Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 By the Numbers!

So arguably 2012 was a very successful year. I made it to the Canadian Forces Running Championships where I won the Half-Marathon in a time of 1:16:22 while setting a new PB for the Half. Shortly thereafter I completed the Epic Ironman St George, which will probably go down as the hardest race I have ever done. Then we welcomed the birth of our third child, Klara Jane. The following week I raced Ironman Coeur d’Alene where I won the M25-29 Age Group and obtained a coveted Kona slot. Kona was, well, a surreal experience and one that I’ll cherish especially considering I set an Ironman PB of 9:35. It was an amazing season of racing with both ups and downs. The keys to success were arguably two-fold: the unwavering support of my wife – Claudia, and the mentoring by my coach Brian Grasky.

So about the numbers…!
Training duration Pie Chart for 2012.

Swimming –338 km / 125 hrs
Biking – 6597 km / 210 hrs
Running – 1994 km / 145 hrs
Brick –2298 km / 82 hrs (Probably 2000 km biking / 300 km running)
Racing –942 km / 43 hrs
Other – 8 hrs
Total = 613 hrs

Performance Management Chart for the Year.
So the numbers are a little lower than I was expecting but considering we had a move in June/July, and I battled a chest virus/cold post Kona (that lasted two months), the numbers make sense.If you look at the Performance Management Chart (taken from Training Peaks), it's very evident that the volume dropped off significantly post Kona.
Moving Forward – Clearly my strength is the run, followed by the bike, and last my swim. I’ve been building my run volume through December by taking part in the Brainsport run every day challenge. I will look to put 1000kms in before the end of the annual slowtwitch 100 runs in 100 days challenge. I’m aiming for volume during that period, but will also try and keep the frequency up. I’ve always struggled getting to the pool, normally finding some lame excuse why I shouldn’t swim, so will set my sights on putting in 5 swims per week while targeting 15kms/week. Much like the 100 runs in 100 days challenge I’m considering a 30 minute swim the minimum to count.
Also some exciting news...the Cold Lake Rum Runners Saturday morning Spin Class. For anyone that knows me, I love giving back to the sport. So starting the 12th of January I’ll be assisting with the operation of a Saturday morning cycling class. We’ll be operating out of Mackenzie School at CFB Cold Lake. Spin class starts at 0900hrs and we’ll gradually build up the duration to provide people with a good base for Sprint and or Olympic distance racing for the upcoming season. It’s open to all so if you are in Cold Lake and looking for a good workout, bring your bike and trainer and drop in for a solid workout. 
Thanks for sharing and following the 2012 journey. Looking forward to racing in 2013!
The Western Maley Clan - Christmas Eve 2012!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Looking forward to 2013!

So as some of you are probably aware there are some changes coming to my racing in 2013. I have taken the last four or so weeks off from training and essentially done whatever I felt like and whenever I felt like it. It’s time to get back in the groove and start focusing on 2013.
Enjoying some time with the kids!
One of the big decisions I had to make was whether or not to take my Pro/Elite Card from Triathlon Canada. After talking the decision over with my family, coach, and a first year Pro Thomas Gerlach (someone who I really respect) I decided to stay in the AG ranks. I knew I would not compete for a win at the Pro level but the challenge and mental toughness was really what I was after. Essentially my not taking the Pro Card boiled down to my swim really being below a reasonable standard. So expect to see me in the pool a lot this winter.

My race schedule for 2013, though I have one, is still a bit in limbo. I have a schedule through to the end of June but after that things are a bit of an unknown…there is a possibility that I will be on a career course from July 2013-June 2014 and thus no racing and probably minimal training. However, as is life in the military, things can change. So if the career course falls back to 2014, then the plan will be to try and race Kona again in 2013. 

Additions are also coming on the Sponsor front. 

I’ve known Cam and Elise, the owners of Element Multisport in Edmonton, for the past four years and they have graciously agreed to bring me on as a sponsored athlete. So I’m very much looking forward to working with them. They have also hooked me up with a bike sponsor…seeing as I don’t have my new rigs yet I won’t let the cat out of the bag. However, I will provide a couple hints. 1 - it’s a Canadian Company, but probably not the one most people are thinking of and 2 – it was ridden by one of the top ten athletes in Kona.

