Wednesday, September 29, 2010

10!!!

I'm stoked.

What gets the blood pumping? The adrenalin rushing? Check out this guy Epic Bill Bradley cuz in less than 10 hours he'll be attemping to SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL.
It's through feats like these that get me excited to train something big for myself.

The EC is 34Km across at it's narrowest point. You don't get the luxury of swimming that though, as the currents and tides will drag you every which way. It can be alot longer!
Think about that - an Ironman swim is only 3.9Km. Bill is swimming MORE THAN 10 TIMES FARTHER! This is not across some glass water pond in the summer either, we're talking washing machine on agitate, and temperatures that could cause permanent shrinkage of vital components of the male anatomy! Did I mention NO WETSUIT?
Anatomy? This guy has got balls. His resume includes mind boggling feats such as a DOUBLE BADWATER RUN just earlier this year and my personal favourite TRIPLE IRONMAN. No seriously, you read that right. Ironman, triple distance, non-stop. If your eyes didn't just bulge out of your head and cause you to mumble GTFO under your breath then you need not apply here.
Epic is just a word. This guy is the real thing.

Go to his site, watch the videos, read his race reports.

Now I have to admit. I watch the videos in disbelief. I mean seriously... 'he's just some old guy'. But he shows up and suffers which is more than most of us will ever do in an entire lifetime.
Bill is 10 hours away from showing up to the start line of something EPIC. Guestimated 20+ hours of it! You think you were nervous about your race? What is THIS guy thinking right now this very second?

I watched his videos and asked myself, "What's my excuse!?" - If this guy can do it, so can I!
With the exception that I don't have his kinda of suicidal tendancies....  lol :)

His life story is something worth reading about. If that doesn't motivate you to get off your phat ass and train, I don't know what will. Now he just has to write the book, but I am worried that if he wrote a book - it would rival the Yongle Dadian cuz that's just how Bill rolls. :)

7.2Mile Swim, 336Mile Bike, 78.6Mile run  - Living is winning.

Feeding Tyme



I poked my head up out of the rut yesterday to look around. I promised I would use the short energy spurt to get a productive day in at the office, which I did. I ended up working late, as in past midnight, which I typically do a couple times a month at my convenience. So obviously I got no training in. Even if I wasn't working, it is likely I wouldn't have done anything anyways. I feel better blaming it on work though, there isn't as much guilt when 'missing' a workout. 
More of the same today. No workout - I have to hit downtown Toronto for some Geek time. It'll be another late night.
On a serious note. I think there is something wrong with me. Something very ill. Life threatening? I don't know. But what I do know is that I am scared to death of it -
I didn't eat all my pizza. W.T.F. - seriously, I ordered the standard medium pepperoni 'work-late' pizza and I ONLY ATE 2 SLICES!!!! ZOMGWTFBBQ!!!! The sky is falling, A pig just flew by my window and today is a guaranteed cold day in hell!
I always eat my pizza. At one time it was every day. I don't understand how I could only eat 2 slices of a perfectly good pie. I'm so ashamed. I'm in more of a rut than I thought. Is this the end? I see a light at the end of the tunnel and I'm running away from it, but it's getting closer and closer because I've been slacking on my training and I run like a gurl. Wait, no - scratch that. I can't even run like a gurl, did you see those times I posted for Jenn and Sabrina's run? Even they would crush me in a race! The light approaches. Oh the horror.

So anyhow, I got on the scale this morning and found I have dropped all that post-race repair water. I'm down 3lbs! It probably helped that I ate like a bird last night too. I would eat a pizza every day if it wasn't for Mrs. LotC. She's the greatest when it comes to food. When it's feeding time, she makes me my own separate pot of chili so I don't have to eat all the yucky vegetables. Pasta - again I get a separate batch of sauce without chunks of crud in it. Breakfast and lunch? Yeh, every day. No really, she gets up and MAKES my breakfast and lunch, even on days when she is not working and could have slept in.
Breakfast is usually a fruit smoothy, none of this pre-canned crap - she'll whip out the blender and toss in a bunch of frozen stuff that I wouldn't eat if my life depended on it. She adds some water to make it consistent enough to flow, sticks a straw in and makes me drink it. Some days I wonder if she's using that fake milk that she drinks, instead of water. The stuff from nuts or flowers or something. I can't remember the name of the milk. Lunch is an assortment of goodies. She'll make my sandwhiches and have it all packaged up and sitting with my smoothie in time for me heading out the door. Much of the same for dinner too. Yup, I'm lucky to have the greatest wife EVAR!
If my meals were up to me, I would probably have died from a heart attack years ago. I never ate this healthy until Mrs. LotC made me. I'll eat the crappy healthy stuff if it means I don't have to make it myself. Pizza and McDonalds is so much easier. :)
Speaking of easy, Tomorrow I'll tell you all about my magic closet!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Half-Iron Blues


THAT'S how stiff my legs were



Bend down to pickup gear? ugghhhh...



Pain.




Pumps - not just for inflating tires. Cane FTW!

SSINAG was asking why I haven't been blogging. I said I was 'in a rut'. "Then post about the rut! Most of us are struggling.", was her answer to that. Makes sense, so I'll just rant away:


Rut. Is that what you call it? I begin writing a blog and a couple paragraphs later I'm bored. All I see is blah, blah, blah-blah, blah and it. is .just a. boring. story. I seemed to have lost my 'creative' touch. If there is such a thing.
I think this is just an extension of Real Life(tm). No training. Like nothing whatsoever! I can't even look at my bike. I feel guilty for not riding, but I dont have the passion. I need to be preparing for Lake Placid, but I seem to be suffering from a mental burnout.  I am blah after coming down from the 'high' of Ironman Muskoka. I'm so tired, I don't want to get out of bed and just want to hibernate indoors behind my computer screen. Some attribute this to the weather, and I would have to agree it doesn't help, but there is more to it. I want to train, I see everyone positng race results, and I just can't seem to muster the willpower.
While writing this, I did a quick search and found Ironman Blues which seems to be the case for many others.


A few things come to mind after I read those articles. It's not an Ironman, it's just a half. This keeps going through my head, I am simply not happy with 'just a half'. Even then, I want a better time. I know I'm better than a 6hr finisher time. I know what it's like to slack on training, but I'm not feeling that. I stuff my face silly with junk food and over-eat every meal and I feel guilty. There is this crushing weight of guilt that fatboy-needs-to-get-out-and-train or I'll lose what little fitness I have gained this year. I dunno.

On the flip side though, I felt a bit better today. I woke up feeling alert and refreshed for the first time in ages. I am making a point of putting out some solid productivity at the office and making the best of this little energy spurt before it wears off. I have given myself until thanksgiving to continue this revert back to the ways of the dark phat-side. I figure after pigging out at thanksgiving, I will have had enough and will get back on the training wagon. I worry that it's just a little too far out though, I will already have gone soft by then.

