I did it!

Today I went out to do a long slow paddle following Dan’s advice, and I did it. I went 10 miles in 1:52:56, and my average pulse was 126 bpm. Compare to last week when I did a “race pace” 8 miles in 1:22:20 with an average pulse of 139. I was actually watching my heart rate monitor and every time it showed more than 130 bpm, I slowed down the stroke rate and concentrated on getting more glide. There were a couple of times where the heart rate monitor started giving weird numbers – suddenly going up to over 200 bpm and staying there. So the average was probably actually a bit lower.

There was a fairly strong breeze in my face on the way up, and I was averaging about 4.4 mph. I thought I was doing a great job of keeping my speed down. I decided to turn around at the 4.5 mile point because my elbows were starting to hurt a bit and because I really really had to pee. But when I turned around my speed immediately went up to around 6.8 mph, so I decided it was more a case of the wind and current than my own self discipline.

The brisk pace back (and the lots of glide) meant that I felt fine when I got back (and my bladder was surviving), and so I did a diversion upstream on the canal to increase the total distance. I was just about to turn around when I saw a guy out paddling coming towards me who was obviously a fitness paddler, so I kept paddling until we passed, turned around, and gave him a brief sales pitch for the BayCreek Time Trials. It was probably a good thing I went that little bit further, because the GPS beeped for “Lap 10” just as I passed the dock for GWC.

I think I kept good technique the whole time (although my paddle banged into the boat a few more times as I got tired), and I don’t think my speed (corrected for current and wind) was much worse at the end than it was at the beginning. It was definitely a milestone to be proud of.

Today’s Discovery

If you have a Core Data data model with one Entity, say “AircraftCategory” that has a “to-many” Relationship to another, say “AircraftClass”, you can access the AircraftClass objects for an AircraftCategory using an NSMutableSet. But if you Fetch an NSMutableArray of AircraftCategory, and are doing a “fast enumeration” through the AircraftCategory objects, and you happen to remove one of the AircraftClass items from the current AircraftCategory object using one of the generated accessors, the fast enumeration will see that as a modification of the NSMutableArray of AircraftCategory and throw an exception. This is in contrast to Java where you would only get an exception if you were to add or remove things from the actual Collection that you were iterating, and not from calling setter methods on the objects in the Collection.

So instead of removing the AircraftClass from the AircraftCategory, I discovered that what I have to do is remove it from Core Data directly, using
[managedObjectContext deleteObject:aircraftClass];

I haven’t tried it yet, but I wonder if this wouldn’t happen if I assigned the fetch results to an NSArray instead of an NSMutableArray?

Yesterday’s Discovery

Yesterday, Dan told me that I’ve been doing my training wrong all my life. All my life, I’ve always started doing a good pace, and building up the distance until I could do that pace for the sort of distance I wanted to race, and adding in some shorter interval, speed play and strength work outs for speed. For running, that pace was around 8 mph, and I started out doing a mile or so and worked up to regularly running 8 to 12 miles at that pace, in preparation for 6-8 km long orienteering races. For skiing, it was around 18-20 km/hr, and I was regularly doing 40 or 50 km at that pace, in preparation for 15 or 30 km races (I was quite a bit slower for the Canadian Ski Marathon, but it was 168 km in two days over quite rugged terrain). And for kayaking, it seems like 6 mph is that pace, and I’ve built up to doing 8 miles at that speed, trying to build up to longer than the 10 miles of a normal race.

But Dan says what I should be doing is going slower for longer distances, and doing more interval work outs at much faster than race pace, and basically do race distances at race speeds almost never. And he appears to have the research papers to back it up. I guess I’ll try it his way and see how it goes. Maybe I won’t have the same problem I had for skiing and orienteering, where I really didn’t have any ability to go faster for shorter races – I basically had one pace and that was it.

I’m a lean mean paddling machine!

On Sunday, Vicki and I went for a paddle with the Huggers.

But first, I went for a long fast paddle to get the “need for speed” out of my system. I did 5 miles, and while I started out slowly for the first half mile, by the 0.7 mile point I was definitely up to race pace. I just can’t get the hang of this “warm up” business – never have. Going up stream, I was maintaining a pretty good 5.8 mph or so – although the last half mile before the turn-around was up above 6.0 mph. When I turned around, I was making better than 6.5 mph. The fourth mile was an average pace of 6.6 mph and the fifth mile was an average pace of 6.5 mph. Even including the slow first mile, that meant that my five mile total time (49:41) was faster than the speed (50:14) when I did a 5 mile time trial a mere 21 days ago.

But more importantly, doing a big work out mere minutes before going for a fun paddle did have the desired effect – I could enjoy a nice leisurely paddle with Vicki and the others without any need to speed ahead or run rings around people or any of the annoying things I do when I still have the need for speed. And we had a great time picking our way up and back Red Creek, this tiny and wild little stream in the middle of Rochester.

