Even though I am currently at an altitude training camp in Livigno, I am closely watching what's going on back home in Prague. And you know what? Nike Speed Week is going on! From today Wednesday August 26 up to Sunday Aug 30, you can find many events happening mainly at Náměstí Republiky. You can run timed mile (1 600 m) or sprint 50 m, you can join many of the Nike Running Club trainings - check out the full list of training events. Registeration link for the speed week is go.nike.com/zoomprg.
I will join the speed week by running a fast mile here during my training, the 1 800 meters of altitude above sea level might make it little more challenging, but that is life. My dear friends let's run #sofast <3 And you know what? Don't over think it, #JUSTDOIT! Coming from a person, who is total endurance monster and pushing my speed limits is my biggest challenge in order to improve my times :D :D :D
In July, I had the great opportunity to participate in Gigathlon race in Switzerland, as covered in previous Gigathlon posts. And as we prepare to the first ever Gigathlon outside of Switzerland at Lipno in September 2016, a mini Gigathlon tour takes place in different locations of the Czech Republic this year. That brought me to Jablonec. And as all my potential team mates were somewhere on vacation abroad, I decided to sign up for the whole thing given the fact the distances are sort of "sprint": 500 m swim - 2.3 km run - 5 km inline skating - 10 km mountain bike - 2.3 km run.
We went for a test ride through the mountain bike loop - the race was two times 5 km loop. I was glad I did it even though I thought of switching to couples for a moment. I am just really afraid of downhills on the MTB, I am not used to it, we had made a switch for the two weekend with Kačka so she has the pleasure to ride my beautiful road bike :) Thank you for the bike!
Since I somehow did not put in too much swim training sessions I realised I will go with the breast stroke as it tires me less and is probably faster for me. I came out of water among the last ones, but not with huge gap (not counting the top leaders :D). It was interesting experience as I never swam in a race before. On the other hand, I did not want to feel exhausted having 3 more disciplines to go ... Well I should definitely work on swimming more. It might be real fun to be able to swim little faster and do short triathlon from time to time :(
First run was pretty challenging, not long, but mostly uphill. You know what? I was afraid of falling on the mountain bike and I fell running uphill??? I wanted to shift gears from power walk on steep uphill to running and I slipped on the trail and fell :D Nothing serious just dirty leg and butt :)
Inline skating was done on a part of training loop for cross country skiers so it was nothing flat, but not too dangerous, though some people were afraid of going fast on downhills. I really liked it.
For me trouble on the bike are the downhills, the guys I overtook on the run and/or inline skates flew by me on the downhills. There were two 5 km loops, in the first one I stepped off the bike for two downhills, in the second rounds I only did that once. I like my legs too much and I do not want to ruin my running by falling on bike in fun event...
And finally there was the run back down. I was happy to be able to get some leg turnover even though it felt really strange after the inline skates and bike, but still I am runner, so running feels the most natural :) By this time we were quite on our own, I wanted to overtake at least one guy ahead of me and I did, so I was really happy. Little sorry that I did not manage to overtake one more. But I was pretty much maxed out as I realised after the finish... It took me quite long to put myself back together. I somehow did not realise, that it got really hot until the 11:35 am when I finished. Overall time 1:35:21 including transitions. Finished 36th overall, 3rd female :)
Saturday July 25th was kind of exciting! We (Evča & me) ran the City Night Run Berlin - the 10 km race in Berlin on pretty fast course. Exciting was the whole weekend as we are putting our partnership together BE On The Run ... meaning Barborka & Evča On The Run. You know, partnering up with an olympic athlete is "kind of" exciting!!! YAY!
The plan was to drive to Trutnov where Evča lives, train together, do a local 3 000 m race on the track and talk about our plans. I arrived on Thursday evening and we were looking forward to run the race on Saturday afternoon in a city nearby. Unfortunately, Saturday morning before we went for our AM training session, we got the news that the race was cancelled due to few entrants. We did our training session and went to the gym in the afternoon. After destroying my biceps, triceps and abs in the gym (God the tiny girl has some crazy strength in her and I have a lot to work on!), we came home to the news that there actually is 10 km race in Berlin Saturday night (in little more than 24 hrs) and that it is only about 3.5 - 4 hrs drive so we could probably do it? :D
Nothing beats unexpected 10 km race tomorrow night after 2 hard sessions right? :D :D :D
On the way to enter the race ... we were not even signed in online, on spot sign up for late entries :D
Managed to get elite entry for Evča due to her current best time of 33:40 for road 10 km.
Ready to rock :D
As it wasn't "A" race that I was tuning up for etc. I ran with Moxy monitor on my quad to monitor oxygen saturation and haemoglobin availability in my muscle.
And you know what happened??? Evča won the race in her new personal best of 33:22!
I was really excited seeing her leading the women's race little more than 1 km before finish <3 It is exciting to have team mate!
Prize giving ceremony - Evča outran the winner of Vienna marathon 2015 (with marathon time of 2:30:06).
