Race Reports, Running

Race Report: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2019

“THE REMATCH”

This race was one year in the making. It was the REMATCH from my very first full distance marathon at STWM last year, where I totally hit the wall and finished in a death march of 5:17…on October 20, 2019, I got true redemption.

Finish Time – 3:39:36

GOALS 

A – 3:45

B – Sub-3:40

TRAINING

For this Fall Marathon cycle, I used the Stryd Wind footpod with coach Steve Palladino’s “Power Project”. It was a 17 week @ 7runs per week, LR on Sunday program. I thoroughly enjoyed this program as it is based off Power, rather than pace and/or heart rate, which are traditionally used. There are so many variable factors when it comes to HR, that while it is a good indicator of effort, it’s not very consistent. Whereas power is a raw number. Initially I was skeptical, but kept reading more research and good things about it. Power is primarily used in the world of cycling to great outcomes, so why not in running? I decided to give it a shot, and it paid off. 

I did a ton of very easy training runs to build my aerobic base. And two truly hard speed work/interval sessions per week. Within my plan, I also did a much slower paced 50K Ultramarthon follow up a few weeks later with a very fast 10K hilly. My hope is that these two would combine and have an overall positive physiological change in my body and system.  

While not part of the training plan, I was fortunate enough to have the Ironman World Championship in Kona and Eluid Kipchoge’s INEOS 1:59:59 Challenge be broadcasted just the week prior. These were definitely the extra motivational fuel I needed for STWM. 

RACE NUTRITION

  4x Endurance Tap 

  • 250mL flat coca cola with 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • Water from every aid station
  • Used 2 GU Energy gels at aid stations after 30K
  • PS Coconut oil makes an easy natural chaffing cream!

GEAR

  • Nike Vaporfly 4%
  • Nike Dri-Fit shirt
  • Nike Flex-Stride shorts
  • Salomon hydration belt
  • Compresport Socks

THE RACE

There were no excuses on this day. The weather was absolutely beautiful at around 13C with mix sun and clouds. I got into the Yellow corral and lined myself up with the 3:40 pacer Jason. And at 8:51AM on Sunday Oct 20, 2019, we were off! I don’t know what it is about marathons, but when I do them, the miles go by really quickly. We went by so many iconic landmarks downtown Toronto. I saw 10K, 15K, 25K, 30K fly by. 

I saw a handful of good friends racing and spectating. my high school friend Zuzanna, who did the 5K race, greeted me at the half way mark, which was so awesome. I saw Joyce from the WeRunNorthYork crew multiple times throughout cheering from the side. 

Steve Palladino of the Power Project prescribed me a power of 215W based on the entire training plan and numerous Critical Power tests. I averaged around 220-225W give or take just to give myself a little buffer incase. I was aerobically fit, breathing comfortably enjoying the spectators cheering on, without breaking a sweat, and with a smile on my face up to around 35K. Breathing began to slightly increase, the temperature outside began to rise to 16C and the sun started to break out. Then the final 5K starting at the 37K mark is when I entered the pain cave. My quads and hamstrings started stiffening. But I dug really deep mentally and pushed on. Looking at my watch I knew I was close, and emptied the tank to do everything I could to break 3:40. I didn’t stop once the entire race. I trusted my training. I had fun. I crossed the finish line. 3:39:36. PB time baby! 

POST-RACE

After I crossed the finish line, I stopped my Apple Watch, and had a big smile on my face. I did it. I slashed my A and B goals. If I can figure out how to hold the pace for the final 5K, I could have possibly gone for 3:30. Next time. I have the entire winter to experiment, build, and improve so much more. 

My recovery smoothie which included a Banana + 1 Date + 1/2 cup frozen blueberries and 1tsp Tumeric powder was consumed within 30 mins. 

THOUGHTS

My May Marathon attempt (3:55) redeemed myself. But I had to slay my STWM demon (5:18) no matter what. I’ve used my CP in a 5K and 10K race, but not a Half-Marathon. So I wasn’t sure if I could hold my race pace for that long. Oh boy, did I surprise myself. I held it pretty much until 37K. I absolutely loved training and racing with power now. And will continue to going forward in road races, and as well as my triathlons. 

A big congrats to all my friends who ran their hearts out. I’m so proud of my good friend Randall Vasquez for completing his first marathon!

WHAT TO DO NEXT TIME 

Now that I i’ve learned that I can hold my race pace up to the 37KM mark, I need to figure how to keep the fire going or at least not let it slip too much in the final 5K. It’s probably still the race nutrition. Maybe some extra calories starting at 35K. Need to do more strength work for hamstrings and quads next time build muscular power. I look forward to indoor training the winter. And you bet that I’m excited for my 2020 season!  

