Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ironman Mount Tremblant 70.3 Race Report

Swim: 41:45
Bike: 2:59:29
Run: 2:09

The day started with a wake up call at 5am.  As usual on race morning I popped out of bed and got the coffee going.  Coffee is a very important part of my morning routine!  Barry was already awake and he quietly and quickly shared his news ... "I'm not racing today".  My heart broke a little for him as I knew he so badly wanted to do this.  But his leg was causing him too much grief, and while he didn't share it at the time when we rode the 18 km out and back on Friday, even the cycling wasn't working too well for him.  I am so proud of him for making the decision and since it was race morning I had to accept it and move on.

The morning went very well.  I had so much time! Transition was open from 5 - 6:30am, first wave went at 7am but my wave didn't go until 7:40.  We were staying at the Residence Inn right at the base of the village, just steps from transition, so I was planning on returning to the room after setting transition.  Of course I had packed up my transion bag the night before so I was ready to do this.
tri kit and transition gear
Perhaps the first error of my day was my breakfast.  While I had brought my normal gluten-free breakfast cereal from home, it was a bit stale and for some reason, the bagels at the hotel's breakfast bar looked better.  For the past month I have been a little lenient with my gluten free diet so I decided to have a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast.  It was super yummy!  Now whether or not this comes back to haunt me after T2 ....

We headed down to transition around 5:45ish and I got marked quickly and was setting up my transition area before I knew it.

body marking

best volunteer around!

easy to stay relaxed when surrounded by friends

getting it all set up
We were back into the room around 6:15 so there was a bit of waiting to do.  I was feeling like I could eat some more so I grab another half a bagel from the breakfast bar.  No, I did not think this was a bad idea at the time!

We decided to head down to the swim start around 7.  The weather was nice and we didn't have anything else to do.  It was a nice 10 minute walk to the beach and we just missed the pros going off at 7am.

We chatted with friends and then I made my way to the water to get a feel for my stroke and check out the temperature.  While everyone who swam on Saturday said the water was perfect - the temp has dropped 3 degrees celcius so it was a bit chilly for my liking but what can you do?  Before I knew it my wave was called and we were entering the start area.  
ready to swim
The swim course is quite nice.  The course is a big U turn!

You swim out 800 or so meters, turn and swim about 300 meters, then turn and swim in the remianing 800 or so meters.  Now to be completely honest, I quit my master's swim class months ago and only got myself to the pool a handful of times this season.  I'm not really a fan of swimming, or really getting wet, so training for the swim has always been a challenge for me.  I came into the race with expectations of swimming a 45 minute 1,900 meters.
that''s me out there - on the left, in a pink cap - see me?
Bang, the fireworks went off and my wave made it's way out for the swim.  I quickly settled into a nice rhythm.  I was toward the front but off to the left.  There were about 130 in my wave so it wasn't bad at all on the swim out to the turn buoy.  The water was cool, clean and clear and I was able to keep good form.  It didn't seem too long before we got to the first turn buoy and like most turn buoys it was a bit congested.  At this point we were catching up to the slower swimmers from the wave in front of us but it wasn't too bad yet.  A few minutes later I hit the second turn buoy and that's when things got really crazy.

My wave had caught up to not only the slower swimmers from the waves in front of us, the fast swimmers from the 3 waves behind us had caught us.  Where the first half of the swim was clear, the swim to shore was a washing machine.  I always feel for the weaker swimmers trying to breast stroke or back stroke while getting ploughed by the super speedy swimmers.  I'm just an average swimmer so I was just hanging in there.  At one point a woman (from my wave in a pink cap) grabbed my shoulder, fully clasped her hand on me and pushed me under.  As a flight or fight response I may have punched her in the face.  I am sorry and it was not a intentional move just a gut reaction from being drowned!

The water had turned colder on the turn as well so it was a mad dash to get to shore - which seemed so much further than the swim out.  I swam until I hit bottom with my hands.  Many started walking out much sooner but I find swimming faster than dredging though water.

