscles cramping up. Around the corner we came to CP18 where they gave us PFDs to put on over our back packs and told us we had to swim the 50-75 meters across the water to the other side of the little inlet where CP19 was. We plunged in and it was freezing cold. You could hardly catch your breath. We finally got out, dropped the PFDs and started running down the shore. We were soon back on the road and passed another team as one of their members was cramping up. My shoes were so sodden it felt like I was wearing rubber boots. Despite this the cold water seemed to have invigorated my legs and they were all of a sudden feeling good. Unfortunately at the same time Lisa's knee started bothering her (she strained or tore her ACL last year) and we had to slow down a little. We navigated our way through the streets to CP20 on the docks and then CP21 on the Canadian Princess. From there we could almost see the finish line at the Tauca Lea Resort. We passed one more team and then it was a quick sprint along the mud flats to the finish line. I was tired but still could have kept going if I had to. Shelley was waiting with a cooler full of Red Bull and beer at the finish line. We had a quick drink and some food, watched a few racers come in and then headed to our room to put on dry cloths as we were getting chilled.
After getting cleaned up and having a few drinks we headed to the rec hall for the famous MOMAR after race party. A good crowd showed up for the barbecue salmon dinner and everyone was rehashing the details of the race. After dinner the awards were given out and although we didn't win one, Lisa and I got a $50 gift certificate from Ocean River Sports for one of the gold coins we picked up at CP12. Shelley wasn't feeling very well so I took her back to the hotel about 8PM and then returned to the party. Lisa and I called it a night about midnight.
We ended up finishing in 5:57, good for 22nd place out of 63 teams. We were in the most competitive category and finished 7th out of 19 teams. While I was very happy with our result, I was a little disappointed with my own performance. I had the endurance, but didn't have the speed on the bike that I needed. This may have been due to it being an off day for me, or more likely that I didn't train enough on the bike at race pace. This race was different than most of the others in that it had a lot of fast flat riding. Most of the other races involve more technical riding and a lot of hill work which is where I concentrate my training. My running could have been better but I know that is a weakness and something I have to work on. We made some costly navigational errors, but I'll take it as a learning exercise. Overall it was a well organized race and a lot of fun.
Friday, May 12, 2006
I was taking today off so we could get up to Ucluelet early for the race tomorrow. This morning while Shelley was at the doctor's, I took Egan for a good walk in the park before dropping him off at the kennel for the weekend. He didn't act too happy about that.
We headed for Ucluelet about 1PM. My racing partner Lisa was coming with a friend later as she couldn't get off work early and one of us needed to be there early in time to register. The drive was uneventful other than going through some heavy but brief rain showers near Parksville. We got to Ucluelet just before 5PM and drove around to see what the layout was as I knew that part of the race would be through the town. We also checked out where the bike drop off was (several miles outside of town) for the morning. After that we checked into our hotel, the Tauca Lea Resort, which was very nice. Its right on the inlet and while our room was on the ground floor, we still had a great view of the ocean. I could also see the top of Mt Ozzard across the inlet which I knew we were going to have to climb the next day. It looked a long way up. After getting that sorted out we went into town and found a little pizza place that had surprisingly good pasta. I carbo loaded (and had a beer to calm my nerves), then we went to the Rec Hall to do the registration thing. I picked up our race packages, talked to Brian T. for a bit and then headed backed to the hotel which was just around the corner. I spent the next hour or so getting everything ready for the morning. About 7:30PM Lisa phoned and said they had car trouble and were at her friends parent's place in Port Alberni, but expected to be on the road shortly. I said no problem and that I would wait up for her. For the next couple of hours Shelley and I just relaxed and watched TV. Lisa showed up about 9:30PM and after half an hour of sorting things out for the race, we are heading to bed as we are getting up at 6AM tomorrow morning.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
My resting HR rate was the same as yesterday (50-52), low enough that I don't think I have to worry about having overtrained. Today was a rest day. All I did was cut the grass after dinner and put the new tire on my bike. Tomorrow I'm going to see about putting my bike computer on as there were hints that the road network in the race could be confusing and it might help if you knew how far you had gone in order to pick the right turn off. Another hint was to make sure that anything you wanted to keep dry was in a zip lock bag. I hope that doesn't mean we are going swimming. I'm starting to get excited about it, especially with the weather looking good. Right now there are 133 racers registered on 63 teams.
