Jeremy Hopwood

Jeremy Hopwood

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Deifning Possible - One Session at a Time

"People told me it wasn't possible but until somebody could prove it was impossible I knew it was still possible"

Alisa Camplin - 2002 Women's Aerials Gold Medallist (Quote Paraphrased)

So it is January 17 and have racked up 24 sessions for the year thus far. At this point I am definitely the fitness i have ever been but there is a long way to go for 2010, 2011 and beyond. At the moment I haven't defined the impossible and the main focus is to find out what is possible through focusing on the process, getting the work done and enjoy the the experience.

Of the 24 sessions all but one (The Cadbury Half Marathon) have been on my own. Missing the group dynamic to some degree but getting the work done on your own is rewarding and gives you something to draw on come race day when it is all about looking inward.

Some of the sessions have been great, some have been bad others have just been sessions. However on the whole it is progressing well and feeling good about the weeks ahead. In the end the most encouraging factor has been consistency, pretty much at the moment the thought of missing a session or even rearranging the week doesn't come to mind. Instead its just get out of the door and get 'er done. Pretty much the mantra is can think about rearranging or skipping a session once you have done it - as this makes the decision easy.

Training in Tasmania is a lot better than I expected. There is a lot of riding and so far pretty much every motorist has given me about 6 feet of space when passing. The terrain is up and down with not a lot of flat so every ride has involved a fair bit of climbing and descending. In fact most of my rides and runs finish with a 3km climb at about 5% or so gradient.

Swimming is going well also, it is about a 25 minute drive to the Hobart and the pools, however being summer I have had my own lane for about 80% of my sessions. I am also learning to push myself on my own a bit better and are starting to get a feel for what is going right and wrong in the water. Overall times are improving and this past week managed to do 50x50m @ 1 minute which was a big mental step. although not fast things are definitely trending in the correct direction.

Riding is going well, as mentioned above every thing is up and down here but noticing are starting to be able to lay done effort quite well. It is hard to get a solid benchmark due to the fact everything is rolling but when put the power down it seems to be there. Will likely see over the next couple of weeks exactly were the riding is at.

Running is interesting, PR's at Cadbury half marathon by 2 minutes with a 1:17:39 so looks like is going well. Having some good runs and some so so runs but think that is due to overall fatigue. May also be due to the fact it is hilly as heck around here. Will she how the legs are during the Geelong 70.3 and obviously want to crush the run so we will see what happens. Experimenting with different ways of running fast on runs from stride length and turnover and fast arms. Hopefully this will help troubleshoot when starting to slow down come race day.

A few more days in Tasmania awaits and are hoping to have a few more good sessions, especially those in the pool. It is then of to Adelaide to visit some friends and watch some of the Tour Down Under. Good times await along with just nailing each session day by day, as things progress it is then about defining what is possible and doing the work to make it happen.

Photo below is from a ride this past weekend which included a climb up to the top of Mount Wellington.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Vancouver is About to Come Alive - Vancouver 2010 Is Coming

I write this on the other side of the world enjoying a trip back to Australia an in conditions as far removed from the winter Olympics as you could imagine with temperatures in the mid high 30's. However on Feb 10 fresh from having competed in the Geelong 70.3 triathlon I will be arriving back at Vancouver International Airport ready to experience the Olympics for what should be a great festival and event.

For those who have not lived in Vancouver or had the pleasure to visit this city is one that exudes and outdoor life style. In all reality the climate is not always that conducive to outdoor pursuits being located in a rain forest ecology however locals come out in all conditions to run, ski, ride, golf, hike and just plain a simply enjoy the outdoors. In fact the reality is that at times in Vancouver the bar and club scene can be lacking but this is most probably more due to the fact half the city has a early morning run or trip to the mountains planned.

So what will the Olympics mean to Vancouver, who know in the long term but in the short term it will showcase an awesome city to the world. I am lucky enough to have tickets to the Women's Aerials and will be donning the green gold tracksuit to go cheer on the Aussies at this event. In addition to this some hockey, long track speed skating and figure skating is on the agenda. However I think the one of the most enjoyable part will be living the city and getting to enjoy the atmosphere, If Canada makes it to the men's Gold Medal Hockey Final that in itself will be an event of epic proportions that in Vancouver at least will be the biggest event in its life time.