Neither Evča neither me drink beer, so Martin (Evča's husband and coach) got to finish it, luckily Erdinger is non-alcoholic beer :D
Our star <3
And how did my race go? As said, my biceps, triceps and abs were truly sore after the gym session we did :D No big expectations, also little heavier than I would want to be for an "A" 10 km or marathon race... about 60 s before the start someone grabbed me from behind. Guess what? Nick Anderson from Running with us, the coach who leads the coaching on training camps in Portugal I have attended in March 2014 & 2015. He didn't know how fast he would go - being definitely faster runner than me. We exchanged few sentences and here was the start!
Few hundred meters in the race Nick offered to pace me for sub 43 minutes (would have been my new personal best). Unfortunately, I went out little too fast (as happens quite often), I would have scaled down a little, but Nick told me to follow him and I did not want to explain that this was pretty dangerous for me ... 2nd kilometre just bellow 4 minutes was simply too fast I think. Then after 3rd km the mental battle began. There was one round of 5 km followed by going once gain up the same street and back to the finish on the opposite side. I was so decided to give up at 5th km :D Those mental battles always come - 5th km at 4:28, my slowest from the race...
But then I told myself that I have this great opportunity to have my very own private pacer. And the pacer is nobody else than one of the best coaches I have met so far, so told myself it would have been really stupid to let it go. Did I mention it was really windy? And I had trouble staying right on Nick's heels, so unfortunately I was not using that much of the advantage of having him there. On the other hand the mental advantage was huge! Around 6th km I knew I should see Evča soon coming in the opposite direction. First the car, then the leading men and then with each next group or solo runner I prayed for it to be a guy or Evča. I did't want to see any other girl running ahead of her obviously :)
And there she was flying down the street! I screamed really loud and cheered for her. Immediately after doing so I knew Nick would not be happy with it. I think he shouted at me something like "If you can scream that loud, you can run as well." At least I would scream that at myself anyway :D So I tried to give it my best, but managed "only" to hang on. On the other hand the wind gusts were coming on us pretty hard on the cross streets. Finally there was the turnaround, then 8 km mark, the 9th km seemed never-ending, but as usual, the mind was playing tricks. Because I managed to run the last kilometre in 4:08, almost 20 seconds faster than the previous one :D On the other hand, I seriously did not have much more in me that day. Official chip time: 43:13, which is 12 seconds shy of my personal best. I will take it given the phase of my training and my current state. Hard work lies ahead! I need to learn to switch off the head and dig deep.
Concerning the results, I finished 38th female and 11th in over 30 age group - perks of being "old" :D
The spike at the beginning was not real, that was my Mio Link acting crazy - went totally OK as I tightened the bracelet.
Moxy monitor record - it includes the pre race warm up and some time after the race.
Shortly about Moxy Monitor - it is a small black box that you can attach to almost any muscle on your body. For running workouts I attach it on the side muscle on my quad as seen on the photo above. The two values it gives you: SmO2 meaning percentage of oxygen saturation in your muscle and THb = haemoglobin. So far I understand more the SmO2 reading and that is what I use in my training. Here you can see how the oxygen starts being used up at the beginning of the race, then becomes somewhat stable when I slowed down a little after the 2nd km and finally you can see that I squeezed a lot of myself ending slightly above 25 %. That is what I have been training now once a week - as I am not lifetime athlete and only started running few years ago, my muscles need to learn how to max out themselves :) But more about Moxy training in another post.
On the technical part - I use Moxy with Garmin Forerunner 920xt, the transfer is done through ANT+ protocol which is same as for your heart rate monitor or cadence meter. It needs a watch with Garmin ConnectIQ so you can download the Moxy app, so far that means Forerunner 920xt, fénix 3 or vívoactive (interested in ordering any of these? just email me: barborka(at)ontherun.cz).
And on Sunday we were back in action - what a perfect day for leg day at Fitness Olymp <3
Swimming (Petr M.): 3 km (it was actually 1 km run, 2,5 km swim and 1 km run back)
Road bike (Pavel): 61 km, 800 m elevation gain
In-line skating (Petr L.): 27 km
Mountain bike (Klára): 47 km, 1 100 m elevation gain
Running (Barborka :-) ): 21 km, 210 m elevation gain
Due to later start of our disciplines we slept in :-)
It was incredibly hot again. Can you see the castle behind me? The first part of my run leg was to run down to the village and then up the castle! Oooouch! Did I mention my legs were dead after Saturday? :D
Course of my leg, at 4th km the biker (Klárka) joined me (obligatory in the rules) and we finished together. As you can see the course goes along the river - unfortunately upstream. Meaning almost invisible climb all the way to the finish...
Yep, pretty much that.
It was really hard for me to keep the paces fast enough and my heart rate up as I wanted in the second half. I also needed to make a pit stop (wooops). The heat and two day fuelling took its toll. I am happy that I managed to pump up my effort for the last 1-1.5 km. Translated in two overtaken team of five runners :)
What is great about Gigathlon is that your team is waiting for you and you finish all together!
