Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Photos Yeppoon 70.3

And finally... some hi-res (ahem) photos of Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon... I don't know when I transitioned from being a pronator to a supinator, but somehow it happened. Odd, that.
I mainly ate throughout the 90k ride,
ate more than raced, I'd say. 

Twisting and turning in resort grounds.
Despite my face - it always looks like
that - I LOVED THIS RUN!!
Yep, dying running into the finish chute
5:18:41, yay! F under 40 started 10' after
pro men. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon Race Report

In the airport, on my way home to NZ... I'm going to be here a while (read: FOREVER) so might as well write a race report, race pics to come in a later post.

I had some great training coming into the race. 'Nuf said. I felt ready to lower my half-ironman PR (5:23:47, Boulder 70.3 2011) by quite a bit, and I desperately wanted to break my 4th AG curse -- I was 4th AG in every half-ironman and ironman last season... and I don't mean break it in the 6th AG Ironman 70.3 Hawaii kind of way, where I was blown across the road multiple times, clinging to my bike in the Hawaiian cross-winds. Nope, I wanted to break the 4th AG curse by hitting the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd notes.

Pre-race: I had made a friend at the Gordonvale 5k the previous week (2nd place male), we exchanged details, and instead of flying down, paying for bike fees, and couch surfing with a stranger, I opted to drive down from Cairns to Yeppon with him and his wife, stay with them, and do the race. He, too, was racing, his wife was a very pregnant (8th month) spectator. Both were amazing, I cannot thank them enough for their generosity.

Race day: Cool, "winter" day. Sort of like a cold Canadian summer day. That is, weather topped at 21C, sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy.

I had my race plan, time to execute. I was looking forward to the swim, and to the run. I was dreading the bike, which was a very painful 5x out-and-back course on the roughest roads known to man. All power output felt like it was lost to the road (and I have none to spare, I weigh like -5 lbs!)...

Swim: 31:03
I finally got that sub-30 swim out... but I then had to run up the beach, up the hill, through the resort grounds to cross the line into transition... so, until next time, the "official" sub-30 has eluded me. Choppy conditions, but the minimal current was with us/sideways against us in the ocean.
TP swim file: here

T1: 2:06
Nothing to complain about. All I've practiced is taking shoes off while riding. I still don't know how to slip into already clipped in shoes. That's what I am practicing for next time!

Bike: 2:57:38
Haha, embarassing. Let me say this course sucks. It is 5x an out-and-back ride. 9ks out, 9ks back. Nothing to look at, nothing to see, on the roughest road imaginable. AND I RIDE ON NEW ZEALAND CHIP SEAL. It was flat, it was dull, and I was uninspired. Given so many people on such a small course, I spent most of my ride avoiding the drafting call, and "pretending to race". At least nutrition was spot on. I want tough courses, I want beautiful courses. What really gets to me... this is the 13th year of the Yeppoon 70.3, surely they'd have become established enough to get permits to use the roads into the national park right nearby? It's embarrassing. I didn't really try hard, I was mainly bored. And then that night I found out my rear brake pad was stuck to the carbon rim of my wheel... so that probably didn't help things either. Ah well...
nutrition: 1 gel every 30' for 6 total. 600cals.
hydration: 3 bottles nuun
TP bike file: here

T2: 0:54
You know the drill...

Run: 1:47:00
I haven't run a stand-alone half-marathon since 2010, but this turned out to be a PB half-marathon time by 2:17. Yay! It wasn't necessarily a fast course, but it was fun. It was 3 loops of: 1/3 through twisting and turning resort grounds, 1/3 of straight flat road, 1/3 of trail running, not hilly just a few bumps here and there. It was AWESOME, it kept me on my toes, and challenged me. I picked up speed on the flats, worked hard on the trails, and ran my tangents everywhere. I was motivated and picking people off one-by-one.
nutrition: 9 clif bloks in the first 2 1/3 laps of the course, and coke on the last 2/3 of the last lap. 300cals + coke
hydration: a couple cupfuls of water, only drank to thirst, did NOT overdrink this time, yay! the coke as well
TP run file: here

So, yes, a new PB of 5:18:41, sadly 4th place AG yet again, no Vegas slot (it went to 3rd)... There are good and bad things to take from this race, and I'm extremely motivated to work on them all. Until the next time...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gordonvale 5k Cross-Country Race Report

Gordonvale is a town about 30 minutes south of Cairns, entirely based on cane sugar production. There are massive cane fields nearby, and the town's epicentre is the mill that spews out billows of sweetly smelling smoke. It is what I would call a country town, but happens to be quite near Cairns itself. Every year, they are the hosts to the infamous Pyramid Race, which is a 12k run race that starts in Gordonvale and climbs up Walsh's Pyramid, which is a beastly steep climb from sea level up to 922m in 3km. Rough! My friend was doing the race, and I opted to race the 5k, seeing as I had a 70.3 in one week's time.

