Monday, 30 April 2012

April

April was R&R month - racing and recovery.  A week of hard work, a week of taper, then two weeks of almost complete laziness with a bit of sickness sprinkled in.

This month in Triathlon
Olympic qualifying takes centre stage for April and May as the final Olympic list is set, determining how many spots each country will get (determined by the ITU) and who will fill those spots (determined by the national federations).  The first World Championship Series race of 2012 was held in Sydney, with German Steffen Justus winning his first WCS race ahead of South African Richard Murray (with a huge breakthrough race) and a third-place performance from Laurent Vidal, the Mooloolaba winner in March.  On the women's side, Erin Densham took her second major race in a row following her Mooloolaba win, making the Aussie selectors job very difficult with only two spots available for Densham, Emma Jackson, and defending Olympic gold medalist Emma Snowsill (with Emma Moffat already pre-selected).

Canada's Kathy Tremblay raced very well in Sydney, placing 8th and following that up with her first career World Cup win a week later in Ishigaki, Japan, to move the Canadian women into a position to qualify two women for London (with Paula Findlay pre-selected already).  The Canadian men are currently sitting with two spots, with the potential for a third based on the outcome of the San Diego and Madrid WCS races in May, battling the Portuguese, Australians and Russians for the 8th place country (and last to get 3 spots).  With Simon pre-selected, if only two spots are secured, one of either Kyle Jones or Brent McMahon will have to stay home.
Kathy Tremblay celebrating a victory and a return to the Olys
In long-course racing, the month kicked off with a bang at the Ironman 70.3 Galveston, with a star-studded mens field.  Lance Armstrong led off the bike only to be swallowed up by some big names with Tim O'Donnell taking the win ahead of two sub-8 Ironman guys (Sebastien Kienle and Ronnie Schildknecht) with two-time world 70.3 champ Michael Raelert in fourth.  People were quick to label Lance's seventh-place finish as a disappointment, but he still beat 7:45 IM Marino Vanhoenacker and learned some valuable lessons on tactics and pacing.  Kelly Williamson took the women's title with another stellar run.  The 70.3 in New Orleans was a duathlon for the second year in a row, with Canadian Trevor Wurtele winning his first major title and his wife Heather coming second on the women's side.  A strong month for Canadians!

Natasha Badmann, all 45 years young, took the title in Port Elizabeth, South Africa for her fourth title in that race and became the oldest female Ironman champion.  Spaniard Clemente Alonso-McKernan took the mens title on a horrible day (weather-wise) in the Southern hemisphere. 

Oh, and over in Japan, young gun Anton Blokhin and seasoned vet Beate Gortz won the Strongman Japan race, but you already knew that after reading about it here

March Summary
Targets for April:
1. Make it to the start line on April 15 healthy and rested.
2. Embrace 'Gambare Nippon!' for eight hours on April 15.
3. Enjoy some rest and recovery back in Toronto following the race.

Wasn't quite rested, but was healthy for the race on April 15 and had an amazing time.  Definitely not healthy upon my return to Toronto, so that made the post-race recovery even more restful than planned.  Ready to build back up in May to lay the foundation for a fast summer.

Swimming - 6:40 hours, 22,960 metres

March was a big drop in meters and April was about half of March - 'life' was super-busy heading into Japan, and I've only swum once since the race.  Need to get back in the pool regularly in May.

Key session was the race in Japan - 3K at a moderate effort, felt easy but wasn't worth pushing the pace as I was already leading my little group and knew I couldn't bridge to the guys up front.  Definitely too slow in the water right now.

Cycling - 28:18 hours, 832 kilometres
Solid riding right into the race, then only one ride post-race.  Ready to really crank out the KM in May.

Key session: The ride during the Strongman race was probably the most beautiful bike ride I've ever done.  Also the highest watts I've put out for a 4+ hour ride.  A close second was a rip around Montreal on BIXI bikes this past weekend - super fun!  Toronto needs WAY more BIXI coverage.
Magnifique!

Running - 12:32 hours, 168 kilometres
Tapered off the volume in the first two weeks of the month then ran very easy and very sporadically post-race.  It's been two years since I've done any 'real' speedwork for the run, so in May it's time to get back to the track and build some leg speed for 70.3 racing.

Key session: None?  I knew Strongman was going to be a struggle on the run as my cycling volume didn't quite hit the critical volume needed for a race of that distance.  I was happy with the way I slogged through a tough day, but it was far from a stellar run. 

Total - 47:31 hours
Down from 63 hours last April, but not discouraged by the drop - I've had a lot of recovery time after Japan and the motivation is high to get back into a good training cycle for the summer racing season.  

May Preview
Targets for May:
1. Build volumes back to peak levels by the end of the month.
2. Layer in quality for all three sports each week.
3. Rock out for AP's Last Waltz on the May long weekend.

The May racing scene is going to be a fun one:
- May 5: Ironman St. George, final running of the cyclist-friendly Ironman in Utah.
- May 6: Ironman 70.3 St. Croix, Lance taking on the field on the same course he raced 25 years earlier.
- May 6: Wildflower Long Course, 'mystery man' Jesse Thomas back to defend, will Macca race?
- May 12: ITU San Diego World Championship, one of the last Olympic qualifying races.
- May 26: ITU Madrid World Championship, final points race pre-Olympic deadline of May 31.

Anyone know when Millencolin is coming back to Toronto?!  These dudes kill it:


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