 I was so happy to be out of the water - ran to the wetsuit strippers and knowing the drill was completely wetsuit free and up and running very quickly.  I saw Barry and asked him my time - then saw he had no watch so I didn't get any info from him.  He says he was screaming 40 minutes but I didn't hear that.  Officially I swam 41:45 which I'm more than happy with - I was looking for anything less than 45 minutes!
He got MUCH better photos of other TTC members coming out of the swim!

I jogged up the long run up from the swim - many were walking 2 and 3 across so I had to do a little excuse me, pardon me, get the &*%& out of my way.  I made pretty quick time in T1 - official time was 5:12 which included a long run up behind SLOW people!  This is always a favourite part of my race - heading out for a nice long bike ride!

The weather was perfect - just cool enough, not much wind and probably 17 - 18*C, 63-64*F and cloudy! I LOVED this bike course!

It was challenging without being miserably hard.  There were some great climbs and massive decents.  According to my Garmin I topped out at 77.6 kph, elevation gain of 1,734m and averaged 30.2 kph.  I was incredibly happy with my bike split!  I think I stayed on top of my nutrition taking in 200 calorie, 750ml bottle with electrolytes every hour and supplemented with 125 calories of gel blasts.
Barry did much better photographing others today
note to self - picture looks better if you don't look at the camera!

I really enjoyed seeing (or could also say being passed by) so many friends from the club.  Towards the end of the bike and as I was coming back into transition I felt something go a little off in my tummy.  I'm not sure if I was having issues from eating only the power blasts and not mixing it up with a couple of gels or if it was the bagels I had for breakfast, but my stomach was off.  My official bike split was 2:59:29 - didn't leave myself much room in making my sub-3 hour goal!

I got off my bike and my legs felt like they normally would after a hard 90km ride but I found my legs quickly but the stomach was bloated and with every step it was like I was being punched in the abdomen.  To make matters worse, when I racked my bike I some how fell on my butt.  So while I was down there I went ahead and switched up my shoes.  I grabbed my visor and a gel, picked myself up off my butt and headed out. At this point I knew I had to hit a porto-potty but the question was - can I make it to the first aid station or do I take the time and wait in line inside T2.  I made the incorrect choice of running out onto the course. I saw our fearless and magnificent volunteer Leanne and the look of empathy in her eyes - I knew she knew exactly how I felt.

 It was no surprise to me the hill right out of the village but running up that was brutal with my stomach full of gas.  I saw Barry and I wanted to tell him why I looked so miserable - that it wasn't my legs - it was my stomach but before I could he just said "I know baby, I know"
I thought this would be the worst I would feel all day
Luckily the first aid station comes up around 1.6km into the run.  According to my Garmin I was stationary for about 4 or 5 minutes.  And then I was good.  My stomach felt good, my legs cooled down a bit and were stiffening up but I knew a couple kilometres would warm them back up and I could run a decent half marathon.  I had a nasty stitch in my side for a bit and I was happy to chat with my friend Christina and she kindly gave me one of her salt pills.  I knew it was just something I had to run through and within 15 minutes I was doing fine.... for the time.

I didn't mind the run course - it was challenging but nothing to bad - hills at the front and at the end but a nice long stretch of flat in there.  Unfortunately for me, the flat part was along a dirt trail along the river bed.  This is where my run began to seriously unravel.  I had decided to wear my Zoot racing flats, without socks of course.  I have done this before but on paved surfaces only.  Within minutes of running on the trail, the dirt had infiltrated my shoes and blisters were forming - and I still had a long way to go.

smile for the camera - no matter how much it hurts!

About this time I heard Irisz and Annette from behind saying something about finally catching me and my heart sunk a little.  I kept running on, though I have a hard time calling it that.  I was so disappointed I couldn't enjoy my run.  I ran between the aid stations and then I would take a break and walk.  Because the run is an out and back you see everyone and it's quite uplifting to see your friends out there.  My feet were quickly deteriorating and I'm pretty sure my friends could tell I wasn't in great shape.  I tried to tell myself to HTFU, that I was an Ironman, that I loved running and it was my strongest discipline.  I pushed through it the best I could but the pain from open wounds on my feet was horrible.  I ended up with a 2:09 run (6.06/km pace).  This wasn't even close to what I expected to run.  I was hoping for something more like a 1:50 or even better - and I knew I was able to run a better split than I did.