The Olympics are one of things that you rarely get a chance to experience in person, especially when you live front and center to what is going on and I intend to document the experience as much as I can over the course of the events. If anyone has ideas for any posts or features they would like to see about let us know and I will do my best to accommodate.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 - Race 1 - Cadbury Half Marathon - 1:17:39ish - 8th Overall

1:17:39ish - Official results to Come - 8th Overall

Me with Freddo

For those in North America I speak to you form the future! This coming Sunday I have already raced a half marathon, attended the Sorrell Market and had a counter lunch in Richmond, Tasmania along with a couple beers!!

Today was my first race of 2010 and my first ever real running race in Australia. The venue was the Cadbury Chocolate Factory in Claremont. Race Time temp was around 15 degrees Celsius on a clear and sunny day. It was a good time for the Newton Neutral Trainers to come up and run fast on the streets of Hobart, Tasmania.

After a good, relaxed warm up it was time to go. The course had two laps of the Cadbury estate then at around the 2.8km mark it was down a 500m hill and towards the Derwent Entertainment Centre. This part of the course was reasonably flat with a decent section of it on the highway. At this point it was a turnaround and retracing steps over the section at the base of the hill and further up the road. This part came around the 15km and form this point on it was reasonably hilly with a few decent climbs and descents before turning back up the hill for a 500m climb just after the 20km mark and onto the finish.

In the first 7km I found myself running with a group of runners from 4th to 9th Place. I was feeling good until about 5km then was starting to have to push the pace the pace a little to much for comfort to hold on. At this point I started to drop of the back of this group and ended up in a little bit of a no mans land. Through the aid stations I was making sure to douse myself with water as even though it was a relatively mild day by Australian standards most of my runs for the past 3 months have been in temperatures around zero degrees.

At the 9km mark a two guys came up on my shoulder and I decided to work of his rhythm. I essentially worked with these two guys for the next 2km before we dropped one of them and I was working with just the stronger guy. I noticed he was breathing harder than me but still running at a good pace so just made sure I did not get dropped. Going into aid stations made sure I took the front and inside line so I could get as much water to douse myself with as possible.

We then caught the 7th place guy at about 13km and turned into a group of 3. The pattern continued and I had to work hard to keep in touch in some sections but with 5km or so I took to the front and pushed the pace. It took around 3km but eventually dropped the guy we had caught and just kept pushing. With about 1500m to go I had caught 8th place but couldn't blow past as I had hoped and to his credit he was able to surge. I went with him but couldn't hold however the pace had gaped the guy I had been running with since the 9km mark. Going up the hill I got the gap to within 20m of 7th but just couldn't bridge it and on the flats to the finish could only hold the distance. He actually went to turn the wrong way with about 200m to go but I was able to yell out to go straight just in time.

So it was a new PR by 1:53 on a "rolling hill" type of course. Pretty happy with the result and gave myself a shot to finish higher but on the day the guys who finished ahead was just too good (Places 4 to 6 finished in the 1:15:xx range). Slight positive split but I do not think the course lent itself to a negative split type of day.

Was also great to have my parents out to see myself race for the first time which made having a good result even more rewarding. The race was really good value at $50 AUD and included some decent swag, a free massage and a free BBQ. I spent a bit of money at the chocolate factory but most of that is for Leslie so no negative consequences for me!!!!

Thanks also to my supported in particular Forerunners (will be back at the clinics in Feb), Newton Running - think was the only pair out there today and they went fast, Speed Theory - Thanks to all the crew for helping me get my bike to Oz in one piece so the lead in training went without incident or stress.

Next Up Geelong 70.3 on February 7th

All the data and a couple photos are below, Course km markers are always a little dubious but these ones seemed pretty good.

5km - 17:19 (Avg HR 186, Max HR 193) (Downhill from approx 2.5 to 3km)
10km - 18:30 (avg HR 185, Max HR 191)
15km - 18:30 (avg HR 186, Max HR 190)
20km - 19:00 (avg HR 185, Max HR 188) (Hilliest course section)
21.1km - 4:20 (Ag HR 187, Max HR 191) (Included 500m climb in last km)

First Half - 38:20
Second Half - 39:19 (2.5% positive split)

1.25km in with group from 4th to 8th Place

The Finish, if lucky may have scammed a 1:17:37

Friday, January 8, 2010

2010 Begins - Race 1 Tommorow

It has been a busy couple months with a new level of consistency in my training and preparing to visit Australia for 5 weeks. I have started working with somebody for my whole program and that is going well, especially in terms of swimming. The main difference has been the consistency especially during the week and are getting in some good hours across all three disciplines and are definitely a lot fitter than this time last year.

