Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Ironman Wisconsin - Madison Race Report

Begin at the sun
I went running on Sunday, for 20k, and it hurt.  Aching in my leg muscles. I need the run.  STWM is only three weeks away.  The scar on my arm is still sore, and my right foot has something wrong that aches when twisted too far.  Ironman was hard on me. 

This year, my son Noah was race support.  We visited the capital building together.  He was there for me at the finish line at 9 PM, like I suggested.  I wouldn't be along until after 10 o'clock.

Noah was race support
In Madison, they built a scale model of the solar system.  The sun is right at the start line of the bike course, where riders come down the spiral ramp of the Monona Terrace parking garage. Mercury is a block away, then Venus a few blocks after, and the Earth a few more blocks after that.  Then it's on for several kilometers to get past Ceres, Mars to Jupiter.  Neptune and Pluto are out towards Mount Horeb, the furthest point on the bike course, 50 km or so away.  

Some people suggested that we skip the aero bars; that the course was endlessly hilly.  Not so.  The ride out until Mount Horeb has plenty of flat road.  The moderate wind from the South East made riding in aero by far the preferred choice.  After the climb to the village of Mount Horeb, the hilly parts begin.  The twisty downhill of Garfoot Road and the steep drop on Timberline were posted with caution signs.  I saw no evidence of crashes, but several flat tires, and a guy with a broken chain.  Someone else had his behind-the-seat dual-bottle holder fall off onto the path.  You need lock washers to hold that in place.  

I love this bike course.  The hills are tough going up, and a lot of fun coming down.  There's plenty of them to enjoy.  Especially Garfoot, with all of the bends in the road.  It was shared road, and someone was coming up in her pickup as I flew down the first time.  Yikes.  The road surfaces weren't as bad as I remembered, except for Stagecoach.  It's a mess that needs resurfacing.  Old Sauk Pass was the worst of the struggles.  Long, long, and steep, with crowds of silly people to cheer us on.  

Coming in from the bike, I made my second great blunder.  I got off, and started running to T2.  I hadn't had sensation in my right foot for over an hour, and it wouldn't be commanded.  The pain, then the limping set me to walking.  I pulled something in my foot that still aches a week later.

In the queue to get into the water, the sun was an orange glow beyond the horizon.  It rose just moments before race start.  At the Friday briefing, they warned us of cold weather to come, but it didn't happen.  We won the weather lottery, with the best conditions imaginable -- almost no wind, cool temperatures, but not chilly, and zero clouds.  

Because of the threat of cold weather, I made a horrible blunder by choosing to wear a T-shirt under the wetsuit.  It might keep me warm on the shore, I thought.  Swimming, it chafed under the collar, and bunched up under my left armpit cutting at 4-inch long gash that hasn't healed in a week.  It didn't bleed, but it hurt when it rubbed on anything.  Mostly that was fine during the race.  My cycling kit was loose enough not to affect it, and I carry my arms high enough on the run for it not to be a bother.  

One lap of the run
I managed to run most of the first lap.  After that, I walked a bit, which lead to walking a lot.  They had Red Bull on course, so I sampled a cup, ending up vomiting it into the bushes along Lake Mendota.  That seemed to settle my stomach so I could take another Gu, bringing on energy for more running.  It was just a slow shuffle really.  Even so, the run of 5:25 was only 10 minutes faster than my 5:35 in Mont Tremblant, where I walked most all of it.  The tough cycling course added a half hour, coming to 7:30.  My swim was consistent, at 101 minutes, was just on par for my regular pace.  

Final time: 

Monday, 30 March 2015

Around The Bay

Jen described it as reminders of parts of her favourite races.  There's the store-lined streets of downtown, like The Yonge Street 10k, the highways and overpasses of Disney, the hilly suburbs of The Mississauga Marathon.  

Across the overpass

Long road ahead

The crossing lights were on, alarms sounding

We parked several blocks away, then found that the lot across from the stadium was still mostly empty.  It was great to be able to wait for the start in the warm stadium.  It was really cold outside.  

Batman! That's going on the blog

I can understand people complaining about the weather if they are summer runners, and tried running here in shorts.  After the Hypothermic Half, we were well prepared, with layers of Merano wool to keep us warm, heavy gloves, hats.  It's what you need.  It was a nice sunny day if you had the right gear.

Happy Palm Sunday

It was Palm Sunday, and two churches had people out waving palm fronds, wishing us a good run.  