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
I checked out my resting HR again this morning and it was down another 1-2 BPM to about 50 which is a good sign. Today was my last workout before Saturday's race. I just did an easy 25 minutes on the treadmill at noon followed by some work on the Windjammer machine and a good stretch. I am racing Saturday with my normal riding partner LM at the first MOMAR race of the season in Ucluelet. I haven't raced this course before so it should be interesting. The race consists of a 10km kayak, a 11km trail run, a 4km trek up Mt Ozzard and a 25km MTB ride on fire/logging roads. The course will be completely unmarked so you have to read your map and figure out the most efficient way to get to each checkpoint (in order). The kayaking may be tough depending on the weather/wind. The MTB section although long, should be pretty straightforward. The weather forecast is good so it should be fun. Shelley and I are heading up at noon on Friday to get there early enough to check out the town. Unfortunately LM couldn't get off work early and will have to drive herself up.
Tonight we took Egan to obedience class and it was pretty frustrating. There are too many distractions there for him and all I am going to try and do is take the exercises they give us and practise with him at home.
Monday, May 8, 2006
Last week I was a little worried after my Thursday night brick that I had been overtraining as my HR was a little high and not coming down quickly. The way you are supposed to be able to tell if this is true is if your resting HR is higher than normal. Not knowing what my normal resting HR is, I checked it on Friday morning and again this morning. Today it was 3-5 BPM lower, which I guess is a good sign. I'm going to keep checking it for the rest of the week.
Today was a very easy 20 minute spin at the "Y" at noon just to keep my legs loose. I also spent some time on the rowing machine and had a good stretch.
After work I stopped off and got my bike checked for the race on Saturday. I also went to MEC and picked up a new tire to replace the one that has a slice in it. I didn't realize they were open until I drove by and noticed the front doors were open. The grand opening isn't until this weekend and they hadn't publicized that they were opening before that. The store is a little small compared to the Vancouver one, but they have packed a lot of stuff in it.
We have really noticed that Egan tends to get very harry if he doesn't get enough exercise. As he didn't go to daycare today, he was terrorizing Shelley all day. I took him for a long walk after dinner and he went right to sleep when we got home. I then spent about an hour getting my gear ready for the race this weekend.
Sunday, May 7, 2006
The day started out very wet and I had to put off cutting the grass. Instead I took Egan for a walk in the rain and then washed my MTB. I discovered a nice slice in a tire that I just bought last year and will have to replace it this week when I get my bike checked for the race. By lunch time the weather finally started to clear up although it was still very windy. I was meeting LM at Ocean River at 2PM for our first and only kayak outing before the race. As kayaking is not a big component of the race I wasn't too worried, but I did want to get a session in with LM as she hadn't been in a double before.
When I got there they weren't sure that they were going to let us go out due to the high winds in the gorge, but I convinced them that we knew what we were doing. As we were going out in a double which is pretty stable, they agreed to let us go. The kayak we rented was a Passat, the same one we are racing in and the fastest double you can get. I'm hoping it will make up for our lack of skill. The wind was stronger than I thought it would be and we really had to angle the boat to go in the right direction, however it was good experience for the conditions we might meet in Ucluelet. We did two laps of the gorge in about 1:15 and after an hour we were both starting to feel it. We met one of the guides from Ocean River out with a class and he asked if we were doing the MOMAR Ucluelet race as he couldn't think of anyone else who would be doing laps in those conditions. It was a good paddle and assured me that we would survive that part of the race.
When I got home the grass was dry enough to cut the front. After dinner Shelley and I took Egan for a long walk in the park. For the rest of the week I am going to work on getting lots of sleep, nutrition, hydration and have a couple of very easy workouts just to keep the legs loose. I also might try to get in a session with my massage therapist.
