Monday, 30 June 2014

Week 13 of 26

So I've reached the half way mark of this training build. It doesn't get easier after this though.

Monday started with a fairly easy swim set. 4 x 50m, 5 x 200m, 6 x 50m, 5 x 200m pull buoy, 8 x 50m. Easy because it was shorter than usual at 3.4km including the warm up and cool down. But the intensity sure wasn't easy! I swam again on Tuesday afternoon as it was forecasted to rain for the remainder of the week. A longer session this time with 1500m swim (24:10), 1500m pull buoy (27:05) and 800m swim (13:10). It was annoying as we had to swap sides partway through because the pool was being used for children swimming lessons.

Wednesday was Splash N Dash. There were less people who came that day. I did a warm up swim, the course seem to be back like last year - 1600m for the 2 loops. When we started, I got dropped by the draft pack pretty quickly and swam to my own pace but still keeping the pack within sight. When I got out of transition, there was only Cynthia who was in front. Managed to overtake after 1km in and I turned on cruise control but still kept up the pace as the fast runners were quickly catching on. Total time was 47:44 - swim 26:13 and 21:33 for the 5km run.

Thursday afternoon I did a 90km ride to Lakeside and back. It was pretty windy but thankfully it was a tailwind on the way back. Friday afternoon, as it was (sort of) the long weekend, our office closed early and I was able to start my run  in Springbank 2 hours earlier than usual. But that also meant the sun was directly above me when I ran. I managed a good pace of 4:25 per km for the first 50 minutes but after that I struggled and was about 10 seconds per km slower for the remaining 30 minutes. Still, it averaged out just under 4:30 per km being just under 18km.

Saturday was the long ride. My first 5 hour ride this year. I rode solo as most of my training partners were in Niagara for Coach Sheri's training camp. Canada Day falls on Tuesday this year and I wasn't able to take Monday off. It was a pretty warm day. The sweat was dripping from underneath my helmet and my arm pads got pretty slippery. I rode to down to Southwold and up, continued east towards Thorndale and back. Managed 150km on the dot with just over 30kph average. I originally planned to do a short brick run even though it wasn't on the program but decided against it. Yes, I'm soft I know, and in the back of my mind, I'm reminding myself how my fellow Ironman-in-training friends and toughing it out in the crazy heat and humidity back in Malaysia.

Sunday was a long run of 2 hours 15 minutes. I started in the morning as it was forecasted to rain in the afternoon. But my legs felt pretty empty and the humidity didn't help. I was jogging at a pedestrian 5 minute per km pace and I decided to stop after 80 minutes (16.6km) as it wasn't going to be a quality workout anyway. But I was going to make up for the remaining hour in the afternoon. I napped lots and felt good when I started my second run just before 5pm. It started raining about 5 minutes in and it didn't stop. But it was fun though and I wrapped another 13km. And guess what? The rain stopped after I finished!

Not the best confidence booster for next Sunday's Peterborough half iron race but I've learnt to let below par sessions pass and move on to the next. And look at the positives, I did have some good rides this week.

Week 13 of 26 statistics

Swim - 10.7km (3 hours 7 minutes)
Bike - 240.4km (7 hours 50 minutes)
Run - 52.6km (4 hours 2 minutes)

Total - 303.7km (14 hours 59 minutes)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Guelph Lake Olympic - first triathlon of the year

The race is part of the Subaru triathlon series, held in Guelph Lake conservation area, which is about 1 hour 45 minutes drive from home. This is my first triathlon for the year and my first test as lead up to Ironman Malaysia in late September. The race started an hour earlier this year at 8am, so I was up at 4.15am. I took a different route this time, going through the country roads instead of the highway.

