Ironman Mont Tremblant

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ironman Mont Tremblant...Part Duh - After Thoughts

As I crossed the finish line, I was bitterly disappointed.  Goal number one was to beat 2012's time of 12:57:15 and goal number two was to beat my brother's IMLP time of 12:51 (yea I know, it a different course).   Paul S later texted to say that both he and Cathy watched me cross the finish line on Ironman Live and I should smile.  I couldn't.  I was too pissed.  I just wanted to finish.

I had no desire to hang around the finishing area.  I headed back to the hotel with the family and cleaned up while they passed out from the day's event.  I toyed with the idea of going to the finish line party but couldn't find my pants and only did a cursory look around the room.  I could clearly hear the music and Mike Rielly and at midnight, I could hear the fireworks.  By 12:15 am, I shut off the lights and went to bed.

Well how bad was this race?

                              2012                                                     2014

Swim              1:16:23 (197/320)                            1:14:32 (102/307)
T1                   11:51                                                9:24
Bike                6:19:43* (234/320)                          6:35:14* (170/307)
T2                   4:50                                                  3:50                                    
Run                 5:04:28 (209/320)                            5:09:29 (189/307)

Total               12:57:15 (209/320)                          13:12:29 (189/307)

* four minute penalty

I think the weather did play a big role.  It was much cooler and windier than 2012.  Coming down the hill on Highway 117, in 2012 I hit 75 km/hr.  This year I hit 66 km/hr on the first loop and 56 km/hr on the second loop.  The headwind played a big role in why I was so tired after the second loop on the bike.  One thing I've learned is that it takes a lot of things to be right, to have a successful race.

So what's next?  Well I signed up for Lakeside Olympic for September and decided to run the Scotia Marathon in October for redemption.

Next year, I'll do another Ironman as I move to a new group but everyone I train with is done with Ironman.  Might be a bit lonely training by myself.   I haven't decided what race to do but have booked a room at Deerhurst for Ironman Muskoka.  Ironman Canada looks interesting but a tough course.  Tammy's niece is supposed to be getting married next year one week after IMC in Saskatoon so I could race IMC and then drive to Saskatoon or we can reload for Mont Tremblant but it will be sell out very soon.

Time will tell.  I'm not done just yet

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ironman Mont Tremblant....Part Duh - The Run

Its All About The Bike....Until You Get To The Run

Transition Two (3:50) - 2012 (4:50)

Coming off the bike, I was totally bagged.  The last climb up to Lake Superior had left me exhausted.  I still had one full bottle of nutrition but my stomach was bloated.  After giving my bike to a volunteer, I ran into the tent and grabbed my bag.  I dumped everything on the ground, put on my race belt, water belt and shoes and ran out of record time.  This was going to hurt.  I felt terrible.  How in the world was I going to run 42 km?

The Run (5:09:30 - Goal 4:30)

As I ran out of the tent, I had to loosen my water belt as it was too tight.  There was no way I could run 42 km.  There is a short nasty hill about 300 meters from the village and I started walking up the hill.  Most of the people ran past me but I didn't care.  At the top, I saw Nigel and Fiona (NRG) and they yelled encouragement.  I weakly smiled and said "this was going to hurt."  They laughed and yelled keep going.  Keep going?  I'm not even at the one kilometer mark.  I started running but by the second kilometer I was walking and that's how the first six kilometers went.  Lots of walking followed by short spurts of running.  I kept gobbling down the salt tablets and started drinking coke at the aid stations.  In hindsight, the coke wasn't flat and it didn't help my bloated stomach.  The plan was to walk the aid stations and hills and run in between.  The aid stations are 1.6 km apart.  How hard could it be to run 1.6 km without stopping?   Very hard.

Somewhere in the first five km I noticed I was still wearing my bike shorts.  I guess that explains how I shaved one minute off my T2 time.  It was tight against my legs and my arm was rubbing against my tri top and was raw.  Odd, I've worn this top several times.  Good thing I put body guild in my run special needs.  Too bad it was about two hours away.  I stumbled my way to the trail and saw Peter A run by.  He was running good.  I wondered where his buddy Adam was.  It would be interesting to know how Adam would do as he just did an Ultra 100 miler a couple of weeks ago and had done no swimming and very little biking. Peter said his long run was only 15 km due to foot injury. Yeah both will smoke me.

My brand new Garmin was buzzing every 10 minutes.  Some how intervals were set on the watch for the bike and run to buzz every 10 minutes (I don't remember setting them).  It was annoying as it reset my pace time for each interval.  I was wearing my Polar watch as well but couldn't be bothered to turn on my foot pod so I just kept hitting the interval button every time I passed a two kilometer marker.  Oddly enough, looking at my splits, the first 10 km I was ALMOST running around the pace I wanted to run at (6:48 vs 6:24 min/km).  This part was through the old village of Mont Tremblant and has several rolling hills.  As I walked all the hills, my pace dropped to a foot dragging 7:58 min/km.  Ugh.  Has the death march started?

I saw Rom and he looked like he was running good.  I was coming back from the turn around on the trail and he was heading in.  I don't think he was going to catch me as he started three minutes earlier on the swim.  After what seemed like running for a life time, I made it to special needs just before entering the pedestrian village.  I looked for my body guild but there was none.  I could have sworn I put one in my bag.  I borrowed one from the girl sitting beside me but didn't want to rub it under my arm as she said it was brand new.   I wiped some on my finger and then wiped it under my arm.  Hopefully that would do the trick but as so as I started running I could feel it rub.  I finally ran into the pedestrian village to the cheering crowds.  Run left to the finish line.  Run right to start the second loop.  I ran right.  I saw Tammy and the kids cheering.  It was the first time I saw them since the run to T1 even though I was wearing a tracker so they wouldn't have to stand outside for hours wondering when I'd stagger by them.  In 2012, I wore the same tracker and they saw me several times on the bike as I rode by the village.  This year, nada.  I gave them a quick hug and told Tammy I was really fucked up.  She yelled keep going.  Apparently Jake (7 years old), repeated what I said to everyone.

The first loop was about 2.5 hours.  There was no way I was running the second loop in two hours to hit my goal time.  It was all about surviving.  Nigel was still on the hill yelling encouragement.  I saw Jason motor by.  He was running fast and I saw Peter and Adam walking in the Old Village.  I yelled I was hurting and they said they were too (they were almost finished).  At an aid station I asked if they Vaseline or body guide.  They said they had Vaseline so I scoped a handful and wiped it under my arm.  Ahh relief.  I saw Lindsay on my way in to the trail as she was coming out.  I yelled at her and she just grunted.  I could have sworn my running was picking up looking at at my splits, it was just as slow as the first loop.  I stopped at one aid station and they asked if I wanted chicken broth.  "Fuck yeah" I replied and everyone laughed.

I had my Garmin set to display total race time and kept trying to figure out if I was going to beat 2012's time of 12:57.  I told my coach I would be severely disappointed if I did not.  Running by each kilometer marker I looked at my watch and tried to do the math in my head.  As I ran to the turn around point on the trail, I would look to the marker on the other side.  If I saw the other side was 28 km, I'd tried to figure out how far it was to the turnaround and then how long it would take to run to the marker and then how long to go from 28 km to the finish line.  Anything to pass the time.