Saturday, May 6, 2006
Friday was a rest day as I am starting to taper for the race next weekend. Today was to be my last hard workout before the race. The morning we spent taking Egan for a walk in the park and checking out the kennel where we are going to leave him while we are in Ucluelet next weekend.
After lunch LM joined me for one last brick before our race. Originally we were going to do a hard road ride on hills, however after feeling a little tired on Thursday night I decided we should just do a MTB ride. The plan was to do about a two hour fast ride out and back on the fire roads near my house with a little technical single track thrown in. This would mirror the type of riding we would be doing in Ucluelet. It was a good ride and LM showed me what a strong MTB rider she is. While the single track we did was not particularly hard, she was very smooth on it and I had to push hard to stay ahead. On the downhills, riding a full suspension bike she had no problem staying ahead of me.
We finished the ride in just under two hours and quickly transitioned to the run at my house, keeping our hydration packs on and downing a quick gel. We headed out to Thetis Lake and settled into a moderate pace. LM seemed to have no trouble keeping up and we ran side by side when the trail allowed it. It took me over half the run to start feeling comfortable which I'm not sure is a good or bad sign. LM kept chatting most of the way until about the two thirds mark when we had a couple of steep hills. She said she was starting to feel it then. The last quarter of the run I pushed the pace a little and we finished in about 53 minutes, both feeling reasonably good.
I had time to shower and then play with Egan for a bit before our dinner guests, KF&LF showed up for a barbecue. This was a belated celebration of Shelley's birthday that we didn't have time for in April. They brought the steaks and wine and we provided the salad and dessert. It was a nice relaxing night with friends. We called it a night about 10PM.
Thursday, May 4, 2006
Wednesday was a rest day after just having raced last weekend and racing again in ten days. Tonight was 30 minutes of weights, a 75 minute spin class and 25 minutes on the treadmill. It was a relatively small spin class given the nice weather and I felt strong at the beginning of the class. However, by the last drill my legs were very heavy and I wasn't looking forward to the run. I managed to get through my run with KW but just put it on a moderate speed and plodded along. I had no extra energy. During spin class, I was wearing my HR monitor and noticed that I was getting into my anaerobic zone easier than normal but my HR was not coming down between drills as fast as it normally does. I'm not sure what it meant. It could be I was having a off day, I'm tired from the race last weekend or my allergies which were acting up today had some affect. In any event I'm going to take it as a sign to slow down and other than a brick on Saturday and a paddle on Sunday, I'm going to really take it easy between now and my next race on May 13.
When I got home, Egan was already asleep being worn out from three straight mornings of puppy daycare.
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Today all I had time for was the 35 minute spin class at noon. Given it was such a short class and knowing that Wednesday was going to be a rest day, I went as hard as I could the whole class and got a really good workout in.
Tonight we took Egan to his first obedience class and he didn't surprise us by being the least obedient dog there. Part of the reason is that it is at the same place he goes for puppy daycare. As a result, when we get there he thinks its time to play with the other dogs. They showed us a couple of things to work on between classes and hopefully some of it will start to sink in.
I noticed the other day that Frontier Adventure Racing has announced a "Raid the North" race at Sun Peaks (Kamloops) the first weekend in August. This is a race I would really like to do. It is a 24-36 hour race and is really the next step up from the kind of races I am doing now. It would also fit my strengths better, being more of an endurance race than a sprint race. However, it is fairly expensive to do and only for teams of four. I am putting some feelers out now, but am not optimistic about getting a team together.
I see that the results for "Suburban Rush" are out now. For some reason they missed us coming in at the finish line so I told them what my watch showed and they are placing us based on that (and the last check point). We came about 50/109 overall and 8/14 for a team of two males. Not bad considering we were slowed down by John's cramping.
Monday, May 1, 2006
After work today I went for a run in Thetis Park. I switched from Tuesday night as Egan has his first (dis)obedience class tomorrow night. Once I got warmed up (despite the somewhat chilly day) I felt really good and pushed myself on all the hills. I beat my last time for this route by 1:30 which made me feel good after having raced on the weekend. Tomorrow I will be doing the noon hour spin class.
