Sunday, 29 April 2018

Boston Marathon Race Report

So it’s taken me a little longer than I would have liked to jot down my race report from the Boston Marathon. Lots going on right now, but I think it’s important taking the time to think through the race. 

We drove down to Boston on Friday. This was the first year that I would be doing Boston. For whatever reason I had told myself I would not race Boston until I was capable of running a sub 2:40. So seeing as I had broken that mark twice last year: once at Mesa-Phoenix Marathon and a second time at Ottawa Race Weekend...... Anyways the drive to Boston was quite uneventful, but as always I thoroughly enjoyed the road trip with the family. 
Heading to the Expo!

At the Brooks booth.

Saturday morning we drove into Boston and I did bib number pick-up and then went through the Expo. The line-up was quite long to get into Bib pick-up, but I think that was only because we showed up right around 0900hrs when it was just opening. Bib pick-up was actually very quick and then we took a trip through the Expo. The expo was probably one of the best I have seen at a running race. I skipped the Adidas Boston Marathon collection and instead opted for a pair of Boston inspired Brooks Launch running shoes. I figured I had enough running shirts and jackets that I didn’t need another and figured the shoes would get more use. We spent the rest of the day at the Boston Children’s Museum which was great…bonus - you get free entry if you are military (so Claudia and I were free and we just had to pay for the kids). For dinner we met up with some of the other CAF athletes (Helene & John) at Maggiono’s. 
CAF Athletes: Benoit, John, Dave, me, Phil, Helene

Phil and I posing in our F2C Nutrition at the finish line!

Sunday morning I got up and did a short run and then we headed back into town to meet up with the rest of the CAF athletes for a picture at the finish line. We took it easy for the remainder of the day and decided to skip the Pre-Race Dinner. I am not much of a fan of doing the pasta dinner if it’s the night before the race. I prefer to eat in and that way I can better control what I am eating, in this case, chicken stir fry.

Monday morning, race morning, I was up around 0430hrs and had my usual race morning breakfast of eggs, bagel, orange juice, coffee, and a banana. In addition to my breakfast I also drank about 750mL of Hydra-Durance. We headed out around 0630. Claudia had done some surfing through the Boston Marathon website and had decided that she would drive me to the pick-up location in Hopkinton. She wanted to take the kids to the start anyways and figured this would reduce the time I had to be in the cold prior to the race. The bus shuttle from the drop off location in Hopkinton to the pre-race staging area was only about 10-15min. It was a cold, wet, windy morning so it was great having a tent to rest in until we got marshaled to the start. The ground was soaked and everyone tried to pack into the tents. The tents blocked most of the wind, but it would have been nice if there had been some heat. At 0900hrs they let my wave, the first wave, run the mile to the starting line. Claudia and the kids were at the start. The kids were clearly miserable as it was cold, wet, and windy. Phil and I lined up together in the first wave and then waited for the start.
The start in Hopkinton!

At 0945hrs we were off. I had decided that I was going to try and run 2:45 and negative split the marathon. I figured I’d start at a 3:55/km place and after going through the first half I’d adjust based on how I was feeling. Well, the start was fast and the first kilometer was a 3:35 or something. I backed off the pace and felt like I was being passed by a constant stream of people, which I was fine with as I figured I would pass a lot of them later in the race. I finally settled into a 3:45-3:50/km pace and kind of bounced between a few groups. The cool part about this race was running through all the towns and seeing all the spectators out on the course. The race was cold and wet and the constant headwind was annoying to say the least but I just enjoyed the experience. I went through the first half in about 1:21 which was a little faster than I was anticipating. 

The last ten kilometers of the race were a bit of a struggle. I wasn’t sure if I just didn’t have enough Calories (about 200 Calories of Glyco-Durance + one Rekab Gel and water at every aid station) or if it was just a case of my legs being cold (that being said I didn’t really feel cold). I pretty much ignored my watch for the last 10km as I knew I was struggling and sometimes it’s just better to run than be frustrated with the pace. The back half of the course was definitely a little hillier than I had anticipated. That being said it was a great experience. 

Final time was 2:48. I definitely think I’ll be back.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

2018 – Scottsdale TriSutto Camp #1

Michelle, me, and Gary following the long trail run!

First off I want to say a huge thank you to Gary & Michelle Barnes for hosting an amazing camp in Scottsdale, AZ. I have been very intrigued by Brett Sutton’s training methods and over the past couple years I have started diving into it a bit more. I wanted to attend a TriSutto camp to experience first hand some of the techniques and principles that Brett Sutton has developed. I met Michelle last year while traveling to Phoenix and I met Gary last year at ITU Long Course Worlds in Penticton. Michelle is the TriSutto head coach in Canada and Gary just recently came on board with TriSutto (at the personal request of Brett Sutton), though he has been involved in coaching for many years.

In case anyone is wondering who is/was coached by Brett Sutton – Chrissie Wellington, Daniela Ryf, Nicola Spirig, Mary Beth Ellis, Chris McCormack (in his early days), James Cunnama, Josh Amberger, Sarah Crowley (Josh & Sarah are both coached by Cameron Watt an associate coach of Brett’s) and the list goes on and on. Over the past several years Brett has taken his tried and true methods of training professional athletes to the age group ranks with great success. The more I’ve read up on the TriSutto methodologies, the more I’ve become a believer. It makes sense, and it’s clearly working. 

