Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kid's on the Run - a new PR

There was a new Personal Record set at the Kids on the Run charity 5k/10k event today in Pasadena - but it wasn't me.  It was the youngest Wrigley - my daughter, Katelyn, with her very first 1K Run.

My son Kyle also ran the kids K run in the 6-10yr old division.

I ran the 10k event.  But this post is about the kids, so check back in a day or two for my race report.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Motivational Movie Monday

Jon Blais - The Blazeman.  Watch this video about the ALS warrior poet and get inspired.

After being diagnosed with ALS, Jon Blais finished the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon with a total time of 16:28:56 in 2005.  He died from Lou Gehrig's disease on May 27, 2007

Sunday, February 21, 2010

T Minus 9

February 21st - Nine months until race day! tick-tock tick-tock...

February was a good month with two organized races - The Rose Bowl Half Marathon, and the Tour de Palm Springs Century.  I might also run the Kids on the Run 10k next Sunday, but it will probably be a race morning decision.

My long ride was rained out yesterday morning, so I did a high intensity 10k run instead.  Today I did interval work on the bike for about an hour.  I'll be doing intervals at least once a week to try and increase my functional threshold power (FTP) which is currently at 210 watts.

March has a couple of possible running events, and one that I'm already signed up for:

3/7 - Ventura Half Marathon
3/20 - Pasadena 5k (there's also a sprint reverse tri, but the tri distance is so short that I can't justify the $85 entry)
3/27 - Chesebro Half Marathon (already signed up)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tour de Palm Springs - Results

Right after the finish of the Tour de Palm Springs

I have a new PR for an organized Century ride.  My previous best was 6:04 for the 2005 Solvang's Finest Century.  My new record, from the Tour de Palm Springs, is 5:58.

Now, the reality is, it's hard to compare the Solvang ride and the Palm Springs ride since they are completely different rides. Unlike a running race, Century rides are not typically an exact distance. In fact they can vary by as much as 10 or 20 miles and still be considered a Century.  If I recall correctly, the Solvang Century was actually a 100 mile ride, whereas the Palm Springs Century was 102 miles. 2 miles might not seem like a big difference, and it's really not, but even at a fairly quick 20 miles per hour pace, that extra 2 miles adds an additional 6 minutes.  The Palm Springs ride also seemed to have a lot more stop lights than any other Century ride I've ever finished.  At one point, around mile 65, I thought I might finish as early as 5:45 - 5:50, but I struggled a bit towards the end, and I also hit a string of lights in the last 10 miles that not only added a lot of "stopped" time, but also lowered my average speed because I had to slow down, stop, then speed back up at each light. On the other hand, the Solvang ride had more climbing, so that probably evens things out a bit.

The total time of 5:58 breaks down to roughly 20 minutes of 'stopped' time, and 5 hours and 38 minutes of riding time.  The 'stopped' time includes refilling water bottles, picking up food, a restroom stop, and traffic related stops for red lights and stop signs.

There were a total of 5 SAG (Support And Gear) stations along the course.  I rolled through the first SAG station at mile 15 without stopping - but there was so much congestion, that I still had to get off the bike and walk it through. Since I didn't actually stop, the timer on my computer kept ticking away, so the congestion here just lowered my average speed, but didn't count towards the 'stopped' time. 

The second station was at mile 27.  I stopped at the second station for less than 3 minutes just to fill up a water bottle and roll out.

The third station was at the 51 mile mark.  I finished the first half in 2hrs 50min.  The first half of the course contained most of the climbing, so it was good to be half-done in under 3hrs. SAG #3 was at the mid-point of the course and it seemed like everyone was off the bike and relaxing - sort of taking a lunch break, so it took a while to get through it.  By the time I got back on the road, I had spent almost 6 minutes at station #3.  I didn't really need that long of a break, but it was impossible to move through there any faster than I did.

SAG # 4 was at mile 71.  This one had very little congestion and was easy to get in and out of.  I'm sure I spent less than 3 minutes at this one.

The last SAG station was at mile 90.  I rolled in to station #5 after 5hrs and 12 min of total elapsed time, for a very brief stop to tighten the bolts on my water bottle cage which had somehow loosened up.  I had 48 minutes left finish the ride in under 6hrs, and 51 minutes left to finish and still PR the ride.  It actually seemed easily doable since I could average just 16mph and still make it, but because of the number of stop lights in the last part of the ride, it proved to be more challenging than I thought it would, and I barely made it under 6hrs.

Although the final results and a new PR were good, the execution of my plan was not.  I wanted to take the first third of the course pretty easy, but after analyzing the ride data after the race, I can see I actually did the opposite. The most accurate way to measure effort on a bicycle is to measure watts. That tells me how much work I was doing, regardless of weather, incline, speed, or other conditions.  Speed is not a good indicator of effort on a bike, because riding downhill or with a tailwind can increase speed by quite a bit even though it requires little to no effort.

During the first two hours of the ride, my average power was 191 watts with large sections that averaged over 200 watts.  During the next two hours, my average watts dropped to 165.  And during the final 2 hours it bumped up a little to 171 watts.  During the Ironman, I'd much rather have average watt splits that are much less varied, and I need to start out easy, and pump up the effort later IF I know I can spare the effort without hurting the run.

My power graph (smoothed for easier reading) 
from the Tour de Palm Springs

I'm fairly new to riding with Power, and this was my first Century ride with a PowerTap, so it was a good learning experience.  I'll keep working on increasing my available power during my training rides, and regulating my effort during Centuries and races leading up to IMAZ. My mission is to make sure I'm fully dialed in and have my power strategy completely figured out by November 21.

