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Monday, August 18, 2014

Race Report: Ironman Mt Tremblant

I am an Ironman!  Again!

Final result was 12:54, just over an hour faster than my 2009 Ironman.  Placed 1159 out of 2500 or so - cracked the top 50%.  I'm delighted!


I'm not that delighted with the swim, though.

I started at the back of my wave and stuck with the wide line, trying to keep out of traffic.  For the most part this worked out OK, didn't get any serious elbows.

The way out seemed to go on forever... I think the current was against us.  As we got further out it got quite choppy.  It didn't disrupt me too much, I was calm and felt smooth.

The way back felt easy, except the current was now pushing me away from the course.  It was a constant struggle to keep near the buoys.

Still, I felt good, so when I got out and saw the time I was disappointed.  1:53!  Last ironman I was at 1:35... calmer water but still.  So at that point I was in 2217th place.

Transition to bike

Long run to transition, I wasn't that quick changing.  Ah well.


The good thing about a bad swim is you get to spend the bike passing lots of people.  By the end I had jumped to 1440th, almost 800 places!  Fun.

Took me awhile to settle in.  The first out and back had a tough headwind on the out, but wow was it fun on the way back!  Used the aero bars a lot.

It wasn't that hot so I adjusted my nutrition plan to have more gels than sports drink.

The last 15km out and back of each lap is absolutely brutal.  Steep climbs, get out of the saddle kind of stuff.  At 75k it was tough, at 165k it hurrrrt.

Managed a 28.7km/h average over the 180km which I was pretty happy with, and felt good and strong right to the end.  All those bike miles paid off!

Transition to Run

I was a bit out of it, almost forgot to change my shorts.  Haste makes waste!


I felt really good as I started the run, again a tribute to my bike fitness.

But at about 7km I felt some knee pain.  It got worse... it was the same pain as I had at the New York marathon that ruined my race... tight hip flexors causing hamstring overuse and tightening that pulls on the knee... bad!  I stopped to walk and really worked on getting the glutes firing to give the hamstring a break.  It never totally subsided, but didn't get any worse - whew!

The most diabolical part of this course is having to run through the finish area at the end of loop #1, only to pass right by and leave town again.  It's gutting.

My second loop started out rough, miles were catching up to me.  I walked the hills and aid stations, trying to get back on top of things.  My head hurt a bit, I was worried it could be the start of hyponatremia (low salt) so I started grabbing chicken broth at the aid stations.  Not sure if it helped but I definitely started to feel better.

I decided not to check my overall time... weird for me as I'm usually a slave to information, but I didn't want to pressure myself into a pacing mistake.  I just tried to stay within myself and keep eating as much as my stomach would tolerate.

4:30 (6:24/km) - I'm pretty happy with that!  I think it'll stack up well against the field, the ironman marathon is a beast.

The Finish

The best thing about this race is the finishing area.  It's amazing.  The crowds are lined up all the way back through the village, the cheering is maniacal!  So many people, you really feel like a rock star for those 30 seconds.  There's no feeling quite like it in the world.

My last triathlon?

It feels like it.  It's no secret I dislike swimming, and this result is about as good as it gets for me.  There are other things to keep me interested, road biking, canoeing, mountain biking, adventure racing... I want to stick to things I really enjoy.  Who knows, maybe the siren call of ironman will pull me back someday, it's big and special.  For now I'm going to ice all that hurts and focus on other things.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

10 days to Ironman...

Just 10 days to go to Ironman Mt. Tremblant.

I had a bit of a tricky ride on the weekend - went long and slow, but hit a wall and limped home.  Also seemed to have some hamstring pain, which wasn't cool at all... so I took a couple of days completely off - I figure I can do more damage by what I do than by what I don't do.

Feeling good today, so going to do a slow run, and hit the bike tomorrow or the day after for my last long (slow!) ride.

Also starting to do a bit of planning.

Swim Planning

Mt. Tremblant has 14 buoys on the way out, 14 more on the way back, plus 2 buoys for the turn-arounds.  It works out to about 150m per buoy (more or less)... so that will hopefully keep my brain occupied.

Supposedly it's 1800m out, a 200m connector, then 1800m back to shore.  Also good to know... that little short 200m will feel longer than it sounds I'm betting, for me that's still a few minutes of swimming.

Bike Planning

I printed off the elevation and marked up where the turn-arounds are, as well as some noted tough sections (ie. the Champlain out-and-back).  Also bought a few bottles of Gatorade to have on my bike to start, so I can chuck them at the first aid station for fresh bottles.

Run Planning

This one I'm really not thinking that much about... I know how it feels, so pacing and such are nice ideas but really it'll just be "run what you can".  There are some hills and such, but I don't think I'll buy much from planning for them...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Biking from Whitby to Barrie

Figured I'd post this in case someone else is ever doing it.  Maybe it will come up in a google search or something?   We were visiting friends on the same day I needed to get a long ride in so figured I would bike up (and catch a ride home).

142km (thanks to a wrong turn - planned for 138km!).

Strava link.

I cobbled the route together from a few sources, turned out mostly OK.  A few decent climbs (Mt. Albert and Bradford being among the toughest!).

If I were doing it again I would try avoid Barrie Street out of Bradford - that was busy.  Also Line 11 just north of there had some gravel bits - nothing too bad, but unexpected so probably better to go one north and use Line 12.  The turn for Big Bay Point Rd is crazy confusing... make sure you go left!