X-1 powered by H2O Audio has added me to their team. I’ve been using the H2O Interval for the past few years so going with X-1 was an easy decision. 

Finally thanks to Brian Michasiw at Brainsport, Brooks has agreed to assist me this year. So you’ll get to see some more flashy shoes…the bright orange Brooks Connects are exactly that!

And hopefully there will be a few more…

One final change coming in 2013 is coaching. I’ll be attending the NCCP coaching course in Saskatoon later this month and then most likely working under the guidance of Brian Grasky at GEC. I’ll be looking to work with a select few long course athletes for the upcoming season. If you’re interested send me a msg.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Humbled in Kona – Ironman World Championships Race Report

Despite being anxious to race the Ironman World Championships, I had a somewhat refreshing sleep. I woke up at 0400hrs and ate my fairly typical race morning breakfast: a coffee, oatmeal, and a bagel with jam. I finished packing my stuff and then helped get the kids up and out the door at 0500hrs. 

Athlete check-in was fairly straight forward…body marking, then weigh-in by the medical staff (that was a first). Then it was through to the transition area to drop off my liquids at my bike and my Gu bottles in my run bag. I was fortunate to run into Jonathan Coffen during the check-in process and wished him best of luck for the race (I had finished IMCdA with Jonathan.) Then it was waiting time in transition for a little under an hour. 

Shortly after the pros, we (all the AG athletes) started to filter down the steps and into the water for the mass start. I had a quick look were everyone was going and decided to start on the right side, near the pier. I figured this would give me a straight swim down the buoys. Everyone was quite anxious to get the swim started and Mike Reilly had to keep working to keep everyone from moving out too far. At 0700hrs we were off…cannon didn’t work so Mike just said go and then I think the cannon went. 

The swim was probably one of the cleanest I have ever done. Yes, there were a few bumps here and there but generally speaking it was quite calm. I was able to grab a set of feet for about half of the swim out to the turnaround. The personnel on surf boards directing traffic were trying to be as helpful as possible but I kept finding them getting in my way as I was trying to swim straight down the buoy line and they kept insisting that we move left. I felt quite strong and comfortable in the water and just tried my best to get into a strong rhythm and focus on a strong pull. I was happy to see the sail boat at the turn-around and start heading the other direction. There was a little bottleneck at the turnaround and it probably didn’t help matters that there was a fair amount of chop. I tried to swim as hard as I could on the way back and was fortunate to get a set of feet here and there. I finished the swim and looked at my watch to see a 1:16. Not as quick as I had hoped, but my fastest Ironman swim ever and without a wetsuit. (It must have been my sweet Nineteen Rogue SS)

I tried to hurry through T1, but I wanted to put on Calf Compression Sleeves as well as socks (I prefer to put socks on in T1 and then wear them for the remainder of the race.  Additionally, I was a little concerned with getting sun burned so loaded myself up with sunscreen and then had one of the volunteers apply even more. 

Then it was on to the bike. I was excited to be on the bike so that I could start making up lost time on the bike. I was feeling very good but decided to ease myself into my pace. I tried to back the power off as I climbed up Huakini Highway and then enjoyed the fast descent back to Palani. Once on the Queen K, I settled into a rhythm and started working my race intensity. The winds were relatively calm until shortly before Hapuna Beach State Park and then they really started to pick-up. We had a very strong North East wind for the climb up to Hawi. Once up at Hawi, I grabbed my special needs bag and then quickly got my Snickers Almond Bar and Red Bull downrange. My stomach was still feeling good at this point but I was starting to struggle with my power output. Shortly after returning to the Queen K my stomach started shutting down. I was puking every few minutes on the bike and I was having trouble keeping anything down. I was on pace for a sub 5hr bike but knew that unless I could get my stomach sorted out, the run would turn into a disaster. So I backed off the pace on the bike, stopped taking in salt tablets and solid nutrition, and tried taking in a little water and Powerbar Perform.  