Egan was acting up tonight, probably because Shelley had to put him in his crate for a couple of hours while she went to a doctor's appointment. He got so wound up when I had him outside that I had to put him in a bear hug twice so he couldn't move in order to calm him down. I checked out the symptoms of hypothermia on the internet today and it would appear that I had a mild case during my race on the weekend. I'll know better next time (sure).
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Friday morning was spent travelling to Vancouver. Once there we stopped off at a cycle shop downtown to have my bike checked for the race. We then headed over to my mother's townhouse in West Vancouver where we were staying. In the afternoon I took Egan for a long walk in Lighthouse Park to tire him out. My brother John joined us for dinner and planned to stay overnight so we could get an early start in the morning, as he lives in White Rock.
Saturday morning at about 7AM after loading our bikes in the truck we headed over to Port Moody where the race was. Shelley normally watches my races, but wasn't feeling good and with the weather not too promising, decided to stay at my mother's. The start was at a park on the water, but we had to drop our bikes half way up Westwood Plateau where we would run to. The elevation gain was pretty good and it wasn't going to be an easy run. We then went back to the start area and got registered. We were one of the first ones there and they were a little disorganized at first, but eventually got things sorted out. The weather was starting to close in looking up at Westwood Plateau and as it got close to the start time of 10AM, it started to spit a little. By the time the pre-race briefing started at 9:45AM, it was raining steadily. I had elected to wear a thin short sleeve shirt under my short sleeve cycling jersey and bike sleeves. This would turn out to be a mistake as I saw most people with long sleeve shirts and rain jackets. I was also surprised to see few people visibly carrying their maps. I had mine in a waterproof pouch hanging from the front of me. As it turned out, the course was very well marked and fortunately you didn't have to refer to the map as it wasn't very good. We started out running at 10AM on a path along the water. With nearly 200 hundred people it was pretty crowded, especially on the narrow boardwalks. When the opportunity presented itself I passed people and John followed close behind. I wanted to go a little faster but he didn't seem to have it in him, so we just chugged along. Eventually we crossed some streets and the trail started going uphill. It got very steep and people started walking. I kept running until John slowed down and then just power hiked. When the trail finally leveled out, John said one of his calf muscles was starting to cramp. I told him to do what he could and alternated running and power hiking, keeping him in sight behind him. I would pass people and then slow down for him to catch up. Meanwhile, the rain continued to fall heavily, although in the trees it wasn't too bad. By this time the trail was not as steep but was alternating flats and gradually hills. I was feeling good and would have liked to push it a little as there were lots of people I could have reeled in. We went through the first check point, got our card punched and kept going. We finally reached the bike drop off area after about 52 minutes. The run was supposed to be 6-8km and was easier than I thought it would be.
As quickly as possible we changed shoes, strapped our runners to our packs, put our helmets on and shared a gel. We were soaked by this point and with cold hands it wasn't easy. We started off on our mountain bikes and I heard one guy say he already had a flat. Bad luck! There was a short technical section through the woods and then some easy climbs. John was still having trouble with his calves cramping and I had to slow down on the climbs. Eventually we got to the main climb up the power line road. It wasn't too steep but you had to work at it and could be a little depressing looking up and seeing how far you had to go. The best thing to do was just keep your head down and grind it out. I was feeling good and passing lots of people. John kept plugging away a little ways behind me. I had no idea how far we had to go and at one point it looked like we were at the top. I waited for John and when he caught up with me we went around the corner and saw an even steeper hike-a-bike section in front of us. I attacked it and managed to ride half way up it, passing a bunch of people walking before I was stopped by the loose rock. At the top while waiting for John I met Brian T. from MOMAR who was also waiting for his partner. As John was trudging up to where I waited I tried to offer him some encouragement and said "I didn't realize I was racing with my sister". His reply wasn't fit to be repeated. The climb continued after that, but was all pretty rideable. Once we reached the top the road flattened out and then there was some slight downhill. By this time the water was streaming down the road making things a little treacherous as our speed was starting to build. After another brief climb we reached the next checkpoint. This was obviously one of the mystery events as lots of people had dropped their bikes and were running around. We got a piece of paper with directions from the volunteer and using compass points drawn on a piece of paper attached to a post, had to find two check points 50-100 yards off in the woods. Not everyone had the same check points to find, so you couldn't just follow someone. It was relatively easy but by the time we got back to our bikes I was getting very cold. We were pretty high up and between the wind and the rain, it was cold. My sleeves were soaked and wouldn't stay up any longer so I just took then off. I debated putting on my long sleeve top or my jacket but as this meant digging them out from the bottom of my pack with numb hands, I decided to tough it out. What a mistake. At this point we had been racing for about two hours.
