Ironman Mont Tremblant

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant 2016 - The Run

Goal:  4:45
Reality:  5:15

The run is where I've always had problems and I think it boils down to nutrition on the bike and lack of nutrition on the run.  Doing some quick math, during the swim I burned about 1,500 calories and 3,400 calories on the bike.  For breakfast I drank two bottles of Boost Plus Calories (360 calories each) and a PBJ (275 calories).  One the bike I drank 4 (out of 6) servings of Infinit (250 calories each) and two gels.  So at the start of the marathon, I had burned 4,900 calories and consumed about 2,200 calories for a deficit of 2,500 calories.  I already threw up on the bike and was starting the marathon with a bloated stomach.

Running out of the change tent and into the pouring rain, I felt a little better than last year where I was able to run to the first aid station (about 500 meters away) when I had to start walking because of the scorching heat.  This year I was able to run to the Old Village of Mont Tremblant (4 km).  I ran with one guy who had done 13 Ironman all over the world.  We were running at a 5:45 min/km pace.  I couldn't keep up and started walking for a bit until I caught my breath.  Once on the trail, I continued  running with a bloated stomach until I decided it was time to throw up.  After that, I felt better and was able to take a gel.  I tried the Cliff gels that they were handing out at the aid stations but they were so thick I was unable to swallow.  I'm glad I packed GU gels in my water belt.

I stumbled along with my walk/run/stagger pace until before I realized I was at the turn around.  I saw Gareth S and Peter A.  Both were running strong.  As Gareth passed me, I yelled at him calling him a bastard and started running again as I didn't want him to lap me again.  At the aid stations I started asking if they had Tums or anything like that to minimizing the bloating.  They didn't have any (something to consider for next year).  Eventually the rain stopped and it was actually nice out.

At special needs, I had packed a garbage bag with holes cut out for the arms and head.  I wasn't sure what the weather was going to be like on the second loop.  If it was raining and and I was on the trail after the sun went down, that was a perfect recipe for hypothermia and a DNF.  I had the garbage rolled up tightly and stuck it in my run belt.

Coming back into the Mont Tremblant, I saw Joe and Susan (our old neighbors from Toronto) and they were with Rebecca and Vanessa.  I didn't see Tammy or Jake.  Rebecca said Tammy had gone looking for Jake.  I started panicking but Joe said run.  All though out the second lap, I was sort of worried about Jake missing.  Turns out Tammy found him playing Pokeman and wandered off a short distance.  Just as she was talking to the police, Jake came back.

The second lap was pretty much a blur.  The bloating in my stomach went down and I was actually able to eat some gels.  Oddly enough, my run time got faster.  I was doing a lot more running as I didn't want Gareth to pass me.  I passed his friend Chris who was doing this 10th and last Ironman. Obviously he planned to walk the second loop as he put a nice warm jacket in his special needs.

Gareth finally passed me as I was near the old village.  Later he told me he was pissed off that I called him a bastard and ran faster to pass me again but to his surprise, I wasn't where he thought he'd pass me again.  That's because I started running.

Once I was off the trail and in the old village (about 6 km to finish), I offered my garbage bag to anyone who was heading onto the trail.  The sun was setting and it would be cold as the temperature would drop.  No one wanted it so I threw it out.  Later, the next morning while standing in the line up for the Ironman tent, I was talking to a girl who mentioned some guy was offering her a garbage bag.  "Ha ha, that was me" I told her.  At the time, she didn't understand what the garbage bag was for.

Running down the finisher chute, I saw Tammy and the kids with Joe and Susan.  They spent the whole day together and really enjoyed being at Ironman.  I think Joe was interested in getting into triathlons as he currently runs marathons.

After Thoughts
I'm disappointed with my time as I didn't beat last year's time and all my times are getting slower. The weather has a big influence on how the race goes.  I probably had the best weather in 2012.  Several friends have already signed up for 2017.

So will I

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant - 2016: The Bike

Goal:  6:15
Reality:  6:33

After leaving a painfully slow transition, I headed out to find my bike.  I had put one of my arm coolers on while carried the other in my hand (not sure why I didn't stop and put the other side on).  The weather was humid and cloudy but no sign of rain.  Heading down Montee Ryan, I struggled to put my other arm cooler on and not plow into a barrier or run off the road.  Already people were hammering it by me but I opted to noodle along the mostly downhill route to Hwy 117.  After climbing up the on ramp to the highway, I passed a guy who had four water bottles on his bike and two bottles of  Gatorade in the back of his jersey.  I guess no one told him they were serving Gatorade at the aid stations....or there were aid stations on the course.  I never saw him again.

Just as I approached the massive downhill on Hwy 117, it started to rain.  Big fat rain drops.  I rode hard down the hill knowing full well I would never ride as fast down this hill on the second loop.  I hit 73 km/hr (fastest I've ever gone down this hill is 75.9 km/hr).   I absolutely love flying down this hill as the road is so smooth and the momentum carries you for at least half a kilometer.  The further I rode, the heavier it rained until it was almost impossible to see with my sunglasses on.  The volunteers were amazing, standing in the pouring rain dancing to the music.  Everyone was so enthusiastic.