Coming back from the turnaround I kept telling myself wait until you get to the 32 km marker.  Then you know you can walk to the finish.  I hit the 32 km marker and thought keep running until you get to the 36 km marker then you can walk.  This went on for the rest of the way.  Near the end of the trail, I saw Rom heading onto the trail.  He looked like he was slowing down.  I also saw Toraj who is a pretty good runner.  He'll catch Rom.  Heading through the Old Village of Tremblant, I passed an older guy about mid 60s with a white beard.  I wasn't sure which way he was going but he could barely stand.  He was staggering all over the road and a lady (a local) was trying to help him.  I ran by two cops and asked them to call medic.  Running by the swim start, I saw a golf cart medic go tearing by me.  By the time I got to the second last aid station just outside the village, you could hear the music and Mike Rielly.  The crowds were bigger and cheering as I stumbled towards the village.  I had to walk that nasty hill before the special needs while everyone was telling me to run (easy for you to say).  Running through special needs I picked up speed and started high fiving kids.  Entering the pedestrian village someone asked me if I was on lap one or two.  TWO!!  Thank God.  I saw Tammy and kids before running down the LEFT side of the chute to the finish line.  I vaguely heard Mike Rielly call me an Ironman.  13:12:29.  189/302.  Almost exactly 15 minutes slower than 2012.  I was massively disappointed.

In the finishing area, Derek D came up to me.  I've talked and emailed Derek several times but never met him.  A couple of times I came up to Ottawa we never could meet.  How great that we finally meet at the finish line?  After we talked, I tried to get something to eat but my stomach started to rumble and the kids were waiting.  Vanessa started to cry when she saw me (I must have looked pretty scary) so I gave her my medal.  I had to go to the bathroom really urgently so I went and then grabbed a plate of food then shuffled off back to the hotel for a shower.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ironman Mont Tremblant...Part Duh - The Bike

Bike (6:35:15 including a 4 minute “phantom” penalty / Goal 6:10)

“It’s all about the bike”

Prior to leaving for Mont Tremblant, I had a conversation with my coach.  I expressed concerns about my biking.  During the winter, many of the bike workouts were zone two with not many tough intervals.  My previous coach had integrated several tough teeth gritting intervals that left me almost puking.  None of that this year and I think that had an impact on the summer riding.   I was unable to keep up with the group on most rides and looking at the power files, I seemed to be riding 1-2 km/hr slower than the last year.  At IMMT 2012 my bike time was 6:19 (including a 4 minute penalty).  Coach said he thought I could ride 6:10.  I thought a 6:30 bike split would be more accurate.

Leaving the resort, the roads are narrow and lots of people are cranking it up on the bike.  I unscrewed my Garmin and put it the correct way and then noticed it was asking if I wanted to calibrate.  I pushed yes and it said “Garmin Calibrated” but I didn’t know how to switch screens to race mode.  I fiddled with in for about 10 km until I got to the highway before I figured it out.  What was the saying about “not buying new things before your race?”   

The temperature was quite cool, overcast and a slight breeze.  I had debated about arm warmers (socks with the end cut off) or a riding jacket.  I opted for neither and it was chilly on the bike.  According to my Garmin, it was only 12 degrees.  I was hoping for the sun to come out and warm up a little bit.  The headwind wasn’t bad but was noticeable.  I was riding alongside a girl wearing a Boston Tri Club kit (there were quite a few of them) and she was fiddling around with a Cliff Bar.  I mentioned a massive downhill was coming up and it might not be a good idea to be eating while going down that hill.  In 2013 I hit 72.2 km/hr going down and in 2012 75.6 km/hr.  I was a disappointed as with the headwind I only hit around 66 km/hr.  

The first loop was unremarkable other than the fact that it was overcast and chilly.  I regretted not having worn my riding jacket and my toes were cold.  I didn't see any large draft packs and after the turn around rode back to Montee Ryan and St Jovite.  This part of Highway 117 is narrow as its open to oncoming traffic.  Riding through the town of St Jovite was nice but once again, the crowds were not packed like in previous years.  Thankfully they took out the stupid climb at the end of St Jovite Street. 

The climb to back up Montee Ryan was slow going.  All the riders were bunching up as it was a grind.  I could hear a motorcycle sitting about 10 meters behind me.  It was too dangerous to look back.  I thought it was odd that he'd be sitting there for so long (maybe five minutes).  I looked up and saw that the girl in front of me was about 10 feet.  Sort of outside the draft zone.  The motorcycle pulled up beside me and the marshal said something to me gesturing with a red card in hand.  I couldn't hear what he was saying and he zoomed off.  Did I get a drafting penalty?  Crap I wasn't sure.  If you get a penalty and you don't serve it, that is a DQ.  The penalty tent is at the bottom of the climb to Lake Superior.

The grind up the hill to Lake Superior continued.  Every time I saw it spike above 250 watts, I geared down and spun my way up the hills.  Even though it wasn't hot, I kept maintaining the salt pills every 30 minutes and took in a gel every 30 minutes on top of a bottle of Infinite every hour.  But by the third hour, I was falling behind on drinking my calories.  

The descent down Lake Superior is fast and smooth even though there are two hill climbs on the way down.  Checking my Garmin, I hit 72 km/hr which is a little scary as the road is narrow, twisty and turning but nothing sharp enough to force you to hit the brakes.  This part of the course is cutting though the forest so if you run off the road you'll be hitting a tree, rock or off the side of the cliff.  Returning back down, I stopped at the penalty tent to plead my case.  The lady was unsympathetic as neither one of us knew for sure whether or not I got a penalty.  I sat there for the required four minutes and ate a cliff bar with another rider.  I didn't see anyone from the Markham Tri Club until Hong blew by me.  I considered for a brief second of catching him but he’s way too fast.  Roger also passed me a couple of minutes later.  I rolled into special needs to exchange my bottles, pick up more gels and salt pills.  I glanced at my Garmin and I was about 3:10ish for the first loop. Not bad. I could live with that. 

Zipping down Montee Ryan again for the second loop, I turned onto Highway 177 when Lindsay rode by.  I asked where Rom was and she said he’s behind her.  I thought for sure Rom would have passed me by now.  I actually began to wonder if something happened to him in the swim like Lisa last year during MT 70.3.  I yelled “I’m going to catch you” as Lindsay pulled away.  This section of the highway is moderately hilly and I am a terrible hill climber.  At the first aid station, I decided to stop and take a leak.  Just as I headed into the porta potty, Lindsay came out.  Ah, "now’s my chance" I yelled at her.  I never saw her again until the turn around about 20 km away.  

Heading to the turnaround point on the highway was not fun as the winds had picked up considerably.  From Montee Ryan to the turnaround, it was about 23 km straight into the wind.  Going down the big hill on the highway, I only got up to about 56 km/hr.  At several points along the way, I was riding in the small chain ring in order to keep the watts down and cadence up.  Finally I reached the turn around and zipped back down the highway with a nice tailwind but the damage was done as I felt tired.

Riding down one hill, I passed a rider standing one his pedals.  That was odd, I thought until I noticed a stream of liquid coming out of his shorts.  "Well done," I said as I passed him and he smiled.  Note:  In case some readers can't figure out the significance, the athlete was peeing while riding so he wouldn't waste time stopping at the porta potty like me.  Its not as easy as it sounds.

