Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A nice reverse brick

I took photos of two holes yesterday, and I could post them if my adoring fans really wanted. Of course, a certain element of my fan base would be brutally disappointed to find out that they relate to a different kind of plumbing. One is about a 4 mm hole in a copper pipe, and the other is a much bigger hole in a concrete floor to get at the copper pipe. That all went really well. Breaking up the concrete was much less dusty than I thought it would be, and things were dry till we got right down to the leak. It turns out a chunk of gravel had wedged between the copper water supply pipe and the plastic drain. Over time it wore a small hole in the copper pipe. Everything is all put back together now, and the house is quiet again.

Today's workout involved a lot of thinking. The swim started ok, thinking about stroke. I got so involved in thinking about stroke that it took a while to realize I wasn't going anywhere. That pretty stroke was shite for getting me down the pool. So I went back to my somewhat sloppier stroke, put a bit of elbow grease into it, and picked up the pace. I ended up doing 1500 m in 30:30. Which is on the slow side for me, but I can feel the rust falling off. I haven't swum much since Chinook. My shoulders are feeling pretty good with it.

Once I got home I ate and chatted with a buddy for a while, getting ready for the rest of my workout. I wanted to get right at it since it was supposed to cloud over at noon, and start raining later. Sure enough, from a clear, cloudless sky at 10am, it got overcast and started raining at 1pm. It's about 2pm writing this and I can hear thunder. Gotta love Alberta weather.

My run has always been the weakest part of races. It's the sport I've done least since leaving high school. Learning to run again is hard. There's a real trick to balancing the required rest time with pushing hard enough to improve, but not so hard that you injure yourself. If you're big, like I am, there's also the element of trying to bring the weight down gradually, and yet not starve your body of the nutrients you have to have.

I occurred to me that I've done lots of bricks where I do a long bike ride, and a short run. I have been told that all you need to do is find your running legs and you're good to go for the race. Well, excuse me. I beg to differ. I'm still barely finding my running legs at the best of times, and my "running" is still very, very slow. When I look at my races, I can run for a while and then the wheels fall off. Nutrition is a part of that, and I was behind the 8 ball right from the start at Chinook. Even during the Police Half Marathon, I was on top of nutrition, and still slowed down a lot in the last several K. Part of this is mental; I need to train myself to keep going when it gets hard, and learn to work past fatigue.

So, I need to get better at running, especially running longer off the bike. That seems plain enough to me. Today I planned a short bike ride, about a half hour or so, just enough to get my legs warmed up, and take the freshness off them. Then I was going to run 15 K. I mapped out a nice 5K circuit through the neighbourhood, and then set up a little aid station in my front patio. At first I was going to get all carried away with a cooler, choice of iced drinks, cookies, bars, fruit, ect, all served by a bikini clad beauty, but then realized my neighbours would be over having a party. So really, the aid station was a bottle of water sitting in the shade. I brought some gels to suck on just before getting home at the end of each 5K. My plan was to run easy the first 10 K, then make the last 5 K the fastest.

The bike ride was fun. I didn't really pay attention to the numbers, but rode for a half hour and averaged about 27.5 Kph. Quick transition. It's still sunny and hot when I started.

5 K 33:13
It took maybe a K, or 1.5 K to find a nice pace. I wanted to go nice and easy, staying on top of my breathing. This is a very typical time for me. Still hot and sunny, but starting to cloud over.

10 K 35:32
During the second loop I was a bit more uneven in pacing. My legs wanted to run a bit faster, but I wanted to hold back and stay easy. My gait wasn't as smooth. Being nearly run over by someone backing out of their driveway, and having two people attack me with their lawnmowers was interesting. I wanted to be at the same time, or a little bit slower, and certainly not faster. My legs were getting tired, but I was deliberately not doing anything to encourage myself. I just ran as best I could. This lap includes both aid station stops, where I had some water while walking in a circle on my patio. Took a quick pee break on the second lap. Clouds building up, and it's starting to cool down, which was refreshing.

15 K 30:55 (total time 1:39:41)
I won't quite say I let'er rip here. I did pick up the pace, and my legs felt good for about the first 3/4 of the last loop. The pace felt good, and my legs were ok with it. I was breathing pretty hard, but I wasn't gasping or panting. Toward the end I was getting tired, and my feet weren't landing quite as certainly as they had been. I was beginning to scuff my heel a bit as I placed my foot on some steps. I was pulling out the mental tricks to keep going. One of the best was posture. There is lots of low branches over the sidewalks, and after playing dodge'em I started making an effort to make sure that my posture was good, and that my body lean was consistent from my ankles to my head. I was trying to keep my body relaxed, but the muscles at the base of my neck and across the shoulders were a bit tight throughout. Not sure what that has to do with running. The last several hundred meters I picked it up and brought it home. Fully clouded over and cooling off, with perfect timing.

My legs were pretty tired, but I was nowhere near puking. I certainly didn't want to go on at that same pace, but I'm not sure how much longer I could have gone on if I'd slowed down. This turns out to be almost exactly the pace I ran the Police half in, and there was no bike ride at the beginning of that. Next time, I'll make the bike a little longer and harder, then try the same run again, pushing harder on the last lap.


  1. Hey Keith, sounds like you had a good run! Your running is my swimming. For a long time I felt like I was going no where but I am finally feeling good about it. I am sure your effort will pay off! Maybe we'll have to see if our schedules match up and head out for a run sometime!


  2. Nice reverse brick there, Mah Canadian Bru-tha!

    Man, there must be some real FREAKAZOIDS who read your blog if they want pix of yer plumbing holes! I shudder to think what that even means.

    But, still ... I'm not judging ...

  3. Nice work on the run! You will see quite the improvements when you do the Calgary 70.3 next month!

  4. Nice run Keith!! I'm with Shannon, I think you'll be seeing a good improvement at the 70.3!


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