The turn around point on Hwy 117 is roughly 30 km from Montee Ryan and usually there are headwinds heading back but the winds were blowing every which way, it was impossible to know if we had side winds, tail winds or head winds.  The rain continued hour after hour. I think it was pretty safe to say that Accua Weather was a bit off with their prediction of rain at 10:00 am, 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm.  It was raining constant.

Its all down hill heading along Hwy 117 pass Montee Ryan towards the small town of St Jovite.  Despite the rain, everyone was flying along at over 50 km/hr.  Once in the town I couldn't help but notice the sparse crowd and what a difference it was than in 2012, but then again in 2012, it wasn't pounding rain for hours on end.

It was long and tortuous climb back up Montee Ryan and the village of Mont Tremblant.  There were a surprisingly large number of spectators and I hoped Tammy and the kids weren't standing in the rain waiting for me.

By the top of Lac Superior, my quads were fried as I turned around and started heading down.  It takes about 25 minutes to climb up to the turn around but less than 15 minutes to descend even though there are three climbs on the descent.  On the last big descent I can easily get above 70 km/hr but in this rain I only hit 67 km/hr.  As I was half way down coming around a corner, there was an athlete standing in the middle of the road directing people coming down to stay to the right.  I only had a fraction of second to glance to my left where I saw people lying on the side of the road and others had stopped to help.  I wasn't sure what happened but as I kept going, EMT vehicles came whipping up the hill.  Lots of them.

I later found out there was a bad crash.  An athlete coming down the hill had lost control and slammed into the riders heading up the hill.  There were several athletes hurt bad but the worst was the guy coming down as on Slowtwitch someone posted he had a fractured spine, broken ribs and shoulder.  He was rushed to local hospital and was in intensive care.

Stopping at special needs to pick up my second bottle of nutrition, there were several high school kids helping out.  I asked them if they were having fun in the pouring rain.  They said, yes and I replied "Good, I'm glad someone is having fun."

The ride down highway 117 was with a tailwind.  Despite the pounding rain (by now it had been raining for more than four hours), I hit 67 km/hr going down the big hill.  That meant we had a tailwind heading to the turn around and we would have a wicked headwind riding from the turnaround to St Jovite (about 40 km).  In fact, for most of that part, I was riding in the small chain rain.  The only good part was that most of that part was down hill other than climbing that massive hill.

Climbing back up Montee Ryan, I stopped to puke.  My stomach had become bloated and I was not absorbing any liquids or nutrition.  This is the third race where that's happened.  Clearly I need a new nutrition strategy.

The climb up to Lac Superior was as brutal.  There were no signs of the crash but coming back down, the race director Dominique was standing in the pouring rain at the top of the last descent, yelling at athletes to slow down.  I squeezed my brakes and only hit 53 km/hr.  The brakes were pretty useless for stopping.

After handing my bike to a volunteer in transition, I walked passed a lady and said "well that was fun."  She said I looked better than most.

I saw Tammy and the kids just before I headed into the transition tent.  "Finally" Tammy yelled.  Earlier I told her my bike time would be 6:15 to 6:30.  I was 6:33.  What was she complaining about?

Transition Two:  6:29
I did a complete changes of clothes.  I used Body Glide everywhere.  As I headed out, I looked at my watch.  God, I lost so much time in transitions.  As we ran out of the change area, there were volunteers cheering us and we ran out of the tent and into the rain.



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant - 2016: The Swim

Goal:  1:10
Reality: 1:17:07

For the last week, everyone was watching the weather forecast for race day.  Accua Weather kept changing their forecast but by early Sunday morning they were calling for cloudy with thunderstorms at 10:00 am, 2:00 pm and 5 pm with about 5 mm of rain.  Not too bad.  On the other hand The Weather Network was calling for solid rain starting from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm with 40 to 60 mm of rain.  I believed Accua Weather to be correct.

I headed out of the room at 5:00 am to transition to get set up.  It was very humid and windy.  The wind was not a good sign for the bike or the swim.  If it did rain, at least it would be warm.  I made some last minute changes to what clothing I was going to wear for the bike and run.  Several friends mentioned it would be best for a complete change of clothes for the run.  Therefore I opted to wear my cycling jersey during the swim (under my wetsuit) and change into my tri top for the run.

I headed to the swim start with Tammy and Vanessa.  Nearing the beach, the race for the men's pro was about to begin when a CF 18 fighter jet did a flyover.  It flew much lower than previous years and was ear splitting.  Nice to see my tax dollars hard at work (it costs about $60,000 per hour of flight).

With that, I said good bye and jumped in the lake for a quick warm up.  The water was really warm with a wet suit on and a little choppy.  Two weeks before, I went swimming with Mike M at Jackson's Point on Lake Simcoe.  It was pretty windy and had stirred the water up pretty good.  I was really glad we did that swim.

Last year I had a really great draft in the swim and was hoping for a repeat.  The guy basically plowed through the swimmers from the earlier waves and I just tagged along for the ride.  I kept hopping from swimmer to swimmer looking for a similar ride.  No such luck.  Around the 400 meter mark, I began to catch the previous wave group.  Was it my imagination or was every single slow swimmer swimming along the buoy line?  I can't believe how many times people were crashing into me (or maybe it was me crashing into them).

