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Race Recaps

RACE RECAP: Casablanca Classic 8k – Nov 7, 2015

casablancalogoLast race of the 2015 season in the books, but it almost didn’t happen.

Thursday morning, 2 days before the race, I had my usual strength training session.  In that session, deadlifts are involved and it just happen that this week was max load week, before the deload week next week.  My first session on Wednesday with squats went great, deadlifts on Thursday, not so much.  I had did 4 “warmup”, progressive sets.  My last set goal was 8 x 255 lbs.  First 3-4 reps felt good, but by 5 & 6, I could feel myself getting fatigued and losing focus.  The last 6 inches on the 6th rep did it.  I felt the pain in my lower back.  No popping or anything, but I knew it wasn’t good and would be for this.  Well, the next 2 days I spent laid out on the lazy-boy popping pain & NSAIDs.  I went for an emergency session with Victoria Van Helvert Massage Therapy Friday afternoon.  By Friday evening, I still wasn’t sure I was going to run the next day.

Saturday morning, I got up, my HRV said I was good to go.  My back was still sore/stiff, but felt better.  I decided to take a ride to the site, at the very least to get my t-shirt.  I still brought all my racing gear just in case.

Once I got there, I picked up my stuff and felt energized.  I “suited up” and ran a 3-4 min warm up.  There was no pain while running so I decided to go for it.

Based on the Crystal Beach 5k result of 29:55, I adjusted my original goal for the 8k from 50 min to 48 mins.  But, because my back was messed up, I wasn’t expecting to reach 48m, not to mention the windy conditions.

The weather for the race was perfect – Partly cloudy, 10°C, with a 10-15 kph SW wind.

Race Bib
Race Bib

Race started on time at 10 AM.  I started mid pack and had to fight my way through slower runners at the beginning and was actually pacing myself a little too slow.  Once I got in a rhythm I slowly increased my pace, kept an eye on my heart rate, and worked the wind to my advantage whenever I could.

Around the 5k mark, I literally got a 2nd wind.  My paced picked up without my heart rate or PRE changing.  I rode that wave until midway through the 6k mark.  Then it got hard.  Even at this point I was at an average pace 6:04 which would have meant a 48:24 finish time.

But, when I passed the 7k marker, I still felt good and increased my pace – significantly.  And the last 500m, I dropped the hammer and passed a couple more people.  To my surprise, when I crossed the line, I looked at my Garmin and it showed a 5:57 average pace and a 47:36 finish time, which is 24 secs faster than my ambitious goal time of 48 mins. 🙂

Results Summary:

Official Chip Time: 47m 36s
Average Pace: 5:57 min/km (9:34 min/mile)
VDOT: 32.1
Overall Placement: 120 of 174 (69%)
Age Group (M40-44): 11 of 11 (100%)
Race Weight: 251.4 lbs
Official Race Results: CLICK HERE
Garmin Data: CLICK HERE


So now what?  The plan is to continue to build the run base, and start the bike base later in December.  The next planned race is February 15 2016, the Grimsby 10k.

Doesn’t look like I can plan to do this race next year as it appears not to be coming back in 2016.  Unfortunate because it’s a nice distance and a nice spot to have a race.

RACE RECAP: Crystal Beach 5k – Oct 10, 2015

CrystalBeach5kWhat a fabulous day for a race.  Sunshine, cool crisp fall air, no wind, and a great crowd and a great organized race.

I did this race back in 2011, and in only 4 years, it’s improved significantly.  The goody bag was full of nice things like beer glass, drink glasses, and an embroidered toque!  Also can’t forget the free beer after the race when you present your race bib at Sneakers Bar & Grill just down the street from the start/finish line.

As far as how the race went, I didn’t know what to expect as far as my performance.  I had mixed emotions – I knew it would be hard as all short races are when done properly.  But my higher body weight was a concern, and far from perfect nutrition leading up to the race.  All of it mind games you go through before a race.  I decided to stick to the original plan of a 6:00 min/km pace for a 30 min finish.  Adjust if necessary during the race.

Horn goes off on time at 11 AM.  I placed myself mid-pack and it was a good clean start.  At first I just ran what I felt was a good pace.  The Garmin always takes a few minutes to stabilize.  I finally looked at the Garmin Average Pace and it showed 5:40 min/km and a heart rate already at 160 – yikes.  Backer’ down dude.  So I tried slowing a little and the heart rate stabilized around 161-162 for a few minutes, then started to creep up, which is normal.  My pace at this point was around 5:50 min/km.  I felt good and was thinking if things got too bad later I would have a small buffer to meet my 30 min goal.