I did however make a decision that I will not run a Marathon before Iroman Lake Placid. I might do something like 'around the bay race' which is just short of a marathon, but ultimately I want my first full marathon to be part of an Ironman!. Then I want to get this shirt! :)


So back to the blog posts. Hmmmmm. Yup, they've been sparse. I just haven't felt like writing. Well, actually let me correct that - I start to write, but then it is 'just not good enough'. Boring, plain, waste of time to read. I think I'm going to write anyways. I don't like seeing gaps in my posts, this was supposed to be a chronicle of my journey, even if it is a boring one.
A wise runner-chick once commented
 "Always blog for yourself and if people want to read, they read"


I would like to congradulate Jenn on a crushing time of 2:09 Scotia Bank Waterfront Half Marathon, finishing well ahead of more than half of her category!

Sabrina missed the sub-4-hour mark by 1 minute at the same event on the Marathon course. Congrats on the PB!

Drug Runner

This was actually a post I started last week that I wasn't satisfied with. I have round off the ending and cut it short to just get it posted. I've been in a 'creative rut'.



I've got to get a run in tonight.

Pre-Race Course Inspection Photo Op

I should really get out for that run.
It's getting late, maybe I don't have time now.
Uggghh I know I need to run but it's dark and cold now.
Maybe tomorrow. Yah, tomorrow I'll do it for sure. I'll even double it and go non-stop to make up for tonight.
!!!!Stop what you are doing.!!!!
Read a blog. Watch a video. Check your twitter messages.

A tweet from MattyO says "10k completed, not pretty but its done", and that is all it took.
I threw on my shoes and out the door I went. I anticipated a really short run, around the block at most, since my hip is still 'on edge'. It was pitch dark and the street lights here are horrible. The trees are mature in our area and block all the light which makes runing on the sidewalks a sport. I ran through a different neighbourhood to try and find the 'well lit' streets but a pathway took me into a dark ravine. As I ran down the path I could see the silhouette of a couple people. I could smell it. Great, here I am in the pitch dark running down a path that I don't know where it leads and now I have to run by creepy people smokin' pot and it looks like they are striking a deal! As I got closer all I could was think what the headline would say the next day - 'Stupid runner, out past dark, gets himself stabbed for nothing'. I was wondering what I would say when they demand I hand over my wallet. I didn't have one. Heck, I had no ID or anything. They wouldn't be able to identify the body even. Although I did have the big honking GPS hanging off my wrist that I could barter for my life with. No. No way am I giving that thing up, I like my GPS!
As soon as I ran by them I just sped up and didn't look back. My 'sprint' was nothing short of a brisk walk as I was already tired. Regardless, I think next time I'll stick to the main roads.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Community Healing

In the end, we went and did our own run on our usual route. I'm glad we didn't join the Runners Den group. Not even a quarter of the way through and stomach cramps kicked in. I should have listend to Fran as we ate too much and then ran too soon. Then my hip pain came back with a vengence. I was keeping a great pace and pushed through the pain as I know this is my last run for awhile. The joint pain at the hip will take awhile to go away, I had it about this time last year.
Through the run all I could think about was the moron at Runner's Den. We had called to find out what nights the running groups happened so we could join them. Instead we got excuses about how everyone is on there own schedule and distance and something about clinics. I don't understand how a small business like that can survive by pushing new people away. The community is their lifeline by adding value and services it would draw more people in. It sounded like 'new' runners were an inconvenience to them, heck they didn't even try to sell us on the clinics with date/time/price info. I do not feel guilty about buying online for way cheaper. I would really like to find a faster runner to train with, I need someone to pace me.
The next morning I hit the pool for a 2500m swim. For my first swim since Muskoka, I felt great. I was only going to do 2000m but the guy in the next lane was unofficially racing me. Every lap we just got faster and faster until we were at an all out sprint. The difference was I do not push off the walls. At all. No flip turns either. I just touch and go. There is no wall to push off of in open water so I consider it cheating. Having said that, this guy would launch off the wall and I would gradually catch him and pass him by the end of the lane - we would repeat this over and over. I finally gave in and gave a decent push off the wall and left him behind. It felt good, especially considering I was at the end of 2000m swim. I put a few extra laps in for good measure after he quit. I couldn't show any signs of weakness. I would have commended him on his effort but I didn't see him again until the shower room and I didn't want to fish for eye contact to initiate a conversation with stranger while we're all nekid. It might send a wrong signal lol.
I'll try a road ride next. Running is out of the question until the fire in my hips is out.

Above: My wave start line
To the right: DeLorean BTTF car on 401 on way home from Muskoka. I kid you not.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Just another weekend

She was going to leave without me. Can you believe that? I have to draw the line at that one so I threw my bike clothes on and joined her. I didn't really feel like riding. Everything is stiff, all my muscles are very tight. Stretching is not helping and I still have ample back pain. I have been under alot of stress this week and I needed to get a workout in. Saturday was cool, but I opted for shorts and a shirt. I didn't even take my camelback as I was expecting a quick short ride. As soon as I got on the bike I could feel how tight my back was. I haven't been taking the muscle relaxants to help with the pain as I had way too many of them leading up to Ironman Muskoka and did not want to continue with them this week. Surprisingly the trails were dry. Except for that one deep mushy puddle off the end of a wooden bridge. I seen the puddle, I wheelied off the bridge but some kind of magnet was drawing my wheel to it mid-air. As soon as the wheel struck dirt I made an emergency turn to avoid said mush pit but I still had my racing tires on from the MTB Triathlon and they just slid. Now it's not only cool out, and I'm stiff and sore but let's add a soaker to that one too. My right foot went into the mud and I think there is some foul odour coming from it. I'm not sure if that was there before the mud or not, regardless I am noticing it. ick.
At the end of our usual route, we went exploring onto new trail. We followed the bruce trail along the river until Paris. Not a very well used section of trail so it was not smooth going. The wind picked up and we now had a bit of rain. This exploring took way longer than anticipated, the trail just kept going. I'm just not feeling this ride, but I was happy to get out and silence the voices in the back of my head that have been nagging me to just get out and do something.
I have been looking forward to a run. I didn't bother doing one Saturday since we did get the MTB ride so I aimed for Sunday. On Sunday I joined some fellow I.T. pro's at the Argo's game. I'm not a footbal person, but we got free tickets and it was a good opportunity to try something different. I even took the GO train in which is rare for me. We arrived a bit late to the game, but no matter as none of us were real fans. I did my best to follow the game and stop watching the jumbotron as it was much easier to follow it on the big screen since they zoom onto the part of the play that matters. The cheerleaders were nothing short of disturbing. They had little 12 year olds, probably younger, being led by an official cheerleader doing grown-up provacative dances in skimpy outfits. I can't believe the parents were encouraging that, I'm so glad I don't have a daughter. Just plain wrong. The game was over quick, Argo's got lucky and barely squeezed out a win. After dinner and a train ride home, I had no time to get a run in. I spent the rest of the evening up late working on the computer. The stress has returned. I desperately need to go for a run.

I have been getting feedback with regards to my blog. It's surprising how many people actual read it. Most feedback is very positive however, I'm looking for more input - should I shorten up the posts or not? In comparison, my posts are much longer than most other blogs out there. Races and important milestones warrant a detail post, that is something I cannot avoid as I want something to look back on. These day to day posts tend to be lengthy though, your feedback is appreciated.

Actually I'm suprised I'm not tired of blogging already. I am not a 'writer' by any stretch of the imagination, yet here I am still.


Training Summary:
Bike - 2hrs of "Teh Suck"(tm)

Oh and my father scored some good photo and video at Muskoka. I'll trickle a bit at a time in posts over the next week or so.