As we got further out, the waves began to pick up and I began to wonder what I was doing here.  I was getting bored and started counting the buoys.  I thought there were 19 of them spaced 100 meters apart so I was surprised when I got to the red buoy (turn).  By now the waves were quite choppy.  Several times I turned to take a breath, only to get swamped by a wave.  I definitely wasn't having fun.  By now I had caught the slower swimmers from the three waves ahead but still was constantly running into other swimmers.  Why do people who can't swim or need to do the breast stroke swim along the buoy line?  This was by far, the most contact I've had during the swim.  I wondered how Cathy S was doing?  This was not an easy swim.

I had no idea what my swim time was but was pretty disappointed when I looked at my watch and saw 1:17:00.  This was the slowest of four races.  I ran up to the wet suit strippers and sat down while they ripped off my wet suit.  Just then I was struck with a massive cramp in my left hamstring.  I think people thought I was having a heart attack as the medical staff were there pretty quick.  I tried to get up but someone pushed me back down.  The pain as very sharp and they kept asking if I had trouble breathing.  Last year the same thing happened but it didn't last as long.  The medic grabbed my leg and held it up while pushing down my foot.  Finally the pain subsided enough for me to try and get up.  The medic kept yelling at me to stay down but as I stood up, the right hamstring cramped up.  So back down I went until the pain subsided.

Finally I got up and ran/walked/hobbled to transition.  I saw Tammy and the kids along the way. I got my bike transition bag and went into the change tent and it was packed.  There were no chairs to sit on so I changed on the floor.  I put my bike shorts on and stood up.  Right away something didn't feel right.  I had put my bike shorts on backwards.  Awesome.  After spending half the day in the change tent I ran out to get my bike.  At least it wasn't raining.  All right Accua Weather!

Transition Time:  11:09 (one of my worst times)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant - 2016: Getting There

I decided to change things up for training this year.  In the past, I simply used workouts from previous coaches.  But in November, I bought a Kickr trainer, a fully computerized bike trainer however, to my dismay (and astonishment), it can only be controlled using an iphone, ipad or android phone.  Both Tammy's ipad and iphone were too old to support the app and the only way to use my laptop was to subscribe to a third party software, otherwise I just paid $1,200 for a dumb computerized bike trainer.  After a little research (highly unusual for me), I signed up for Trainerroad.  It had over 800 bike workouts including full training plans ranging from Sprint to Ironman.  I started off with a 8 week base building program and then 6 week build and finally into a 6 week Ironman training program.  Some of the workouts were brutal and almost puke worthy.  In fact, later on in early summer I had to change my workouts to allow for more recovery.  I was hoping these V02 max workouts would translate into a faster bike split.

Heading into the final week before leaving to Mont Tremblant, I needed a bike tune up very badly.  In fact, the last tune up I had was a year ago.  I used Velofix the mobile bike shop.  Mike P gave great service and actually came back a couple of times so I emailed him and I got an "out of office" alert.  He later emailed me and said he would be back on Monday.  No problem, I was leaving on Thursday so plenty of time.  I didn't hear back from him on Monday so I emailed again.  No response.  I started to panic.  It would be almost impossible to get a tune up if I took the bike to a bike shop.  Because Velofix are franchises, I emailed another guy I knew of, Nick D.  At first, he was a little reluctant because I lived in Mike's territory.  I explained I emailed Mike twice and never heard back.  With that Nick came over and after a short 3.5 hours and $400 bill, he had my bike cleaned and ready to go.  I highly recommend Nick.

We arrived in Mont Tremblant on Thursday afternoon and booked the same place as last year.  We enjoyed it so much, we booked before we left, however this year, the room wasn't as great as we were in the basement/ground floor.  It was quite dark and gloomy.  We tried to change but everything was sold out.

One good thing about being on the ground floor is that the deer aren't shy and will come right up to our patio door.


One of the things I like about Ironman Mont Tremblant, is that I usually know a couple of people racing as well.  This year, Scobie, Peter A, Cathy S and Mike M were coming up.  Misery loves company.  And Sunday's weather looks like its going to be miserable.  The weather kept changing but it looked like it was going to rain...lots.

On Saturday, I met up with Mike M and we did a quick 23 minute bike ride up Ch Duplessis to the last big descent from the bottom.  I usually hit over 70 km/hr and did so this time.  I warned Mike to back off on the speed if it was raining.  After that, we did an easy 1,000 meter swim to the Kona Koffee Boat. The water was really chilly at first but after swimming a bit, it felt really warm and we weren't wearing out wetsuits.  I hate coffee but there is something about swimming 500 meters and having a coffee while treading water.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ironman Mont Tremblant: Numba Three - The Run

Its all about the bike......until you get to the run.

I started the run ahem, stroll, around 3:00 pm.  The heat was brutal and with the humidity, it had to be over 35 C.  I ran to the first aid station where Paul and Cathy were working hard as volunteers.  I stopped for a minute to chat with them and then headed off to the old village of Mont Tremblant chewing on some ice that Paul gave me.