By the 3 km point, my heart rate was clipping 180s and it felt like my chest was going to explode.  I was still sitting at a 5:50 min/km avg pace so I made the decision to walk for 30 seconds, bring my heart rate down.  Worked great and my average pace only went up to 5:54 so I was still on track.

Approaching the 4 km point, my heart rate was up to 185, so I again decided that I would take a walk break, this time 1 min.  My avg pace drop to 5:58 so I still had a buffer which was perfect.  So I dropped the hammer – a little too much – after just 300m my heart rate was pegged again and I couldn’t catch my breathing.  So another short 30 sec walk break, and again at the 4.7 km mark.  It was apparent at this point, my cardio was done, but luckily so was the race.

After the race.
After the race.

My run training has been consistent since Aug 21st and I was rewarded today.  Not only did I make my original goal, it re-ignited the fire of competition, even if it’s only with myself.  Now, lets hope my body doesn’t turn against me like it has in the past.

Results Summary:

Official Chip Time: 29m 55s
Average Pace: 5:59 min/km (9:38 min/mile)
Overall Placement: 205 of 493 (42%)
Age Group (M40-44): 14 of 18 (78%)
Race Weight: 256 lbs
Official Race Results: CLICK HERE
Garmin Data: CLICK HERE


So what’s next?  Assuming my knee survives this race (I’ll know in a couple days), I’m shooting for the same race as last year – Casablanca Classic 8k.  My original goal from last year was 40 mins.  Well, that won’t happen.  As per the Race Schedule on here, the revised goal was under 50 mins.  Now that I have my 5k race time, models predict a finish just over 48 mins at current weight and aerobic efficiency.  But with 4 weeks to go, both of those will improve so I think I can pull it off at 48 mins flat, which would be a 8 min improvement from last year.

MS Bike Niagara, Aug 23 2015

MSBikeAlthough not a race, I’m classifying it as that for easier searching in the future.

I signed up for MS Bike Niagara back in November 2014 along with a friend, Dan, in support of another friend, Lori, who was recently diagnosed with this shitty disease.  I’ve done this event, and a 2-day version of it 10+ years ago.  The events are run really well and it’s for a great cause.  I raised a total of $325 for the event, thanks to great friends and family.  Dan raised $1000 which is fantastic.

There was virtually no training on my part for this ride.  I rode maybe a total of 35 kms in the months before the ride.  What I found in those “test rides” was that my cardio would not be a problem, but my ass definitely will, and I was right.

I arrived at the event site in Crystal Beach around 7:15 AM.  Registered and got the bike & equipment ready.  I met Dan around 7:40 AM.  We went near the starting line, took a

MS Team Lori start selfie
MS Team Lori start selfie

Team Lori selfie and waited for the start.  The weather couldn’t have been better.  The day start at a nice 17-18°C with a slight south breeze which helped at the start since it was at our tall.

The first half of the ride seemed to have gone by quickly.  Dan & I felt good and maintained a 23 kph average speed for the first half.  The 2nd half wasn’t as pleasant; for me it was my ass – very sore.  For Dan, it seemed he seemed to be more affected by the small headwind.  At one point, I rode in front of him so he could ride in my draft which should have helped with his cardio.

After the last stop, it was getting hot out and my ass was extremely sore.  But, it went by fairly fast.

We crossed the finish line after a total of 4h 18 mins (3 hrs 35 mins riding time).  Here’s the Garmin data for the ride with my vitals.

We had a welcoming committee consisting of Lori, Wendy, and Mrs. Fat Guy, Billie.  I can speak for Dan, but myself, I had a great time and it felt good to get some mileage on the bike again.  Not to mention, we did it for a great cause.  Will there be a next year?  It’s a definite possibility.

Ray, Lori, & Dan at the Finish Line
Ray, Lori, & Dan at the Finish Line

RACE RECAP: Casablanca Classic 8k – Nov 8, 2014

casablancalogoI originally signed up for this race back in July when my running and strength training were still going really good and I was all psyched up.  But somewhere around the end of August, I started having issues with my lower back and everything got derailed.  Although I felt better a month ago, I had a hard time “getting back into it”.  😕

So 1 week before this race, I star getting back into it, and I manage 1 short training run 4 days before the race.  I knew I wasn’t going to be setting any PRs, but dammit, I paid for it, and I was going to run it, even if it killed me.  😀  And it nearly did.  😯

Weather was to be expected for this time a year – cloudy, windy, and cold.  It was around 6*C (43*F) with wind chill at 2*C (36*F).  I wore a long sleeve tech shirt with a wind breaker jacket (that has a couple layers inside), wind breaker long pants, and a tech hat.  I felt reasonably comfortable, maybe a little on the warm side after for the first 15-20 mins of the race.