Here is a video of me at the start of the Run Split


Here is a video at the FINISH of the run split, he labelled it wrong on the video lol :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BronzeBoy YellowSocks





What do you call a Half Ironman Finisher?

While at the race I recall alot of people loosely using the word Ironman when refering to finishers. I believe finishing a full Ironman grants the use of the Ironman title, Yet people everywhere were calling each other Ironman. So where does that leave a Half finisher? The bronze age came before the Iron age so should it be Bronzeman? Ironboy? Or just plain Triathlete? I don't know, so I appeal to the experience of my readers to let me know your thoughts.

Back to my Race Report the other day. I conveniently left a small detail out of my blog as to not scare too many people away. Unfortunately my loving wife decided to share all the gorey details with the general population so there is some splainin' to du.
I would like to cite my side of the story - evidence suggests slow release is acceptable. It's common among pro atheletes even though that video seems rather disturbing. And of course, worst case if you can't make it to the next feed zone you can just pull a Bear Grylls.
So sure enough during my run I had the urge. Actually it wasn't much of an urge but I just couldn't wait for the next feed station. More importantly, I didn't want to lose my running partner that was pacing me. So I waited for the opportune time and let it flow. There is a first with everything and I had plenty of opportunities to fine tune technique. Like any amateur peeing while running I just let go way to much and damn that stuff flings everywhere! You know when you run with wet shoes and that stream of fluid flicks off the tip of your shoe when you kick your shoes forward? Yeh well its 1000 times worse than that as it comes off your top of your knee caps and splashes everywhere. Close your mouth. I was fortunate enough to have several chances to improve technique. With experience, I learned the slow release method to prevent splashage and flickage into the face. It's important to note, you have to look in both directions. Even though there is nobody behind you to see, you also have to distance yourself from the person in front of you too. It flings a good 10feet forward while running. oops, Sorry Dave, I'm sure that will wash out.
With my legs stiff as stilts after the race, my wife removed the shoes and socks. She mentioned something about everything being soaking wet. Doh! I forgot, sorry - if I remembered I wouldn't have let you touch them. Thanks anyways though ;)

On the training front, this is non-active recovery week. I really want to get out for a run but my hip is still sore. On the bright side my muscles are mostly repaired. Still pain in the middle of the calves.
We spent the evening watch Heroes Season 4 and I worked a bit on the computer. All while stuffing my face with countless slices of pizza and chocolate! I could get used to this.

DJ Chainring







ONE OF THE TOUGHEST HALF IRONMANS IN THE WORLD.

Note - here is my Official Ironman Muskoka RACE REPORT - you are now reading the post post post post Post. Incase you missed it.

70.3 - is that a radio station? It never occured to me to look at it that way but I have heard this several times the last few days. People read the finisher's medal around my neck or golf shirt I'm wearing and they immediately connect 70.3 with a radio station frequency. Face meet Palm. On the other hand, it's my opportunity to educate them on the sport of triathlon and spread the gospel. It's interesting how after explaining what a 70.3 Ironman is, they return the favour by describing the toughest physical event they have ever partake'd in. Be it a 5Km run, walking the doggy twice around the block or the time they were on the highschool track team 20 years ago - everyone has a story they want to share. I immediately follow up those stories with a challenge of triathlon. Re-live the glory days and come do a try-a-tri! It's enough to plant the seed anyhow, in time it may grow into something great.

So the past couple days have been riddled with aches and pains. The typical sore muscles, hard to walk blah blah blah. I didn't lose any weight but I can tell I'm still retaining muscle repair water. I did notice a huge drop in registered body fat. The scale read a 1.6% decrease! I knew all that fatty storage would come in handy one day. I almost took yesterday off as a sick day but decided it would be best to get out and get moving. I arrived at the office to find it was a fire drill day. I'll gladly risk the burns than descend 11 floors of stairs with these legs. I pulled seniority as fire warden and opted for elevator duty to assist the elderly and disabled to safety. I think they were carrying me instead lol.

My plan to wear my finisher medal all week came to a halt this morning. It keeps banging against things and I don't want to break it. I'm thinking of doing a shadow box for the medal, shirt, hat etc. I'm still waiting for the photographer to send me a link to my photos. I hope they turned out.

I can't wait to get back running again. Yes, I wrote that. My goal is to improve my run over the winter. I'm looking for a long distance race in the spring. I think the 'local' runners den has organized running groups. I will wait to call as right now I'm still working on walking. I don't want to injure myself anymore than necessary. Then again, I don't want to go soft either.

To be honest I didn't think anyone read my blog. I started this thing as an open diary for myself to chronicle the journey to Ironman. In the end I'll make a book of it, kind of like Training Payne did. It's pretty nifty. Officially, I only have 1 follower registered. However apparently alot more people just stop in from time to time who haven't actually registered. I found this out the hard way as I slacked on the post race report and a barrage of unhappy customers showed up at the door with pitch forks and torches. Nice to see someeone cares :) Sorry about the late posts, please don't kill meh!

Disclaimer: I punked some of the above photo's off of Rodneys blog. I don't see a registered copyright so I'm sure they're free to scam. :)

Oh and somone asked what place did I finish. It was something like middle of the pack at best. 552/863 overall 6h:24min. I finished, nothing more, nothing less. :)

Oh and here is Craig Alexander's thoughts, 2 time defending Ironman World Champion. He won this weekend and I quote him:
ONE OF THE TOUGHEST HALF IRONMANS IN THE WORLD.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Race Report: IRONMAN MUSKOKA 70.3







Sheesh! Blog followers are high maintenance. :) People have been writing in to get this thing complete and posted. I've just finally regained enough strength and willpower to write a race report. I didn't want to write it while I was tired as I would cut corners and miss details. I suspect this report will be lengthy as I want something detailed to look back on. It has obviously taken me a couple of days to chip away at it. I broke it up into a few parts for those of you who want to skip sections. I've waited long enough to post it, so I for-go'd editing it for entertainment value. I hope I didnt rant on too long and bore you ;) You can only attach so many photo's so I'll spread them out over the rest of this week's blog posts. Yes, you will have to wait for them :P