At around the 155km mark on the bike Ivan O’Gorman passed me. I figured I would try and pick-up my pace and see if I could ride legally behind him. Seeing as Ivan is a good runner I thought that if I could get off the bike with him then I’d have someone to run with. I tried to ride with Ivan for a couple kms but he was riding well and I was still not feeling great so backed off the pace. Shortly before the airport I passed Jonathan Coffen…I wasn’t expecting to see Jonathan until half way through the run. I finished the bike in 5:09:xx but was still not feeling very good.

T2 was a little slower than normal, but I took the time to use the washroom and load myself up with sunscreen. 

As I headed out on the run, I saw my personal cheering squad which was a blessing. I eased myself into the run. I figured I would just continue with water, coke, and a little PowerBar Perform until my stomach got back into the game and then I would go back to my Gu Roctane. I was passing a lot of people on the run, but it was friggin hot with almost no wind on Ali’I drive. Each aid station was a welcome relief as I could throw water over my head and ice down my back. At a little less than a kilometer before the turn-around on Ali’I Drive, I saw Christophe Terzi heading the other direction (Christophe was staying next to us at the Kona Coast Resort.) He was looking pretty good. My stomach was starting to turn around so on the way back into town I tried some Gu Roctane Gel from my Fuel Belt. It went down ok, but I knew the run was going to be a slugfest.

Heading up Kuakini Hwy to Palani.
I was happy to run back through town and see the family again. They were hanging out on the hill at the McDonalds. I was completely ignoring my watch and running purely by feel. I was feeling terrible and felt like I was running in an inferno. Just as I turned to head up Palani, Pete Jacobs was coming down. As I turned onto the Queen K and started running towards the Energy Lab, I got to watch as most of the male/female pros were heading home to the finish. This was pretty neat as I got to cheer most of them on. The Queen K was a welcome relief to Ali’i drive as there was at least a little breeze, mind you it still felt like an inferno. 

Each aid station was a welcome relief with water and ice to try and cool my body. The run was a living hell, but I knew each step was one closer to the finish. I was very thankful to my parents who had taught me so many scripture verses as a child. I was thankful for a note my sister, Hannah, had sent me earlier this week on Facebook on the dedication I had displayed in my training and my family life and the great goal we as Christians press on towards as mentioned in Philippians 3:14. I just kept reminding myself that I was not going to quit and I was not going to walk, despite every muscle in my legs screaming for me to stop. Shortly before the turn around in the Energy Lab, I spotted Ivan. Just after the turn around I caught up to Ivan hoping that he’d be able to run with me. He looked strong but he didn’t quite have enough to pick up the pace so I continued on alone. On the way back out of the Energy Lab Jonathan gave me a high five and said I was looking strong. That was a blessing because I truly did not feel strong. 
On Ali'i Drive heading to the finish!
And finally I had the one last climb up the Queen K to Palani and then I was home. Dad was waiting for me on Huakini Hwy and as I turned and headed down Ali’i drive there was the total support crew. I quickly high fived Ruthie and James and then enjoyed the remainder of the run down Ali’i drive to the finish. As is my typical practice, I tried to high five as many kids as possible. I was shocked to look at my watch and see 9:34 as I crossed the line. I then glanced at my watch again to see 3:00 on the run split. I have no clue where that came from. That was the most brutal and mentally tough run I have ever done. I can honestly say that it was by His grace that I finished. My total time was 9:35:02. Good enough for 139th Overall (Top 100 Amateur) and 18th in the M25-29 Age Group. Not bad for my first showing in Kona.

I am truly thankful for the amazing opportunity to race in Kona and I could not have done it without the amazing support of my amazing wife, Claudia. I am truly a blessed man. 

Thanks to my support crew Dad, Mom, Claudia, Ruthie, James, and baby Klara for enduring the heat and cheering me on.  And of course so many of my friends and family members for believing in me and encouraging me onwards.