I got the race venue at 6.30am. It sets to be perfect racing weather - clear blue skies with light winds. Much better than last year when it rained throughout! There weren't many people there yet, so I managed to get a strategic spot on the bike rack, as it wasn't numbered within age groups. Went through the usual steps - sign waiver form, pick up race pack and timing chip and number marking. The vendor stalls weren't quite set up yet so I left the window shopping until after the race.
I had some time so I did some dry land exercises. One last visit to the toilet (I find the dry land exercises helped with the motion hahaha) and put on my wetsuit for a 5-10 minute warm up swim. Then it was almost time to go.

Swim 1.5km

The swim is in Guelph Lake itself and it is a one lap, rectangular course moving in a clock-wise direction. The water is pretty clear. I was lucky to be in the first wave, which meant I had less traffic to swim through. I swam pretty well, mostly on my own but every now and then, I managed to find some feet to draft off. An area to further improve on, is to avoid swimming too closely to the buoys. I almost swam into a few! I reached shore in 23-something minutes. There were about 100-200m of grass we had to run up before we crossed the first timing mat. My swim time recorded was 24:30 - almost a minute quicker than last year, great!

Transition 1

Here's where my race rustiness showed itself. I struggled with removing my wetsuit over my ankles, especially on the left one where the timing strap was. As I put on my Giro Selector helmet, the fairing on one side detached itself. So I had to remove the helmet, attach the fairing again and put the helmet back on. I later found out that I lost my goggles in transition too! Mounting the bike wasn't too bad. A bit of congestion but I was relatively quicker getting the bike going compared to others. Total T1 time was 1:59.

Bike 40km

The bike portion is non drafting. The route is relatively straightforward - just 1 lap, out and back, with a few 90 degree turns, which I don't particularly enjoy. I'm your typical triathlete who doesn't handle well on the turns! The first km or so, in and out of the conservation area has pretty rough surfaces with some speed bumps. The course does have some rollers with some short, steep climbs. The sun was directly above us, which was expected as it was the first day of summer. I was drinking more frequently than my training rides at every 5km (usually 10km). I downed a Powergel at the 20km turnaround mark but there weren't any stations for me to discard the wrapper. In fact, I didn't notice any drinks station at all, not that I was planning to use them. Luckily, I was able to shove it into my trisuit back pocket as that can be quite tricky sometimes.
My legs didn't feel that great, must have been the big training weeks prior. I was aiming for the minimum 35kph average. Still, it was way better than last year when I was shivering in the cold and wet throughout. Got back to transition with a fly dismount way too early before the dismount line. So I was just letting the bike roll until it reached the line. Bike split of 1:08:42, about just under 2 minutes quicker than last year.

Transition 2

Shoes and sunglasses on. Race belt and visor to be worn as I ran out of transition. Went okay, not as smooth as clockwork as I liked. Time was 1:01.

Run 10km

Here's usually where I make up time on those in front of me. But my legs didn't feel the same bounce as they normally do. My leg turnover weren't as quick and my breathing felt laboured. It didn't help that my Garmin went blank right after the swim even though I charged it full the night before (anyone else experienced this?). So, similar deal as last year when I was specifically instructed by Coach Sheri not to wear a watch and raced by feel.

The course is T-shaped and had a mix of tarmac and dirt/gravel surface. Again, there were some short, steep climbs. I had a few guys ahead of me whom I was slowly making ground on and eventually overtook them. At the 3km mark, the leading guys were making their way back from the opposite direction. So assuming they would finish with an overall time of 2 hours so, I predicted I had roughly 18 minutes for the 4km gap. I took water from almost every station and splashed them over my head to cool myself down. Had a sip from a couple of them too.
After the turnaround, one guy overtook me but didn't get too far away. Unfortunately, I wasn't catching up either and it stayed that way until the finish. I crossed the line with a run split of 42:22 - 39 seconds slower than last year but with overall time of 2:18:31 (see how accurate my predictions were!), 2 minutes quicker than last year. A new PB by 53 seconds for the Olympic Distance compared to my previous best in Port Dickson 2010. 4th in my age group but prizes only went up to 3rd place. The 3rd place person was 3 minutes ahead anyway, so it would have been rather difficult to catch. Full results here.
The organizers served Erdinger beer at the finish line, alcohol free of course. I caught up with some of our London tri club members after the race. Everyone had a great race. So I'm pretty satisfied with my results. Would have loved to go faster but I've given it my all on the day. Passed my own first test and ticking all the boxes in my progress towards Ironman Malaysia.
I've signed up for Peterborough Half Iron triathlon in two weeks' time. That would be my next test, a mid term exam if you like! And I've contacted the organizers about my missing goggles, they found it and would be bringing it to Peterborough, how nice of them!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

