Thursday, August 07, 2008

2008 Windsor Transplant Olympic - Day #2 (Bike Time Trial and Running Road Race)

To be honest, the bike time trial was a blur. How can you put into the words the emotion that goes on for seven minutes? That’s 660 seconds. I was the second last person to start the time trial. It is a 5 km course along the river. Relatively flat.

I haven’t done a time trial before. I’ve been training for Toronto Marathon (mid October). I didn’t had time to get on my bike. I thought a lot of my own expectation. Will I win? After all, I own a tri bike? I better do good. There is no need to be a poser. What if I fall apart?

As the day comes, I put those thought away. I thought about the reason why I come to this event. To just go hard and have fun. Crank it like it hurts :)

They had a ramp set up for us. That was cool. I felt like I was at Tour De France. The guy was holding on my bike while another guy was counting down for me to go.

As I was about to start, my bike slowly slide to the side of the ramp. I was about to fall off even before I begin. Great!! I told the guy to let me good. He did. I straightened my bike and went down the ramp. I laughed and said, ‘geez..what a way to start’.

I was off. The distance is 5 km. That’s a short distance for a bike ride. My goal was to go as hard as I can right from the start. Don’t hold back. As I like to call it. Hold on to the pain for as long as you can.

And this is where my weakness lies. The mind gets scare and tell me I should slow down. I never gone this hard before.

I did a little warm up at the course so I know what to expect. I zip around the course as fast as I can. I lean forward. Keep my arms and shoulders relax and focus on pedaling each stroke.

Cliff, can you go faster? Yes, then change gear and hammer. No, keep at pace. DON’T SLOW DOWN.

I do not know how fast I was going. I didn’t wear a HRM and duct taped my bike computer. I don’t want my mind to fool me that I was going too fast and need to slow down. Just go by feel. Boy did it hurt.

The cyclist behind me was riding in Zipp 606. He became a good motivation for me to keep going strong. He seems to be in his 50s. There is no way I am going to let him school me. Whenever I feel like I am slowing down, I remind myself that he is behind me and will be catching up any second.

The last few moment before hitting the finish line wasn’t a pretty sight. All I remember was head down and hammer. Mouth wide open, saliva was coming out and I was sucking air.

I don’t remember how I manage to stayed on the path with my head down most of the time. They didn’t close the path completely and there were pedestrians and other cyclists.

As I reached the finish line, I was done. My quads were shaking. I spent a few minutes riding around to cool down. A father came and asked me about my bike. I explained to him the difference between a tri bike and a road bike. His daughter had a transplant a while ago and was riding as well.

As I got into my car, I was coughing like there is no tomorrow. I quickly drove and head to the transition area. I have a 5 km run race soon.

Afterwards: They post the time and I finished with 7 minutes. That’s 42 kph. Fast on my end. Right after the bike race, I asked myself...can I go faster? You bet ya =D.

5 km Road Race

The 5 km run race is along part of the course of the bike time trial. As I was riding the time trial, I saw the 3 km turnaround and the 5 km turnaround. The 3 km is for the females and the males run the 5 km. Since I’ve been training for marathon, I haven’t done any tempo runs or fast runs. Like the bike time trial. Not sure how I will do. I figure I will be around 20 min or so.

The strategy is the same as for the bike time trial. Go hard from the beginning. Don’t slow down. Simple huh? I didn’t know what sort of competition I will be expecting. I know one guy runs marathon and not sure if there any fast guys among the pack.

No one was lining up at the front line so I decided to take the lead. It started rather quickly and I was off. For the first few minutes, I was wondering where everyone is. I didn’t hear anyone running behind me. I don’t want to look back (it is a sign of weakness). I just kept at it. There were a few photographers along the race. They cheered for me as I passed them. I was hoping I can hear them cheering for the second person so I can at least gauge how far I was ahead of others.

I never lead a race before so I thought someone is just sitting behind me and ready to surge at the end.

I kept the pace up. Or at least don’t slow down.

There are two water stations and as I head to the first station they were just setting it up. The guy asked if the race got started and I nodded. I hit the 3 km turn around (which will be 1.5 km) and I thought, boy was that a long 1.5 km.

I hit the 5 km turn around and everyone was cheering at me to keep going. As I turned, I see that I was up ahead of others by a few seconds. Actually I was probably ahead of second spot by a few minutes. At that point, I still don’t know how long I can hold it for.

To ease the pain. I started to wave at everyone who I passed. Other racers, pedestrians, volunteers. After the turnaround, the sun was beating down on us.

Someone yelled at me, 800 m to go. The thought of someone creeping up behind me is still there. I break the race up into lamp post to lamp post. I hit the finish line. Got a drink and lie on the grass for a while.