A special word of thanks to Brian Grasky, my amazing coach, for pushing me to new levels this year. And thanks wouldn’t be completed without recognizing those that have support me this year, GEC, CompressportCanada, and Brainsport. Thank you all.

Finally a special word of thanks to Danny Carter for helping with my ankle/Achilles issue over the past couple months. Without his assistance I’d probably still be nursing an injury. 

Now it’s time to relax and recover and start considering what next year will bring.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Kona Day 7 - Tomorrow is Race Day.

So today was the last day before the race. I'll be honest I'm getting a little anxious to race but feeling great.

Workout #1 - a light swim at the Kailua Pier. I hit the water at a little before 0700hrs swam out a little over 500m practicing sighting and a strong pull. On the way back to shore I stopped at the Coffee's of Hawaii Espresso Bar and enjoyed one last Espresso while wishing Albert Boyce(Mr. Coffees of Hawaii) all the best for the race. I then finished my workout. Total ~20minutes and a little over a km.

Headed back to the Resort and applied the finishing touches to my Shiv and then headed out for workout #2 my Brick.

Aside: For anyone interested my steed is a Specialized Shiv (M) with Sram Red (Black Derailleurs / R2C shifters), Specialized 170mm Crankset with a Cinquo Quarq Power Meter (head unit is an Edge 500)  54/39 Q-rings and Ultregra SL Pedals, Dura Ace 7900 11-23 Cassette, KMC X10SL Gold Chain,  Hed Jet 60/90 C2 wheels with Continental GP4000S tires, and a Specialized Toupe 143 Saddle. For hydration/nutrion I have a Profile Design Bento Box, Speedil A2 bottle between the aerobars, a Specialized Virtue Aero Bottle on the downtube, and a Hydro Tail with 2 x Specialized Rib Cages. There are some aero gains to be made in my setup and I'll be working that over in the off-season. For now I'm sticking with what works.

My race ready steed ready for battle!

Workout #2 - headed out for a light out and back 30 minute ride on Ali'i drive. I inserted a few race wattage intervals to keep the legs loose but fresh. I was feeling very good so had to keep reminding myself to back off on the intensity (a sign I'm getting too anxious). Returned to the Resort threw my Brooks Connects on and headed out the door for the second part of the brick. A light out and back run on Ali'i drive with once again a few race intensity intervals. Just as I was heading down Ali'i drive Crowie (Craig Alexander) was heading the other way on his bike. (I also spotted Caroline Steffen on her bike on both the out and back) At the Cliff House I stopped for a drink and then turned around and headed back to the resort. Once again I had to keep reminding myself to enjoy the run and just take it easy. Running on Ali'i drive is truly a treat as you get to enjoy the sites along the waterfront.

Spent the remainder of the morning at the Resort just staying off my feet and ensuring all my gear was prepared for the drop off this afternoon. At shortly after 1400hrs I head into town to drop off my bike and bike and run gear bags. It was very efficient process that took at most ten minutes. Trish led me through tranistion explained where everything was and answered my few anxious questions. Then it was back to the Resort to enjoy relaxing and calm my nerves for the rest of the day.

What can I say? I am a little anxious and nervous heading into the race - the anxiety is mostly from the ocean swim. Once that part of the race is over then I can really start my race. Until I hear the sound of the cannon I'll remain a little anxious and nervous but after that it's game on!

Jordan Rapp said it best in his post..."It's all over now except the suffering. Welcome to the hurt locker. Make yourself at home..."

Kona Day 6

So today I only had one light workout to accomplish, checkout the expo, and attend the welcome banquet and athlete meeting.

Workout #1 - a light 20 minute swim at the Kailua Pier. I hit the water shortly before seven and swam out to the second buoy after the pier. On the way back I made a quick pitstop at the Coffees of Hawaii floating espresso bar and then finished the workout. The intent of the workout was just to get a little blood flowing, practice sighting, and do a little drafting. Total workout ~22 minutes and a little over 1km. Happy with the workout, I headed back to the Resort to spend some time with the family.