Motivational Movie Monday

Any Given Sunday - Half time speech

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tour de Palm Springs


The Tour de Palm Springs is tomorrow morning at 7am.  

My plan for the 102 mile ride is similar to my strategy for the Rose Bowl Half Marathon. Basically I will break the ride into thirds.  The first 34 miles will be at a relatively easy pace.  The second block of 34 will be a bit faster, and the final 34 miles will be at a more aggressive pace.

My current PR for a century ride is 6:04 from back in 2005 in Solvang.  Century rides can be a bit tricky because the streets are not closed down to vehicle traffic, and cyclists have to obey traffic lights and stop signs. So it's not exactly like running in foot-race or most triathlons where we don't have to deal with traffic laws.  But even with traffic lights and rest stops, my goal is to finish the ride tomorrow in under 6hrs for a new PR.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Rose Bowl Half Marathon - Results

Clear blue skies on race morning

The Rose Bowl Half Marathon was on Sunday, February 7, 2010.

My race plan called for an easy start - running 10 minute miles for the first four miles, then bumping the pace to 9 minute miles for the next four miles, 8 min/miles for miles 9,10,11 & 12, and a full speed run for the final 1.1 miles.  Done exactly right, my finish time would have been 01:55:00.

My actual finish time was 01:51:23.7

I arrived and parked my truck at 6:30am. I figured out where the start line was and used the restroom, then quickly got back in the car and ran the heater until 7:30am because it was too cold to walk around (apologies to anyone living where it actually gets really cold).

The race started on time at 8am sharp.  I love it when race directors are organized and start on time!

I lined up about four rows back from the start, and when the gun went off I tried to jog at my 10 min/mile pace.  Dozens of people were passing me, and it was hard not to speed up, but I tried to stick to the plan and  jog. The first mile was on paved road, and slightly down hill. I got to the first mile marker and checked my watch - 8:10.50.  Whoa!  Too fast. Gotta slow down.

Mile 2 - 8:27. Still too fast.  Gotta slow down.
Mile 3 - 8:43. Better, but still need to slow down.
Mile 4 - 9:13. Still not anywhere near 10 minute miles, but the effort on the first four felt really easy, so I let it go and prepared to run the next set of 4 miles at a 9 min pace.

Mile 5 - 8:54.14. Pretty close.
Mile 6 - 9:01.41. Nailed it!
Mile 7 - 9:17.54. A little slow, but this was actually the hardest mile on the course.  There was a very steep trail climb right at the beginning of mile 7, and once I crested the top I had to really pick it up to get the mile done in 9 minutes.
Mile 8 - 9:08.06. Not bad.  Mostly downhill now for the remaining 5.1 miles

Mile 9 - 8:09.48. A little slow.
Mile 10 - 8:00.56. Perfect!
Mile 11 - 8:15.49. Close
Mile 12 - 7:42.82.  By now I'm passing people left and right, but there's a heavy breather right on my tail. I've got just over 1 mile to drop him, but he's sticking to me like a shadow.

Mile 13 - 7:32.13.  I tried to pull away from the heavy breather, but he's still right behind me.
Last 0.1 mile into the Rose Bowl - 0:48.42.

It came down to a sprint between me and the heavy breather as we entered the Rose Bowl and ran onto the grass. I ran fast as I could, but he was able to edge me out and cross the finish line a split second before me. It made for a really fun finish. 

I'm sure without him pushing me (and vice-versa) we both would have been several seconds slower.  Right after we crossed the finish, he turned around and shook my hand and thanked me for pushing him the final 2 miles of the course.

Here's my Garmin GPS info for the race.  I accidentally started my watch again for a few seconds after the race was over, so ignore lap 15.  That's just me standing by my truck.

In the men's 35-39 age group I was 16th out of 54
Out of all men, I was 87th out of 355
And overall I was 109th out of 635

Overall I think it was a great run.  I sort of blew my plan for the first 4 miles, but stuck to the plan the rest of the way.  Since I was able to hit my pace goals, even after a fast start, I was obviously too conservative on the plan in the first place.  My main goal was to negative split the run and I did.  The first half took roughly 58 minutes, and the second half took 53. 

Effort wise, it's exactly how I want to run the marathon portion of Ironman Arizona. The only difference is I don't actually expect to speed up in the Ironman marathon. I just expect the effort to ramp up as I get into the later parts of the marathon, while I try to hang on and maintain my speed.

Next up, Tour de Palm Springs this coming Saturday.

Motivational Movie Monday

Ironman - You Will Do This

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The race plan

The Rose Bowl Half is coming up this Sunday, so here's the plan.

First of all, the Pasadena weather report shows a 50/50 chance of rain on Friday and Saturday, but perfect running weather for Sunday with 0% chance of rain. I hope the report is right.

I plan to break the race down into 4 segments:

Mile 0 - 4 at a 10min/mile, easy pace
Mile 5 - 8 at a 9min/mile pace
Mile 9 - 12 at an 8 min/mile pace
Mile 13 at sub-8 min/mile

That should get me to the finish line in less than 2hrs, but there's a bit of hill climbing and trail running to contend with, so I don't know how well the plan will work in real life.  My PR for the Half Marathon distance is 1:45:48.  I don't really have my eyes on a new PR, but I always like to know the number just in case things are going really well and I want to push it.

According to the official elevation chart, I'll be climbing pretty steady from mile 2 to mile 8.5.  Luckily those miles correspond with my slower pace miles, but the climb could be tougher than I anticipate and might hurt my pace later in the run. The good news is I should be able to lean forward and get some extra free speed after mile 8.5 on the downhill.  Downhill running tends to be tough on the quads, so I suspect I'll feel a little bit of the burn on Monday morning!