VIRA Running Series Recap, Victoria 70.3, Training Update

For 2016 I wanted to get my running fitness on track by focusing on some of the VIRA road running series races, and then capping it off with the local Times Colonist 10K event.  I had a lot of fun and some great results at these running races – it feels so good to have a good crack at a road running race.  Running in my Skechers Performance shoes has been fantastic and I am thankful to have formed a relationship with this forward thinking company.

Comox Half Awards

Amazing, very unique plaque for winning this race. One of the neatest race prizes I have ever received.

I started training back in November 2015 to be ready to race well at the classic Pioneer 8K at the start of January.  This is an event that draws some fast runners and this year was no different with some guys going under 24:00.  I ran a strong race and finished 10th with a 26:26.   A month later I lined up for the Cedar 12k and finished 5th in 40:13, again I felt strong from start to finish.  Then came the flat and fast Bazan Bay 5k, which Coach Lance Watson prepped me for with a hard track session with Carolyn Murray’s group of junior development triathletes (5th image in post).  I went on to run a quick 15:28 at Bazan Bay which was good enough for 3rd on the day.  Then two weeks later I drove down Mt.Washington (from our ski cabin) and held off a closing Nick Walker to win the Comox Valley ½ Marathon in 1:12:28 – a time I was somewhat disappointed with at first, but after talking to Coach Lance I was at peace with it since it is a C-Race in the grand scheme of the season.

Then came the final road race – the Times Colonist 10K.  I had tossed the idea around of doing the TC 10K and then the BMO ½ Marathon in Vancouver in early May, but Coach Lance told me to pick just one.  The TC was going to be a family affair so it was an easy choice for me, plus I wanted to keep my run speed up and try for a new 10K personal best time.  I always get a good warm-up in for races as I feel like I need a good 22-25 minutes to be properly warmed up, so it was no different today as I started my warm up at 7:20am, (8:00am race start).  The gun went off and I positioned myself behind Master’s athlete extraordinaire Jim Finlayson.  My plan was to stick as close to him as possible, in the end he finished 28 seconds ahead of me.  Throughout the race I set my own

Windy old Dallas Road. Photo Credit: Simon DesRochers

Windy old Dallas Road. Photo Credit: Simon DesRochers

pace, it was me against my watch, and I was really quite oblivious to the other runners in the group.  Of course I was cognizant of them being there, but they were either behind me or sometimes beside me for the majority of the race.  Unbeknownst to me (I never looked back once until the sprint finish), the group had slowly whittled itself down to 4 by the last 500m and by the time we all crossed the finish line there was 7 seconds separating us.  Nick Walker and another athlete pipped me in the last 500m – I had nothing left in the tank to respond as they

pulled up beside me and then away from me.  My sprint finish with Shaun was quite painful but that is racing (note the 2:45/km pace on my Garmin in the image – yikes!).   I achieved my primary goal of getting a really good speed workout in to give myself confidence that my running speed was still there after a poor run in Texas at the Ironman 70.3 (scroll way down to 18th place).  My legs were pretty shattered after the TC 10k and as insurance I upped my regular dose of Purica Recovery Extra Strength (upped it to 4 tsp that day).  This powerhouse anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, cellular health product can do wonders for athletes, people with joint issues and a whole host of other ailments – it has been on the market for over 15 years and continues to get new customers all the time.

Sprint Finish TC10k 2016

Photo: Matt Cecill

It is always so great to be part of such a massive community event.  There was 7000+ participants and I am sure another ~150 in the kids 1.5k race – which I ran with my little guy Max.  Congratulations to him for running the entire thing this year, he

didn’t stop and walk once.  At the finish line I am not sure who was the most proud of his race: him, I, his mother or his grandmother! LOL.  And congratulations to my wonderful wife for having a great run too, she has been training very consistently in the FrontRunners clinic and commented after the race that she felt so strong and it was the most comfortable she had ever felt running a 10k (which was her goal – to be able to do this race, and then the BMO ½ marathon in June and enjoy the event by being able to finish strong).