Race Day 1 - Cadbury Half Marathon - Jan 10th

I am now in margate, Tasmania (Just out of Hobart) and tomorrow brings race day in the form of the Cadbury Hobart Half Marathon. The course is definitely not flat and is rolling hills with a 500m hill in the last km. So not sure what the day will hold but plan on splitting the race into 4 rough sections.

The first 6km or so will just be about trying to hit a steady pace. This will bring me to a turnaround point and at this point I will try to workout where I am at in the race. Depending on how I feel at this point I will either look to bridge to the group or runners in front or drop back to the group behind. From here to the 14km mark which is the 2nd turnaround point I am going to look to sit in a group and just wait. The hard thing here will be to be disciplined enough to just sit and wait and not get bored. At 14km this is when the racing will begin, the course gives an opportunity to see who is coming back the other way so will look to pick some targets here to chase and try and drive the pace back to the finish.

Will see how it goes but thoughts will be to adhere to the plan and hopefully pull out a good performance. Weather is looking at being in mid to high teens so will be conscious to dose with water at the aid stations.

Swimming Update

One of the things that has changed with working with somebody has been the amount of swimming. Not having had any exposure to this sport til I learnt to swim 27 months ago it has been good to see the type of volume and focus on technique that is required. The last 4 months have seen me spend more time in the pool than ever before and it is starting to make a difference. Still a long way to go but my 100m and 200m times are decreasing and are starting to be able to diagnose what is going right and wrong in the pool. hopefully this work will show itself in the 2010 race season so I can minimise the time I have to chase down after the swim.

Bike Update

Asides from losing a battle with a set of railway tracks everything has been going well. A lot of time spent on the trainer in Vancouver but now I am in Australia it is outside riding. flat is not something that exists in Hobart so getting plenty of hill work in and each of my rides starts with a 3 minute descent so needless to say they end with a longer climb. Today's ride was a short one (1 Hour) but still had 1450 feet of climbing in 30km so that gives an idea of the terrain.

Run Update

Will know more tomorrow but asides from the odd bad session are feeling good. Speed work seems to be getting better but as is early year is hard to tell how much speed is in the legs. Race day at Cadbury will tell the story

Whats Next

I have another 12 days in Hobart and will be mixing, work, training and going to the cricket. After this are heading to Adelaide to watch some of the Tour Down Under. Main focus here will be to execute training and keeping stuff at work rolling. Will also be good to catch up with some friends in my home town. Looking forward to running around the Torrens corporate cup route along with getting in the ocean.

If I have a quiet day I really want to learn how to learn how to surf just so when everyone in Canada asks "do you surf?" I can say yes.

Beyond Tour Down Under will be heading to Melbourne and this will act as my training base, think will take the opportunity to do some riding in the dandenong ranges, some swimming in the ocean and and to do some runs which will definitely include a lap of Tan. Also plan on heading to the Australian Open Tennis for a day if possible.

After a my time in Melbourne it will be the short trip down to Geelong for the Geelong 70.3. Racing a half ironman this early in the year is a little bit daunting but thinking should be good to get an early mark of progress. Beyond that it is back to Vancouver (Via a tourist day in Tapei) in time for Vancouver 2010. All in all is going to be a busy 2 months but should be fun.

The Food update

After a while away form OZ is good to eat some of the iconic Aussie foods but they may not be good for me!!! Have been drinking a bit of Farmers Union Iced Coffee, Vegemite, Good Quality coffee that is 10 times better than starbucks, meat pies!!! A few more things are on my agenda to try including a pie floater, double cut ham and salad roll, balfours frog, melbourne coffee, fish and chips aussie style. Sure will think of some others but this is the short list at the moment.

That's it for now, need to go do some strides and rest up for race 1.

Some Photos

Below are some photos thus far of the trip are on my facebook page. Will load this up to picassa soon but for the moment it is at the link below or in a stream of the sidebar.