Today I went for an even longer paddle – 8 miles. I was going to go up the river again, but there was a bit of a breeze going down the river and I didn’t fancy fighting a head wind on the way home. But fortunately the Genesee Waterway Center gives you a choice – the river intersects the canal right there, and the breeze was blowing straight up the canal. So I went down the canal. It wasn’t an extremely pleasant paddle – the canal parallels highways and industrial land almost the whole way. Although I did see a Great Blue Heron and some ducks. Once again, I didn’t manage a proper warm up. Looking at the speed graph in Garmin Training Center, it looks like I once again only warmed up for half a mile or so. For the first 3 miles or so, I felt no fatigue, no soreness, the only sensations were a slight pull from the bandage on the sores on my back and the relentlessness of my own stroke.

On the way back, I was a little disappointed that the tail wind didn’t improve my speed that much, or at all really. My third mile had an average speed of 6.0 mph, and my downwind miles had average speeds of 6.1, 6.0, 6.1 and 5.9 mph. I don’t know if I was slowing down, or the wind was abating, but I definitely felt that there was a current going against me. But that doesn’t matter so much. What does matter is that I kept my pace up, and besides a few pauses to grab a drink, I didn’t have to stop at all. And afterwards, I was tired, and I was ready to stop, but I didn’t feel like I had to stop.

Eight miles, 81 minutes. I am *so* ready for the Tupper Lake 9 Miler. Only 11 days to go.

A guy could get used to this

It’s been in the 90s and sunny for the last three days, and I’ve been privileged to spent a few hours each day out on the water enjoying the sun and warmth.

First on Tuesday, Dan, Frank and I went for a long slow distance paddle. I didn’t bring my GPS, but Dan figures I went a bit over 6.5 miles. I was attempting to go at a nice steady pace, and because Frank was having a bad day, I ended up zig-zagging some of the time so that Frank could keep up and I didn’t have to slow down. Interestingly enough, I had to zig-zag the first two or so miles, and then I had a mile or so where I could just keep up with him, then when we turned down stream I had to zig-zag again for about two miles, and then for the rest of it Frank and I were very well matched. I can only think there was a bit of wind that was impeding me for the last part of the upstream and helping me for the first part of the down stream. My boat (which used to belong to Frank) is definitely more subject to the wind that his.

Wednesday, most of the team went out and did a bit on the lake and a bunch on the bay. We were trying to learn to get comfortable in the waves, and the mixture of boat wakes coming from all directions (and the rebounds from the shores) were certainly a challenge. Dan remarked afterwards how I was up front leading most of the time, but there was method in my madness – I was almost sure I was going to dump, and if I dumped I wanted to have the maximum number of people in position to help me. In fact I didn’t dump, and while I wouldn’t call it all fun, I did manage to catch a few good waves and have some fun with them once in a while. I definitely recommend doing wave practice (or just paddling in the bay in general) with a bunch of other experienced paddlers around rather than on your own.

Today Dan and I went up the canal again. This time I went a bit further upstream that on Tuesday. There were some boats around, and some challenging wakes. There was one section just past 490 where there were vertical concrete walls on each side of the canal, and it acted like a wave laser, letting the wakes of the boats that had gone by some minutes before I got there to bounce back and forth and reinforce each other. There were times today, like yesterday on the bay, where I just had to stop paddling and brace. But I got through it and into the parts with the sloping walls and everything calmed down. I turned around when the GPS was showing a hair over 3.5 miles, since I figured a 7 mile day was a good distance. The “wave laser” wasn’t so bad on the way back, and I got some good help from tail winds, so I was keeping just around 6 mph most of the way back.

At about the 4.5 mile mark, Dan yelled at me to keep my chin up, and then I didn’t see him again for the whole way back. I was getting a bit worried, because he’d had to stop once already to adjust his foot brace and had something about needing more adjustment, so at first I thought he’d just stopped for that, but I expected him to catch back up soon. So I started to wonder if he’d had some worse problem and had to abandon ship. After I got back to his dock, I figured I’d go up stream a bit to see if he was coming. I got up to the rowing club, and he was coming and so was a motor boat I’d seen a lot of today. On the way up, I’d tried in vain to catch and hold this guy’s wake, then he’d passed me going the other way where his wake had just been a challenge, and then I’d passed him when he was on his trolling motor casting into the shallows at the side of the canal. I turned as he passed, and this time he seemed to be going a bit slower. I caught one of the perpendicular waves behind his boat[1] and tried to surf it, but it actually propelled me up to the next wave. Trying to get to the best surfing position, I found myself going over 7 mph and catching him. Pretty soon I got tucked in right beside him, matching his 6.2 mph speed and going along with only minimal effort. I could speed up and slow down and get to exactly the wave I wanted and where I wanted it. It was very cool. He eventually noticed me there, and he asked me if the wake was helping me, and I grunted out a few sentences to confirm it. I must have surfed his wake for about a mile, and only quit when I decided that was about as far away from Dan’s dock as I cared to paddle back to. The GPS says I ended up doing 8.8 miles, which more than I expected.

I’ve decided that all I need for my next kayak race is a motor boat to pace me at exactly the right pace so I can surf their wake the whole way.

[1] There appear to be three distinct types of wave from a boat – there are waves that come off the bow and spread out in a “V”, which actually curve to turn more to perpendicular to the boat the further out they go. Then there is another set which come out in a “V” which don’t seem to turn, and which are much steeper than the first set – I think they come off the stern. Then there is a bunch of much more subtle ones that come of behind the boat and which are perpendicular to the boat travel. All of them can be useful if you catch them right.