As I headed back down the highway towards the town of St Jovite, I noticed a large rider.  He was about 220 pounds and a pretty good rider.  I was unable to out ride him as we rode through the town together.  It was only by the time we started climbing back up to Lake Superior that I was able to leave him.  By now the sun had come out and it was getting much warmer.  The second climb up Lake Superior was brutal.  My breathing was much more labored and at one point I had to pull over to catch my breath.  The marathon was going to be a death march.  I had burned way too much energy on the bike and was unable to drink enough calories.  I had almost one full bottle of nutrition left meaning I was short over 350 calories.

Still no sign of Rom but someone did yell at me on the way down Lake Superior

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ironman Mont Tremblant...Part Duh - The Swim

The Swim (1:14:32 / Goal 1:10)

Prior to coming to Mont Tremblant, I had bet Doru that I could beat him…again.  In 2012 I beat him by about three minutes and so we bet for 2013’s 70.3.  He totally crushed me and so this year would be a “double or nothing” bet but I needed a handicap as he is several years younger than me and a very strong runner.  In fact, he qualified for the Boston marathon earlier this year.  After much bantering back in forth we agreed on a 75 minute handicap.  He was planning to go about 11:30 and I figured I could go about 12:30 based on my training.  I felt fairly fast in my new wetsuit and if I could bike a 6:15, that would set me up for a 4:30 marathon.  That meant running a 6:24 min/km pace.  Piece of cake based on my “new and improved” running.  I could easily run a 5:30 min/km during my “slow runs,” so I should easily be able to run a 6:24 min/km pace for the marathon with lots of room for error.  Famous last words…………..

It’s about a 20 minute walk to the swim start and after doing this race twice (Ironman and 70.3), it’s really not fair for the family to join me for the start.  Its early in the morning (I was in the 6:51 am wave start), the kids aren't walking as fast as I am (they’re wandering around) and once you get to the beach, you can’t get close to the water as it’s so packed with athletes and spectators.  It would be much better for them to wait as we ran by to transition near the hotel.  Once I got to the beach, I saw Lindsay who looked like she was going to be sick (she was) so I made my way to the water for a warm up swim.  I saw Rom and we watched the male Pros start at 6:30 am followed by the female Pros at 6:40 am.  They had a flying drone that hovered about 15 feet above the water and followed the swimmers for a couple of hundred meters.  I assume they were filming and that would be a very cool angle.

The next thing I knew, the Age Groupers were lining up on the beach.  Rom was in the wave before me and had a three minute head start.  The water was cooler than 2012 but was ok.  My wave was massive with over 350 athletes.  With the waves only three minutes apart, we could see the faster swimmers overtaking the slower swimmers from the previous wave in a matter of a couple of hundred meters.  I guess it’s less congested than the mass start of 2,300 all at the same time but the faster swimmers will always be running into the slower swimmers.  In fact, about 300 meters out, I ran into a guy swimming backstroke.  Not sure if he was planning to swim the entire 3.8 km on his back but I wondered how he was able to swim straight.  I didn't see a lot of people doing breast stroke either. 

I didn't really think about any swimming strategy but as we stood on the beach, you could see the bulk of the people were to the left of the buoy line.  The swim course was a rectangle shape with 1.7 km straight out and a right hand turn for 300 meters and then 1.8 km swim back to shore.  I started swimming to the right of the buoy where there were less swimmers but as we got out near the turn buoy I cut across the buoy line and ended up too far left of the line.  I probably swam an extra 300 meters zig zagging across the line.   On the home stretch, someone swam in front of me and I immediately arched up and brought my legs back.  I got a nasty cramp in my calf.  I couldn't do anything but tread water for a couple of minutes.  A couple of people swam around me but the cramp went away when I started to swim again.  I finally made it to shore and glanced at my watch.  It read 1:13.  I was ok but was really hoping for 1:10.  Perhaps some “tune up races” would have helped my swim strategy.  I wasn't sure where the timing mat was as I made my way to the wetsuit strippers.  I undid my Garmin as it was too big for the wetsuit sleeve to get over.  It was pretty crowded but I found two ladies to help me.  I already undone the top of the wetsuit and I sat down while they ripped off the lower half.  I went to get up when I had a searing and painful cramp in my calf and quad muscle.  I couldn't move for about 20 seconds and someone stepped on me.  The ladies helped me up and I hobbled my way to transition.  I made a mental note to start taking salt pills right away.  Now how many salt pills did I pack in each film canister? 

Transition (9:24) - 2012 (11:51)

The run to transition is about 400 meters on a road.  In 2012 they literally had a nice red carpet the entire way.  For 70.3 in 2013 they had about half of the run with the red carpet.  Running barefoot on the road hurt.  This year, they had about 200 meters of carpet right before the tent.  I saw Tammy and the kids on the way.  I noticed the crowds lining the route were not as big as 2012.  I grabbed my transition bag and ran to find a spot to change.  It was chaos in the tent but not as bad as previous years.  I guess the wave starts on the swim helped spread the athletes out more.  I was really hoping for a quicker transition than 2012, which I took forever.  I stuffed everything I didn't need back into my bag including my wetsuit.  A volunteer grabbed my bag and wetsuit and said he would take care of it for me.  I headed out of the tent to find my bike.  I undid my Garmin from my wrist and put it on the bike…upside down.  I didn't notice until after I started riding.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ironman Mont Tremblant....Part Duh

Here we go but not off to a good start.  I went to sleep around 9:00 pm but was wide awake by 11:30 pm.  Its now 2:12 am and I'm tired.  The alarm is set to go off in about two hours.  Wonderful.  Its going to be a long day.

All day long Saturday, it rained off and on.  After taking the kids to the indoor swimming pool, I came back to the hotel to get my transition bags ready.  After much panicking I think I had everything sorted out except I couldn't find my run hat.  I could have sworn I packed it.  I guess I'll have to wear my Around The Bay 120th Anniversary hat.  I really like it and never wear it running.  I refuse to wear any Ironman Mont Tremblant gear for the race....bad luck.  After dropping my bike off in transition, I took my bike and run bags into the tent for the race

Bike Bags

Run Bags
After I dropped off my bags, I went to the expo show to buy a new run hat.  I found a cheap plain one ($20 cash) and went back into the tents to swap my Around The Bay hat.  After I got back to the hotel, I found my run hat underneath the coffee table.

The plan is to "wake up" at 4:15 am, drink one bottle of Boost Plus Calories (350 calories) and then eat a bagel with Soy Butter (fake peanut butter because Jake is allergies to nuts) and then an hour later, drink another bottle of Boost.  That should get me about 1,000 calories.   Then I'll hang out in the bathroom for a while as I am lactose intolerant.  I can handle some milk but not a lot.

Transition opens at 5:00 am and I'll go down to pump up my tires and drop my water bottles off.  Last year I forgot my bottles and ran back to the hotel.  It wasn't far away but not smart.  I also hope to get access to the bike and run bags as I want to add a water bottle to the run bag and take out the GPS tracker in my bike bag.  I'll leave it by my bike and this will allow Tammy to track me as I flounder on the course for many hours.

Its now 2:40 am and I can hear the drunks staggering home from the bars.  One disadvantage to staying in a tourist resort is that not everyone goes to be at 9:00 pm on a Saturday night.

The weather is almost identical to 2012.  Lots of rain the days before but clear the day of the race.  Lets hope it doesn't rain while I'm on the bike.  That would just suck

That's all I got for now.  Race Report is next

Do You See My Bike?
The Prize
PS:  I haven't had a beer in almost three weeks

PPS: I have a bet with Doru.  I beat him by three minutes at Ironman in 2012 and he clobbered me last year at MT 70.3.  This year, he's given me an hour and 15 minute head start as he qualified for the Boston Marathon earlier this year.  He plans to go 11:30.  This should be interesting.....

