New York Marathon: easiest run ever...

giants-stadium-1 What can I say about the NY Marathon?  Not much actually...If you didn't hear they cancelled the race late Friday evening after assuring all the participants up to the early afternoon that day that the race was on.  What do you do but make the best out of it, so can anyone say "Giants vs. Steelers"Now I'm not going to lie, I was really disappointed that the race was cancelled.  But honestly, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that going ahead with the event was a bad idea especially when a bunch of the city was still without power,  when the subways weren't fully operational, when many people were staying in shelters, when there was a fuel shortage, with water and food shortages in some areas.  Come on, really?

I can honestly say I felt a bit guilty going to NY for the race with all that was happening, but we were assured that the race was happening and that there weren't going to be any refunds for those who chose to stay home.  With everything having already been paid in advance there wasn't much of a choice really.

I feel bad for all those people that poured their hearts and souls into their training and didn't get to race.  Oh well, life goes on and there are plenty of races out there.

Being in NY we weren't about to waste our time thinking about what could have been...Troy and I along with our other marathoners embarked on a great 3-day NY adventure.  We did a couple short runs, had amazing dinners, partied all night long, and got tickets to the Giants vs. Steelers game.  So much fun.  It wasn't the short holiday I expected but it was still fun.

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Everything is big in the States...

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Troy and Kate and some stadium Coors Lights - only $9.50 per bottle - what a deal...

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Jon with a nice beer and gift for Laura - who couldn't make the trip due to some guy's baby growing in her belly ;)

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This was supposed to be our groups' pre-race meal.  We still had a great meal, but probably drank alot more wine then we would have.

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Jon in a picture with the ladies.  We were doing some pre cancelled race hydration...

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Troy, Kate and Troy's mom Ricci at the race check in.  They did their check in and then a few minutes later found out the race was cancelled - what a burn...

Tips for Your Marathon Taper

nyc-marathon-3 With the NYC Marathon just over 4 weeks away I thought the following might interest some of you runners out there:

Tapering for a marathon typically begins about 3 weeks prior to the race. It is an essential part of proper marathon training, and when done correctly will greatly improve your strength during race day especially over those last few km’s. You can start your taper following the longest run in your training cycle which is typically done 3 weeks prior to race day and is usually 32-36 km (20+ miles).

  • Last long run or long race 3 weeks before; after that decrease overall mileage by 20% the following week.
  • Don’t give in to the urge to run hard and for long distances. Keep your pace up but the distance down. Long run around 12-15 km two weeks before the marathon.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOUR MARATHON

  • Two weeks until race day it’s now time to decrease the mileage to 50% of what you were doing pre taper.
  • If you want to do a tune-up race keep it to a 10 km or a half marathon for an experienced runner. Make sure you have 2 weeks to recover before your marathon.
  • Really focus on getting enough sleep every night during the next two weeks. Sleep is when the body heals and regenerates.
  • I highly recommend getting a good sports massage, but at least a week before you race as deep tissue work requires some recovery time.

ONE WEEK BEFORE YOUR MARATHON

  • Mileage drops to only 30% of pre taper volume. Keep your normal pace but short.
  • Some people don’t run at all for 2 days prior to racing, but personally I like to do a short 30 minute run the day before running a race like the marathon. Just an easy jaunt to get the engine fired up…

Whistler Gran Fondo 2012

jb-and-gs-whistler-2012-edited What a day for a ride to Whistler.  The weather was perfect and Graham Stanley and I were ready to ride.  You can see Graham just behind me in the white jersey.I wasn't planning on doing the Whistler ride this year.  I had decided that I was going to do the 'anti fondo' with a bunch of friends.  Ride up Friday and then mountain bike in Whistler Saturday and Sunday.  Graham, a client of ours who is relatively new to road cycling, asked me to ride for him.  He sweetened the pot by paying for my entry and promising dinner that night in Whistler if I road with him during the race.  I decided to do it, a free entry and expensive dinner are hard to pass up.  Well I can now say I know what it feels like to be a domestique.  I spent most of the 120 km in the front of various groups, doing the work and pulling people along.  I felt obligated to work hard (and I sure did), but it was a great day.  Graham rode really well and we cruised to a very respectable time of 3 hours 53 minutes.  Good enough coincidentally for Graham to post a better time than all his friends (supposedly stronger and more experienced riders), hahaha.  I was pretty shattered after the ride, but it felt good to leave it all out on the road and I was pretty happy as Graham was super pumped with how the ride went.  We even beat his old hockey buddy Geoff Courtnall by 5 minutes.

A bunch of other GWA clients kicked some serious ass this year as well.

Christian Frandsen was 4th overall at 3 hours 24 minutes

Matt VanNostrand was 5th overall at 3 hours 25 minutes

Dan Shepansky kicked butt with a 3 hour 37 minute time

David Schaffner flew to a 3 hour 52 minute time despite being involved in a crash and getting some great road rash as a souvenir

Dave Tims clocked a very respectable 4 hours 3 minutes

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Matt on left and Christian Top 5 Fondo Finishers (studs) - looking good boys

Ironman 2012

troy-and-kate-im-2 Ironman 2012 was Troy's 3rd consecutive and his girlfriend Kate Pecknold's first.  Below is her account of the race.