Goofing around before Max's race.

Goofing around before Max’s race.

Ironman Canada in Whistler is now 3 months away and the preparation for that has started.  Coach Lance has laid out the next few weeks with the plan being to get me ready to race really well on June 12th at the hometown Victoria 70.3 while preparing me for Whistler.  I am excited for the training in all 3 disciplines.  My swim has consistently improved over the past 2 years and I am inching every closer to that front pack (45 seconds behind the fastest swimmer at Texas 70.3), and I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention the Tower 26 Podcast with Gerry Rodriguez and Jim Lubinski.  This podcast is a must listen for any triathlete wanting to improve their swim, but as with everything don’t take it as gospel (although it is close to it in my opinion).  I feel that with some slight tweaks to my stroke and continuing  to improve my workout prescription I will be swimming with the front group at some races in the foreseeable future.  Cycling will continue to be a focus in training by continuing to push the strength and speed aspects while steadily increasing volume to what is necessary for a strong 180km Ironman ride.  With the new Cervelo P5 underneath me I finally have the confidence that the rig I am riding isn’t costing me precious minutes.  Plus, I continue to work on the fit and position on the bike and feel I am getting more and more comfortable

Track Workout with Carolyn Murray's fleet footed junior development athletes and Brent McMahon.

Track Workout with Carolyn Murray’s fleet footed junior development athletes and Brent McMahon.

while power numbers continue to improve slightly (a combo of fitness improving mostly, but also bike fit).  I have been dealing with a recurring hip issue on the bike for almost a year and some recent minor tweaks to my position finally has me feeling balanced on the bike with the hip issues slowly disappearing.  If it were not for the group of chiropractors led by Dr. Jamie Grimes at Synergy Health Centre I think this injury would have sidelined me, but they have kept me in working order and always provide the relief from treatment I am seeking.  Finally, running is strong at this point and I am of course confident that Coach Lance will get me ready to run well on June 12th and July 24th.

As many people know I am passionate about nutrition, and I continue to evolve my approach.  I have tried it all over the years, honestly, and my blog posts and social media can vouch for that.  But just like most things in life it has all come back keeping it simple, as this offers the best results.  For me I feel four of the most important things are: 1) Macro-nutrient timing, 2) Micro-nutrient density, 3) Listening to your body and 4) Eating enough to fuel your training and keep your hormones healthy (this includes keeping your sleep quality good).  I am currently reading the book The Okinawa Diet Plan, it is a book that attempts to explain the reasons behind the longevity and relatively disease free lives the (elderly) people of the Ryukyu Prefecture archipelago, Japan, live.  The book is based off of a great deal of (funded) research as well as a great deal of experience derived from the authors spending substantial amounts of time there.  I am interested in the small details of what makes these people so long-lived.  The message so far is that they eat less calories and more nutrient dense foods – and this exemplifies why I pay close attention to my diet and continuously evolve it.  NOTE: I am not advocating a low-calorie, negative energy balance diet in any way, shape or form for endurance athletes.  One thing that has always been and will always remain a constant for me is making sure vegetables make up large amounts of my food intake.

With a few spurts of nice weather over the past month Thetis Lake has warmed up enough for open water swimming to start.   The first group workout there on April 29th was great.  I would be lying if I said it wasn’t cold thought!  This is the biggest open water group swim in Victoria and if you want to join then don’t hesitate to contact the gang at Mercury Rising Triathlon or LifeSport Coaching – they will be happy to talk to you.

First open water swim of the year. LifeSpot and Mercury Rising triathlon groups. Photo Credit: Dan Smith.

First open water swim of the year. LifeSpot and Mercury Rising triathlon groups. Photo Credit: Dan Smith.

Thanks for reading.  My next post will be on the Victoria 70.3 race – I will talk about my prep, the course, the future of the event and the competition.



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