The plan was to run five minutes and walk one minute, hills and aid stations but within the first 20 minutes, that plan went out the window.  With a bloated stomach (although not as bad as last year) I wasn't taking in enough calories.  Doing some quick math, according to my Garmin, I burned over 3,200 calories on the bike.  I drank one full bottle of Infinite (250 calories x 3 servings = 750 calories) but only about half of the second bottle (375 calories) for a total of 1,100 calories or so.  That was a calorie deficit of 2,000 calories from the bike alone.  I tried drinking my Infinit run mix but my stomach was too full.  I need to burp or throw up.  In fact, by the time I got to the old village of Mont Tremblant, I pulled over to the side of the road and tried to throw up but hardly anything came out.  A medic came over to me and asked me if I was ok

"Yea I'm ok if I can just throw up" I said
"what??" she asked, "Why don't you sit down?
No way, if I sat down, I probably wouldn't be getting up
"Non, Ca va bien" I replied and started running away

She must of radioed ahead to the next aid station at the start of the Le P'Tit Train du Nord trail as another medic called me by name and asked if I was ok.
"Yea I'm ok" I said as I dumped water down my back and put ice in my bandanna.  The ice felt good but didn't last very long.  My feet were completely soaked from all the water and I was so glad I put body glide on my feet to prevent blisters.

That was pretty much how the first loop went.  Lots of walking and pouring water on myself.  Seeing that I couldn't drink my run mix, I had brought my canister of salt pills from the bike and kept taking them.  If I didn't have them, I would have probably DNFed.

Someone had later said, they have never seen so many people walking on the first loop.  Yup and I was one of them.  Finally I made it back to the resort and ran by the first aid station.  I was surprised to see Paul and Cathy still working hard.  I yelled to Cathy "Chris should have been here to suffer with me!"  Cathy yelled back "he is with you"  The first loop was just miserable.

Just before special needs, I saw Tammy and the kids.  I later found out that they waited 2.5 hours for me.  So much for spending $140 on the GPS tracker.

First run loop: 2:40
Goal:  2:15

The second loop started a little better as it was around 5:00 pm and was getting cooler.  I mentioned to someone that my stomach was bloated.  He said his was as well but was drinking Coke and it helped him burp.  As I got to the first aid station, Paul and Cathy had left and I looked for Doru.  I couldn't see him but grabbed some Coke and washed it down with more salt pills.  I'm so thankful I put back up salt pills in my special needs bag.  I had exchanged bottles of Infinite from the bag but still had a hard time drinking it.  In fact my first bottle was half full and when I finished the race my second bottle was half full as well.  So much for my nutrition plan.

I was able to run a lot more but still walked the aid station.  I was dumping ice in my bandanna and drinking coke.  They also started serving Chicken broth.  The best thing ever.  After the turn around on the trail, I started running with Brian.  He was young (23) and very enthusiastic.  He was from New York City and doing his first Ironman.  Talking to someone helped pass the time.  We would walk the aid stations and hills but he was all smiles.  My mood lifted as well as my pace.  Finally at the second turnaround on the trail outside the old village of Mont Tremblant did I feel relieved that we would finish.

We were walking with a big guy for a couple of minutes and talking.  We were on a second loop almost finished and he was on his first.  He asked if we knew what time the run cut off time for the first loop.  I knew there was a cut off time but wasn't sure.  I told him to keep moving as Brian and I started to run.  We debated if he would finish.  I didn't think he would but did see him cross the finish line around 11:30 pm.  

As we headed pass the first aid station, I saw Doru.  He was pretty happy and started running along side.  I warned him he'd better not get me DQ'd.  He took this picture

Finally as we headed down the chute, Brian said for me to run ahead.  I told him to go ahead as it was his first and he took off.  I saw Tammy and the kids with Cathy and Paul as I headed down to the finish line.

Final Time:  13:23:10
Goal:  12:45:00

Later as I visited the porta potty, Cathy and Paul were kind enough to see if they could tip it over.

My mom saw me cross the finish line in the hospital.  One of my brothers was with her and they watched it on his ipad.  She's better now

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ironman Mont Tremblant: Numba Three - The Bike

Did I mention, its all about the bike?

The weather was cool, overcast and a little bit misty.  Perfect weather for hammering the bike out of transition.  Ok stupid, don't hammer the bike even if its mostly downhill to Hwy 117.  It was so hard to hold back as pretty much everyone passed me.  I looked down at my Garmin and I noticed I was missing one of the fields.  I screwed around with it but I had no heart rate readings!  Great.  I adjusted the strap but nothing came up.  This was going to be fun.  Of all the times for the batteries to run out in the heart rate strap.

First Loop
I reached Hwy 117 and started heading up the highway which has numerous false flats.  The drafting was incredible.  I've done this race twice as well as the half Ironman and I don't remember ever it being this crowded.  There was absolutely no place to ride as packs of riders passed me as if they were on a training ride.  Several times I had to sit up and slow down to stay out of the draft zone of people ahead of me.  I reached the massive hill on Hwy 117 and headed down.  People have asked me if I've changed my riding style since Chris' crash and I'd respond "sure I have.  I don't take as much chances as I used to."  While I didn't ride in aero position down the hill, I did manage to hit 73.2 km/hr (not my fastest) but the adrenaline rush is unreal and clearly I am an adrenaline junkie.  At that speed, a crash is not survivable and I know that.

The first loop was uneventful as the weather stayed the same.  I couldn't believe my luck as the heat and humidity didn't appear as predicted.  I worked my nutrition just as planned.  I carried enough nutrition for three hours in one bottle and swapped the water bottles at every aid station.  I took a swig of nutrition every 15 minutes and washed it down with water.  Heading out to the turn around, I saw pro triathlete Jordan Rapp blaze by in the opposite direction on his funky looking bike.  He was really smoking.  I totally expected Lionel Sanders to be right behind him but Lionel was about 10 minutes behind Jordan.