Race day:
We had a pretty relaxed morning. The race only started at 2pm, so we made our way slowly over to Gordonvale, and did a 1h30 relaxed road ride together through the cane fields. Pretty, and quite windy!
We then changed, ambled through the Gordonvale fair. At 2pm, I saw Laura off on her Pyramid Race adventure.
I promise I'm not pooping in public... although
looks are deceiving, in this case. 
Not long after, the 5k cross-country race began. Many kids took part in the race, as did many casual joggers, and some more serious runners as well. Our 5k race went across part of the same course as the Pyramid Race, that is, we ran up to the base of the pyramid (just under 3k) and then rather than go up it, we ran straight back into town. So, although advertised as a 5k, it was just under 6k of running!

I purposely did not go out too hard. Almost the entire field went off at a 400m sprint pace, and I controlled my first 1k so that I could build up to speed rather than build up an insurmountable amount of lactic acid almost immediately. Within 500m I started passing most of the field back, although some phenomenal kids I never even got to pass. Most kids go out sprinting but die within a couple hundred meters. There are some that have no idea of how fast or slow they are going, they just run, and some don't slow. It's phenomenal to watch kids race, they really go all in.


The race was a tough one, but a short run race is the one instance where I enjoy an out-and-back. We ran out on roads, then turned off onto a path, crossed a train line or two, hopped over some stones, and made our way onto the grass near the cane fields. Once on a gravel road at the base of the Pyramid, at about the 3k mark, we turned around and ran back. It was at this point that I saw that I was in 2nd place female, and the girl ahead was flying! I made sure to really crush the girls behind me so that they'd have no chance of catching up, and just ran it in, HARD. It was awesome!!
For the 6k, I had a time of 27:xx, 2nd female.
Surprisingly enough, the first female was 12. years. old. Absolutely phenomenal!! Sadly enough (but good for me), that meant she wasn't in the "open female" category, so I ended up getting 1st female open, and a 200$ paycheck! Yeehaw!! (The race organization recognized her achievement and scrounged up a gift certificate for her)

This result was definitely not what I was expecting because this was the second last day of a huge 3-week build in training, and I was EXHAUSTED. But I shut my emotions down, didn't look at my watch the entire time, and just ran by feel. I was surprisingly quite consistent, but I know not as fast as I could have been, had I been fresh. No, the competition wasn't particularly fierce, but I'm glad I got a hard workout in before the taper began, and that hard workout happened to pay me 200$. :D

As I waited around for my friend to finish the Pyramid Race, I got changed, and chatted with the lady face painting the children. She made me a pretty flower:
Soon, Laura finished in 4th open female (yay!), and I received my monies:
That's me up there somewhere...

The next day, I did my last hard workout before taper began: a 2 hour ride into a 1h30 brick run.
And now I am in full-on taper mode, thank goodness!

I'm going to use the 200$ to help my partner afford a wetsuit, which he'll need in the training for his very first half-ironman: Challenge Wanaka half-iron, January 2013. Super excited to go back to our home in New Zealand to train with him again!! First up, though, is making my way down to Yeppoon for the 70.3 this weekend. :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Insulin sensitivity!

So, as some of you may know, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome last November. Following that diagnosis, I went on an androgen blocker/birth control pill. The excess of androgens that my body was producing had a number of effects. For me, most notably, was:
1. very infrequent menstruation, maybe 4x a year?
2. the decreased sensitivity of insulin

My body simply did not respond as well when I consumed pure sugars, and it would require quite a huge blood glucose spike for the insulin to even begin working. I'm surprised I wasn't overweight or diabetic, most PCOS-women are! Again it was probably countered by the fact that I have adored exercising since I was born (soccer at the age of 4 up until 20, yoga, martial arts, gym kid and now this swim-bike-run thing). I'm pretty sure that saved my life!

Although I was never overweight (I weighed 115 lbs (52-53kg), at 5'4"(162cm), I could tell that the excess weight was hanging around weirdly; that is, mainly around the midline torso area.

So, after a couple months now of taking this androgen blocker, I am quite surprised with the results. First, by the numbers: I am still 5'4" (duh!), but am now 105-108lbs (48-49kg), which "fits" given my moderately high level of training. Secondly, my insulin sensitivity has sky-rocketed to what I would call "normal".

As a comparison, I remember ironman training 1-2 years ago and I would come home quite smashed after a 6+ hour ride. I would consume about 1 kilo of very sugary yogurt. I'm pretty sure that's excessive, but my body constantly CRAVED sugar and never seemed to be satisfied. Now, if I do the same training effort, my body will definitely crave simple sugars post-ride, which is natural, but the moment I get enough of it, my body tells me "Okay, that's good, I don't need anymore".

In short, my body has gone from incessantly craving highly processed sugars, unable to effectively utilize them given low insulin sensitivity to... craving just the right amount of sugars when I need them, and craving far more REAL FOODS. That is, vegetables and complex carbs and protein sources. My palate has changed rather drastically. Huzzah!

(NERD ALERT! This weight change also means that I can be pushing ridiculously low wattage, like 80-100W, and still be easy-cruising at 32kph (20mph). Double huzzah!)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pretty Photos 021 - Tropical Queensland!

I've been staying with a friend in Cairns, Queensland for the last couple weeks, and of course have taken to swim-bike-running as much of Cairns as possible. Here are some of the prettier photos of the surrounds:

Crystal Cascades
Lake Morris (a 16k climb!)
Barron Gorge
Port Douglas beach