The absolute best part of this course is the last 500 meters or so when you run down through the village.  The course becomes quite narrow and the spectators are amazing.  Everyone is screaming and cheering and high 5-ing you.  And it's quite downhill so you pick up tons of momentum and speed.
this photo doesn't do the crowd justice
final push to the finish line

My feet were killing me but I was so happy see the clock because while I know there was no way I was making my "A" goal of 5:45, the clock read 6:38, and with my 40 minute delay wave, I was coming in under my "B" goal of 6 hours.

impressed with clearance here

So excited to cross the line!
I learned few lessons from this Half-Ironman!  First, always respect the distance!  Second, stick to your diet. And third, make sure your choice of footwear is correct!

I had such an incredible blast at Mt. Tremblant and I will definitely do this race again some day.  I would even consider doing the full distance one day too!  But for now, I am going to focus on getting fast for the TTF Olympic coming up in 4 weeks and then kicking butt at Ironman Conzumel in December!
Pre-race report can be found by clicking here!

PRE Ironman Mount Tremblant 70.3 Race Report

There I am - running up the finishing ramp at Ironman Mount Tremblant 70.3.  The clock reads 6:38:08, and since my wave stared 40 minutes after the start, I knew I had made it in under 6 hours - my "B" goal.  Happy to have made my "B" goal and at that point just hoped Barry had my flipflops for me!  But let me start from the beginning....

We arrived in Mont Tremblant on Thursday evening.  It was amazingly quiet with very little going on.  the finish line was set up as was transition and the beginnings of the expo.  But since everythign wasn't slated to open until 1pm on Friday, it was like a ghost town.
over the next couple days this would become part of the finishing shoot

transition on Thursday night
Friday was a busy day - we tried to sleep in but excitement got the best of us.  We wanted to ride a bit of the course so after breakfast we headed out on our bikes to ride the last 18km out and back section of the bike course.  We had been told this was the toughest part of the course - climbing on the way out and fast on the way back. It was super fun to ride on fresh legs and I was happy to get a preview of this part of the course.

We made it back to the village and  checked out the swim start but we didn't end up hitting the water for a swim.  I don't really like swimming so it wasn't high up on my priority list!  Around 1pm we heading to registration and quickly went through the steps of getting your bib number, filling out the waivers, being weighed (first time for that), and picking up all the "stuff".

We took the rest of the day easy, cruised the Ironman store and dropped way too much money and walked through the expo.
Still quiet in the village on Friday!
We met up with a group of our buddies for dinner on Friday night - the Toronto Triathlon Club had 20 or so folks racing that weekend so it was great to run into friends all over the place all weekend!
dinner with part of the TTC crew

Saturday was a long day.  It poured rain all day.  There wasn't much for us to do - I avoided a practice swim yet again.  We had a meet and greet with the TTC and had to get our bikes racked but then we just waited out the day.
Not everyone made it for the team photo!

Barry with his bike racked - I didn't get a photo of me!
Barry and I had a nice pizza dinner and then called it a night - lights out by 8:30 with a 5am wake up call!

Read about the actual race at:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Binbrook Triathlon 2013 Race Report

Ok, So I'm still behind on posting my Ottawa half marathon report and my Ride for Heart post, but I thought I would get caught up with my Binbrook Triathlon Race report today!  This past Saturday I raced my first triathlon of the season and it was an amazing day!

Barry and I left Toronto with plenty of time and arrived at the race site early.  I quickly grabbed a great spot on my designated bike rack and headed over to the bib pick up and body marking.
racked on the X-wing so I could just pull my bike toward me and the bike out was 8 feet away!

As expected with Multisport Events, everything was very efficient and I was back in transition getting set up before I knew it.  This was my shake-out race before Mt. Tremblant 70.3 so I just focused on setting up my transition in the best fashion I could.  I had lots of time to spare until it was time to move down to the swim start at which  point I had to ditch my flip-flops and the cold ground came up through my feet and I caught a chill.  My feel remained numb until 5km into the run!
Barry heading to the Du start line and I'm heading to the swim start
The water was chilly but not too bad.  I swam out about 50 meters and then back again for a little warm up and was reminded what a murky swim this would be.  First wave went off at 8:15,  I was in the third wave at 8:23 so I stood at the lake edge shivering uncontrollably.  I was ready to get in the water and get this race started.