The next part of the ride was all down hill single track. I would normally enjoy this the most however, between the water, mud, wet brakes and my shivering it wasn't a lot of fun. We kept going down over lots of small drops and occasionally the odd thing I had to walk around or over. John was doing a great job of keeping up with me on this and passed me once when I had a small wipeout. We were out by Bunzen Lake by this point and eventually reached the next check point where there was another mystery event. We had a choice between doing a word scramble or a treasure hunt. We picked the word scramble as it was under a tarp. It wasn't hard other than everything was wet, the pen wouldn't write and water kept dripping from my helmet onto the paper. Once done we jumped on our bikes again. The rain hadn't let up at all and I was really starting to shiver by this time. I was a little worried about hypothermia but sorted of remembered that you didn't have to really worry until you actually stopped shivering. Of course by then its probably too late. I just kept going and tried to ride harder to stay warm. After a little more trail riding we got on the road out of Bunzen Lake and were finally heading back to the start line. This is where I really wanted to motor to make time and keep warm, but John's calf muscles were having none of that. The other problem was that there was no shelter on the road and as we were riding faster, there was a wind chill. Eventually we got back on the trails which wound in and out of the subdivisions down the mountain. I only made one wrong turn on a trail and about 5 people followed me. Fortunately the trail ended after about 50 yards and we realized what we had done. By this time the trails were a mess with the water and mud getting deeper all the time. We came upon Brian T. and his partner at one point. They had broken a chain and then their chain breaker also broke. I gave them mine as I figured at this point if my chain broke I was quiting. We were getting passed by the occasional group but I was past caring. I was so cold I just wanted to finish the race. John was sticking right to me, but our brakes were so bad we sometimes had no control on the hills. I was riding with one foot clipped in and the other out to try and control myself. John ended up going over the handle bars once when he couldn't make a turn at the bottom of a hill, and I had some near misses. Most of the time I had both brakes full on, although it didn't help much. We went through two more check points before we finally reached the bottom of the mountain and by this point I could barely hold on to the handle bars I was shaking so hard. However, the end was in sight with about a 2-3km ride along a nice flat paved trail. I was hoping to hammer this but John's calves were cramping pretty good and wouldn't let him. Eventually we reached the finish but the race wasn't over yet. We had to get on some two wheel bikes built for about a 4 year old and pedal around a slalom course. As John and I are both over 6ft this wasn't easy. The chain on my bike jammed after three pedal strokes so I just ran with it to the end. Our time was 3:22. Based on last year's times (for a different course) I had planned on a finishing time of 3-3.5 hours so it was about right, especially considering the conditions. I will check how we placed when the stats come out this week, but I'm sure we are well back in the pack.
We had a quick bite to eat at the finish line and then headed to the truck to get changed. Given the weather conditions we weren't planning on hanging around for the festivities. We were both soaking wet and covered in mud as were the bikes. It was interesting trying to clean everything off well enough to get in the truck. We headed home and after putting the heater on full for a while I finally stopped shivering. Once we got back to my mother's it was time for a few Red Bull, beer, a great steak on the barbecue and an early night.
Today was spent travelling back to Victoria. When we got home I had a nap on the couch with Egan but eventually managed to take him for a walk in the park after dinner. Tomorrow its back to training as my next race is in just two weeks. Overall the "Suburban Rush" was a very well organized race on a great course. Unfortunately you can't control the elements which I'm sure put a few people off. I should have been better prepared for the weather, but I was happy with my fitness level. One of the sayings in adventure racing is that fortunately adventure racing kills enough brain cells to make you forget how hard it was, otherwise no one would ever do a second one.