Saturday, April 05, 2008

Around the Bay Race Report (include pics)
Pre-race: The few weeks leading up to the race, I wasn't in the best condition. There were a number of long runs I had to shorten because of stomach cramps. The day before the race, I felt pain in my left knee. I didn't know what to make of that (I suspect is muscle imbalance as I had that before).

I got up early in the morning. Had 2 Boost and a coffee . Flushed the stomach and I was out.

The plan for this race was to keep the run steady. Despite my constant training with the Heart Rate Monitor. I decided to run by feel on this race. If it is not for when to take my nutrition (a gel every 30 min), I would not wear my watch as well.

I got to the race pretty early and parked quite a bit away. I thought it was warm enough to run without a jacket. Bad choice. I ended up running with my long sleeve fleece jacket. It is fluffy and not ideal for running. Oh well, I am a wuss at cold weather and can't stand to free.


After checking in my bag, I did a 20 min warm up and headed to the start line. There were many people and I placed myself in the middle. The first 10 km, I was running at 5:30 min/km. It was good pace. I started to zig zag my way up. Many times I had to run on the sidewalk to get some space. Took my first gel at 50 min. Between that, I drink gatorade (two cups).

The next 10 km, I increased the pace slightly (around 5:15 min/km). There were number of times I can feel myself breathing heavily and tried to slow down a bit. It was getting pretty hot so I took off my toque. The weather was lovely. The sun was out and not a cloud in the sky. Perfect.

I caught up to a guy with a IM jersey. We chit chatted a bit and found out he was in Lake Placid last year (where I did my first IM). We traded stories and turned out he was the driver to the mechanic who fixed my bike. Our pace was about the same so for about 5 km, we kept it steady.

After the 20th km, the rolling hills begin. I am feeling ok. A bit sore here and there but nothing biggie. I am waiting for the elusive hills. There are two that is worth tackling.

Along the way, I passed by a lady who forgot her gel. I gave her one of mine. Another lady was training for ultramarathon. I kept moving forward.

The first hill was ok. The second hill was fun. Before reaching it, you are able to see the whole hill. The course winds down to the bottom of the hill. There was a midget before the hill. I gave him a high five and get myself ready for the tackle.

I never seen this hill before so I kept myself in a steady pace. By the time I got up, I was tired and in 'some' pain :). Then it was 4 km slowly descent back to the finish line.

In my opinion, the last 4 km was more brutal than the hills themselves. It was windy and my body just want to stop. It was a struggle to maintain the pace. By the last few hundred meters, I just let it go and run into the finish line.

Finish. 2:38
After race thoughts:

I was hoping I can finish the race in 2:30. I finish in 2:38. Based on the McMillan Running University Running Calculator, it showed that I should run a 2:39:36 30 km. That's pretty close. The stats I plugged in was the time from 21 km Half Ironman (1:49) I did two years ago. On one hand, I am a bit bummed that my time did not increase.

On the other, looking at my splits per 10 km (56 min, 53 min, 49 min), I executed the race very well. A few things in my head after looking at these numbers:

i) Continue to run hill repeats. This season, all my short, long runs are hill repeats. Keep doing them.
ii) I think I can run faster in the first 20 km. My stomach wasn't shutting down and I was zig zagging and passing people the whole time. If I increase my pace in the first 10 km and run a 53 min, I can save 3 min right there.
iii) I need to learn to run with tired legs. In the last 4 km, I was being passed more than passing others. I shouldn't be suffering that much from a descent back to the finish line (..then again..we all suffer at the end..don't we? :) )
iv) Looking at these numbers, my marathon time will be around 3:49 (as McMillan Running Calculator predicts).

This race gave me a lot of valuable lesson and enjoyable on running long and hard. The past few years as I get my feet wet into the long race (Half Ironman, Ironman, marathon), I kept the pace on the conservative side. After the race, my quads want to cramp as I stretch them afterwards. I figure that's a sign that my body was going pretty hard.

Got some pics from the race :).
Lesson to self: Learn to smile while running

Get outta my legs are on fire =D

And the season is just getting started....

Today I am meeting up with Darren. I am going to do a Latec Threshold Bike test on his compu trainer...more fun :)

[After thoughts]

I forgot to mention that if I recorded my heart rate during the race, I am pretty sure the last 4 km, my HR was lower than what I could perform. In the last 4 km, my breathing was ok. It was my legs that are tired. What does that mean? It means that my legs are fatigued before my heart does.

I spoke with Darren today. We talked about this and this shouldn't be surprising since my training had been inconsistent and my legs weren't prepared for the 30 k.

Until next time....


Jessica said...

Descending splits, looks like a great race to me!
Nice work and great pictures, you look strong.

I'm a freeze baby too ;)

jameson said...

awesome race man! It sounds like a good time (maybe not the cold). I think the most important thing is that you are learning from every race you do and coming away with a lot of knowledge and experience... it's going help you out in the future for sure!

Robin said...

Looks like it was a fun finish!

Brent Buckner said...

Good work.

Nice to participate in that race of great tradition, I'm sure!

brendaj said...

Sounds (and looks) like a great race, especially for early in the season!

Thomas said...

In all honesty, I agree with Darren. I didn't think you were prepared for that distance.

ShirleyPerly said...

Good race analysis and probably right about training not be consistent to keep the legs strong at the end. But live and learn ... Aside, one coach told me to train with a HRM but don't wear it during races.

CR said...

Looks like a strong finish. Those were great pictures, were those taken at the race or by a really talented friend?

Aaron said...

Cliff, your splits were awesome. I remember thinking to myself if your plan was to just "crank it" in the last 10km, you were going to be disappointed, but your splits tell otherwise. Good onya!