Not very representative, but yep that is me just after finish.
Recovery time ... still in the Royal Bay compression socks & drinking Chi coconut water & coconut milk "iced" latté (unfortunately it wasn't really iced in the 30 degrees weather :D ) provided by My Botainka.
As the evening approached, most of the tents disappeared. Even though there were still some competitors finishing! I can't imagine the effort of those "single" true Gigathletes!
Overall Gigathlon 2015 was great experience. This race has over 10 years of tradition in Switzerland and you can see that the top athletes, teams and couples take it very seriously (like having World Inline skating champion in the team :D ). On the other hand, the race has a huge aspect behind the performance. You go through the region, see many interesting sights (like the two castles pointed out alongside the river for swimmers :D ) and you propel yourself only using your body and ecologic equipment. Transfers between different transition areas are made by trains that are free for competitors and supporting crew. So the whole event is quite ecological. Also, you have the tents and the daily meals provided by the organisers, meaning all the athletes are more or less together throughout the weekend. The atmosphere was amazing!
The Czech Republic Gigathlon at Lipno in September 2016 was announced several times during the commentary. So we had people out of our teams asking about it when they realised we are Czech. I hope to see you all next year at Lipno!!!
Finally note on our performance: we finished 47th out of 563 teams which I think is pretty amazing! Great team spirit and great experience all the way around! We definitely set the bar pretty high for the next year challenge :)
We arrived to Aarau, Switzerland on Friday morning and got all soaked up in the excitement and atmosphere of Gigathlon 2015 - I wrote about it in the previous post. We went to bed (well in the sleeping bag) relatively early, I only opened one eye when Klárka got up at 5 am to get ready for her 8 am mountain bike start. Got up around 7:30 to watch the mass start. 600 mountain bikes were really massive. The single and couple competitors already started at 6 am.
What was on the schedule for Day 1 of Gigathlon 2015?
Mountain bike (Klára): 39 km, 1 180 m elevation gain
Swimming (Petr M.): 9 km (in the current, so "reality" was something around 4,8 km - crazy distance anyway!)
In-line skating (Petr L.): 31 km, 250 m elevation gain
Running (Barborka :-) ): 18 km, 670 m elevation gain
Road bike (Pavel): 96 km, 1 950 m elevation gain
We have young and promising MTB athlete Klára in our team, unfortunately the danger of mass start hit her, someone bumped in her from back and twisted part of her gear shifter, so she had to repair it by herself and only finished her leg on 5 gears :( Advantage was that we were passing our competitors all the way to the finish of day 1. Pavel and me had pretty long day as we were only starting around noon (me) and 2 pm (Pavel).
Nutrition prep - UCAN for hours :D I don't like starting later in the day as fueling becomes difficult.
Saturday running route ... just three little climbs :D
And the elevation chart did not lie - my Garmin did match it quite well!
Average 170 BPM & 180 BPM maximum heart rate.
I walked all the steep uphills to keep my heart rate lower and be able to run fast immediately from the top. I think this strategy worked well. I walked faster than some people running the uphills and I passed 95 % of those who overtook me on the the uphills. I finished in 1:40:59 (1:40:14 according to my Garmin), happy with the effort! Resulted in 146th time for my leg on Day 1 out of almost 600 people in the Team of Five competition.
The transition area was in this beautiful amphitheatre.
I ran pretty much wrapped in Royal Bay compression gear :D The thigh extreme sleeves are great to protect your thigh muscles on downhills! Get my discount code for Royal Bay shop.
Our team recovering from Day 1 effort, compexing my legs :)
Fro Yo treat!!!
Pavel finishing our Day 1 effort - he got seriously overheated and still finished with 52nd time out of 564 teams that started!
With Pavel just after he finished... he is trying hard to look OK, but you can see the effort in his face. Great job!
Přemek from the Czech couple team finishing!
Eating dinner :D
Evening recovery swim in the river was great!
Even one day was great experience and very tough race. I couldn't imagine how it would feel racing next day half marathon distance with elevation again!
Greetings from Switzerland! We arrived this morning to take part in the here traditional race Gigathlon, it consists of swim, inline skating, road bike, mountain bike and run. I am taking part in the "Team of 5" which means every member has his/her own discipline. You have the discipline both Saturday and Sunday in more or less half ironman distance smile emoticon But there are also singles who do all the 5 disciplines on both days!!! And couples where there are 2 people, 1 has to be female and has to do at least 2 disciplines ... uffff, what an achievement!
In Prague just before leaving on Thursday evening ... we arrived to Aarau on Friday morning.
Start of the "prologue" race on Friday - introduction and honours to the single competitors who go through all the 5 disciplines on Saturday and Sunday!
We had some trouble getting our gluten free meal options, so we had to take selfie with our meals when we finally got them. No carbs before racing would be really bad and all the other options were pasta :(
Team Gigathlon Czech Republic 1
Life saver idea - they would borrow you external battery to charge your phone!
Petr getting his skates ready while giving inline skating advice to Zuzka :D :D :D