2nd wedding anniversary

Today marked the 2nd year anniversary of our wedding. Coincidentally, the day before was the 8th year anniversary of when we officially became a couple. Makes remembering the dates easier, I suppose hahaha.

Being the practical people we are, we don't usually give each other lavish gifts. Li-Ann has a thing for a nuts, so I got these for her. The two packets cost less than C$5.00 in total and in Li-Ann's words, not mine, they gave her more enjoyment than the C$50.00 earrings I got her for her birthday. I should count myself very lucky!

Saturday was officially the first day of summer, when I did the Guelph Lake race. So I had whole day off on Sunday. The weather wasn't as hot as last year so it was nice to be out. Unfortunately, most restaurants in downtown are not open on Sundays. We went to a few that were closed and eventually, ended up in The Runt Club bar, which is connected to Fellini Koolini - a place where we have been to numerous times. In fact, we ate at at Fellini's for last year's wedding anniversary!

We know it's a safe bet and there are still many items on the menu that we haven't tried. And we weren't disappointed. 

We didn't do much actually for the rest of the day. Li-Ann is still recovering from her jetlag, so a quiet one at home was the preferred option. I guess, although we have only been married for 2 years, we have been together a very long time. And sometimes, just enjoying each others company is all that we need. No need for a day filled with action packed activities.

Or maybe, it's just my excuse for being lazy and not having anything planned hahaha.

Happy 2nd wedding anniversary, darling! 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Week 12 of 26

With the Guelph Lake Olympic distance triathlon on Saturday, I approached this week with a bit of conservatism - not going too hard in my sessions, but hard enough in the intervals so that I have some muscle memory to go hard in the race.

The week started with a 90km bike ride to Lakeside on Monday evening. I usually don't have such a big workout on Monday, especially after the weekend's big load. But Li-Ann comes back from her overseas trip on Tuesday, so I wanted to get this out of the way. I installed my carbon race wheels to test them out. My legs were pretty empty and it didn't help that I had to stop every 20 minutes to re-adjust the rear wheel as the brakes were rubbing against it. I was pleasantly surprised though, that many passers-by were asking if I needed any help. Once I got home, I widened the brake gap and it seemed to work fine after that.

Tuesday evening was a 3.6km swim with main sets of 10 x 100m followed by 500m with pull buoy and paddles, repeated once more. After the first set of pull buoy/paddles swim, my catch all felt funny and I struggled a bit on the second set of 10 x 100m. After I finished my swim, I got home at the exact same time the taxi dropped Li-Ann off. Just nice!

Wednesday was Splash N Dash day. I did a warm up swim of about 15 minutes or so. The skies were dark as we started and it rained once we got to the second lap of the swim. I had a pretty poor swim and dropped off by the pack. Coach Sheri called for the swim to be cut short and I was re-directed by the lifeguards a few metres before the final buoy. Once I got to the shore, I wasn't sure if we were still running, so I was taking my own sweet time in transition. We still ran and it continued to rain throughout. I kept the pace fairly relaxed. I was too far behind those in front, so I didn't bother giving chase. Plus, I wanted to save my legs for Saturday's race. The run was cut short too as Sheri didn't set up her finish line on top of the hill under the rain. Total time was 49:34 - swim (a bit shorter at about 1650m) was 28:56 and 20:38 for the 4.8km run.

