Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bare Bones Revisited

I am nearing the end of my first year of retirement, and I must say "retirement rocks"!  I really can't understand why anyone would work any longer than they have too...... Okay, on second thought I guess there are a couple of reasons.  One would be that the potential retiree really, really, really loves their job.  The second reason might be that this person has only one main interest.....their job.  From my perspective, that's kinda unfortunate cause I think diversification (in all sorts of areas) is the key to a long and happy life.  At least, that's the way I've chosen to live mine.

I view myself as being capable of doing anything I set my mind to (within reason).  That's why, for example, I've chosen to participate in the construction of a couple of my houses and done the majority of the landscaping as well.  Right now I'm finishing my basement.   It is taking quite a while, but I'm doing a good job.  By the way, one of the most important things you can do when tackling your own renovations is to make friends with the inspectors that you have to deal with (plumbing, electrical, general construction, etc..) If you have them on your side, you've got it made.  If not, they can make your life miserable.  I deal with them as I would with anyone else.  I smile at them and try to be friendly, I listen carefully to what they say and try to be as agreeable as possible.  Right now I'm tackling the drywalling, which is quite a learning experience.  People tend to say to me...."Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier to just hire someone?"  My answer to that would be "Yes....but I wouldn't learn or accomplish anything.  I have difficulty taking pride in something that I've paid someone else to do.  Life is all about doing and learning, and that's what one of my main retirement goals is, particularly now that I have the time.  Besides, it's (usually) cheaper when you do it yourself.

Now.....on to the main purpose of this post....... the Bare Bones Duathlon.    On May 7 Barb and I drove down to Penticton to compete in the annual duathlon that is held near Skaha Lake.  I was competing and Barb was the invaluable support crew.  The weather was marginal.  At 12 noon it was about 15-16 C and the skies were threatening to open up.  The weather report didn't leave much room for optimism.  Generally I don't worry much about the weather, but I was concerned with the condition of the long downhill on Maclean Creek Road, and didn't welcome the possibility of crashing and burning at 50 or 60 kph.  Fortunately, the weather ended up not being a factor.

We arrived at the race site at 12:30 (race time was 2:00)  The reason for early arrival was that I hadn't registered yet and wanted to leave enough time for for this and other organizational trivia.  There were only about 5 or 6 bikes in transition when we arrived, so I really did have the opportunity to choose the spot I wanted (as they weren't assigned).  I tried to find a spot that would help to minimize the amount of running I had to do.




Eventually the race director called us together for our pre-race meeting and soon after we all headed to the start line.  I started my Garmin and off we went.  As per usual I was well back in the field as running is not my strong point.  The first run involved 3 laps of a very flat 1.67 k circuit.  My goal for the first run was a 5:20 pace, however I felt pretty good and everyone else seemed to be going quite a bit quicker. Since I didn't want to get totally left in the dust, I upped my pace slightly.   I really did try my best to control my pace as I still (not so fondly) remember the consequences of not doing so 2 years ago.  I was so focused on the job at hand that I almost didn't notice a telephone pole that unexpectedly jumped out in front of me.  At the last second I nimbly navigated around the obstruction and averted a potential disaster.  I emerged from that near catastrophe with renewed confidence in my physical capacity to succeed.  And so I proceeded.  The rest of the first run was rather uneventful as I had placed myself at an appropriate location in the field (behind about 85% of the competitors).  I was pleased with the first leg of my duathlon as I ran (according to my Garmin) 5.13 k  in 27 minutes - pace 5:10/k.



Transition went very smoothly (1:00 minute).  Nobody got in my way as most people had already come and gone.  I jumped on my bike and got to work!!  Although my running is relatively weak, I am a good biker.  I headed out along the road on the east side of Lake Shaha. Managed an average speed of around 35 k/h and passed about 6 or 7 other riders during the first 10 or 11 k's. Then as we got close to Okanagan Falls and Maclean Creek Road, it got a bit hillier and the pace slowed a bit. During the climb and the subsequent descent I passed 4 or 5 more riders. Luckily the threatening rain did not really materialize, so wet roads were not a factor. Once back on east Skaha road and heading back to Penticton, I passed another couple of people and finally made it back to transition, hoping to have enough in the tank to run the last 5k without plodding and suffering (like 2 years ago).  I biked the 31.19 k in 1:01 - average speed 30.5k/h.

After another relatively quick transition I headed out on my second run.  This was definitely the part of the race that I was the most concerned with, as previous duathlons have made it very clear to me that I may not have the necessary endurance to run this leg effectively.

During this final segment 3 or 4 of the people I passed on the bike reeled me back in (not surprising), but I was able to maintain my goal pace (5:24). Unlike previous duathlons, I did not have to "plod" and struggle to the finish line.

Even had the where-with-all to appreciate a unique encounter with a beaver on the run course. I had enough energy to up my pace for the last k and run across the finish line (instead of crawl).

I was pretty happy with my race today!!! All 3 segments went at least as well as I had planned. I had hoped to finish under 2 hours - in actual fact my final time was 1:57:09. Next year all those people who chuckled when they passed me on the run today will find their task a bit more daunting. I am finally starting to become a runner! Yahooo!

Conclusion
Bare Bones 2009       R1  28:02  5:35min/k      B  63:25       R2  31:44   6:20 min/k      Total  2:05:40
Bare Bones 2011       R1  27:00  5:10min/k      B  61:00       R2  27:00   5:14 min/k      Total  1:57:09
       Note : You may notice that my R1-B-R2 don't add up to the given totals.  That's because there are also about 2.5 minutes and 2.0 taken up in transitions in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

Needless to say, I am quite pleased with my improvement over 2009 and expect to be an even better runner in 2012.