Boom - my wave was off.  I felt like I had a great swim - I stayed on a straight line to the buoy and was able to draft off feet for most of the first stretch to the turn buoy.  Like every swim, it was a little hectic at the turn but really, this was one of the least crowded swims I have done.  I exited the water with quite a few people from the wave ahead of me so I felt like I had a good swim.  Sportstats says 16:25 and that includes the run up to transitions.  I don't swim with my Garmin so I'm not sure what my real swim time was.  I was 5th of my age group out of the water.
always happy to be out of the swim!

I got to my bike and there were still many many bikes on the rack - this is always an uplifting feeling.  I struggled a bit getting my wetsuit off and then getting my helmet on so my T1 was as quick as I would have hoped but given it was my first race of the season I'll take 1:34 and know I have to cut 30 seconds off for TTF.
Leaving T1 - being chased by a fellow TTCer!

I like this bike course (it's flat and fast) but I was confused because the course was different from last year and different from the course maps that I had seen.  There are many turns in this out and back course which of course slows you down.
Bike Course - 19 turns for a 30k ride!
I felt great on the bike, I passed many and was passed by only a few (and no one in my age group).  I don't remember passing anyone from my age group but I must have since I was 4th in my age group on the bike. I came into transition and again had the uplifting feeling seeing a very empty bike rack with only 2 - 3 bikes.
another turn - out of aero and on the breaks

My official bike split was 53:58 (33.4kph).  Again I had a bit of trouble in transition.  I had decided to wear my favourite Zoot racing flats, but I hadn't worn them since Muskoka back in September and I had some trouble pulling them on - and it didn't help that my feet were still numb from the cold.  I spend 1:06 in T2 - again lessons learned, kinks being ironed!

My legs felt a little wobbly as I made my to the run course but I was determined to run that 7.5km course the best I could - I knew there was a small chance I could podium and I also knew my run has been very strong lately.
starting the run - checking the garmin

heading up the trail - that's a real smile
 It was a bit painful as my feet were still numb and running on numb feet is not a nice sensation.  It was the same course as last year so I knew the start was on a rocky/muddy trail leading up to the top of the dam and then we would be on paved roads.  I made good work up the trail and onto the paved roads. I had forgotten the extent of the rolling hills but I was able to keep my pace up.

Avg Pace
I pushed through the first 4 km, keeping an eye out on the women coming back and the women in front of me.  My feet were slowly coming around and the pins and needles came and went sometime before the 5th km.  Then, somewhere in that 5th km I saw a lady in front of me and I thought her leg read "44" so I started to push but when I got to about 10 feet behind her I noticed it was "34" so I settled down a bit.  I had caught up to a gentleman who I had chatted with earlier, he asked how I was doing and I told him what I had thought about the 34 on the lady in front of us.  He chuckled and said "she's not but that one up there says 44".  I started another surge and passed both of the woman. At this point I was pretty sure I had a good chance to hit the podium, but you never really know and truthfully I was just hanging on, I couldn't have run any faster at that point.  I came up on Mike, a club mate, and he asked how I felt and I said "like I'm going to puke".  But I only had to hold on for a few more minutes.

coming back along the dam trail hanging on - hadn't seen the camera man yet

Oh, there's the camera man - better smile!
As I came back across the dam I could see and hear the finish line.  I just held on - it wasn't pretty - but I got her done.  It was so nice to see a large group of Toronto Triathlon Club Mates, including Barry, cheering me on as I rounded out the run into the finishing chute.

I told you it wasn't pretty!

Finished!  They didn't capture my feeble attempt to jump across the line

Sportstats  says I did the run in 36:05 with an average pace of 4:49 not sure why my Garmin splits are so different.  I had the 3rd fastest run split in my age group!!!    Of course when I finished I wasn't sure what the results were going to be.  Initially I looked on the duathon results and was disappointment to see that there had been 3 finishers in my age group and my results hadn't been posted yet.  But then I was informed I was looking at the wrong results.  I was elated when I checked the results and saw 3/15 next to my name!  I didn't even bother to see my time or my splits - I was just overwhelmed with joy - because while I have won many awards in my life - I have NEVER won, or even come close to winning, a sporting event ever!