Thursday morning, I woke up for an hour's run. It was very humid. I had 3 sets of 6 minutes fast/4 minutes easy and 2 sets of 8 minutes fast/2 minutes easy. In the evening, I rode for 75km to Thorndale and back through Vanneck and return. The rear wheel alignment was fine this time. I did some practice mounts/dismounts after the ride just to make sure I don't fall on Saturday's race hahaha.

Friday was a total rest day. Saturday was the race. I'm glad I scored a personal best by 53 seconds, despite my legs feeling pretty ordinary throughout the race. I was 4th in my age group but prizes were only up to 3rd place. Race report to come soon.

Sunday I didn't have anything on the program either, a rare occasion! So I did an hour's session in the gym - my usual set of 30 repetitions on each station, alternating arms, legs and core. No matter how often I go to the gym, it always leaves me feeling sore after.

Week 12 of 26 statistics

Swim - 7.7km (2 hours 13 minutes)
Bike - 206.3km (6 hours 36 minutes)
Run - 28.3km (2 hours 3 minutes)
Gym - 1 hour

Total - 242.3km (11 hours 52 minutes)

Monday, 16 June 2014

Week 11 of 26

So I had quite a big week. My legs felt like they've been ran over by a bus!

Monday was an evening 3.8km swim. Lots of drills and finishing up with 400m of freestyle kick. My legs cramped a few times, I had to stop in the middle of the pool to stretch! Must have been a combination of the cold water and the long run the day before. Tuesday was a 90km ride to Lakeside and back. It was windy but it was nice to have it blowing on my back on the return - I was clocking over 40kph!

Wednesday is Splash N Dash day. I swam for about 30 minutes before the start. No idea how far I swam as the buoys weren't put up yet but I'm assuming it's the same distance as the course. One of the buoy markers were blown away so the swim was modified to 3 loops instead of the usual 2. Still, the distance was pretty similar and Greg recorded 1650m for the 3 loops. I let the first few faster swimmers go off on their own and stuck to my own pack. Had a quick transition and felt great on the run. Matt was behind me today and there was only Greg and Cynthia in front. So I gave chase and managed to overtake them after the 1st lap and put on cruise control to the finish. Overall time was 47:56 - 26:59 for the swim and 20:57 for the 5km run. About 2 minutes quicker than last week!

Thursday was a 75km ride to Thorndale and then to Vanneck and back. The wind was coming from the south so it didn't really affect either direction. I felt great and rode over 32kph average. Friday I was meant to be up for a morning swim but I didn't have a good night's sleep and re-scheduled the swim to the evening. This meant pushing the evening run to another day. Main sets were 1200m swim (20:08), 1000m pull buoy (17:23), 1000m pull buoy/paddles (16:16). Pretty happy with the times considering the lack of sleep I had.

Slept early Friday night and woke up fresh on Saturday morning for my long ride. The weather was overcast and it was actually pretty chilly, I had to put on two layers of long sleeves. Rode to Southwold and back, surprised that I felt great despite a pretty windy day. Must be the wonders of the 8.5 hours sleep!  Rode over 136kms with just over 30kph average. A quick 30 minute brick run after, legs felt a bit heavy at first but settled into rhythm very quickly, 6.7km clocked. I rested a bit in the afternoon and felt good enough to make up for Friday's missed run. Ran for 1 hour 20 minutes, wasn't expecting much but was pleasantly surprised I kept it under 4:30 per km average.

Sunday, as usual I delayed my long run to the evening. With good excuse this time, I think my legs needed the rest after the big day before. Started at 5pm and it was very sunny outside. I had 2 hours 15 minutes in the program. I knew it was a big ask to try for 4:30 per km average again, so I kept my expectations realistic and aimed for at least 29km. The legs felt heavy after about 75 minutes but thankfully my pace didn't drop too much. Clocked just over 29.2km with an average pace of 4:37 per km.