PRE-RACE

The week leading up to the race included alot of sleepless nights. I was really worried that I would have the same problem the night before the race. I was lucky that Friday night I found my sleeping pill: Beer. The pint at the hotel with Brian had really calmed my nerves and I slept like a baby. I repeated the same thing Saturday night and I slept like a baby, up until the moment I sobered up. I woke up and the clock read 3am. Not a problem as I was still tired and went back to sleep. About an hour later I woke up again to look at the clock, and it only said 3:10am. - ok well it felt like an hour which means I was getting quality sleep but this carried on every 10 minutes for 2 hours straight. Regardless, I woke up at 5am and didn't feel overly exhausted. I had already layed everything out the night before and knew exactly what I needed to do in the morning, everything was planned down to the last detail. Or so I thought. As Fran was making my pre-race breakfast she let out a silent "Oh?!" when tending to my Nutella toast. Yes, my pre-race meal consists of Nutella toast, bananna. Sure it's not the healthiest, but this sits well with my stomach and it has worked for every race so far. With the exception of that "Oh" I heard earlier. "It might have chunks" she says. ? Why would the nutella have chunks? I grabbed the jar to find that it was not 'Nutella'. Ok, so Nutella in our household is like the kleenex of the tissue world. It's universally known that if it looks like a cholocatey-ish spread, then we call it Nutella even though it's the no-name stuff which is just fine too. In this case, it wasn't the real nutella or the regular no-name stuff we get. This was something different. Yes, eating something DIFFERENT for breakfast the morning of my first half-iron! How can this be? I planned everything down to the last detail yet this got overlooked. I wasn't upset, I was more scared than anything. Do I eat it? What is going to happen? Now I know that nutella is mainly sugar and I'm fine by that but this different stuff was actually made from real hazlenuts and had chunks of nuts in it. Will my body digest the non-sugary nutty spread? Well I made the executive decision to eat it anyways, the only other option was Lucky Charms cereal and I didn't feel like re-tasting the rainbow if I belch during the swim. Fran knows the dont-eat-something-different rule before a race yet she packed it anyways. It's my fault really, I should have checked. I wasn't upset, I was more scared than anything. Scared that I would cramp or feel sick and risk a DNF. Ultimately I ate it.

We drove to the airstrip where you had to park your car. It was very dark. We go on the big yellow school bus to take us to Deerhurst resort via back-roads that were not closed due to the race. It was very dark and I could feel my nerves getting the best of me. I was staring at an M-Dot emblem on the back of the guys jacket in front of me and in the dark I think I started to tear up. This was it. This was the day. This was a big deal to me. I'm so lucky to have my wife there with me holding my hand as it helped calm me. I've only ever been this anxious on my wedding day. I was lucky to get to share both these events with the greatest woman evar!
Off the bus we were separated. Athletes go down into transition while friends and family split off to watch from a distance. I went and found my bike in the sea of carbon fibre and aero bars. Mine was easy to find, as it was arguably the oldest peice of steel there. I setup my transition, it went smooth as everything was laid out in my bag which made unpacking it easy. I made a last minute decision to wear a cycling jesery over my tri-suit to take advantage of the pockets to carry my tools and nutrition in. Fran pinned the spare race bib to the back of the jersey as my race belt would probably get covered up by the jersey, I didn't want to risk a penalty. Once setup was complete, I had just over an hour to kill before the race started. I went for a 10 minute jog in my 4 layers of jackets to warm up. Did I mention it was maybe 10 celsius outside?! Wit the jackets on, I immediately started sweating profusely and could feel that I was no longer sleepy. I even stopped yawning. I ran into Brian and Rodney and we pretty much waited until the last minute to get our wetsuits on and down to the water which was a good 300m down a steep hill. I decided to take my keen sandals and leave them at the swim exit so I wouldn't hurt my feet running up the hill to transition. The starting area on the beach was packed. We had to pick our way through all the spectators just so we could get to the small hidden beach. Once on the beach, I was blown away by the number of participants. I've never seen this many triathletes at the start of a race. This is nothing like the tiny local sprint races, look at all these people! I quickly jumped into the water and swam a lousy 50 meter warm up. I was really hoping for a lot more warmup, A LOT more, but we waited too late to get here so my short run will have to suffice. It was just barely enough time to squeeze out the customary pre-race wetsuit pee. There is no shame in peeing in your setsuit at seven in the morning when you're in the water and it dipped down to 4 celsius overnight. What a great feeling, right up to the point when you realized the other 1000 people standing in the water on the really shallow beach has just got finished doing the same thing. Now put your head under the water and wet that hair before putting the swim cap and goggles on. Keep your mouth closed though, that's probably not water you're swallowing. Just push those thoughts to the back of your mind.
They organized us in waves and I stood among the yellow caps on the beach. They were originally yellow, they were not stained by the aforemention water quality. Even in waves the number of people I was starting with was huge. We were shoulder to shoulder on this little starting area. The national anthem came on and my anxiety shot back up. I was at borderline panic mode, to the point where all bodily functions ceased. Repeatedly. At least it kept my toes warm. That has never happened to me before but no matter how much I concentrated or how hard I tried it just kept flowing. I was that nervous. Consider this when buying a used wetsuit!
After that anthem was over, it couldn't have been more perfect. The exact song that I planned on replaying over and over in my head had come over the loudspeakers. It figures I can't remember the name of it now, but regardless the exact song got me through some awesome mountain bike races in the past so this helped calmed me down as did looking over and seeing my familly on the sidelines just being there to cheer me on.

SWIM SPLIT

The beach was on an angle. To sight down the buoy line in a straight line you had to go out to deeper water way out to the right. Strange as everybody hugged the beach to the far left. I got myself lined up perfectly with the buoys and at the front of the line. I didn't plan on this but everyone was busy hugging shore so I figure by the time the pack converges into me, I should be ahead of most of them. The announcer shouts 30 seconds, and repeat it by shouting it out loud which gets me focused on the task at hand. The announcer then asks people to move back a bit as some of us were edging slightly past the invisible start line in the deep water. I'm not moving. Nobody moved. The only direction I go from this point onward is forward. There is no turning back now, not ever.
The horn rips through the crisp cold morning air and there is a clear moment of silence when everything pauses. The rest of the world disappears. Its just me, on a beach, looking forward. I see only 70.3 Miles between me and the finish line. I see a small distance in comparison to the 5000 Kilometers and 400 Hours of training it took to get here. Fast forward to this moment, my minds eye see's my family behind me. They've been there all along, not just today on the beach. I crack a small grin and dive kick off into the water. It's on.
Immediately I start rubing bodies. I only breath to the left which is in the direction of the entire pack. Somehow we avoid tangling arms as I try to time my stroke with the guy to my left. We are literally squishing our torso's together yet finding just enough room for our arms to squeeze a stroke through between us. Now that last sentence didn't sound too good, but I can assure you he was fit and I could see abs through the wetsuit so I didn't mind some rubbing. Plus it was cold. I started to bank right and gave the pack some room. The buoy was so far away, it still looked like I was in a perfectly straight line down the most direct route. This inside track turned out to be perfect. Approaching each turn I was taking chances though. As everyone converged onto my line I was swimming up against people's lower torso I could see kneecaps in my face and I was preparing myself for a good boot to the head, all it took was a single whip kick and I'd be sucking big toe. Luckily these people were able to hold their front crawl and avoid breaststroke into the turn. I'm thankful for this. About halfway through I started passing red caps, from the wave in front us. I took the 2nd to last corner too wide and ended up not taking such a direct route. This may or may not have been helpful as I didn't have to pick my way through the much slower red caps. 2/3 of the way through the swim I felt great, just as fresh as when I started but then I twitched. My left calve was about to cramp and seize on me. I flexed it with all my might without missing a stroke with my arms. I tried kicking from the hip and the calve was right on edge. It didn't take long for the other one to start to cramp too. I didn't understand as my nutrition was just fine and I'm in a perfectly comfortable heartrate zone but I'm cramping. The cold. Cold is what you get when it was single digit celsius over night and you're swimming in a big lake in the Canadian north. I didn't even notice that I earlier lost the feeling in my feet. I managed to stay calm and drag my legs behind me with just my arms and twisting my torso. I was still passing people even with no legs. Upon reaching the stairs out of the water I was grateful for the volunteer that helps you get vertical. I had no blood in my legs and they were frozen. The guy practically picked me up and stood me on my feet and I mustered just enough control of my leg muscles to propel me up the steps. As I slipped my sandals on there were spectators standing over top all the shoes. I told them "I couldn't feel my calves" and some guy asks me how the water was. "I CAN'T FEEL MY CALVES!" I replied to the guy wearing a toasty winter jacket under an umbrella. What more do you need to know, how do you think the water is? I began the 300m steep uphill to the transition area. I originally planned to walk this, however I began to run and it felt so good to force blood down to my lower parts. I ran the entire length of the uphill and by the time I got to the top I had all feeling in my legs back. I took my time in transition though, I wanted to make sure I got all my gloves on, and socks and didn't forget anything. Both calves repeatedly twitched as I tried to get socks on. At this point I was getting worried. To cramp this early in such a long race is likely a really bad sign. I decided to pop an electrolyte pill and wash it down with water. It's too early for this, there is no way I'm dehydrated. Unless of course the 10+ pee breaks I took on the beach drained me dry. Regardless, salt pill and some not-so-gentle massage was my hopeful quick-fix.