20:55. Can I go faster? :)

I had a 20 km bike group race afterwards but my calves were cramping so I decided to take a break. After a few minutes of lying on the grass, I got up. And cheered the rest of the runners. There was a kid who had transplant. He was suppose to run 1 km and ended up running 3 km. Strong kid.

The people in the green are donor family. One of their love one passed away and they gave the permission to give the organs to people like me who need them. The kid ran 3 km. He also had a transplant.


The 20 km race was 15 laps. I went to get a massage. My calves were killing me. Today I felt good. The 20 km bike race, there was a kid, had a heart transplant, riding with his dad. He must be not more than 8 years old. My first transplant game was in 1992. My dad signed me for a bike race. It was my first medal ever. Seeing how his dad and him race reminded of myself. We cheered for them every time they finish a lap. I cheered for every cyclist. It was a hot day. I even remember a few of their names. Bill, Geoff, Amy, Lynn...t was a hot day and I was happy to see all of them finish.

Two gold medals and Harvey's for lunch. I know it ain't healthy but I figure I treat myself after a hard race. :)

Opening Cermony. Transplant Athletes from Ontario :)

Random craziness. Me and Gary. He had a kidney transplant and lives in my city.

Edward and I. He is a fast swimmer :)

I got more stories to share. Others who had transplants. Very inspiring. And yesterday was also my swimming events. Did Cliff drown? Did his arms fall off? To be continued :)

What's the deal with this picture? Who say Transplant Athletes can't have fun? (I got fat quads =D).


Anonymous said...

Good going, Cliff!

Looking forward to the next installment!

brendaj said...

Wow, great job!! And the video was fun too.

Thomas said...

Woohoo, 2 Gold medals already, you're harvesting glory there.

Brent Buckner said...

Thanks for the report - great work!

Love the short event strategy:
"Go hard. Don't slow down."

Now I'm craving a Harvey's burger....

VancouverIslandRunner said...

Wow! Great work Cliff. Looking forward to reading more!

Michael said...

Godd on you Cliff!

Keep in mind that what I’m about to share is my opinion and based solely on experience, AND that everyone you ask will give you a slightly different answer.

At first glance, structuring your week to run a tempo on Monday, hills on Wednesday and a long run on Saturday leaves enough time for recovery (check). Make sure you also play around with your weekly periodization to aid with recovery. Don’t get tricked into thinking that you don’t need recuperation, everyone does sooner or later.

I believe that one aspect of racing a marathon that people tend to overlook is specificity. It’s important to keep in mind both the route and that it is an endurance event. After looking at the course, the first 17k is gradually downhill with the remainder flat (apart from the last mile). With this in mind, how long are you planning on running hills, i.e. how many weeks/months? How are the w/o’s structured, 30” vs. 3” or perhaps just running a rolling route?

Although hills build strength keep in mind that you will plateau and that Toronto is not a hilly course. I’d advise a) doing hills at the beginning with a few sprinkled in at the latter stages or alternating right from the outset, i.e hills one week, with shorter tempo (1k-3k repeats) efforts the next. You might want to have the third week hill & tempo free… an easy week? As for the duration, I think it’s a good idea to do at least one midweek run that is moderately long (building to 1h30).

As for the long run, I’d really try to hit 3h recognizing that the longer you run in training the easier race day will be.

As for Monday, what type of tempo sessions are you planning? If you’re going to mix up the hill sessions with some shorter tempos, I’d try and make the Monday intervals longer. As you get closer to race day (6 weeks out) you might want to consider dropping the Monday session and working some longer tempo pieces into your long run.

Examples you could use are below:

M (long tempo): 2x10’-15’ tempo (2’); 3x2M tempo (2’); 6xM tempo (1’); 8-10x1k tempo (1’); progressive (15’/10’/5’) descending from MP, HMP & 5kP

W (hills/tempo): 5-8x30” hills; 4-6x2’ hill; 5x1k (2’); 3xM (2’); 8-12x1’ (1’) on recovery week; or 2x90” (90”) + 4x1’ (1’) + 4x30” (30”) + 4x15” (15”) again on an easy week.

S (long run): build to at least 2h30; 3xM tempo + 1h easy + 3xM tempo; 2h with 6M MP building to 12M MP

Hope this helps?!

jameson said...

great job dude! You killed it!

William said...

Wow, way to go cliffy. You did so awesome, it must feel great to have results from all the hard training.

ShirleyPerly said...

Cliff, you did GREAT!!!

I can't imagine doing 3 events back-to-back like that. Too bad you didn't have more competition as it may have pushed you to go even faster. But maybe next time ... Look forward to hearing about the swimming!

Rae said...

Way to go!!! That's a GREAT 5K time!!! Wonderful job, and it sounds like such a fun and inspiring event!