Climbing back up Montee Ryan was a grind and as I rode by the Scandinave Spa I mentioned to the guy beside me, what a rip off it was.  Tammy had mentioned several times how good it looked so Saturday morning while she was out with the kids, I booked a massage and bath treatment for $150.  Really, when you think about it, you're paying $150 for a massage and sitting in a hot tub for a couple of hours.  When she came back, I told her and she was so happy.  I dropped her off and took the kids swimming in the hotel pool.  The guy beside me laughed and said "can you say IMMT 2016"?  I said no, that was taken care of by getting the basement finished.  And IMMT 2017.  He laughed some more.  Anything to pass the time of a slow, grinding climb.

I headed passed the village and up to the climb to Lac Superior.  Oddly, it didn't seem that bad.  Just past the turn around at Lac Superior, I passed a guy riding this bike:

Image result for montreal bixi bike
Part of a Telus promotion, one athlete rode a Montreal.Bixi bike.  The entire 180 km!  I'm sure his legs felt fine for the marathon.  Coming down was much more fun.  I managed to hit 68.3 km/hr on the last down hill.  I hit special needs at exactly three hours.  Ohh a little too quick.  I'd better back it off on the second loop.

Second Loop
At special needs I only needed to swap out my bottle of nutrition, apply more cream and grabbed my treat.
Image result for m&m candy

It was a short transition and I headed down Montee Ryan and back to Hwy 117.  This loop was going to be a lot different than the first loop.  I had a couple of M&Ms but my stomach did a flip.  I put the package back in my pocket and later ended up throwing them away.  The sun had come out and the wind had picked up.  I wasn't sure if I had a headwind, tailwind or side wind.  I thought I had a tail wind and looked around for flags to see which way the wind was blowing but there weren't any flags.  Along with the sun came the humidity.  I began dumping the water on my head and wetting down my arm coolers.  I saw Jordan Rapp blaze by again in the opposite direction but Lionel was way back and had fallen to somewhere around fifth place.  He was favored to win.  I later found out he got a flat tire and then the chain got caught in the crank.  His race was over

By the time I reached the turnaround on Hwy 117 it was scorching hot.  The wind turned into a head wind and the humidity became unreal.  I started dumping water on my head and my arm coolers.  Just pass the turn around on the highway, an official on a motor cycle pulled up beside me:

"Peter, are you married to that girl beside you" he asked.
What girl?  I thought.  I said "Nope".
He said, "well then you can't ride beside her.  You have 20 seconds to get out of her draft zone and make the pass."  "
"I'm trying" I whined.  I was bagged but rode hard to get away from her.  The official took off to nail someone else.

The long hill on Hwy 117 was a complete grind.  For whatever reason, the wind completely died down and heat radiated up from the pavement.  Several other riders mentioned the scorching heat as we climbed the hill at 10 km/hr.  At the top of the hill was an aid station.  Lots of people were stopping.  I pulled over and dumped one bottle of water on my head and arms while drinking another bottle.  By now my stomach was getting bloated and was having trouble drinking the Infinit mixture in my nutrition bottle.  Thankfully I put salt pills in my bento box and started wolfing them down.  Last year I ran out of salt pills as I only filled up half of the container.  This year I made sure I had a full container.  After that hill, at each aid station, I started picking up two water bottles and use one for drinking and the other for dumping on my head, back and on my arm coolers.  It didn't seem to make much of a difference.

Heading back up Montee Ryan, I passed the spa again and looked over.  Beside me was the same guy from the first loop.  We had a good laugh as we replayed our conversation from three hours ago.  The climb back up to Lac Superior.  Just after the turnaround there was a bad bike crash.  I found out latter someone went off the side of the road into a small 8 foot gully.  One ambulance was already there when I passed the scene heading up and a second ambulance was on scene when I passed on my descent.  As I flew down the last hill at 59.8 km/hr, there was a guy ahead of me riding all over the road. As I went to pass him on his left, he started drifting towards me.  I screamed "LEFT, LEFT, ON YOUR LEFT!!!!  A crash at almost 60 km/hr on the narrow road would have been ugly.

Bike Goal: 6:15
Actual:  6:25  First Loop 3:00 - Second Loop 3:25

Transition Two
After a volunteer, took my bike, I stumbled/hobbled to the change tent.  The bottom of my feet were swollen from the heat.  Once inside, I sat down and rested for a couple of seconds.  I took my time and put body glide on my feet as I knew they would be getting soaked from dumping water on my body once I started running.  The body glide would help prevent blisters.  The guy besides me was putting bandages on his nipples.  "Oh great idea"  I said.  "You want some?  I have extras" he said.  Gladly I did take them.  In case you're wondering why a guy would put bandages on his nipples, its because a wet shirt rubbing against the nipple for four or five hours will leave them extremely sore or bleeding.

Time 6:32 (slowest T2)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ironman Mont Tremblant: Numba Three - The Swim

I woke up at 3 am after a restless night of almost no sleep.  The fear of oversleeping is very powerful.  As usual, I took a sleeping pill Friday night and slept like a rock.  I even went to Canadian Tire the day before and bought an air mattress as the pull out bed was brutal.  By far the worst pull out bed mattress in Mont Tremblant that I've slept on.