BIKE SPLIT

How long does it take you to mount your bike? For the guy in front of me, apparently a good 10 years. I was running up to the mount line from 100ft back and he was still trying to get onto his bike by the time I arrived. I ran passed him and cut him off a bit as I jumped on my bike. Instead of launching my leg over the saddle and racing off, I made sure I securely clipped my left foot in first. That's when I realized the other guy probably has numb legs like me and he wanted to be careful. There was a big crowd around and I didn't want to risk a silly fall. I immediately felt good on the bike. Heart rate was way low, probably due to hypothermia, but I was passing people like crazy. Alot of the other athletes were chugging along at snail pace for the first couple kilometers. I pretty much outclimbed everyone around for the repeated steep hills in the first 15 kilometers. Then the long drawn out hills arrived. Over the horizon it looked like rain. Dark clouds everywhere. We were basically playing leap frog among the same group of people for the next 15kms. I traded places with this same guy about 5 times and every time he was passing he would look over at me with this dorky grin and shook his head. After the 5th time I figured out what he was trying to say. I was close to a wheel in front of me and he was shaking his head and looking at me as if he was disgusted by my alleged drafting. I immediately shouted out to him "I love to draft... it's so much easier" in a somewhat sarcastic voice. He finally said something, "Well that's obvious, sheesh", again shaking is head in disdain. I made a point to pass the guy in front of me and suck on the whiner's wheel a bit. I'll gladly pay a few minute penalty to tease the crybaby. I mean seriously, at our level does it really matter what the other guy is doing? We're hardly contenders for the crown, so chill. He kept looking back and I could tell he was getting annoyed with me drafting him. He slowed right down to force my pass, and I obliged by blowing past him. He tried to suck on my wheel but I outclimbed him and left him waaay behind. A small bit of competitive fun to drown out the impending pain. At the first bottle swap, my first high-speed swap ever, I tossed my real gatorade bottle to find out that they were NOT handing out water bottles. We were clearly told we were getting water bottles, but instead they gave us the lousy plastic bottles with a nozzle on top that you would buy at the mini-mart. Not cool, I just tossed a pricey bottle in turn for garbage. Expect the unexpected, I thought this as I reached out to try and grab the plastic bottle from the volunteer - with one hand on the handlebar and the other reaching I found the unexpected alright. Someone dropped a full water bottle, probably a missed grab, and it was laying in the middle of the road. I hit it head on and nearly crashed as it slid out from under my wheel! I attribute my bike handling skills as a mountain biker, coupled with just pure dumb luck that my tires hooked up on the wet road, to my surviving the unexpected. That was close. I did manage to get a replacement bottle from the last volunteer in the feed zone. The next 30 kilometers were lonely. Very few people around and a brisk chilly wind coupled with misty rain eating at my legs. My stomach was in pain. I didn't eat or drink anything as I'm pretty sure the 'Nutella' was blocking everything from digesting. Serves me right for eating it. I settled into my planned slightly slower pace to conserve energy for the attack on the final third of the course where my strong climbing will shine. The 60km mark had the second feed zone. I kept an eye open for loose bottles. I thought this was a lousy spot for a bottle exchange, I was screaming along at 37km/h and the volunteers were not moving. I crashed my hand into the first bottle at break-arm speed and the bottle launched through the air into the crowd. Gees those bottles sure fly, I hope I didn't kill anyone. I tried again and I missed. Lucky the guy at the end of the line put a slight run in and I successfully got my bottle. That is something I hadn't practiced. You don't get that speed in a mountain bike race feed zone, but then again it's rather dumb to have a feed area in a speed zone.
Just after the 60km mark the big hills gave me a taste of just how bad things were. My legs were frozen. No cramping, they can't crap when they are solid bricks of ice. I felt my legs with my hand and they were rock solid frozen muscles. I could barely get them to twitch. On the hills it took all the power I could muster to turn the pedals. The cold creeped in without me noticing, I was upset that I let it get this bad although I didn't know what I could have done about it even if I seen it happening. I just got weaker and slower with each climb, and there as no shortage of climbs. I was hoping I would begin to warm up being out of the wind and hidden in the valley of climbs but it wasn't meant to be, my heartrate just wouldn't increase to force things to thaw. My legs got more red and more purple. I never thought I would ever hear myself say it, especially while riding a bike, but I was actually looking forward to the run. I was begging to run. I wanted to slip on my nice dry warm padded running socks and have my cushioned shoes hug my feet and bring life back to the pale stilts attached to my lower body. I got some distraction from the cold as an official on a motorcycle went to tag the guy in front of me for drafting. A big muscular asian guy was yelling and arguing with the official all while cruising along at 35km/h. He wouldn't pull over to get his bib marked, he just argued while riding. He started swurving to the left left as he yelled at the official and rode with just one hand as he was more or less flipping the official off. He swurved into a woman rider, likely a leader for her age group, as she came screaming up beside all of us to make the pass on the left. The guy nearly killed us all as he had blatant disregard for everyone around him. It was a close call and she practically had to clip the motorcycle to get by. The motorcycle drove off after this, I suspect they decided to disqualify him as he was arguing and endangering others. They never did get him to pull over. I didn't see anyone in my age group for the past 50km. It wasn't until the final few hills that some passed me. I had nothing left in my legs, I just did what I could to get to my dry shoes. I had to use the bike to hold me up as I made my way from the dismount line to the rack. I couldn't control the muscles in my legs, they were sexy, permanently flexed ice sculptures frozen in time. This didn't look good for my run. My bike split was 'ok' at best, I am only slightly disappointed that it wasn't stronger.

