Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Canadian race: Loop the Lake 10K results

Earlier this summer I signed up to run a 10K race in British Columbia as part of our road trip vacation to Canada (that's why I've been absent from this blog for a while).

The 13th Annual Loop the Lake 10K was around Lake Invermere in the eastern part of BC, just outside the Kootenay and Banff National Parks.

Since I've been doing more running than anything else over the summer, I thought for sure I'd post a good time on this 10K. After all, it was around a lake, so the course would be nice and flat, right?

Um, no. I was so very wrong to assume that. It wasn't until the night before the race, after I'd picked up my race packet (my bib + a single two-sided piece of paper with instructions) that I saw "It's a hilly course so don't expect any PBs."

So, at 8am on August 9, I lined up at the starting line with 375 Canucks and one other American and ran the course from Windermere to Invermere, up and around Lake Invermere.

Couldn't have asked for more breathtaking views with the Canadian Rockies all around us. The course was well-marked, the crowd congenial and the mosquitoes weren't too thirsty once you got up to speed.

While I was hoping to break 50:00 prior to seeing the course was hilly, I was content to break 54:00 with a final time of 53:42. What with the elevation gain on the course (800 feet) and the fact we were at 2600' altitude to begin with, I think I've rationalized the finish time as well as I can.

While I knew I'd done pretty well in terms of passing more than getting passed, but it wasn't until the final results were published to the web this week that I found out I'd finished in the top 20% of all runners! The fastest came in at 32:49, you can tell it wasn't a competitive field.

Final stats: I was 65th of 377 runners and 8th of 20 men in my age group 30-39.

Moreover, while I was able to add training runs in almost every state we drove through (OR, WA, MT, AB, BC) I can now accurately call myself an "international competitive athlete" but don't confuse that with a "competitive international athlete." I've got a lot of speed to pick up before I can say that.

My Garmin chart is posted below:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pleasanton Tri for Fun #3 race report

My results: I finished the race in 1:10:05, which is a nice improvement over last time.

My breakouts (and comparable from June's race of 1:12:33):
  • Swim: 7:24 (8:08)
  • T1: 2:33 (3:00)
  • bike: 30:27 (31:25)
  • T2: 1:20 (1:40)
  • run: 28:21 (28:20)
So with the exception of the run, I was improved all around! The funny thing is, I've done more running than anything else since the last time I ran the race. I actually think I ran faster this time, but I paused about 30 seconds into the run to stretch out my right calf which was cramping up after the bike. Without that pause, it'd have been improvements across every single area. Woohoo!

My color commentary on the day:
As I prepped my transition area this morning at Tri for Fun #3 under a beautiful pink and orange sunrise out in Pleasanton, CA, I found myself wondering how in the heck did it get to be August 16 already?!

No matter how time had flown, it was still time to race. I'd done my first Tri for Fun in June (race report here) so today's would be a good way to gauge just how much I'd improved in the last 60 days. I can't say I'd spent the whole 60 days prepping for the triathlon. In the meantime, I'd trained for and summited Mt Whitney (14,495'), taken a 2 week road trip vacation and kinda fallen out of a disciplined approach to improving my times.

As always, the race was well-organized with check-in and transition setup going smoothly (for those of us who got there before 6am). The Shadow Cliffs lake level was lower than ever, attributable to how little rain we've gotten this year, but it was still no-wetsuit-needed warm and mostly clear.

According to race organizers, there were 1,000 of us on the course this morning, split out into six waves (competitive, M16-39, M40+, F16-39, F40+ and relays/others) departing at five minute intervals. And just like last time, there was a very congenial attitude amongst the "competitors" with a warm welcome for the hundreds of first-timers doing the race.

I'd been steeling myself for a hot run (yes, even at 8am) but temperatures were quite comfortable even as we hung around cheering for late finishers past 9am.

Changes I'd made since running last race? I resolved not to take the long outside lane in the swim, I'd gotten a one-piece trisuit and I'd purchased a number belt. I also resolved to push harder on the bike and not walk up any of the hills on the run course (a bad habit I'd formed on the last Tri for Fun).

And in doing all the above, I managed to shave 2.5 minutes off my June time, and I'm rather proud of my improving in each area (calf cramping during the run aside) instead of taking out a big chunk in a single discipline. On top of all this, I posted negative splits for the bike and the run, so I think I'm developing good habits there, too.

My competition:
Of the three of us (Thom, Neil and me), I still came in last, but felt more respectable than last time as our times were closer. I also posted the best bike time of us three even though they both have Aero bars and I do not (still haven't installed mine), so just watch out when I get more aerodynamic!

Shadow Cliffs Tri for Fun Maps:
I saw a lot of traffic came to this site after my June race report looking for maps of the course. Good news for those searchers: I wore my Garmin 305 for the bike/run legs this time, so I have the map data as well as some good data to analyze re: heart rate and pace.

The Bike Map
Bike leg goes clockwise around this route with an out-and-back in SE corner

The Run Map (explanation below)

The run leg follows the jeep trails on site and goes in somewhat a clover shape that starts at the green pin, goes by Heron Pond and then cuts SE down around the Arroyo del Valle loop, back by the Heron Pond to do the NW loop and then all the way down to Arroyo del Valle again before heading along the Shadow Cliffs Lake shore to the red pin finish.

Next time?
Unfortunately, I'll be out of town for the Tri for Real race. I'd really like to see how much I could improve on that one over this, but it's not to be. I'll just have to wait for Tri for Fun #1 in 2009 on my way to doing my first half Ironman.