Over the last year I have been training to race in the 2012 Penticton Ironman and on August 26th that goal was finally realized. The morning of the race I anticipated being extremely nervous, however, as the day approached I realized that I had truly worked too hard and thought about this moment for too long to ruin it with my nerves. So I slapped on my brave face and went in with confidence. Getting to the race start was part of the process- my best girlfriend and sister drove Troy and I in, and we blasted my theme song of the day to really get us going- Callie and Char were both in tears by the time we got out, but I felt pumped! Of course it didn’t hurt to have my coach/boyfriend guiding me through the morning. Prior to the race before walking down to the water he gave me some final words of encouragement: stay focused, use your head, and enjoy the day… Now let’s do this.

The race started with the 3.9km swim and by some miracle I was the most comfortable I have EVER been in an event. Normally I am gasping for breath and sighting out a canoe to come and rescue me, but this time just felt different. The morning was bright and sunny, the lake was clear and I just became another body in the mass of people dodging and weaving their way along the course. I had gone over this swim in my head probably 200 times before, so part of me couldn’t believe when it was over… I popped out of the water and was proficiently ripped out of my wetsuit by two amazing volunteers. I was so proud of myself, and we were only an hour and a bit in!

Heading to the tent to get into my bike gear was seamless as there were tons of people helping out, laying out my shoes, lathering me up in sunscreen and generally just being there. I quickly put my sunglasses on to hide the goggle imprints lining my face and just as I was pushing off on my bike, heard Troy’s name being announced meaning that he was out of the water. I beat Troy- another point for me on that swim! Sorry Troy… now I just had to hold him off on the bike.

Again, things could not have gone better on this 180km ride. My legs felt amazing and I was still flying high from my swim, not to mention the amazing support crew I caught a glimpse of as I rode past (My family, Troy’s family, and our friends). I was full of energy and rode that way. About 130km in, Troy and I were lucky enough to bump into each other and so rode the last 50km together. Riding back into Penticton after 6 plus hours on the bike felt incredible! I was actually looking forward to stretching out my legs, busting out this marathon, and pushing myself through the final leg of my day.

Troy and I started off together, but since he was averaging 12km/hour and my pace is 10, I hung back and did my own thing. Over the course of the run, which is an out and back to Okanagan Falls, I basically planned the next five years of my life, held back some (but not all) tears, passed a lot of walkers, sang to myself, or sometimes just coached myself under my breath… It can get pretty lonely out there. On the other hand, I was also blown away by the support along that course- shouts of “Good job Kate, nice pace, looking strong etc” rang consistently throughout, and seeing my family along the way was one of the most special feelings. There was a lot of love on the side of that road. Just bearing witness to that was a big part of my day and my motivation to keep going no matter how tired, how sore, or how anything, I was.

I ran those 42km in 4 hours and 8 minutes, but it was probably the last 5km that were the hardest both mentally and physically. When I actually got back to the city center where hundreds of people were standing on either side of the street cheering for ME I knew that I had done it. I could see the finish line, I could see my family, and I knew that Troy would be there waiting for me to cross… Really we had put in so many hours training together, and having him at the end was extremely emotional. I balled my eyes out immediately (Seriously, if you ever want to deepen your relationship, go ahead and train for an Ironman together- there is pretty much no ground you don’t cover after the 100th run together… I’m just sayin’)

But really, the day couldn’t have gone any better and I really am proud of what I was able to achieve out there… 12:35 minutes. Only 20 minutes behind my Veteran boyfriend. I mean, I am 9 years younger, but who’s askin’?

I will definitely do Ironman again… already thinking about next year in Coeur D’Alene.

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Troy looking lean, mean, and fast

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Kate looking quite comfortable and strong

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Well done!

Valley First Gran Fondo: Really Hot!

in-the-start-chute Sunday was race day for many GWA clients and myself.  More than 2,500 riders braved 34°C heat in the South Okanagan to ride the second edition of the Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan on Sunday.  Congratulations to the following riders: Dan Shepansky, David Schaffner, James Demens, Justin Cheng, Matt VanNostrand, Kate Ramsay, Laura Bertram.  For a brief summary of my personal race and few photos see below.crv-loaded-up

CRV loaded and ready to go to the Okanagan

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Justin and James doing some much needed 'carb loading' the day before the race at one of 8 vineyards we visited (I somehow bought 2 cases of wine that day...)

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This is me at 6am ready to head to the start of the race, it was already 25 degrees out there

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Dan Shepansky doing some last second email/texting on his phone

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In the start line, ready to fly...

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A few riders in front of me (started too far back and had to work way too hard to get to the front group...)

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Many more behind...

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After the race, Laura looking better than me as usual.

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My Ride:

I was a little bit nervous about this race because I wasn't feeling rested going in.  On Wednesday I ran stairs with some of our hockey players (only because they were calling me a wuss for not wanting to do them because of my upcoming race).  My legs were so sore after that and it wasn't until the morning of the race that I could properly walk down the stairs (I knew better than to do something like that before a race...)