RUN SPLIT

The T2 exit will just have to wait. I just covered my frozen apendiges with dry socks and I immediately felt things starting to thaw out. Queue the sudden urge to pee. In their wisdom they placed the porta-potties at the complete opposite end of the transition zone exit. This bought my legs just enough time to regain some muscle control and I was able to muster up some decent running form. Right off the bat I was running fast. I had no intention on slowing down though as I could feel blood flowing through my legs and it felt sooo good. My whole body was blissfully defrosting and it was by far one of the greatest feelings ever. My hate for running was benched on the sidelines as for today I loved running. I ran with a smile. I ran the entire exit and down the road out of Deerhurst, not because there were spectators cheering us on, but because I felt like I was an actual runner. No sign of BRICK legs whatsoever. I was already at the 2km mark where the first aid station was. I didn't want to walk yet but I knew that would be short sighted as my plan was to walk each aid station that was placed about every 2 kilometers. I made a point to start running again by the time I reached the last table and/or volunteer. The walks would only be about 100ft long. Once out on Hwy 60 it was a very long straight run down a busy highway. The sounds were drowned out by the cars and trucks speeding by. I focused on technique and still wore the smile that I found way back at T2 exit. Around the 6km mark I was settling in well with a group of people that were roughly doing my speed. I picked a guy that was going slightly quicker than me and I decided that he would be my bus. My bus will pace me and force me to restart the run at every feed zone when he ran by me. I ran step by step with him for the next 4km. This was David Moss from Whitby. I told him to just ignore me as I'm going to try to shadow him for as long as I can and that I appreciate his understanding. I stared at the back of David's shoes, I didn't look down the long roads which scare me. The distance is just so far, I didn't want to know what it looked like. As we exited Hwy60 it was all uphill from here. The first couple big climbs were tough, but I managed to hang on to the bus. We approached the biggest hill of them all and it was huge. It went on forever. I warned the bus driver that I have a weak run and I don't know what to expect from my body so don't fret if I get dropped. To my amazement we were passing boatloads of people. Everyone broke at the hill yet we just ran up it. The hill was a good kilometer long and our pace was the quickest around. Near the top I could hear the bus give out a slight moan. This reassured me that I'm doing 'ok' as my heartrate and breathing were perfect and I was feeling good. That was until we got to the top. The feedzone at the top was 9km in and I missed an important step in my nutrition. At the end of the feedzone I tried to take an exaggerated step by lifting my knee high and loosening things up. Instead my hamstring immediately cramped and I just about keeled over and fell while holding the back of my leg. Immediately I looked up at the people running by me, I had fright in my eyes and I could tell they seen me cringe and grab my leg. Both runners told me to go back 25ft to the feed station and get a salt pill. I didn't anticipate or suspect cramping until the top of the hill when I lifted my leg too high. I decided that I will not go backwards on the course. I will push forward, that was my mission. I concentrated on form and for the next kilometer I did not feel any cramping unless I tried to lengthen my stride or do something 'out of the ordinary'.
Just passed the halfway mark I raised my hands over my head as if I was running down victory lane. This is it. I shouted a woohoo out loud and had a mini-celebration in my own little world as everyone looked at me like I was some kind of freak. I let bus driver in on my celebration - this is the furthest I have ever run in my entire life. No really, I've only ever run 11km once before this. We're just over the halfway mark and I am sailing into the unknown. I have run non-stop so far. With every step I was increasing my all time record-distance and I was determined to not stop my run until I was at my absolute limit. So many people were walking at this point. Around the 14km mark I started to feel my limits. The toughest part of the run was the walk through the feed stations. It was getting increasingly harder to get re-started before the end of the feed zone. Everyone around was walking and I felt like joining them, it was so tough to get going again. My legs were now burning and the pain in my hip and ankle was noticable. David the bus driver was beginning to show signs of cracking. At the end of the feedzone my bus had still not arrived. I had to look back and shout 'where is my bus?' as I coerced David into a run and he passed me. This forced me to hitch back onto the bus and off we ran. It sure was tough getting going again. We took turns cracking the whip on each other at the feed stations. I think he was pushing his limits. It was mutual. It seemed he didn't want to let me down, and we both kept each other honest by only doing the short walks in the feed zones and forcing a restart. The very last feedzone was just before the steepest hill of them all. At the end of the zone I was hoping we would just walk up the hill. I hoped the bus would just walk too, we're only 2km from the finish and this hill is crazy steep enough to justify a walk. Not even a couple of steps passed the feed zone and David said let us just run up and see how far we can get up it. I didn't want him to leave me behind so I obliged. About halfway up I was still feeling good, but my run had slowed down to not much faster than the pace of the people walking. We throttled back and speed walked up the hill. It seemed faster than trying to actually run. We justified this short 50ft speed-walk by us wanting to not burn out so close to the finish. We wanted to run the final bit through the spectators without collapsing. It was close. 500m from the finish is the final hill David dubbed 'heartbreak hill'. I don't know if that was the actual name of it or what, but even the spectator knew what he as talking about. I ran up that hill with a huge smile on my face. I could feel every muscle in my leg burning and cramping and we were so close to the finish, it felt great! David slowed to a walk just before the very top and I screamed at him. I gave him the ole' 'suck it up, this is the final hill, go go go!'. He immediately got back into a run and we ran down the chute together. I let him go first over the line as it was the least I could do. Unfortunately a couple runners came up behind us on the finishing line to try to sprint past us. What idiots, I hope it didn't screw up the photos. Over the line I gave a big cheer and the andrenaline kicked in. I did it.

POST RACE

Immediately after placing a medal on your head, you walk over to get your post-race photo. I shook hands with David and he got his photo with what looked like was his daughters. I struck a pose and hoped I didn't blink. I didn't have the energy to suck in my gut, so I'm still waiting to see the photo lol. Just stopping for that moment was enough for me. Everything started seizing up. My Legs wouldn't bend anymore. I grabbed my finishers T-Shirt, which I was going to get a large incase I grew into it but considering I'll be doing Ironman Lake Placid, the medium should do just fine for least a little while longer. Surprisingly we got a hat as well. All I could think about was finding the Mrs. and giving her a great big hug. I seen Rodney first who was already showered and fed. All that training appears to have paid off for him, that guy is a machine. I'll catch him at Lake Placid though ;). Right after I figure out how to walk again, ow my legs. I seen Fran and fell into her arms. I've only been gone for a little over 6 hours but it felt like a lifetime. I may have cracked a tear or two. We snapped a few photo's and Rodney was generous by letting me use the shower in his hotel room. I desperately needed a massage, my muscles were permantently flexed and I couldn't get my legs to bend. When I tried to bend my legs manually with my arms, it felt like my quad muscles were ripping apart, like the sound you get when you rip linen in half. I decided not to push it. We went straight to the massage tables, what a joke. They were only there until 5pm and there was a waiting list 10 hours long. People were still coming over the line up until 4:45pm, this was hugely disappointing to alot of competitors. They simply did not provide adequate massage support. I've seen way better at 24hr mountain bike races. Sad. Instead I grabbed a post-race meal and we watched the awards banquet. The lousy part of the whole event was post-race. The transition area closed at 5pm and the final bus to the airstrip stopped at 6pm. There was no time to sit around and hang with friends and family. The plans to meetup with Brian and Rodney fell through later that evening. I jumped in the pool and left my cell phone in the room so I missed the calls to meet in town. The pool felt great, it allowed me to work my range of motion without straining the muscles. It will be several days before I will be able to walk properly again. Ow. We tried to get out and meet the guys for beers but they had already left. That's ok as I was fading fast and we grabbed a Mr. Sub with extra bacon as it was the only place still open in Huntsville. Admittedly the Post-Race celebration was utter fail but I got to spend it with family and I managed to get to bed at a decent time. I have no doubt there will be plenty of opportunity to pat ourselves on the back next time we come up with excuses to get together and drink beer.