Skyway in the distance. We just came from there.

I like how you could always look across the bay to see where you were going, or had been.  It really gave a sense of the scale of a long run like this.  

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Hypo One Half Race Report

There isn't even an athlete briefing.  It's just expected that everyone knows what they are doing and has dressed how they need to.  The weather forecast this year was for ice pellets.  With some wind, that would be bad.  Really, really, frostbite, ouch this hurts, what are we doing here, bad.  I think this is the most dangerous race that I enter.  In triathlon, I'm not going to drown, I might get scraped falling off my bike, but that wouldn't compare to freezing rain and ice pellets.  For this I packed my ski goggles that I use biking in this weather.  You can't have any skin exposed.  Sunglasses are to keep in warmth as much as to keep out the light.  It could be horribly cold, or wet, or strong winds with ice pellets.

Hypo One Half

Jen worked Saturday, so I picked her up at Pita Pit at 5.  I should have gotten there early to eat, but traffic was bad and I couldn't find parking, so I was late.  I grabbed a chicken sandwich at Tim's on the highway out of town.  We collected the race packets from Dayna in Sarnia.  She got them for us yesterday.

We stayed at the host hotel, the Holiday Inn near the bridge.  It was packed for a weekend pool tournament.  People carried bags everywhere with their cues.  We were to bed early, but every hour or so, drunken pool players would pass loudly down the hall.  About midnight, one came pounding on the door of the room next to us.  In the morning, Jen suggested we return the favour.  No.  Breakfast in the hotel restaurant.  Toast with jam and peanut butter.  Just like one of our driving trips where we go to Tim's for the same.  

We assembled at 8:30 in front of the hotel.  That's great.  No driving, just walk outside and ready to go.  I want to do that for one of the Toronto events.  

Lake Huron is frozen over

The weather was nice!  It was right around freezing, with no wind at all, not even for the stretch of the run along the lake shore.  As we came in to finish, it began to rain, and that's all of the precipitation we had.  I hadn't snowed for a few days, so the roads were clear of slush.  The water at the aid stations wasn't icing over.

The run begins towards the bridge, then heads east to the outskirts of town, and loops back along the lake.  We passed the church where my mom's funeral was held two weeks earlier.  That's why I raced here two years ago.  It gave me an adventure while on a trip to visit her.  It pleased her that her granddaughter (Jen, whom I race with) took care of herself with all the running.  You can't go home again, but you can go running there. 

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed the brunch provided.  Chocolate milk, eggs, and bacon.  Lots of bacon.  Usually after a run I'm not very hungry.  I use Gu to keep my energy up, but today the sight of all the hot food brought on quite a craving.  The drive back was horrendous.  Freezing rain kept icing up the windshield wipers;  and ice pellets;  but not for the race.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Winter sunset

I wanted to include a pic of the sunset.  I pulled out my phone during today's run, and wondered what the flashing green light was.  I turned on the screen, and it immediately shut down for low battery.  That's the green light.

The sunset was nice, but a bit of a problem.  There was a train across the tracks earlier, just sitting there. Instead of waiting, with my sweat giving me a chill, I took the long way around. It's another 5 km, making the run 21 km total.  I was feeling good and had an extra Gu to keep my energy up.  The railway crossing was at the outskirts of town, and the bonus distance was on the gravel road into the countryside.  I began the run in the afternoon, with plenty of time for the planned route, so I was wearing my black and red Brita jacket from last year's Resolution Run.  I got a nice and bright MEC jacket for Christmas, all covered in reflective highlights, but it was at home. So here I was, a kilometer from town on a country lane, dressed in my black ninja outfit, with the sun going down.  The streetlights would be on by the time I made it to the house. Plus, my phone was dead, taking my music away.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Festivus pole

I built a Festivus pole out of the traditional material:  beer cans.  I has stood up well, except for the night someone came to look at it and tripped over the cord for the blue lights on the nearby tree.  I found them stretched across the lawn in the morning.  It's almost 7 ft. tall.  Back in November we had a couple days of snow before it got warm again and melted it all away.  

Festivus pole of beer cans

Our two snowy days this winter

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

We could go biking

I went to visit my brother in Toronto.  The weather is nice, so we went biking of course!  

It's winter.  Let's go biking!

Here we passed by the local ski hill with the snowmaker desperately trying to get some coverage put down. The next day it snowed a lot, and it took me 2 hours to get the 10 km to Milton.

Must make snow