First place beat me by nearly 7 minutes, second place by 5 ... I've got work to do!
So I shaved over 4 minutes off my results from last year (you can read about that here) and got my first podium.  I finished 117 out of 298 overall, 20th out of 109 woman and of course 3rd out of 15 woman 40-44!  I fumbled a bit in the transitions but felt great about all three events.  I would say the day was an all around success and I hope to race it again next year!  Many thanks to John Salt and his crew at Multisport Canada - they always put on a great race!  And to the many volunteers (especially the kids!) - Thanks so much - these races wouldn't be possible without you!

 Next stop - Mount Tremblant Ironman 70.3!

And just as a note, I have purchased the digital download of all the My Sports Shooter photos, they just haven't arrived yet!

Monday, June 3, 2013

My First Training Camp!

I'm very behind on my blogs so this will be short recap of my first Triathon Training Camp (Victoria Day Long Weekend - over 2 weeks ago!).  This is my third season in Triathlon, my second season hanging with the Toronto Triathlon Club, and the first season where I went to the Collingwood Training Camp and now I'm just dying to plan another trip up to Collingwood to ride!

We left the City late Friday morning, with 4 bikes and 4 athletes, we made pretty quick time up north to the Blue Mountains Chalets.
yeah!  All the bikes made it!
We got ourselves unpacked and settled and then ready for ride #1!  It was just an easy 40km with about 140m of elevation gain.  The scenery was breathtaking and I was so excited about 2 more days of riding.

Saturday morning we headed out for a 90k ride and it was amazing.  With over 1,000 meters of elevation gain and topping out at 65kph on the amazing descents!  This was a kind of riding I had never experienced before.  While I felt great on the ride, I did struggle on one of the huge descents as I went into the decent in my aerobars and was unable to get out of them to get my hands on my breaks because I was going so fast and the crosswinds were blowing me around.  I won't lie, there were times I was scared and thinking a crash at this speed would be life altering.
The club heading out on Saturday

I don't have a great way to show you the elevation so here's a screen shot from my strava account.

Saturday afternoon was spent in major recovery mode, eating good food, talking all things triathlon, soaking our legs in the freezing cold pool and a yoga session with my awesome new TTC friend Duncan Parviainen.  BEST YOGA SESSION EVER!
inversion after cold soak
Sunday morning Barry and I opted out of the early morning drive to Wasaga Beach where we had a 7am pool time.  It was nice to sleep in and have a quiet morning in the chalet.  The swimmers returned and we headed out for our ride up Pretty River.  I had been anticipating something horrible and was happy to know it wasn't nearly as much climbing as the Saturday Ride.  The last kilometer of the Pretty River climb was a time trial which was being used for our little team triathlon challenge (more on that later).

almost everyone from camp heading out to climb Pretty River
Pretty River Climb and the Amazing Decent on 91
According to my Garmin site I topped out at 73kph, but strava says 71.6kph (so bizarre given they both grab the data from my Garmin 910) ... in any case I was FLYING down that decent and with lessons learned from the day before, I was much more confident and steady on my bike.  

For fun, we had  little team triathlon challenge.  We were randomly (there is some debate here) placed in teams of three.  The best swim (a 100m time trial taken at the Sunday morning swim), bike (the last kilometer of the pretty river climb) and run (the last kilometer of your run off the bike on Sunday) times were taken and  each member had to contribute.  I was on a team with Tara (the leader of the camp) and Dushan.  They had both swam that morning with great times.  Dushan killed the bike time trial and posted the faster time overall.  So that left me with the run - so after the ride on Sunday, even though I hadn't run in weeks and was struggling with a hamstring issues.  I ran 1 km - in 4:20.  So in the end, my team won the challenge!

Sunday night we had a team dinner in the Village of Blue Mountains to celebrate the camp.  That night we packed up and headed home.  We got home in the wee hours of the morning but it was nice to wake up on the holiday Monday morning and spend the day relaxing with the kids.

I loved the training camp and I cannot wait to go again next year and maybe even try to squeeze in a week long camp to Arizona or Mt. Tremblant next year!