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Getting Here.....Ironman Mont Tremblant

I originally wanted to leave the house by 6:00 am Thursday but as usual we didn't get going until just after 7:00 am and after grabbing breakfast at McDonalds, we officially hit the road at 7:30 am.  It should be a six hour drive to Mont Tremblant but driving with kids, it’s always a guessing game as to how long it takes to get there.  And sure enough, our first stop was at Port Hope, one hour later.  The second stop was another hour later and the third stop was in Kingston.  Etc, etc, etc….

The drive to Quebec was uneventful until we got to Hwy 117 about 70 minutes outside of Mont Tremblant.  Traffic was fairly light and the roads were a little wet from the rain.  The highway wound through the Quebec countryside and is quite nice except when a large tractor trailer decided to have some fun with the out-of-province-foreigners (us).  The speed limit was 90 km/hr. and I was driving about 100 km/hr.  There were enough turns and double line no passing zones which made for slower driving.  At first, the trucker would catch up and sit about three meters behind us so I would speed up and put some distance between us.  The truck would speed up as well until he was three meters behind us.  This went on for about 30 minutes.  Tammy and the kids were freaking out.  There weren't a lot of places where I could slow down and pull over.  It seemed like a Stephen King movie.  Finally we came to a small town where traffic was a little heavier.  A car in front of me slowed down to turn into a parking lot so I followed and the truck drove by us.  Totally weird.  When I was younger, I would have probably reacted differently.

We arrived in Mont Tremblant only 9 hours later.  I've driven in 6 hours by myself.  I can’t figure out why there’s such a difference.  We checked into the hotel right in the pedestrian village which is all of 200 meters away from transition.  We stayed here in 2012 and its super convenient but stayed in the Marriott last year.  Tammy wanted to stay there again but this place was cheaper (l should have listened) and Rom was staying here as well.   Actually Rom had beaten us here by over an hour but their room wasn't ready and wondered around.  On Thursday, Ironman registration ended at 4 pm and I had missed it.  That meant a huge line up on Friday.  Fortunately, from our room I can see the registration line up so I can pop over when it’s not busy.

Later Thursday night we met up with some of the people from the Markham Tri Club.  It’s definitely much more fun when you’re at the Ironman with a bunch of people.

Lindsay mentioned at registration, they wanted to know your OHIP (health card) information.  Odd, I did this in 2012 and the half in 2013 and they've never asked that information.  I didn't think much of it until Friday morning when I got a call from my sports doctor’s office.  I didn't answer but they left a voice message.  They reminded me that my last visit several months ago, wasn't covered as my health card expired and they would be sending me a bill.  I looked at my heath card and sure enough.  It expired in March.  Doh

The weather forecast for the entire weekend was very similar to 2012.  Cool and rainy.  This leads too much anguishing about how to dress for this race.  At one point, the weather app said the low would be two degrees Sunday night.  I would hate to be walking the marathon at that temperature wearing a tri top.

Friday morning, Rom and I went for a quick swim and bike.  The water temperature was cool but nice.  I ran into Paula N who is racing as well.  She recently got into Kona (via 12 Ironman races) and was racing Ironman’s when my brothers did them more than 10 years ago.  After the swim, we went back to the hotel and went for a quick bike ride.  We rode part of the run course but turned around when it started to rain.  I had no desire to ride in the rain risking a crash.

Later that afternoon, they had the Iron Kids One and Five km runs.  My kids did the one km run with Jake coming ahead of Rebecca and Vanessa.  There were a couple of hundred kids running and it was quite impressive.

Almost race ready……………

Thursday, August 14, 2014

By The Numbers IMMT

From January 1st to Aug 14th

                       2014                                                                2012

Swim             150 km  (62:15 hours)                              44.2 km* (59:56 hours)

Bike               4,115 km (150:01 hours)                         3,897 km** (173:33 hours)

Run                767 km (76:03 hours)                              504 km (62:26 hours)

Strength          26:44 hours                                             15:23 hours

Total              5,032 km (315 hours)                               4,445 km (311:30 hours)

                                                                                      *Did not track distance from Jan-June
                                                                                    ** Mileage wasn't tracking properly                                                                                                                indoors

I could have sworn I trained less this year than 2012.  I don't feel as tired as I did in 2012

Are we ready?

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Triathlon Song

The Triathlon Song starring Bryan Payne who just completed his 12th (and last?) Ironman

I haven't had a beer in almost two weeks.  Man, I can really go for a cold one.  I picked up a new Garmin 910xt.  It should take me 3-4 months to figure out how to use it.  Nothing like buying something new for your "A" race.

The taper continues but at least I'm not eating everything in sight.  I've actually lost a couple of pounds but not near my goal race weight of 175 pounds.  At IMMT 2012 I was just over 170 pounds.  I'll pay for those extra pounds on the climbs

I still haven't registered for IM Muskoka even though registration opened yesterday.  I only know one guy (Scobie).  NO ONE wants to do this race.  I really don't think it will be as bad as every one thinks.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Catching Up

I can't believe how fast this summer has gone by as IMMT is now just around the corner and taper time is here.  Last Wednesday I took half the day off to squeeze in a four bike and 30 minute run as I wasn't around for the weekend. I left the house at 6:15 am and headed out by myself to Zephyr.  Riding north on York/Durham wasn't all that fun as most of the traffic was heading south into the city but whenever a northbound car approached they had to slow down as they had limited opportunity to move over the yellow line to pass me.  Thankfully no one tried to "squeeze" by.  I rode over to Concession 4 and got as far as Davis Drive where they were repaving the road.  I had to ride on west on Davis Drive to Concession 3 but traffic was very light.  Looking to the north, dark storm clouds were forming over Lake Simcoe and I had no desire to get caught in a rainstorm.  I hit the store (the only) in Zephyr were I saw two tri guys out for an early ride.  Otherwise I didn't see any other riders.  I climbed the hill going back to Concession 4 just to get some additional mileage in but I wondered if I was going to get caught in the rain.  Once at the top of the hill, I turned around and bombed down the hill and headed back on Concession 3.  Heading north there was a brutal headwind but now I had a nice tailwind.  Just before the big hill on Concession 3 south of Ainsworth Road, there is a campground that I discovered had a water fountain where I can reload my water bottles.  I felt a couple of rain drops as I headed out of the park.  With the tailwind I managed to shave off 15 minutes.  Too bad I can't always ride at that speed.  I also managed to out run the storm.  I got home and did a quick 5 km brick run and then headed into work, only to find out my afternoon meeting was cancelled.

Thursday morning we were heading out to lovely, sunny, tropical Saskatoon for my brother-in-law's wedding.  We were flying out at 10 am so Tammy didn't want me to go swimming at 6 am so I opted for a short run.  I left the house just after 6:15 am and got back 35 minutes later to find Tammy and the kids waiting impatiently by the door with all the suitcases.  Doh!  "Go take a shower" everyone yelled, "we're going to be late!!"   Ahh the flight is at 10 am and we live about 40 minutes away from the airport.......  Needless to say, we made it through check in with only 70 minutes to spare.