My legs felt fine however so no excuses there.  I started a little too far back in the start line so I had to work really hard to get up with the front group.  I got there after about 10 minutes and settled into a furiously fast pace for the first 50 km.  The lead peleton relaxed a bit after that.

I stayed with the race leaders until the 120km mark where I got dropped on a steep climb.  I was too far back in the peleton and when some of the riders in front of me started falling back I just didn't have the legs to bridge the gap between us and the lead group.  The gap was only about 50m but it might as well have been 2km.

I ended up riding solo a bunch during the last 40 km, and there was a viscous head wind for a lot of it.  Needless to say I was suffering something fierce.  I was low on water (you don't stop at aid stations when you are in the lead group - stupid I think...) and the heat was getting to me.  I managed to cross the finish line only 16 minutes off the winning pace so all in all a pretty good ride.

Next time I will pay more attention to where I am in the group before the climb and carry an extra water bottle in my jersey pocket.  It was a great day and I had a blast.  My average speed was 36 km/h over the 160km course.  Top speed was a blistering 79km/h.  Average HR was 153.  Max HR was 184.  Burned in excess of 3200 calories, no wonder I've been hungry all day.

GWA takes on the Spartan Race

pre-race JB, Dougy, Shawn, and Big Al all took on the Spartan Race this pat Saturday.  Highlights included Al's labored breathing up the first hill of the day, Dougy's incredible good looks and beer garden antics, and Shawn's coolness...dougy-looking-cool

Dougy always looking fashionable

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The  boys after the race.  We were a little muddier before hand but visited the 'Fire hose' station post race to a spray down.

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Big Al signed us up for the first heat of the day, so we were officially the first 4 racers in the bear garden.  Good times this weekend.

GWA clients this past weekend

bmo-marathon What a weekend for GWA clients.  We had 2 people compete it the BMO Marathon, 4 in the BMO half Marathon and 2 people race in the Coaster XC mountain bike marathon.  Way to go everyone! BMO Marathon:

Pargol Lakhan, 3:25:15 a personal best

Alison Meredith, 4:55:22

BMO Half Marathon:

Cassandra Osborne, 1:35:18 a personal best

David Lancaster, 1:55:45

Patricia Horton, 2:08:46

Carol Ng, 2:25:30 a personal best

before

Jon Bula's bike before the Coaster XC Marathon

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His bike after...It was an extremely muddy day.  I finished in 3:03 (11th in my age group).

Ironman Canada 2011: Personal Recap

First off congratulations to GWA clients Rich Osborn and Greg Mackie for finishing Ironman Canada--Rich's first and Greg's second. All of our times can be found here. None of us managed the pro's top times of 8:28 (men) and 9:03 (women), in fact I was just starting the marathon when the winning male was running into the finish!! The day started with 3000 revved up athletes ready to jump in the water, I decided to go with my usual strategy of waiting on shore for a minute or so to let the eager people swim all over each other. I then jumped in and decided to draft Greg-- this was my only mistake of the day--not sighting for myself and trusting him we managed to probably swim and extra 500m or so. My swim time was 5 minutes slower than last year as a result. Onto the bike and I eased my was 60km to Osoyoos, staying properly hydrated and making sure to eat on my pre determined intervals. It was already starting to get hot-- it got up to 35 degrees, almost 10 degrees hotter than last year!! I rode a conservative bike given the temperature and my desire to save some for the run-- nothing eventful really except I got yelled at by a lady for supposedly cutting her off--she must have had some mild heat stroke and been imagining things.... I rode into town and saw all friends and family at the Best Western, when you are out there slogging away it means so much to know that people are there watching you! Off to the run and I started to pick people off 1 by 1-- probably passed 600+ people over the course of the whole marathon. My goal was to keep my core cool so at each aid station I put ice cubes down my tri-suit, poured water on me, and drank 2 cups of Gatorade. I also took electrolyte pills which were a must this day. I had a great pace to start, slowed a bit towards the turn around and eased back a bit before kicking up a notch in the last 10km. My other goal was to track down a friend-- Tim--who was 1 hour ahead of me off the bike. I finally caught him about 5km out and tried to get him to keep up with me but he didn't have it this day. I finished strong 5 minutes slower than last year-- my take was this years race was much harder in the heat so overall I feel I had a stronger race. the heat really destroyed people especially the last half of the marathon-- where I really pushed the pace and kept positive thoughts in my head. Felt a bit nauseated after so just relaxed in the hotel and fell asleep quick!! I signed up next year and so did Kate so my new goal is to not lose to my girlfriend hahaha. Also--to get a tri bike next year!! Thanks to everyone for supporting me!

Trans Portugal....starts in 8 days

img_0058-small One of the final training rides in Squamish. Did an easy 5 hour ride that day...

Trans Portugal

With all the long miles put in I feel the only thing really left is to watch as many Canucks games as I can before I leave on Monday. I'm tapering this week which means instead of my regular 16 hours of riding I'm only doing 8 or so... The race begins Saturday April 29th with a 'short' 142 km and a 'small' 3800m of climbing. Talk about throwing us in the fire right away. I will be trying to give daily updates on the race so stay tuned.