After spending a couple hours with the kids and seeing Nana was happy taking Ruthie and James to the pool, Claudia and I decided to tour the expo with baby Klara. This would be my first and only time taking in the expo as I wanted to stay off my feet as much as possible. We decided we'd do a quick tour of ~1hr duration and then head back to the Resort. There was lots to see at the expo but my main objectives were to see Compressport, Rotor, Quarq, and Specialized. It was great to see Rudi and Ryan at Compressport. I bought some of the Kona 2012 limited edition gear and they threw in some visors for free. There was a lot of neat stuff at the expo and of course lots of free shirts, hats, and visors. A big thanks to Travis at Louis Garneau for providing us with a bag and throwing in a couple of boxes of Gels...all because I was wearing a Grasky shirt (so I guess I should be thanking Brian as well!).
Me with Rudi at the Compressport Booth (Ryan is in the background)!
I took it very easy this afternoon, stayed off my feet, and actually caught a nap. Then it was off to the Welcome dinner and athlete briefing. Dinner was good, but as every other WTC dinner, overpriced. The entertainment was great with lots of Hawaiin acts, while the remainder of the evening was long and quite boring. Athlete briefing was delayed by almost 45 minuntes, but thankfully short and to the point which is always appreciated.
The Maley Clan at the welcome dinner. (Baby Klara is hiding)

Now it's off to bed.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Kona Day 5

So today consisted of two workouts - a morning swim and a bike to run brick.

Workout #1 - Woke up, had a breakfast and headed out the door. It was lightly raining at the Kona Coast Resort but in Kailua-Kona it was dry. I hit the water shortly before 0700hrs and did an hour swim with two out and backs. Seeing as the Catamaran from Coffees of Hawaii was on the water, I made a stop for an Espresso on my first out and back. The water was quite choppy this morning...more like a series of larger swells. I worked mostly on sighting and caught the occasional person's feet to practice some drafting. Total workout approximately 1hr and a little over 3kms.

After the morning workout, I headed back to the Resort to spend some time with the kids and prepare for my brick.

Workout #2 - Objective was to do approximately 1:15 on the bike focusing on race pacing and then a 30 minute run at race pace. I headed down Ali'i drive to Kailua-Kona and then did a quick out and back on Kuakini Hwy (I hadn't ridden this section of the course yet). Following that I did an out and back to the airport and then headed back to the Resort. Total bike duration was 1:30 and ~50kms. I felt very strong on the bike and race wattage felt quite comfortable. Downed half a bottle of Powerbar Perform and then headed out the door for my run. It was quite hot on Ali'i drive so I was very thankful that Gu and Powerbar both had aid stations on my route. Run duration ~30 minutes and 7.5kms.

Heading out for the bike portion of the Brick!
The remainder of the afternoon I spent with Dad and the kids as the ladies went on a shopping excursion. (I actually managed to get a short nap!)  And this evening I attended the Slowtwich gathering at the Musclemilk / Cytomax house where I met a few folks and Chrissie!
Me with the ever smiling Chrissie Wellington.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Kona Day 4

So today was a lighter day with only a single workout to accomplish. A 45 minute swim focusing on sighting and some drafting.

Workout #1 - Woke up at 0530hrs, had three eggs, a bagel with jam and a cup of Kona Coffee (this stuff is great) and then headed to the Kailua Pier for my workout. Dropped my bag off at the PowerBar check-in (yes that's right they actually secure your belongings while you swim, pretty sweet.) Just as I was about to hit the water, I saw Crowie (Craig Alexander) - he looks pretty fit - and is the men's favourite going into the race. Did an out and back on the swim catching a set of legs at the beginning and then again near the end. On the way back to shore I made a pit stop at the Coffee of Hawaii Catamaran and enjoyed an Espresso Coffee. (Yes you read that right again, there is a Catamaran sitting about 300m from shore serving hot fresh Kona Espresso!) Finished my workout, grabbed my gear and headed back to the Kona Coast Resort.