Coach had factored in my trip to my workout schedule but I opted to make some changes.  For example, he scheduled a long run (28 km) the day after the wedding.  Hmmmm, that might be a challenge.  The weather was also chilly and rainy for the next couple of days so I ran Friday morning while everyone was still asleep.  Saskatoon is two hours behind Toronto time so while I was used to waking up around 4:30 am, in Saskatoon that would be around 2:30 am.  I didn't quite wake up that early but it was still early enough.  Interesting, Saskatoon is much further north than Toronto so that means sunrise is around 5:00 am while back home, it would be just after 6:00 am.  Totally awesome in the summer time but it must suck in the winter (short daylight).

Mapping out a route was challenging as my brother-in-law moved to a new subdivision and the streets had very similar sounding names:  Briarhurst, Briarvale, Briardale  etc.  Really??  They couldn't think of different names?  I ran out of the subdivision and down Taylor Street which would take me straight to the Saskatchewan River.  I've run along the river before and there are some nice trails.  It should be about 12 km to the river and the street was a secondary road so hopefully it wouldn't be too busy.  Also, if I timed it right, I'd miss rush hour as I figured to be running back home around 9 am.  I mean seriously, how long could rush hour last in Saskatoon in the middle of summer?  I found Taylor Street easy enough and ran for about 13 minutes when the street abruptly ended in a new subdivision under construction.  Doh!  I ran the wrong way.  I ran back past where I started and headed towards downtown and the river.  Pretty uneventful run.  The roads were nice and wide but not in great shape to ride a bike.  It was pretty quiet out as I passed only four runners and one cyclist.  I guess everyone sleeps late in Saskatoon.  I made it down to the river and followed a nice trail along the fast moving water.  I ran to a new road bridge which had a pedestrian crossing underneath, so I ran across to the other side.  Kind of cool but the crossing was made of solid concrete and I could feel it on my feet.  I made it home after 2:45 run but not before getting lost coming into the subdivision.  What street did he live on?  Briarhill, Briarvale......

The next morning was wedding day and I decided to go for a 6:00 am swim.  I headed over to the Shaw Center (I guess sponsored by Shaw Communications).  It is a massive complex with basically three pools.  A play area and water slide for kids, a regular 25 meter pool and a beautiful 50 meter 10 lane pool with dive towers.  Its staggering to think how much water is in that pool.  The water was crystal clear and cool.  Perfect for lane swimming.  In the middle lanes, there was a swim club so I opted to take the lane against the wall.  During my swim, I could see people standing on the deck near the lane where I was swimming.  No one said anything to me so I kept swimming.  After I finished, I noticed a bunch of backpacks with bike helmets on the the deck.  I can only assume I took some tri-club's lane and they went to the other side of the pool.  I assume this pool will be similar to the new Pan-Am Games pool that is being built 15 minutes away from my home.  Sweet!  Other than that, the swim was ho-hum.  I'm really glad Tammy got me a Finis ipod so I can listen to music while I swim.  These 3,800 meter swims are getting boring.

On another note, I took my bike into the LBS near work.  I needed a race tuneup badly as my gears were slipping.  They checked their computer for the last time I changed my chain and cassette and it was August 2012.  Right before IMMT.  Time for a new one.  Afterwards, I started having issues with my Power Tap.  When I started riding, it would show really low watts like 30 watts, 50 watts, 17 watts.  Then about 20 minutes later it would reading normally.  I'm toying with the idea of getting a new wireless Power Tap but that would cost $850 and I'd need a Garmin to read the data seeing that I use Polar and the Little Yellow Computer only works for wired harness.  So I'd be looking around $1,400 or I can get a new set of wheels and a wireless Power Tap for $1,100 but I'd still need a new Garmin.
Agghhh what to do?

Taper makes me feel like this..........

But at least I can run faster than this guy......

That's all I got..........

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Double Trouble...Part Duh

I headed out this morning at 5:45 am for this morning's 35 km bike and 8 km run. The sun is rising later and later each morning and it was chilly! It was only 13C and I needed to wear arm warmers. How is that possible when its mid July?? After the winter we had, I thought for sure it would be a smoking hot summer. Nope, not yet at least. No doubt, it will be smoking hot at IMMT.

I stopped at Running Free last night and bought three inner tubes and CO2s to replace the ones I used up on the weekend. As I was leaving the store, I noticed a table set up selling discounted boxes of GU for $35.00. They were to expire this month but with IMMT coming up, I offered to buy them for $20.00 and to my surprise, they accepted. Score! They regularly sell for $91.00 per box. Hope I like the flavour, grape or something. When I got home, Tammy saw the stuff I bought and asked if I bought a new tire. Nope, the ones I have on the bike are fine.

I headed up the usual route and was heading up Warden just north of Stouffville Road when I noticed it was getting harder and harder to pedal. I stopped and checked my back tire and it was solid hard. I started riding again and it was even harder to pedal and the steering was unresponsive. Crap, my front tire was flat...again. I quickly changed it (I seemed to be getting faster at changing tires) and decided to turn around and head back home as I was almost at the half way point. One thing I did noticed when I was changing the tire was that the tire that Tammy had brought on Saturday to Zephyr, had a scuff on the side wall. This morning, upon closer inspection, it was a hole in the side wall. I decided to play it safe and turn back home. Also it was getting darker and looked like rain. Odd, I don't remember seeing rain in the forecast.

As I rode south down Warden and across Elgin Mills, the tire kept going thunk thunk thunk thunk. I stopped and checked the tire but it was fine. I couldn't figure out where the noise was coming from but rode slower and upright (not in aero position). I was less than two km from home on Mccowan riding hard as the rain started when the thunk thunk thunk thunk noise got louder followed by a SSSSSSSSsssssss.....BANG!!!!! The front of the bike immediately became hard to control and jerked from side to side until I slowed down. At that point in time, it dawned on me that when I was changing the tube, I never checked the side of the tire to make sure the tube wasn't pinched or wasn't bulging out of the hole. So much for being able to change tires fast. I'm amazed that: a) I got as far as I did b) it didn't blow while I was going downhill or c) that there were no cars beside me (it was about 6:40 am). I called Tammy and asked her to pick me up.....again. Afterwards I went and ran for 7 km.

Already late for work, I decided to take my bike into Gears Bike Shop for a tune up. The bike was making a lot of squeaking noises and was getting hard to change the gears, and oh yeah, I need more inner tubes and CO2s. As they checked my bike in, the guy measured the chain...yup toast and the cassette needs changing. The last time they were changed was August 2012, right before IMMT. I figure I must have rode 7,000 km since then. Also my Power Tap batteries in the hub need changing and I need one new tire but I bought two tires, just in case. Total bill should run about $450. This is an expensive sport!!! I've paid less for a car tune up.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Double Trouble

Well this weekend certainly didn't go down the way I thought it would.  Heading out Saturday morning with a smaller group, by 7:00 am it was already hot.  Looks like summer is finally here.  The plan was to ride for about 5.5 hours even though I only had 4-5 hour ride.  I had switched Saturday's workout with Sunday as it was going to rain all day Sunday and I wasn't going to ride in the rain and risk a crash or ride my trainer for four hours.

