Saturday, October 17, 2015

Victoria Goodlife Half Marathon 2015 race report, with some cyclocross thrown in for extra fun

I returned to Victoria for the Goodlife Half Marathon again. I hadn’t really trained properly for a long all-running race, but I knew I could finish it. My goal once again was to finish in under 2:00, and hopefully beat my time from last year. I went out faster than last year, but not super fast. Last year I was too cautious at the start. I didn’t want to get caught up in the rush and flag later, which was smart, but that meant I got stuck behind a lot of slower runners that were hard to pass and it cost me time. So I positioned myself better at the start and went out a little harder. Not too fast, but fast enough that I saved about 20 seconds in the first two kms.

It was a beautiful day to run. I wore short sleeves this year, as I was too warm last year. I still carried my own liquids and gels. I don’t really like running in a water belt, but I’ve found that my stomach really prefers the familiar on race day, so I do it anyway. I used 3 gels and drank most of the one small bottle of Nuun water that I carried.

My 10 km time was more than 2.5 minutes faster this year than last. And my overall time was 1:52:14, which is more than 3.5 minutes faster than last year. (I tweeted out a bigger improvement. Turns out I was computing the difference between last year's gun time and this year's chip time) I was hoping to beat 1:52, but in the end just couldn’t find the energy to keep up the pace over the last 5 km. But given my lack of long distance training, I can’t be too upset by my result. I placed in the top 1/6th of my age group (31/206), which is an improvement over last year too (63/302) although I did age up this year.

But it was a really great weekend. Husband and kidlet did a cyclocross race on Saturday before we headed over to the island. I didn’t ride because I wanted to save my legs for the half marathon. Unfortunately, I injured myself a little when helping out with the kids race (helping lift bikes over the barriers). I tripped over the barrier and scraped myself up. But it looked worse than it felt (although a week later I have a bruised and swollen foot in addition to the scrapes on my shin and hand). I was worried it would hurt while I ran, but it wasn’t actually too bad.

This was shortly after I skinned my shin, it got worse (looking) with more time.

Then on the Monday, the day after the run, we all went and did a Cross on the Rock cylcocross race. (Apparently it might have been the largest cx race in Canadian history. If so, totally cool that we were there for it. If not, it was still a super fun event.) My legs let me know after the first lap that this was a crazy idea, but it was super fun anyway. I got very muddy, and now feel like a legit cyclocross rider. I was not a kid who liked playing in the mud, but it's fun now. Or at least it's fun on the bike now. I’ll never be fast at it, but cyclocross has been really good for my bike-handling skills and overall comfort level on the bike.

Short (for me) and late race report on the Vancouver Triathlon (Sept 9, 2015)

Swim: I have decided that I am very unlikely to ever do a triathlon with an ocean swim again. I have no problem with open water swimming, but I find fighting current really difficult and tiring. We started late due to the tide (water was waaay out), which meant that the current was pretty strong when we finally did get in the water. The first lap of the swim went fine. Not too fast, but I wasn’t trying to go fast. My plan was to just get through the swim without being too tired out. It was chilly to start but once I warmed up it was quite a comfortable temperature. The second lap is where I really started to feel the current. There was a long stretch of the last part of the triangle (so the final leg to get back to shore) where I was working hard just to not go backwards. It didn’t help that I’d cut my foot on some barnacles starting the second lap. It was the top of my left foot – I hadn’t stepped on the barnacles I’d kicked them. The cold salt water stung quite a bit. The cold water also left me with numb feet for most of the rest of the race, something I’d never experienced before. But I’ll get to that later.

Swim: 48:00 (or thereabouts, they didn’t get me crossing the mat at the edge of the beach coming out of the water, so this time was extrapolated based on other times. Luckily they had all my other times, so they could reconstruct my time).

T1: 2:59 Not super speedy but I was really dizzy, so I had to take a few moments to deal with that. And my feet were numb, so getting my socks and shoes on was more difficult than usual.

Bike: 1:27:17 It was a nice bike course. One not to bad hill, and an easy decent. Saw a deer on the side of the road on my second loop. Only problem was my feet were totally numb the whole time. And man did I see a lot of drafting on the course, some of which seemed decidedly non-accidental. There were officials around, but they didn’t seem to see much of it. Oh well, no one was drafting off of me! It was worth the price of the tri to get to bike around Stanley Park without traffic. But man those roads are awful! 

T2: 1:45. Had a difficult time getting my shoes on because I still couldn’t feel my feet.

Run: 58:16 Slower than I usually go, but since this included a pit stop, I’m pretty happy with it. And looking at the times in my age group, not stopping (which was not an option) wouldn’t have changed my placing. My feet were totally numb at the start of the run. It actually made it hard to run, which I found surprising. My feet just didn’t know when they were hitting the ground. They did heat up  over the course of the run, which I discovered was not such a great thing. At least not for my left foot, as I started to feel the cuts on my foot and toes. Ouch my foot hurt!

I was undertrained and I knew it. I’d only done 3 swims since my oly in July. I’d done plenty of running and some limited riding though so I knew I could finish the race. It's amazing to me how far I've come in the mental part of training and racing. I remember my first oly being unsure I could make it across the line. Now the question is just how fast (or in the case of this race, how slow). I had decided just to make it a fun(ish) training day. I wasn’t putting any pressure on myself, and I got out of the race what I put in. As usual, I enjoyed the run more than the rest, but I am starting to enjoy the bike leg as well. A person I know mostly from twitter happened to be there as a spectator and it was really great to hear her call out “Go triprof!” (my twitter handle). My family didn’t come down to the race site until later, so I didn’t have a cheering section. But then I did! The spectators were actually really great. There was a trio that was walking around the park (obviously there to cheer for someone in particular) who gave me a big boost several times in both the bike and the run. My only gripe with the race is the t-shirt. It’s a cotton shirt. I’d rather pay more and get a technical shirt.