I headed down to transition just after 5 am.  Walking around the corner to blaring music and the all the people, I finally started getting excited.  Up to this point, I wasn't even remotely excited.  Worried about the weather but not excited.  I went over to body marking and found Cathy and Paul.  For good luck, Cathy marked me.  After a couple of minutes of chit chat, I went over to transition, dropped my bottles off and pumped up the tires.  As I was leaving transition, a girl stopped me and asked if she could use my pump.  I'm always amazed on how many people come to a race without a pump.  And it happens at every race.  I stopped off at the transition tent and put the bandanna in my bike bag thinking I'd need it on the bike before the run.  As I headed over to drop my special needs bag off, I passed Lionel Sanders bringing his bike into transition.  "Hey Lionel. Good luck" I said.  "Thanks" he replied.  My brush with greatness!!

I headed back to the hotel and got Tammy.  One nice thing about the kids being a little older is that they can stay by themselves and Tammy walked with me to the swim start.  We watched the pros go off and then with 15 minutes before my start, I left her to do a quick warm up.  The air was cool and so misty that the long line of buoys disappeared.  After a quick warm up, I stood on the beach milling around until I noticed all the blue caps lined up ready to go.  I asked someone if there was another wave ahead of us.  Nope, we're up next.  Our wave was pretty big (229 or 10%) and the fireworks went off and I hadn't even crossed the starting arches.

I felt pretty good about my swim and did a lot of work focusing on technique with Max at Masters swim club.  Its amazing how small changes can knock 5-10 seconds off per 100 meters.  I hustled into the water and started swimming.  I hoped to swim straighter and faster this year.  The plan was to stay just inside the buoys.  I plowed thru a bunch of blue caps (my color) and somewhere around the fourth buoy ran into a red cap swimmer from the wave ahead.  I thought, "Boy, its going to be a long swim for that guy."   Shortly thereafter I got passed by a girl with a pink swim cap from the wave behind us, then another.  I thought briefly trying to draft off them but they were moving way too fast.

I swam by myself for the 600 meters or so getting a knocked around a bit.  I was amazed how people could swim into someone else and not move or change their stroke.  I was swimming straight (confirmed by Garmin) but people kept swimming into me.  They probably a treat to share a lane with at the pool.   One guy was beside me and knocked me in the head a couple of times.  I tried to get past him but we were about the same speed.  Then it occurred to me,  "Well duh, it you're swimming at the same speed, why not draft off him?"  So I stopped swimming and let him pass.  This worked well from the back half of the first leg, around the two turn around buoys and then a couple buoys down the back stretch.  I stayed on his feet, in fact literally.  I shortened my stroke but kept hitting his feet.  I surprised he didn't stop and kick me in the head because I kept hitting his feet so many times.  But after the last turn around buoy, he started to slow (thus I kept hitting his feet even more) and go off course.  I ditched him and almost immediately picked up someone else.  This guy was moving along and he was bigger than me.  He was plowing through the swimmers from the previous two waves so I just followed along.  A couple of times he veered off course and I followed him (confirmed by my Garmin) once and then came back to the buoy line.  After that, every time he went off course, I didn't follow him but he'd come back and I'd pick up his feet.

I wanted to thank him as we got closer to shore but it was too congested.  I ran to the wetsuit strippers as I took off the top half of my wet suit except I couldn't get the sleeve over my Garmin.  Doh.  I had to put the sleeve back on and take off the unit and then ran to the biggest guy I could see and pointed at him.  He ripped off my suit and I jumped up and immediately had a bad cramp in my leg just like last year.  I couldn't move and a med came over and asked if I was ok.  "Yeah just a bad cramp" I said.  Last year, I had a bad cramp while they were ripping of my wet suit and I couldn't get up and then someone stepped on me.  At least it wasn't as bad this time.  Within a couple of seconds, the cramp had passed any I started running to transition.  At least this year, they had full carpet all the way to transition and my shins didn't taking as bad as a pounding.  Half way to transition, I saw Tammy and the kids.  They yelled something and I yelled back as I kept running.

Swim Goal:  1:10  Actual:  1:11:54

Transition One
After a change of clothes, I ran out of the tent and there was a volunteer smearing sunscreen on people.  Even though it was cool and overcast, I knew if the sun came out it would be deadly so I stopped and she smeared some on my back.  I took off my sunglasses and put them in my helmet to smear some sunscreen on my face.  I started running towards the bike when everyone in the crowd started yelling at me.  My sunglasses had fallen off and I didn't notice.  Fortuantely, someone behind me picked them up and handed them to me.  I thanked them and ran to my bike which I ran past.  Doubling back, I found my bike and headed towards the exit.  I saw Paul and Cathy yelling at me so I ran over to them with my bike to high five them and almost tripped and wiped out the guy behind me.  Off to a flying start!