We headed east and then north to Zephyr and then to Lake Simcoe.  A pretty uneventful ride until we got up to Weir Road (about 55 km away from home).  Weir Road is a nice smooth, lightly travelled road and we were riding along when I heard a loud bang.  At first I didn't know what that sound was or who it came from.  I started to slow down and pulled over to the side of the road.  Crap, my front tire blew out.  There was a gash about one inch long in the tire.  I had something like this when I was at NRG Mont Tremblant training camp and one of the coaches used an empty gel inside the tire to prevent the inner tube from poking through the hole.  With everyone watching, I changed the tube and inserted the gel pack and inflated the tire with a C02.  Unfortunately it didn't work as the gel pack moved and the inner tube bubbled through the hole.  I didn't want to waste another C02 but there was no way I could keep riding with the group so I called Tammy to pick me up.  She mentioned that I had several tires hanging in the basement.  These were the tires that I was using for my trainer in the winter.  She would bring a couple so I could continue my long ride.  There was a small town called Udora about four km away.  It was two km to Ravenshoe (a major road) and then another two km to the town.  Hopefully my tire would hold.

I headed back south down Weir Road by myself while the rest of the group rode north.  I rode very slow and easy but it lasted only 500 meters before it blew again. I started the long walk down the road with my shoes off as the bottom of my feet were killing. Clearly, bike cleats aren't made for walking. A couple of cars past me with no hesitation to slow down but a red SUV pulled over and a lady hopped out. She was running support for a group of bikers out of Whitby. I guess she passed my group and they sent her back. Thank God as it was a long long long walk to Ravenshoe Road. She offered to take me back to Markham but I didn't want to leave her riders stranded so I asked if she could take me to Zephyr which was about a 15 minute drive. I called Tammy and told her to meet me at Zephyr instead of Udora. She waited with me as she had a pump and I wouldn't have to waste a CO2 cartilage. We were talking for a while when Tammy called. She was at Davis Road and Hwy 48 so only about 15 minutes away. The next time she called, she was in Sutton. Too far north and west. The GPS wouldn't pick up Zephyr so I gave her a couple of streets and one of them worked. The lady had to take off to check on her team and about 15 minutes later Tammy showed up.

I ended up waiting about 75 minutes and wanted to ride back to Markham as Sunday was supposed to rain all day. It was a lot hotter and windier by 11:30 am. As I rode out of Zephyr, my Power Tap conked out and was not picking up any readings. About half an hour later, I looked down and it was displaying data. I've toyed with the idea of getting a new one but I think the batteries in the hub are dying which is why the signal disappears. Extremely annoying. I ended up going only about 125 km and as punishment, I ran a 30 minute unscheduled hilly brick.

Sunday's workout was a 60 minute bike followed by a 24 km run. The forecast was for rain all night and into the morning. When I went downstairs, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't raining so I got my riding gear ready, drank a bottle of Boost Extra Calories (350 calories) and headed out the door. I was wearing sunglasses but it was very dark for 6:15 am. I didn't even make it to McCowan before big fat rain drops started coming down. I turned around and made it back home just as the rain started coming down. I took my bike downstairs and rode on the trainer for one hour. I was sweating like a pig and it was just brutal ride even though I was watching a half decent movie on Netflix (the Green Zone with Matt Damon).

After the bike, I headed outside for a 24 km run. The humidity was like a wall and hard to breath. I think this is the first time this year its been this humid. I zigged zagged around the neighborhood ending up at the Tim Hortons at Kennedy and Major Mackenzie. I had to refill my water bottle but the washroom was being used, so I waited. Finally the door opened and I looked up. It was Toraj! One of the guys I was riding with yesterday. We ran together west along Major Mac and then south on Woodbine. We were running at a pretty good pace (5:20 min/km) and Toraj was more than keeping up. We split up at Woodbine and 16th Ave as he was going south and I turned east back home. I reloaded with more water at another Tim Hortons. The air was thick and muggy and my shirt was soaking wet. It was about 7 km back home and I wanted to make sure I had enough water. Running east along 16th Ave, I reached for another gel as I started feeling weak except there wasn't any left. I only packed two gels when I could have used four. At Warden, I had a green light and over my shoulder I could see a SUV turning right. I stopped running to make sure he stopped and when I started running across the street, he accelerated and then slammed on the brakes. He gave me a dirty look as I turned around even though I had the right of way.

My run pace was dropping fast. My Polar said I was running at 5:40 pace. Liar. I know what a 5:40 pace feels like and that is a lot faster than I was running. At Kennedy, I stopped at a red light, normally I would just run through the intersection if no cars were coming. The light turned green and I didn't move so several cars turned left went through the intersection and when there was a small gap I started running across the street (the light was still green) when a small blue car driven by a white haired lady honking its horn.  I jumped out of the way and swore as she tore by.  Twice in two intersections!

By now I was less than three km from home but was running at a brutal 6:15 min/km pace.  I couldn't believe how wiped out I felt.  I had to resort to a trick I read on Jordan Rapp's blog (pro triathlete) of counting to 300 seconds (five minutes) over and over again.  Finally I made it home and as I walked by my neighbors, they stared at me and asked if I had been swimming in the pond.  I was totally wasted and soaked.

I walked in the house and could barely stand.  Tammy just stared at me.  I went to the kitchen and drank a bottle of Boost.  That helped followed by a smoothie and long shower.  My feet had giant blisters as my new othotics rubbed them raw.  Oh well, more suffering.  I spent the rest of the day lying around.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Dog Days of........Tiredness

Well the Dog Days of Tiredness are upon us. Last weekend's workout was a little bit different. Saturday was a 95 km ride followed by a 12 km run. I was pretty wiped out after that workout and skipped the strength training session as I had to go to Home Depot for emergency mousetraps. Tammy left the door from the garage to the house open overnight and we had a furry little visitor stay with us. He decided to hang out in one of the drawers and when Tammy opened the drawer....surprise! She called me in the middle of my ride but I didn't hear my phone. I'm not sure what she expected me to do when I was 20 km away. When I got home from my ride, I opened the drawer and....surprise! Before I could grab anything, he slipped away. After the run, I went to HD and bought a bunch of mousetraps and set them up.

The next morning, I opened the drawer and he wasn't there but I did see him in the pantry. I grabbed a broom and chased him down the basement where he disappeared. I went up to Lake Simcoe for an open water swim (OWS)with Rom. I'm not super comfortable about swimming by myself so we went together. Rom picked me up just after 6 am but we probably didn't get into the water about 9 am (its about a 45 minute drive) and I'm not sure what else we were doing.

The water was a little chilly but fairly calm and very shallow. I can't figure out how some boats don't hit the bottom of the lake. In some spots my hand was touching the bottom when I was swimming. We swam for about 90 minutes for roughly 3.5 km, afterwards I had a two hour bike and Rom had a two hour run. I definitely wasn't in the mood for running but there was a strong cross wind and I only rode into it for about 5 km. I didn't get home until about 2:30 pm. That was a long day of travelling.

In the meantime, Tammy bought sticky traps and the mouse traps were empty. The little bugger licked the peanut butter off without triggering the trap. Pretty impressive considering how sensitive those traps are. I went down to the basement and I saw him scurry around. I chased him until he disappeared under the steps. I laid a couple of the sticky traps out along the walls where he might run by and behind the freezer. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of brown fur and bingo! He had run across the sticky trap and got stuck. Man this stuff works really well as he couldn't move. I bonked him on the head with one of the kids training wheel and that was the end of him

On Monday, I had a 60 minute bike and 40 minute run. When I woke up, I was feeling tired. In fact so tired, after the workout, I showered, ate breakfast and then went upstairs and took a nap at 8:30 am! Needless to say, I was rather late for work.