Li-Ann comes back on Tuesday and I'm looking forward to seeing her. I've taken it for granted how my meals are all prepared after my long workouts. Of course she is much more than that. We are often pre-occupied with our own interests, but I do miss her presence and being close to her. While she was not around, I visited our local tri store Multisport Zone, which is unfortunately closing down end of this month. They were selling everything at 50% off! The temptation was great, I bought myself a pair of Louis Garneau Tri X Lite shoes and a pair of bib shorts, both for only C$157.

Great temptation + wife not around + weak heart = unnecessary purchases!
Looking forward to the lighter load next week, finishing it with the Guelph Lake Olympic distance triathlon, my first tri race of the year. See you then!

Week 11 of 26 statistics:

Swim 10.9km (3 hours 17 minutes)
Bike 302.4km (9 hours 46 minutes)
Run 58.8km (4 hours 26 minutes)

Total 372.2km (17 hours 29 minutes)

Monday, 9 June 2014

Week 10 of 26

I thought I had an easier week this week. Technically, it was but it sure didn't feel like it.

I had a rest day on Monday and decided to make an appointment after work to donate blood. I've been putting this off for a while, being pre-occupied with my own training. But with recent happenings of accidents involving cyclists, people whom I know personally, I decided that this could no longer wait. After the appointment, I had the London Tri Club committee meeting. Typically this is the last meeting to wrap up some loose ends before the triathlon season starts.

Tuesday morning I had a swim session. I was a bit worried that I would faint in the pool after the blood donation the night before! But I felt alright - no dizziness or anything like that. 400m warm up, 400m pull buoy, 800m - 75m swim/25m 6 kicks-3 strokes, 400m pull buoy/paddles, 800m pull buoy, 400m swim. In the evening I rode for 75km. Tried something different and split my ride into a bit of west and east. Rode to Thorndale and back, and went all to way to Vanneck and return home. It was very, very windy! And the strong gusts! I was almost blown off my bike... a few times!

Wednesday was the first Splash N Dash for the season, held in Lake Whittaker. I went early and did an hour's easy run with Laura and Christian. We had a huge turnout this year, plenty of new faces, including Mike, who I have been corresponding a bit through Dailymile. The swim was made a tad bit longer to 850m per loop, so 1700m for the two loops. The run remained the same as 5.2km. When we started, I tried keeping up with Matt and Greg but they were going too quick, so I let them go. I settled into my own pace and on the 2nd loop of the swim, I was slowly gaining back on the front swimmers. Came out about 30 seconds behind and most of us were within striking distance as we started the run. I managed to overtake Greg about 1km into the run but I just didn't have the speed to reel Matt in. He got further and further. Still, I finished in 49:58 - swim was 27:33, run was 22:25 including transition. The first one is always going to hurt, so I'm glad to get that over and done with. Looking forward to going faster in the upcoming ones.

Thursday evening I did a 90km ride to Lakeside and back. It was also pretty windy but luckily it was more favourable on the way back. Friday morning I swam with some long sets. Main sets were 2000m swim (33:16) and 1000 pull buoy/paddles (16:12). I was surprised with how good I felt, even had doubts whether the pool was shorter that morning! In the evening, I did a weights/core session in the gym. Alternating between arms, legs and core with 30 repetitions at each station. Haven't been to the gym for nearly 4 weeks and muscles were feeling the burn!

Saturday's long ride came but my program had it shorter to 3.5 hours this week. I rode southbound through Vanneck. Once I got to Westdel Bourne, there were cars lining up, some really fancy ones, there must be an event going on. Which I later found out was the Fleetwood Car show. I rode on through Carriage Road and Mill Road, and when I returned, the line of cars were still there! This side of the road was more narrow and there was a point I had to get off my bike and walk it for a few hundred meters. That sort of ruined my momentum and the continuously blowing wind didn't help after. It wasn't very strong but it was constant and energy sapping. I took 15 minutes longer than expected to complete my 105km ride. Got changed and had a quick bite and went out for a 10km run. But felt just as mediocre as before. The run took me about two minutes longer than usual. But hey, these things happen sometimes so I'll just put them behind me and move on to the next session.