Found a video with Brian in it at 1:40

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Do It

T-Minus 2 Days. We're packed and ready to head up to Muskoka. I'm hoping to score an athlete banquet dinner ticket for Fran so I aim to get there as soon as registration opens to increase our chance of seats still available. I wonder if I'll have time to get a post in before race day, so I'll give my final thoughts now just in case.

Half Ironman. I didn't even know what the distances were a year ago. Never done a tri, never ran a mile in over 10 years. I registered anyways. I had a dream to just finish. I knew when I set out to do this, I wouldn't be following any of the training plans I found online. They were riddled with drills and for silly lengths of time.
Mountain Biker crushes Tri. That's what the headline should read. I didn't follow the tri-dork training manual, I didn't sacrifice my passion for mountain biking to make time for trivial swim/bike/run workouts. I am just going to show up and bring my extensive mountain biking fitness and apply it as best I can to a triathlon. I did rack up some running these last few weeks as I completely overlooked how difficult it is, but as much as I will suffer for this, I don't regret it. Mountain biking is my passion, that will always take priority. Training for triathlon is really just cross training to make me stronger on the mountain bike.

The mountain biker training plan: Rack up as many hours on the mountain bike and that should be enough. It's cycling, so that should carry over to the bike split. It's cardio and upper body so that should be enough to carry over to the swim split. My legs are strong and I can dig deep, I'll just do my best on the run. Or so I thought. After a couple sprint tri's I realized you can't just suck it up on the run, there is more to it than that. A lesson I learned all too late, but I may have packed JUST enough miles under my belt at the last minute to see me through to the end and within the time cut-offs. I'll get there eventually.

The biggest win is that I did all the 'training' while balancing career, family and friends. I'm lucky to have married such a loving, supporting, hardkore woman that has shared this journey with me. My training partner and bestest friend is my wife. It's pure awesome that she toughs it out and does the workouts with me. I look forward to joining her at her first Half-Iron in Welland next year. My success in my career and our family is thanks to her.
Saturday is Fran's birthday. While the weekend will obviously revolve around me and the race, I don't feel bad about this. As a matter of fact we could probably just skip Fran's birthday all together. It's only fair as I don't get to have a birthday ever again. Fran stole it. There is no birthday, only anniversary day. We were married on my birthday, thus it's not celebrated anymore. I think I'll forever replace Fran's birthday with 'race weekend'. Yes, that sounds good to me. Instead of celebrating her birthday we'll all go out and watch me do a race.
On the other hand, she's officially a cougar now. Her claws have grown in so I will have to get her a scratching post, but she seems to always be in heat and tries to hump my leg. I'm not too sure what to do about this as I am past my prime and am just not in the mood. I guess we can just chalk it up as payback all them years when the roles were reversed.
The forecast calls for very cold and probable rain. This is a big problem. My back has been seized up all week and I have the most wicked back pain. The cold really makes it unbearable. The more I think about it, the more stressed it makes me and the more tense it gets. I'm trying new drugs tonight, I just have to make sure I don't get drowsy.
To my surprise, my father is coming up to watch the race. This is liken to the frequency of Haley's comet. I can understand though as most of my racing, even in my prime, was boring to watch. You only get to see the person go by a couple times. Regardless I think this is great 'support' as it just makes me push harder to get to the finish line. When I told him that I registered for an Ironman his exact reply was, "son you're going to die. Can you get your money back?". He calls it as he see's it, and while most people are fishing for words of encouragement and reassurance that they will 'do it', my father is a realist and don't sugar coat nothing. It wouldn't be him without the brute honesty lol. So in the back of my mind all week, I have had my motivational mantra one liner going through my head that will get me to the finish line. Through training, it was the standard 'I Can'. However now it has evolved more into 'f*ck you all for doubting me'. Yes there's a few people in mind that I shake my head at everytime they open there mouths, so I turn their negativity and doubts into fuel to drive me to the finish line, becase I love proving them wrong lol. I am partly to blame as I brought this on myself as these people know what my 'training' routine consisted of. It's not your typical triathlete step-by-step training plan, but I will continue to believe that the quality of strength and intensity in mountain biking trumps repeated low-intensity tri-specific workouts with regards to HALF-iron distance.
What I have done is plenty good enough. We'll just see how it turns out on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Post Sideline Race Report: Womans Triathlon Milton 2010