This week's workouts have been more of the same, blah, blah blah.

That's all I got......

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Canada Day Long Weekend Training

Once a year, we get invited to a friend's cottage north of a small town called Havelock (well known for its massive country jamboree).  Its about a two hour drive from Toronto.  In the past, I've gotten Tammy to drop me off just outside of Peterborough and I ride about 75 km to the cottage. The last 2.5 km is on a fire route road through the forest which is basically a unpaved road with crushed gravel and hard packed sand.  I hate riding on it because its twisty and windy with lots of blind curves.  Other cottagers generally drive very fast and I'm always worried I'll get hit.  The other reason is the black flies and mosquitoes are brutal.  I can't ride fast and get swarmed.  I ride up and down the hills with one hand steering and the other hand swatting the bugs away aka the Aussie Salute (if you've ever been to the Australian Outback, you'll know what I mean).  This year I skipped that ride as I ran 18 km before we left but would ride the next day.

Over the years, I've noticed my wetsuit get smaller and smaller.  When I bought it used, I weighed about 168 pounds and now I'm about 10 pounds heavier with no chance of losing it by race day.  Also its old and has small tears in it and...........I wanted a new one.  So I ordered a new one online from Xterra.  A search on Slowtwitch showed that this was a pretty good value for the buck and there was a thread with various discounts using different codes.  I opted for the second level wetsuit rather than the entry level.  Using their "interactive sizing chart" I ordered a medium.  The website said there was a delay in shipping as they were backlogged which I was fine with as they had a 30 day return policy.  Given the crappy spring, it might be awhile before I get to try it out in open water.  Later I was telling Mike A about the wetsuit and he ordered one last year.  He said they were smaller than what the sizing chart indicated.  He had lots of problems but since he already cut the sleeves and legs, he could not return it.  I sent an email to Xterra to upgrade my size to a medium-large.  That was good for those who were up to 193 pounds.  Perfect, I'm 180 pounds and with luck, I'll  be five pounds lighter come race day.

Several weeks later, I received my package.  I went to pick it up but left it for a couple of more weeks.  With the Canada Day holiday coming up, I figured I'd better try it on.  So one night I tried to put it on and it was unbelievably tight.  I could barely get my legs in.  Sweat was pouring down my face as I struggled to put it on for over 45 minutes.  Rebecca said I looked........P-H-A-T.  I shipped it back and ordered a large (for those up to 209 pounds).  A week and a half later, I received another package and this time I didn't wait around and tried it on the next day.  It was still a struggle but I got it on.  I called Xterra's help desk and they said it should fit.  It would expand about half a size once I got in the water.

We got up to the cottage Saturday around 12 pm and I toyed with the idea of going for a swim but decided I better not due to, ahem, family logistics, and opted for a swim the next morning followed by a three hour bike into town and back.  An open water swim/bike brick is a lot harder to do than the traditional bike/run brick simply due to logistics.  One problem with an open water swim is that I don't feel comfortable swimming by myself.  When I'm up at Scott's cottage, he usually paddles in the canoe beside me to avoid getting run over by the jet skis and power boats on the lake.  Scott's cottage is on the water and on the other side is an island which is one mile long.  Perfect. So swimming around the island would be about 3.5 km (turned out to be 4.2 km).  I've swam several times in this lake but never around the island.

The next morning we set out around 8:30 am (later than I would have liked) as the sun was up and it was getting warm.  The thermometer said the water temperature was 80 degrees F and I was more than comfortable in the wetsuit.  Now I know why there is a temperature cutoff for wetsuits in races.  The wetsuit felt great as it did expand giving me a little more room and it was very buoyant.  I swam down the side of the island and I my sighting was pretty good (therefore swimming straight).  It felt like a fast swim probably because of the current.  Making a sharp short turn, I began swimming up the other side of the island.  About half way up, I began to notice the back of my neck was getting sore.  I forgot to bring Body Glide and the suit was rubbing my neck raw.  Also it felt like the water temperature was warmer.  I began to tire and stopped several times to gain my bearings.  It was harder to see the next turn from water level.  By the time I made the second turn I was getting really tired.  My swim workouts have only been 3,000 meters and this was a lot longer. I finally finished in 1:24 (2:00/100 m) and my neck was raw.

A slow transition on to the bike and I started riding down the fire route all the while trying to ride with one hand up and down the hills and swatting away the bikes.  Going down one bumpy hill, my water bottle popped out and I had to turn around and retrieve it.  Instantaneously, I was attacked by black flies, deer flies and mosquitoes.  Finally after what seemed like 30 minutes of riding 2.5 km, I made it to the highway and turned towards town (30 km away) right into a hot, stiff headwind.  Well at least the bugs were gone.  I've done this ride several times and was pretty uneventful with holiday traffic not all that busy.  I rode by lots of dead animals that were half eaten and had lots of flies on it.  Most people gave a wide berth when passing me as there was almost no shoulder.  I was almost at the town when this one guy backing out of his driveway almost hit me and then roared by very close.  I gave him the finger and he stopped in the middle of the road and got out of the car yelling at me.  I yelled back as I rode around him "you should drive closer to me" and he did when he drove by again.  I probably could have touched his car as drove by even closer.  I almost lost my balance and rode into the gravel shoulder which would have been a nasty spill.  The ride home was uneventful other than it was uphill and I got swarmed by the bugs when I was climbing but at least I had a tailwind.  I hit the fire route for the last 2.5 km and got swarmed again.  This time I didn't lose any water bottles.  Hot and sweaty, I jumped into the cool lake water only to have my neck burn when I hit the water.  I forgot about rug burn from the wetsuit.  Later I put some cream on my neck and it burned even more.  Lesson learned...don't forget Body Glide

The next day I was still tired and only managed about 1,800 meters for 34 minutes.  I was in no mood for another swim around the island.  I used cooking oil to protect my neck.  It helped a bit.

Hard to believe there's only 44 days to go.

There's a rumor floating around that on August 30, 2015 there will be Ironman Muskoka.  Word has it the bike course will be two loops of the existing Half Ironman bike course which make it one of the most difficult bike courses in all of North America.  The temptation to sign up for another Ironman is very powerful.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

201 KM

It's been a long time since I've posted here. There really hasn't been anything of interest to write about.  Back in January my father past away and I continuted training.  I managed a 1:45 hour run two days after he died when it was -25 Celicius.  That was the hardest run of my life, and not because of the cold.

I signed up with a new coach in the hopes of a) minimizing injuries through specific strength training programs and b) beating 2012 IMMT time.  New coach's philosphoy of training is rest and workouts based on resting heart rate.  While that sounded good at the time, but its lead to a different training approach of slow zone two rides.  And to think I complained to my ex-coach that her bike workouts weren't tough enough.  These slow rides were quite evident when I started riding with friends and promptly got smoked and left behind.  While the goal of minimzing injuries has worked (most mileage run year to date, ever), I have siginificant doubts about the second goal.  My average bike speed as been an embarassing slow 25 km/hr on long rides.  Not sure if anything can be done now as IMMT is less than two months away.