Transition:  9:14

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ironman Mont Tremblant: Numba Three - Preview

I originally signed up for this race as redemption for last year’s disappointing finish.  I didn’t sign up until mid-March of this year while I hemmed and hawed about doing Ironman Muskoka (two hour drive but brutal course).  I even toyed with the idea of doing both two weeks apart and Chris MacMillan was thinking the same.  Chris was a friend of friends and had done multiple Ironmans and although I didn’t meet him until this year, I had swapped FB messages with him.   We did many of the same races but our paths didn’t cross until this year

We started riding in early May and were fairly compatible speed wise.  As a veteran Ironman finisher, Chris was very knowledgeable and open to answering my questions.  And then came the crash.  I was riding about 25 feet behind him with Touraj further behind.  In a blink of an eye, Chris was badly injured.  Even to this day I can’t what happened.

As this would have been Chris’ 12th Ironman and qualifying for Kona, I wondered what I could do for him.  I talked to several of his friends for some ideas but the best idea was have Ironman make up a special bib with his name on it even though his family cancelled his registration.  I sent an email to Marc Roy (owner of Sportstats and sponsor of IMMT).  Unfortunately I used an old email address and didn’t get any response.  After two weeks, I forwarded my email to Dev Paul who is legendary on Slowtwitch.  I knew he knew Marc and thought he could help.  He forwarded my email to Marc (the proper email address) as well as Dominique Piche (race director).  Finally I got a response and Marc said no problem.  He asked what I wanted on the bib so I contacted Paul and Cathy S and they contacted Chris’ family.  Ironman would insert the special bib in my race package.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon after a much quicker drive than previous years.  Last year we were stopping almost every hour (around a nine hour drive).  I guess it helps the kids are getting older.   
Admittedly when I was younger, I used to love driving for hours but now I dislike it.  I get very bored and have to be constantly snacking or drinking for the entire seven hour drive.

Seeing that I didn’t register until late March, I was surprised there were still hotels available in the Pedestrian Village.  I booked Ermitage Du Lac which was across the street from Tour des Voyageurs (two minute walk from Transition).   The weather was cool and humid.  Sunday’s weather was looking to be smoking hot and humid (+35 Celsius with the humidity).  This was not going to be good.  This whole summer that’s what the weather has not been and I don’t race well in that type of weather.   I think I only rode twice in that type of weather and the first time I lost five pounds and the second time I lost seven pounds despite drinking over six litres of water.  Each time, I was demolished coming off the bike and trying to run.  This was going to be ugly.

We woke up to another cool and rainy day.  I wanted to do a swim and bike to check my Garmin after it malfunctioned.   Twice after an open water swim, I couldn’t switch to the next mode and it shut off while downloading.  I called Garmin and they helped me reset everything but I wanted to test it again.  All these gadgets are great when they work but when they don’t, you waste so much time fiddling around with them.

At 10 am I headed over to the Congress Center where a long line up was forming rather quickly.  I normally don’t pick up my race kit until later in the day but was anxious to see if Ironman put Chris’ special bib in my package.  I decided to line up with about 100 people ahead of me and 300 behind.  One guy came up and asked this was the lineup for race pick up?  I told him “this was the lineup for free poutine and beer.”  He didn’t look amused.

One thing I found amusing was once inside registration, at the table where you had to read and sign the usual waiver forms, they had several pairs of reading glasses on each table.  Talk about catering to your clientele!

I finally picked up my bib package and the volunteer opened it up.  She was confused about the extra bibs but I smiled.  This is what Ironman gave me:

As I stood in front of the last table at registration (preregistration for IMMT 2016) I received a text from my wife.  She had forwarded Paul S' text.  He and Cathy were bringing my bike up.  The text said they were in Ottawa but had forgotten my bike back home and was wondering if I could rent a bike for the race.  Stunned, I walked out of the Congress Center and called Paul.  In the back of my mind I knew he was kidding but I know someone that had traveled to Ottawa with his bike only to leave the race wheels on his porch back home.  He had to get his friend's husband to race up to Ottawa barely getting them in time for his race.  I called Paul only to find out he was kidding.  Whew!

Afterwards I went to the merchandising tent to pick up my Ironman bag when I got an email from Paul, one of my brothers that mom had collapsed and was being rushed to the hospital.  She barely had any pulse.  I could barely think and went back to the hotel room.  I called Don my other brother who had not seen the email and explained the situation.  He said he would head to the hospital and let me know.  I took the kids down to the pool with my phone and waited anxiously for an hour.  Finally I heard back that mom was ok and the doctors were running a battery of tests to find out what happened.  I asked Don if I should come home and he said don't bother as there was nothing to do but wait.  In my mind, I could fly home on Porter and be back late Saturday for bike check in assuming everything was ok.  This was exactly like June 2013 when earlier, my Dad fell down the stairs and broke some bones in his neck.  I was racing Mont Tremblant 70.3 and he was in the hospital.  Again my brother told me to go as there was nothing we could do for Dad.

Later in the day, Environment Canada released this report:    

Special Weather Statement: Saint-Donat - Mont-Tremblant Park area
Hot and humid weather for the next few days... Daytime temperatures will near the 30-degree mark during the day and Humidex values will reach 40. Nights will remain warm, with minimum Temperatures expected around 20 degrees. A hot and humid air mass will affect Quebec until Wednesday. The hottest day will be Monday, as temperatures may rise beyond 30 Degrees over several regions. Temperatures will return to Near-seasonal values on Wednesday. Issued at 21:00 Saturday 15 August 2015

What a crazy summer.  Most of the times its been cool and come race day, its smoking hot and humid.  This is going to be a sufferfest of immense proportions and I actually brought my cold weather gear based on last year's temperature.  I won't be needing my arm warmers, booties, gloves, or rain jacket.