Sunday as usual, I delayed my run up until late afternoon. It was overcast whole day with a bit of rain just after midday. I watched the Lego movie, some pretty lame comedy but still pretty entertaining. I started my 2 hour run at 4.30pm. It was still overcast but the sun came up about 30 minutes after. I didn't have any intervals in the program but was keen to maintain the same average as last week - 4:30 per km pace. I missed out on my water stop and decided to keep going rather than turn back. So yeah, I ran for 2 hours without water! I was beginning to fatigue in my last few kms, so I was glad when it was all over. Again, 26.7km with a sub 4:30 average, so really happy! Next week's long run is 2 hours 15 minutes, so we'll see how I go.

I've signed up for my first triathlon of the season - Guelph Lake Olympic Distance in two weeks time! After last year's sub par performance in crappy weather, I'm looking forward to redeem myself!

Week 10 of 26 statistics

Swim - 8.7km (2 hours 30 minutes)
Bike - 272.1km (9 hours 12 minutes)
Run - 52.8km (4 hours 9 minutes)
Gym - 1 hour

Total - 333.6km (16 hours 49 minutes)

Monday, 2 June 2014

Week 9 of 26

I originally had a swim set on Monday but with the big week before, I decided to give myself a full day's rest and push the swim to Tuesday morning. Had some long sets - 400m warm up, 1000m - 200m swim/50m fists (16:30), 400m - 25m scull/75m swim, 400m pull buoy/paddles, 1000m pull buoy (17:30), 300m kickboard. In the evening, I ran at Springbank for an hour. Legs felt a bit sluggish and it was pretty humid.

Li-Ann was going away for 3 weeks. A week in France for a conference and then 2 weeks in Malaysia to visit her family. She left on Wednesday. She's such a wonderful wife and cooked up as much as she could, which lasted for all my meals for the remainder of the week. I did a bike ride on Wednesday evening to Lakeside and back. The winds were gusty but luckily it was a tailwind on the way back.

Thursday I did the same ride. The winds were not as strong but somehow it felt like it was blowing in both directions, hence slowing my ride by a few minutes. Friday morning I swam. A simple main set of 6 x 500m - alternating between swim and with pull buoy. The swims I clocked around 8:45 and the pull buoys around 9:00. In the afternoon, I ran at Springbank for 80 minutes. The main set was 2 x 20 minutes fast/10 minutes steady. I had some good legs and managed to clock 18.4km with an average pace of 4:20 per km.

Saturday was a long ride of 4 hours or so. We had a big group of 6 and met up in the north side of London. Although I already did two rides to Lakeside this week, it seemed to be the most convenient route. But we took a different way - through Eight Mile Road and Plover Mills Road, so it was a nice change. There was a nice tailwind on the way back. Just over 125kms total distance and I did a 30 minute brick run. Legs didn't feel particularly heavy, 6.7km clocked.

Sunday, I was being my usual lazy self in the morning. Watched the movie Frozen - very entertaining but also very typical Disney, hahaha! I started my 2 hour long run at 5pm. It was still pretty sunny and it stayed that way until the end of my run. I felt a bit sluggish to start but with the intervals, I managed to quicken my overall pace. The set was 5 minutes fast/5 minutes steady/10 fast/10 steady/15 fast/15 steady/10 fast/10 steady/5 fast/5 steady. Managed to clock 26.7km with surprisingly another sub 4:30 per km overall average pace. Not sure how long more I can keep this up but will keep on trying! :)

Another pretty big week and next week looks sort of like a recovery week... I'm not complaining! We were meant to have the weekly Splash N' Dash this week but it was pushed back a week to allow the water in Lake Whittaker to warm up. So I'm looking forward to the first Splash next week!

Week 9 of 26 statistics

Swim - 7.0km (2 hours 8 minutes)
Bike - 275.4km (9 hours 12 minutes)
Run - 65.5km (4 hours 50 minutes)

Total - 348km (16 hours 10 minutes)