Race Reports

Race Report: Oasis Toronto Zoo 10K

What a glorious day running amongst all the animals and athletes at my 3rd Oasis Toronto Zoo 10K race this morning! It was a hot one. But always the most fun! Went out way too fast in the first few KM, and it was hilly as usual. But super fun nonetheless. Ended up with a 10K PB of 49:31.1 and a 5K PB! YES, HIT MY SUB-50min goal! Now all eyes on my rematch with the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront marathon in 4 weeks.

My idea is that the much slower pace and endurance from Haliburton 50K in combination with the high speed tempo run of the Zoo 10K will come together for the marathon.

Strava log: https://www.strava.com/activities/2727515788

Race Reports, Trail Running

RACE REPORT: HALIBURTON FOREST 50K Ultra Trail Race

INTRO

On Saturday September 7, 2019, I officially became an ULTRA-MARATHONER. An “Ultra-Marathon” is any race that is longer than a standard marathon distance. Meaning anything further than 42.2KM or 26.2Miles. 

I set out on a goal this year to complete the 50K Trail Race in beautiful Haliburton Forest. I’ve been working up to this distance ever since I started running 2 years ago. I’ve run 2 marathons in the past and this was an inevitable event. My motivation started years ago when I read the books “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll and “Eat & Run” by Scott Jurek. 

PRE-RACE


Booking accommodations near Haliburton Forest Reserve isn’t really simple as all the cabins on the compound were well reserved in advanced. And the nearest lodges and hotels were at least 30 minutes away from Base HQ. Regardless I got myself and my parents a room at the charming Oakview Lodge & Marina. It’s been family run for the last 4 years by Anna and Greg. They are absolutely awesome people. The lodge was very cozy, rooms well sized, and they accommodated my vegan meal request. Having a handful of trail runners staying with them, they actually prepped the fruit bowl, made vegan muffins, and started the coffee pot at 4AM for those doing the 100-M and 50-M races.

GOALS

I learned very quickly that a trail race is not remotely comparable to a road race. And each trail run is totally different. There are so many variables. For one, the distance is super long, and the terrain from course to course could be extremely technical with a lot of tough uphill climbs and scary descents on rocks. So my 5 hour goal was immediately tossed out. I just wanted to finish this as best I could and have the most fun. Being it my first 50K, any request would be a PB day for me. 

THE RACE

Strava log: https://www.strava.com/activities/2688540279

This has been the hardest thing I’ve physically and mentally done thus far out of all my races. Every step needed to be accounted for with full alertness. No zoning out here. 

A huge difference between Ultra trail and road races are the aid stations. The aid stations were like buffets. I learned to only take carbs like boiled potatoes with salt, jelly beans, pretzels, cola I had some PB&J but felt the fat was hard on my stomach. Race was good up to the 25km turn around. Then something happened, everything of my body seized up and stomach didn’t feel right. it took about 30 mins for things to get normal. Then I was able to run again and started passing people again. There was good weather overcast with shade for the vast majority of the race. However, we did have heavy and light rain downpour near the end. Overall, this was a tough yet really fun experience. I really felt one with nature. 

POST-RACE

The final few KMs or so lead us out of the forest and finally back on to the road heading to the Finish Line at Base HQ. This road happened to be uphill of course. But with the orange chute in sight, it just made me want to throw it all down and rocket to the the finish. It was an awesome feeling. After receiving my medal, that was it. I became an ultra-marathoner. I FOUND ULTRA. 

I ate a banana and drank a ton of water on the drive back home. Took a shower, watched Bianaca Andreescu win the US Open defeating Serena Williams. And then went to India’s Taste buffet for dinner. 

LESSONS

  • I need bigger trail running shoes
  • I need a tighter fitting hydration vest
  • Apple Watch still had 44% battery life after a 7 hour workout!

THINGS TO DO

  • Need to do more trail running locally for practice

CONCLUSION

I’ll be damned, but I love running, and I think I love trail running even more. I can’t wait to do my next one. Currently eyeing Sulphur Springs in 2020!

Cycling

Ride Report: Ride4UnitedWay 60K, 2019

I’m started to like non-race events. I get to practice some road handling skills, meet like-minded people, and simply have fun. 

Ride4UnitedWay took place in Durham, ON. A place I haven’t been since graduating from UOIT! 

Initially, I was going to do the 100K route, but there was a severe thunderstorm warning. So I switched to the 60K to be on the safe side. But in a strange turn of events, there wasn’t a drop of rain. We had some gusts and a very welcomed overcast. 

My cycling has improved significantly. I am now comfortable and can pass people on steep climbs, and am confident on thrilling descents.

To-do: I still really need to learn to grab my water bottle, and eat while riding.

This was a fun event because my friend Randall came along. His longest ride was 40K, so this was a big event for him, and I’m so proud of his fast progress! 

Strava log

At the end of the ride, we feasted on a free lunch. We had a veggie burger with quinoa salad. Good times!

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