After picking up my bike from Paul S who had graciously brought my bike up, gave it a tune up and cleaning.  I rode down Montee Ryan to Hwy 117 and back to make sure everything was working as well as the Garmin.  It was only 10 am but smoking hot.  I came back from the 45 minute bike ride dripping wet.  And tomorrow was supposed to be hotter.

Cathy S had suggested using a bandanna and fill it with ice during the run to keep my head cool so I went to the Ironman store and saw one for $28.  I passed on it but bought arm coolers instead.  They were slightly too long (XL) but I think were worth it.  When I got back to the hotel, Tammy had bought the bandanna for me.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

By The Numbers - 2015

Its hard to believe but its race week already.  I signed up for Ironman Mont Tremblant on March 16, 2015 (right before it sold out) but started training back on January 2nd.  I swear the summers go by faster and faster when training for Ironman.  

Although this is my third Ironman, it is the first time I've gone self-coaching.  Like everything in life, there are pros and cons with coaching.  By going on my own, I can take the best of each previous coach's plan and apply it.  The downside is the self doubting sets in.  "I didn't run enough" or "I should have done more strength training"

Below is the tally of my training.  For 2012 and 2014, I used different coaches


* Didn't keep track of distance until July 
** Powertap wasn't tracking mileage properly while riding indoors

At least the weather looks half decent.  Two weeks ago, it was calling for 80% rain.  But it looks like there's going to be a nasty headwind riding out to the turn around point on Highway 117 on the second loop.

Sun Aug 16
Mainly sunny

  Feels like 27°C
 NW 20 km/h

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Catching Up

As I head into my third Ironman race, I realize how little I know about racing an Ironman.  Case in point, several weeks ago I was riding with the mighty Peter M (a multiple Ironman finisher and strong biker).  We headed out for a 5 hour ride when my rear water bottle holder broke.  I need to ride with four water bottles (600 ml) as I drink a lot of water even if its not hot.  Unable to fix the holder, I gave Peter one of my half filled water bottle to carry while I carried the other one in my jersey.  The first thing he said was, "Wow, this is heavy."  I thought to myself, "what's he complaining about?  Its only half filled."  I started thinking, when I race, I'm carrying three bottles of nutrition (250ish calories each) and one water bottle which I swap out.  At the bike special needs, I swap three new bottles of nutrition.  That's a lot of extra weight to carry over 180 km but how else would I get 250-300 calories per hour?  Gels?  Ugh.  Three gels per hour for six hours?  Barf.

As we rode, I talked to Peter about how he carries his nutrition and he uses Bonk Breaker.  I wasn't sold on eating solids during an Ironman and while I have a pretty strong stomach, coming off the bike last year at IMMT, my stomach was bloated.  I emailed Scobie about nutrition and he reminded me of the conversation we had several years ago.  He uses one super concentrated bottle of nutrition and picks up water at the aid stations.  Why carry all that extra weight?  Later I weighted a full water bottle and it weighted 1.5 pounds.  Last year I used the store bought Infinit.  It worked ok in training but not so great in the race.  I was bloated and wiped out coming off the bike last year.  With only 70 odd days to go to IMMT, I had to figure this nutrition problem out so I called Infinit Canada.  I spoke with Darcy Haggith CEO of Infinit Canada for about 45 minutes.  He was most helpful in explaining how he used Infinit at IMLP.  As Scobie said, "why make things so complicated?"  Darcy recommended loading one bottle super concentrated of Infinit and carry the other three bottles of water.  One sip of Infinit every 15 minutes and two sips of water.  I ordered a bag for the bike (a different mix for the run).  I told Darcy about my last couple of long rides (150 km+) I felt like crap and Sunday's long runs were a disaster.  He told me I wasn't fueling properly during and after Saturday's long ride.  Nuff said, I ordered a bag of Ride Infinit and Darcy threw in a couple of packages of recovery mix.

I got the package last Friday and mixed up one bottle of super concentrated bottle Infinit (which was about 95% powder and 5% water).  The first thing I noticed it was super salty.  I'm a heavy sweater and have not been taking salt pills on my long ride.  Saturday's long ride was 164 km and I felt great.  I'm pretty sure I was drinking more nutrition and water than normal.  In fact, coming off the bike I ran a 6.60 km hilly run (well as hilly as this area gets) and I still felt good.  I used the recovery mix and couldn't believe what a difference it made.  On Sunday I didn't feel as crappy as the previous two weeks and was able to run 25 km at a half decent pace.  Lesson number one learned.  I ordered the run mix and a bag of recovery mix as well.  I"ll try it next week (this week is a recovery week).

Lesson Two - Body Weight

Last year I didn't really pay attention to my weight.  "Hey, I just rode 160 km.  I deserve a steak dinner and a couple of pints of beer!"  Needless to say, I only lost five pounds from January 1st to August 17th (race day).  Stunning, considering I swam 160 km, rode 4,200 km and ran over 840 km.
On January 1st this year, I tipped the scale at 185 pounds.  Oink oink.  This morning I weighted just under 175 pounds.  I hope to get down to 170 by race day.  The less junk in the trunk, the faster you go...........

That's all I got.  Ride safe