Spent the remainder of the morning with the family. We toured Greenwell Coffee Farm which was actually pretty neat. Though the name may not ring any bells, they are the producers of over 20% of all Kona Coffee. Of course we got to sample some of their coffees as well which was also a treat. Definately learned a lot about coffee during the short visit...if you are ever in Kona, this place is well worth checking out.

The kids picking coffee cherries.

Greenwell Coffee Farms Kitshop.
After lunch I did the athlete check-in thing. Lots of cool stuff in our bags, but it's the same backpack minus the labeling that I got at Couer d'Alene and St George...I thought they would have at least made them somewhat special. The check-in process here was like a well oiled machine. I probably spent a grand total of 5 minutes going through the check-in process. Everyone was super friendly and probably more importantly knew what they were doing. Then I had a look at the Ironman Souvenirs...lots of ways to spend a lot of money. For anyone that knows me, I'm not a big souvenir kinda guy but my vice is my Ironman mugs. So I picked up my souvenir, my mug, and a couple beach towels and then set off to survey the downtown for an hour.

Went back and picked up the wife and kids from the Resort and then enjoyed the Ironman World Championship Parade of Nations. It's a pretty neat affair. All the countries march down Ali'i drive holding their flag and handing out goodies. I got the honour of holding the Canadian Flag...pretty sweet! I guess it pays to show-up early.
The Canadian Contingent.

However, the highlight of my day was getting to meet Macca (Chris MacCormack) who won here in 2007 and 2010. He looks to be in top shape and should give Crowie a run for his money.
Macca and I!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Kona Day 3

So today was another acclimatization day calling for an early morning swim at the Kailua Pier and a moderate effort bike ride of 2hrs.

Workout #1 - An early morning swim with the intent of getting used to the swim venue, locating landmarks, practicing sighting, a little drafting, and keeping the arms loose. I hit the water at about 0645hrs. There was a few other athletes there at this time in the morning. I saw Matt Russell again as he hit the water just before me. I did an out and back of about 45minutes using the buoys as my sighting points. Upon returning to the pier there were considerably more athletes just hitting the water. I figured this would provide a good opportunity to practice drafting so turned around and sat on someone's hip for a little over five minutes and then turned around and headed back to the pier. I was satisfied with the workout, just over an hour in duration and a little over 3kms of swimming.

I headed back home, had a quick Starbucks Kona Coffee (this stuff is great!) and packed the bike in the van. The plan for the second workout was to drive with the family out to Hapuna Beach State Park, they could swim, while I biked out to Hawi and back. I was anxious to do the ride because from what I have heard, this section is the hardest part of the course (or at least it can be dependent on the wind). Drive out to Hapuna Beach State Park was uneventful, but it provided me the oppertunity to review the section of the course on the Queen K (I had pretty much ridden all of this section on Saturday minus ~10kms of it)

Ruthie and James enjoying the beach while their father enjoyed another workout in Kona!
Workout #2 - The ride out to Hawi was a light pace mostly Z2 with the occasional harder effort to climb one of the many rollers. The wind wasn't strong so I was able to ride at my prescribed easy pace. I was expecting a few tougher hills but it was significantly easier than what I had expected... I guess I'll be sticking with a 54/39 up front and an 11-23 for the race. On the way back from Hawi, I inserted three moderate effort intervals on the bike (very similar to my intended race wattage and intensity). This section of the course is definately more scenic than the Queen K. Total time just over 2 hours and just shy of 70kms.

Elevation profile from today's ride. Just shy of 700m elevation gain.

I enjoyed lunch with the support crew on the lovely Hapuna Beach and then we headed back into Kailua-Kona to shop at the International Market and picked some fresh veggies from the market in downtown Kailua-Kona. Of course I had to make a stop at the Cytomax house to pick-up some Muscle Milk on the way back to the resort!

Cytomax/Musclemilk pitstop on Ali'i Drive.
 The race atmosphere in Kailua-Kona is continuing to build with more athletes pouring into town and race packet pickup starting tomorrow.