To utilize a common term we use in the military – BLUF (Bottom Line up-front) – the camp was exactly what I needed. There was lots of intensity and a good chunk of volume - in my opinion - in a perfect balance. I left the camp not feeling smashed, but confident and definitely fitter than the day I showed up. That being said, race fitness is not built in a single week, but through consistent training.

Here is a quick run down on the camp. Hopefully I’m not letting out any TriSutto secrets. 

Monday – Swim & Big Gear Intervals on the Bike
The campers showing off their new Eney Buoys!
Tuesday – Run (short fast intervals), Swim, Run (easy/steady)

Wednesday – Swim, Bike (Short Big Gear Hills), Bike (Longish)
Short Hill Reps All completed!

Thursday – Swim, Run (Short Hills), Bike (Build)
Michelle explaining the hill repeats!
Gary and I smashing out another 10km TT!

Friday – Long Ride to Bartlett Reservoir (I added a swim prior to the bike)
Gary & I on one of the descents into Bartlett Reservoir
Saturday – Long Run on the trails, Recovery Swim

Note: Any day that we did not have a run scheduled, I added an additional easy run of 30-60min with the exception of Friday.

I ended up with just over 24hrs of training for the week. Swim – ~15km, Bike ~400km, Run ~80km. 

One of the keys to staying ready for the next workout this week was the recovery. I made sure to start/finish each day with F2CPharma-Greens and a scoop of F2C Ultra-Durance. Each workout was followed up with a serving or two of F2C Rehab 3:1 and each evening I made sure to fit in a 30-60min session with my Rapid Reboot. Note: If you are interested in trying out the F2C Products you can use the discount code Joel15 for 15% off your next order.

So would I recommend the camp? Absolutely. Just keep your ego in check (otherwise you are likely to be smashed mid-week), have fun with the other athletes, and enjoy learning and training in a positive environment.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

2018 Mesa-Phoenix Half-Marathon - Race Report

In 2017, I was very inconsistent with the blog so I’ll try and be a bit more regular in 2018. It was a bit of a frustrating fall/winter with regards to training setbacks, and as we soon enter spring, I’m trying to right the ship. Just when I think I’ve turned the corner, it seems like just another setback - the latest being some tenderness in my right knee late December/January. So I backed off the training for a few weeks to let the knee recover. Then after slowly trying to increase the volume running again, wham the flu – no training for a week leading into the Mesa-Phoenix Half-Marathon. So if you had asked me the goal for Mesa-Phoenix in the fall, I would have told you 1:12; if you had asked me the goal before the race, it would have been sub 1:20. It’s frustrating, but that is where my fitness is at.
Anyways, I flew into Phoenix on Thursday evening and once again stayed at my friends Jonathan and Sue Coffen. It’s always great catching up. Friday morning, I did a light run (my first run in a week) and it was evident that my fitness wasn’t there and despite the flu symptoms being gone I was still not at 100%. After the run I headed to Cactus pool for a light swim, then met up with John to go pick-up our race packages. 

Saturday morning came way too quickly and early. I was up at 0245hrs as we had planned to leave the house at 0330hrs. After a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs, a banana, and a latte, we (John, Sue, and I) headed out for the 45min drive to pick-up John’s colleague, Jen, and then make our way to Mesa-Riverview to catch the bus to the start. We had planned to catch a bus around 0415hrs as the last buses were scheduled to depart at 0445hrs. The ride to the start was uneventful and at the start everyone was crowded around heaters as it was a brisk 4°C. At 0600hrs we were off. The first hour of the race was in darkness. I opted to wear an Under Armour Base Layer under my singlet as I wasn’t convinced that running in a singlet and arm warmers was going to cut it at 3°C and with a light breeze. In retrospect, I might have been fine with just the singlet, but this way I was comfortable but perhaps a tad warm.

I planned to start the race at 3:50/km and then go by feel. Once the race started I held myself back and quickly realized a small group was forming. We went through the first km in 3:41/km and I figured that was close enough. I stayed with that group of 6-7 athletes for the first 15kms and we hovered between 3:40-3:44/km. I could tell my lungs weren’t up to the task, but my legs felt very good. At around the 15k point I started struggling keeping contact with the group as my right quad and hamstring started to tighten up. I struggled through the last 6kms struggling to hold a sub 4min/km pace but as I came up the finishing shoot and saw 1:18 on the clock I knew I could get under 1:20 if I pushed a little so that’s what I did. 

Final time 1:19:58. 59th OA and 15th in M30-34. 

All things considered – exactly what I expected. Certainly not happy with my fitness level, but it is what it is. A quick review of my HR file revealed exactly what I suspected…my hr was ~7bpm higher this year than the equivalent pace last year -> my body was still recovering from the flu.

I guess the sub 1:12 will have to wait till next year! I’ll be back!
Finisher's Medal & Shirt!

Up next a week long TriSutto training camp in Scottsdale with  #teambarnes!