My goal before the race, was to finish in 55 minutes or less.  But 10 mins into the race, it was clear my body wasn’t up for that task.  Even though I was using the Galloway Run/Walk method, I was not able to maintain the prescribed run pace for a 55 min finish because my heart rate was too elevated.  At that point I figured anything under 1 hour will have to do.


The rest of the race was really uneventful.  I traded places throughout the race with 2 ladies that were running together, chatting it up the entire time, while I was almost dying.  I told myself I would not let them finish ahead of me.  They didn’t, even though they tried.  I really had nothing left for an end-of-race kick, but I dropped whatever I could.  Seeing the finish line always gives you a little more than you thought you had.  My heart rate peaked at 194 BPM.  I’m sure there was some sort of damage done because of this.  It took almost 3 hours for my heart rate to get back down under 100.

Results Summary:

Official Chip Time: 56m 17s
Average Pace: 7:03 min/km (11:21 min/mile)
Overall Placement: 186 of 203 (92%)
Age Group (M40-44): 11 of 11 (100%)
Race Weight: 260 lbs
Official Race Results: CLICK HERE
Garmin Data: CLICK HERE


So what does this all mean?

In my prime 4 years ago, this race would have been done in about 40 mins instead of almost an hour, and I wasn’t at my greatest potential in my prime either – I was till considered a novice.  At the very least, this race has lit that fire up my ass again, to get back into the best shape of my life.  Using my experience to avoid injury that set me back 2 years ago.

If I can remain injury-free, I’m setting my goal for a 40 min finish at this race in 2015!


Race Recap: Hamilton Road2Hope Half Marathon – Nov 4, 2012

Although I registered for this race awhile back, there was a few things that prevented me from training properly late in the game.  A couple legit reasons, and a few excuses.  Bottomline, my longest training run was an 11k run on Sept 30th, and the only run after that was 20 mins on Oct 31st.  A month without a run, followed by this 21.1k race.  As expected, I wasn’t shooting for any PRs, just simply treat it as a long training run and hope for the best and go for a 2:30 finish.  And that’s what it ended up being -and I’m happy with it.

Weather prediction was suppose to be cool but with some sun.  The cool part was right, but no sun – overcast and a 15 kph NW wind off the lake.  She was a little chilly for the first few kms.

I didn’t do any warmup – decided to use the first few kms of the race to do that and it workout fine.  I actually enjoyed the view and energy of the race at the slower pace and soaked it all in.

The race begins at the Defasco Park on the mountain in Hamilton.  The first 5 kms are fairly flat, followed by the 8 km downhill section of the Red Hill Expressway.  I tried focusing on good downhill form – lean forward with shorter, faster strides – and for the most part I feel I succeeded.  After that downhill section, it enters a hard packed gravel trail for about a km, then a asphalt trail.  Very nice scenery at this time of year.  The end of the race is along Lake Ontario with the finish at Confederation Park.

Around the 12k marker, my heart rate just skyrocketed.  At first I thought it was my Garmin malfunctioning, but a quick manual count confirmed it was correct.  My breathing was still comfortable, but my heart rate was at max…literally.  I kept going as usual hoping for the best.

With 3-4 kms to go, the end couldn’t come quick enough.  Legs were screaming, and so was my brain.  I did pick up the pace for the part of the race and I managed to hit a new heart rate max of 194 bpm.  Yikes!

I crossed the line with a chip time of 2:30:38 which is exactly what I was shooting for.

Results Summary:

Official Chip Time: 2h 30m 38s
Average Pace: 7:09 min/km
Overall: 1772 of 1942 (91%)
Age Group (M40-44): 97th of 101 (96%)
Race Weight: 258 lbs
Official Results: CLICK HERE

Here is the GARMIN DATA for the race.

Now for the next 20 weeks, it’s a winter prep program to build up the running and biking fitness, all in order to get ready for a season of duathlons.  Also looking to drop at least 50 lbs by May 2013.