All in all a pleasant ride through some nice communities along Lake Simcoe I'd never seen before.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ironman Training - Can't Ignore the Siren Call of the Trails

Haven't had much chance to mountain bike lately with all the Ironman training, so figured I'd make the time.

Took both bikes (mountain bike + road) up to the forest, rode 2 hours in the trails with my buddy, then hit the road for 3 more hours to make up a full long ride.

Switching bikes was as jarring as the bike-to-run transition in a triathlon!

The road bike felt like a toy compared to the mountain bike with those little skinny tires and skinny light frame!  I don't usually get that side-by-side comparison.  The style of riding is entirely different as well.  The mountain bike efforts are very bursty and lactic acidy, while the road style is so much more of a steady grind. 

No idea if this kind of mixed training has any additional benefit, other than being a hoot! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ironman Taper - Keep it Short?

Just reading a few articles about tapering... many suggest that for Ironman, instead of the 3 or even 4 week taper many do, keep it to 1-2 weeks tops!

For example, this article.

From personal experience - I have found long tapers not particularly effective for myself, so I am inclined to keep the endurance work up right until the last week...

So here's my plan...

Week 34 (This week) - Endurance, decreasing speed/intensity work
Week 35 (July 21-27) - Endurance, endurance, endurance
Week 36 (Jul 28-Aug 3) 3h bike @ race pace, 40 minute run @ race pace... everything else long and lower intensity
Week 37 (Aug 4-10) - last long run mid-week, last long ride end of week... low intensity
Race Week (Aug 11-17) - short bikes/runs/swims to keep sharp but not long

Fake Bike Trip Report #14 - Welcome to B.C.!

It's been awhile since I updated my fake bike trip status.

In between I have had some big weeks of 240+km, even one of 255km.  I biked over 1000km in June.  It's been great!

Total mileage now sits at 4019km.  This puts me somewhere near Fort St. John, B.C... well past my original goal of Edmonton, and getting ever closer to my revised goal of making it to Delta Junction, Alaska.  Just 2129km to go!

No sweat.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Race Report: Peterborough 1/2 Ironman 2014

You know I had a bad day when the swim was the highlight of my race.



Got in early to get a little time in open water, having not worn my wetsuit in ... well, a few years.

My goal was just to be calm, rotate well, and have a smooth swim.  It went great for the most part.  The only trouble I had was on the first lap, the sun was right in our eyes and I couldn't spot the course markings.  I followed the swimmers in front of me, who went rather wildly off course... so that cost me some time, but no worries.  Subtracting the run from the lake to transition, I was pretty close to the ~45 minute mark, which is where I wanted to be.  Consistent with my previous Ironman - slow and steady.  Slow, mostly.

Transition 1

I had some massive hamstring lock-ups in transition... so I ended up doing this:
How not to do transition.  Where all the bikes at?

For those not familiar with transition technique - this is pretty bad technique.  I'm just glad the race official (*ahem*) was there to snap this photo.  The jerk.


I didn't really feel comfortable on the bike at any point, not totally sure why.  The way out we had a tailwind, I picked off a few stragglers early on, but wasn't passing as many people as I had hoped.  It was a pretty small field, though, so might have just felt that way.

The hills were pretty tough, but way worse was the wind - holllly!  It killed me on the way back.  In my infinite wisdom I neglected to put my aero bars on the bike - mistake!!!  I managed to pass a bunch of people on hills, but I was already feeling a lot of fatigue and just not that "on".  My average speed was something in the 29's km/h, not what I had hoped for.

Transition 2

This transition was equally bad, although less comical (and nobody took a picture).


I started out feeling surprisingly OK.  I looked at the watch and realized I only needed to maintain about a 6:00/km pace or so and I'd be in under 6 hours. I figured I'd kill that and end up with an OK time.

Except within a few kilometers my early 5:12/km pace went from feeling easy to hard to not even remotely possible.

I don't know if it was the heat, my poor preparation, or something else... but I was completely smoked by the first hill.

I wasn't alone - misery loves company, and I had a fair bit of it.  And these weren't couch-surfers overreaching - lots of Ironman tattoos and gear back there, some fit looking people who were just getting beat up.  Some people can deal with the heat, some can't.  I can't.

I was taking 3 Gatorades and pepsi at ever aid station - whatever my stomach would hold down.  Every so often I'd have a flicker of pace, things would feel OK, but I couldn't sustain it.  Walked hills, it was just brutal.  I'm actually surprised that I ended up anywhere near 6:00/km - it was awful.

I managed to find a little something for the finish - it was net downhill and there were a bunch of guys behind me motivating me by their very presence.  But it felt bad.


I didn't give this distance anywhere near the respect it deserves and I paid the price.

Figured I'd wing it without aero-bars - mistake.  Had a few drinks last night - mistake.

The one thing I did get right was nutrition - I don't think I could have consumed any more than I did, I really hit the Gatorade / Heed hard, and took in as much as I could stomach.  5 bottles on the bike plus a whole bunch on the run.

Also the one good thing about hitting the wall is knowing you can push through it.  If I can get anywhere near a 6:00/km pace at Ironman I'll be pretty darned happy.  I think it's possible.