This morning ride was for 5.5-6 hours.  I headed out alone and rode east to Pickering/Durham town line about eight km away before heading north and then west to Aurora.  My ex-ex coach was meeting at 8 am for a 160 km ride with a bunch of athletes that he coaches.  It was about 45 km ride to get there and my plan was to ride with them for a while and then head back home by myself.  We headed west back to where I started and then head north to Beaverton.   I had zero intentions to ride that far north.  Initally I found them to be riding too slow and they rode pretty tight together.  Admittinly, my pacing was quite brutal as I surged forward and then fell back as they passed me several times.  We had a short break at Zephyer and ex-ex coach said "well ride with us for another hour and then turn around."  When I got to that point, he said, "well ride with us to Beaverton and then head back.  Its only another 15 km north"  I looked at my watch and I've been riding for more then four hours and was a long, long way from home.  Stupidly I agreed and by the time we reached Beaveron, I was pretty wiped out.  I emailed Tammy as it was 11 am (now riding for 5 hours) and said I'd be late.  I told her I'd be home by noon but I was more than 80 km away.  It was going to be a long ride home as the rest of the group was going along (west) Lake Simcoe and there was no way I was riding with them as that would put me over 220 km.  They tried to explain how to get back to Zephyr (40 km away) but I must have had a stupid look on my face as their directions wasn't sinking in so they rode part of the way back.  We got to the point where they were going to turn north to the lake and I was going south but again their directions weren't sinking in.  Finally they decided to ride back to Zephyr with me.  This was going to be painful as I was already falling behind.

Once we got to Zephyr, I was already about 500 meters behind and we had a very hilly ride back.  I was wolfing down my salt pills and gels but I knew it wasn't going to be enough.  I was running out of calories and it showed on every single hill.  I got further and further behind.  They waited a couple of times but by the time we got to Goodwood (25 km away from home) they were completely gone.  I stopped at the go cart track looking for water when I heard my phone ring.  I tried to answer it but couldn't get it out in time.  Uh oh, four missed calls.  three from Tammy and one from my brother.  And the email I sent from Beaverton wasn't sent.  Doh!!  I called home but the line was busy (no we don't have call waiting on our house line) so I called Tammy's cell.  No answer.  I called several times before I gave up and called my brother.  He told me Tammy was freaking out (it was 1:30 pm) as I was over 90 minutes late.  I told him to call her and I was about 45 minutes away.  I started to ride and was worried about running out of water as it was quite warm (+25 degrees C).  I finally hit Stouffville (less than 15 km away) but was totally out of water.  Normally I'd avoid the town as the traffic and stop lights are brutal but I was close to bonking.  I stopped at a gas station and was going to get a Gatorade but they had a chocolate protein drink.  I grabbed that and drank most of it while waiting in line.  Immediately I felt it kick in and the shakes disappeared.  I reloaded one water bottle and rode the rest of the way home feeling almost normal.

Tammy was outside with the kids playing.  She was talking to a neighbour as I pulled in.  I looked down at my Powertap and I rode for 201 km.  I went inside and changed to my running gear.  This run was going to hurt.  I ran for about 20 minutes (3.5 km) but my legs were like rubber.  I couldn't imagine running another 38.5 km.  I ran back home and had to sit down for a couple of minutes.  I couldn't move.

Checking my Powertap data, I burned over 4,200 calories but counting my calories consumed, I figured I was over 1,000 calories short which explained why I couldn't keep up and why I immediately felt better after drinking the protein drink.  Lesson learned

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stupid Selfie

How stupid can you get?  Stand close enough to a speeding freight train so that the driver can kick you in the head

Monday, March 31, 2014

Around The Bay Race Report - 120th Anniversary

Around The Bay (ATB) in Hamilton, Ontario is the oldest race in North American.  Yes even older than the famous Boston Marathon by three years.  Its also a race that I've signed up many times to do but only ran it once due to injuries.  Even in 2011, I ran hurt.  Its an odd distance of 30 km but fits very nicely in between a half and full marathon.  Its also significantly harder than an additional 9 km on a half marathon but its a legendary race.

This year 2014 has been a tough year.  My father passed away on January 31st and its turned out to be a never ending winter.  The temperatures were way below normal but I did run for 45 minutes when it was -35 Celsius and ran for 1:50 when it was -25 C, two days after my father died (toughest run of my life).  Many of my long run pacing were all over the map due to extreme cold weather or crappy road/sidewalk conditions.  Only recently have the temperatures began to warm up, I've been able to speed up but overall I felt much slower than previous years.

One of my biggest problem is that I get hurt all the time.  I can not remember the last time I had a race season without being hurt.  A couple of months ago I received an email from Personal Best about injuries and strength training. After a strength training test that showed my right leg was significantly weaker than my left, I decided to sign up.  Sheldon built a strength training program as well as Ironman training program.  

Around The Bay is an awesome race and I wanted to test my body.  I never signed up and it sold out as usual but I managed to score a free bib from someone who could not run.  The wildcard was the weather.  It actually began to warm up and wasn't the usual -10 C.  Race day called for weather about zero degrees but with wicked gusts of winds.  That was supposed to drive the temperature below zero degrees at the start of the race.  I wasn't quite sure how to dress for this race.  I ended up over dressing as there were people racing in shirts and shorts.  I would pay for this mistake by the end of the race as it was quite sunny.

The start of the race was pretty uneventful but since I last raced it in 2011, they added corrals to help smooth the start of the race.  I was in Corral C (2:30-2:45 finishing time) as per the original bib owner and I was ok with that but I looked behind me and both the 2:45 and 2:50 pace bunny were in the corral behind me.  Doh.  I figured to run with the 2:50 pace bunny and then hammer it in the last four km but then the 2:45 pace bunny moved into the same corral was me and I thought I will just run with her.  Once the race started I kept her in sight but after two km, she took off.  I was running a 5:20 min\km but she pulled away and I never saw her for the rest of the race.  That said, I kept looking back and never saw the 2:50 pace bunny either.  

Things went ok and I tried to maintain a 5:15 min\km pace and ran easy.  Since I've done this race before, I know the first 20 km are flat as a pancake and the only worry was the head wind.  However at the 20 km mark, the race enters the suburbs and starts to get hilly.  Nothing too painful but the rollers begin to take its toll.  I started to breath heavier, my heart rate began to climb and the pace began to slow down.  By the 25 km mark, the course veers down into a valley and at the 25.5 km mark, there is a massive 500 meter hill. The hill rises a nasty 7.6 percent.  In 2011 I swore I wouldn't walk the hill and this year I said the same but my pacing really slowed down.  At the top of the hill was the 26 km mark and it was all down hill from there.  My heart rate was getting close to the maximum.  I picked several people who were ahead of me to keep pace.  Most of them simply pulled away and I was running at a 5:12 min\km pace.  The Grim Reaper was high fiving everyone at the cemetery at the two km mark.  I tried to pick up the pace but had nothing left.  Running down York Street is one of the hardest finishes as even though its downhill, Copps Coliseum seems so far away.

I finished at 2:46:58, good enough to beat 2011's time by two minutes.  Overall I was happy with my time but there was no way I could have run another 12 km.  My nutrition strategy was pretty good as I popped a gel at 10 km, 19 km and 25 km.  I also ran with a water bottle with eLoad and refilled once.  A good training run.

After the race while staggering around in the underground of the stadium I ran into Doru.  I knew he was running and was in good shape.  He pulled off a smoking 2:14, good enough to get a silver medal (sub 2:15).  I'll see him again at Mont-Tremblant in August.

For the 5 km race, Mindy ran 18:59, good enough for second fastest female.  Well done!  And to think I beat her in the Scotia Half Marathon five years ago