This was a last minute unplanned event. Mrs. Lord of the Chainrings had properly trained for the Peterborough sprint triathlon way back in July however the weeks leading up to this weekend contained little more than a few workouts. The gameplan was to show up and suffer.
Upon arrival you could tell this was a woman's event for sure. As Fran was racking her bike in the transition area the announcer came on the loudspeaker and was asking people to remove the buckets of water from the transition area as only race-necessities were allowed. I'm guessing the buckets of water were for cleaning off the feet or something? I was surprised they said something as you could clearly see athletes setting up hair dryers, powder stations with mirrors and nail polishing. Coming out of the water means all the makeup would fall off, so I guess they wanted to look good for the cameras. We needed to use same day registration and I can tell you this was poorly organized. One volunteer told you to do one thing, while the other contradicted. Communication and signage was poor. We took it in strides and had some fun with it. The whole 'expect the unexpected' attitude only works for me when I'm just a spectator. If I was Fran, I wouldn't have been so calm as race day usually gets me all wound up and I get short fused. Body marking was interesting. They didn't put your age on the calf, they put a letter for your category. Even though this is because some ladies are sensitive about their age, I couldn't help but roll my eyes at this one. At least the race organizers were making an effort I guess. Not enough of an effort though, as I'm pretty sure they broke a rule by assigning WHITE swim caps. I mean seriously, if that doesn't scream condom-head I don't know what will. White should be outlawed as it is fugly. They had both pink AND salmon colour which looked the same to me, so I'm guessing a few noobs were lost at swim start for sure.
We got to meet Adena , also known as "Anita", for the first time. She looks nothing like the little profile picture on her blog so I wouldn't have recognized her at all! She asked me not to haggle her too much during the event so I took that as an open invitation to lay it on thick. Maybe we could even make her cry? :)
So at swim start I noticed Fran was only 'half wet'. She didn't bother to do a swim warm up. Her theory was to get into the water for a few minutes, get out and then when you re-enter, the water should feel warmer. Well, I'm pretty sure that's not what they mean when they talk about a swim warm-up but whatever. It's her race, so I'm not going to say anything lol. About 30 seconds to start there was a woman freaking out because her 'guy' wasn't there with her. I didn't understand until they were pointing and waving at a lifeguard kayaker in the distance who was shadowing a weak swimmer. Apparenlty she struck a deal to have a lifeguard follow her in the kayak but he was obviously pre-occupied with someone else that was getting the same service. He shook his head as to say no and pointed at the weak swimmer which clearly needed the assistance at the end of her split alot more than the lady who was about to start her race. Regardless, the lady was panicing over not having a kayak guide her. While we all get apprehenisve about the swim, it should be written somewhere that if you feel you NEED a dedicated kayak, then you're NOT ready and should try a shorter race. Again, kudos to race organizers for the extra touches for noob athletes. This event was catered specifically to just that which is awesome.
Waiting for Fran to finish her swim was fun. I made an effort to make sure our 'cheer squad' was the loudest there. We had our plastic hand-clappers, Go-Mommy signage, inflatable clap-sticks, inflatable big blue hand high-five gloves. What I didn't anticipate was that we were the only people cheering. T1 was dead quiet, and the announcer kept trying to get people to clap or anything but everyone was just too much of a prude to have fun. Fran's swim was a little slower than expected, but was plenty respectable. She looked fresh coming out of the water and didn't have the red-panic-face that many others had. T1 exit was interesting as you seen everything from mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, oldschool steel bikes and the sort heading out. Fran was worried about not looking the part with her classic steel road bike, but she felt much better once she seen what the competition had. Going into T2 was funny. Among the leaders were ladies on hybrids and mountain bikes and they were leading the women on expensive tri-bikes. That is pure awesome, I love seeing that.
We decided to walk up the run course to setup our cheering section and wait for mom. We were on a hill so we got to cheer athletes on that were struggling with the climb. It was great! We got a fair bit of high-fives in and people seem to really appreciate the extra support on the tough run. People would run past us but then start walking. I would get out of my chair, run up the hill past them and then put out the high-five hand and clapper. This would get them running again. I had alot of fun motivating people, the best part was the vast majority all had smiles. There was next to no serious tri-dork snobbery going on. Fun!
It was at this time that a coach looking woman was repeatedly pacing athletes up the hill. That's when I learned that she was part of the mommys-in-motion group and secondwind conditioning that Adena was part of. They had something like 30 athletes there and the coach was helping people along. That was great that she was there doing this, it looks like a really awesome group that Fran would enjoy. I keep saying Fran should get a yummy-mummy race team going one day. The coach would tell me the names of the ladies approaching us and we would cheer them on by name. Then she said Adena's name and that's when I realized I've been calling her Anita all this time! Oh no! I had to pull out my phone to check my emails and sure enough it said Adena. Oops lol. I made sure to pull out the loudspeaker for her on the first lap and tell her to suck it up. :)
Fran's second loop of the run split was quick. We were not ready for her. Dylan had to sprint to the finish line to get the photo.
Overall the race was a huge success. Fran got her tri-fix satisfied and I thoroughly enjoyed myself on the sidelines. This has been a great weekend as I've managed to keep my mind occupied enough to not be nervous about next weekend's Ironman Muskoka 70.3. What I am concerned about is the lack of training I've been doing over the past week. At this point I'm just waiting to get this thing over with. I'm looking forward to putting together a gameplan for Ironman Lake Placid, however I've been putting this off as I want to keep my mind focused on Muskoka sufferfest first. I also got the 'science of triathlon' training videos, but I will also wait to watch these.
For Muskoka we were going to go up on Saturday, but we just booked a room for friday night as well. I don't think it's wise to do a long drive the day before as my back gets sore when sitting in the car for too long. I didn't order an athlete banquet dinner ticket for Fran for friday night so we'll just have to try to get one on the day. There is 2 different seatings, so I'm hoping I can get in with Rodney and Brian at the same time.

Now the nervousness and anxiety is back. Uggghhh.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hillbilly Heaven








There was just a light sprinkle coming down as we lined up to the trough to get our protein fix. I asked for the no smoking section, but there was just no avoiding it. Ribfest 2010 is Canada's largest and we made the best of a wet one. After a couple racks we grabbed an elephant ear to round off the training session. The first set of ribs were perfect. Had some baked beans and coleslaw to round it off. The second set we got from a team from Louisville, Kentucky. We anticipate doing Ironman Louisville 2012 so we thought we could look these guys up and have ribs when we go down there. Although, on second thought - the ribs sucked. They were ediable, but the sauce was too sweet and there were 'green things' in the baked beans. Instead of coleslaw they had potatoe which on its own was stranged but if you mixed the beans with the potatoe it tasted 'ok'. I'll pass on the ribs in Kentucky. Perhaps they should stick to fried chicken? :)
The bad news is, I didn't get any exercise in again today and I'm feeling kinda blah. The good news is, I don't have to race tomorrow - but Fran does. Hah. We're just going to use the on-site race day registration. Fran has a tough time getting out of bed in the mornings so if the weather is still lousy or she still has the meat shakes then there's nothing lost is we skip the event. Just incase, I went and picked up some mommy-power-ups! Cow bells, check. Loudspeaker, check. Large plastic hand-clapper-flappers, check. Inflatable clappers, check. Large inflatable high-five hands, check. Yup, it's a woman's only tri so since I can't compete I might as well be a hardcore spectactor. The kids each made signs too. "Go Mommy Go!" and "Pass Her, PASS HER, PASSSSS HER!!". The latter might be more suitable for a mountain bike race rather than snob-tri-dorks but we'll made the best of it.
With no exercise today, I'm feeling soft. I must get out and at least do something tomorrow. I just spend the day working on the computer, then stuff my face silly at dinner, then went for a cruise in the car with the Mrs.. Appropriate for a Saturday of a long weekend.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Week Plus One




Today's post has been brought to you by the number 8. With only 8 days to go, its ok to slack on my training right? I mean, anything I do now couldn't possibly gain me any benefit in time for a race 8 days out right? While I probably cannot gain anything, I am sure I could lose something. I've decided that I should eat 'well' and stretch daily to help relax my sore back in time for the race. I'll start this renewed sense of healthy eating by hitting Ribfest. It's the largest ribfest in the country, thus I will make sure it's my mission to meet my protein intake for the entire year in a single day. Or two. Last year I recall waking up the next morning and searching the words 'Meat Shakes' to find out if it was life threatening. Low and behold it's not even a medical condition and they claim it's not even real. Funny, as I was in a cold sweat and shaking after consuming the equivalent of several heads worth of cattle. I don't remember the last time I tossed my cookies, but I duly contemplated inserting fingers to see if it worked as I needed to make room for day 2 of our assault on ribfest.
We have penciled in a sprint triathlon in for Sunday. If the weather looks good and she hasn't died from protein poisoning, I'm going to stick the Mrs. into a womans-only race. I'll have to resort to being a spectator but this is ok as I have high hopes for plenty of 'scenery'. :)
It's a short swim and I'm told the water is quite warm and many other participants are doing the race without a wetsuit so we've(I've) decided that we do not have to drive all the way to Toronto to rent the wife a wesuit. I made up the part about somone telling me the water will be warm, but by the time the Mrs. reads this it will be too late. Besides, any extra buoyancy gained from a wetsuit will be completely negated by the amount of cow consumed the night before. She'll be a sinker for sure. Good luck babe.
Anyhow it's raining outside, oh darn, so I'll pass on the bike ride tonight. I do however want to get an open water swim in this weekend. Either I'll get my swim in at the womans race by stuffing the chest of my wetsuit and trying to blend in, or we'll go to long point and I'll swim Lake Erie. There's a good chance I'm more feminine than a number of the competitors on Sunday so I could probably register, however Fran refuses to let me shave my legs so I that messes with my plan.
I just found out today that the Gym we goto was bought by another company and is messing with the membership fees. We've been getting our fees at an absolute steal so I think this will be the end of that. $8 bi-weekly for the both of us. Yes, you read that right. Oh well, it may be time to see what other Gyms are in the area or ultimately try a home gym. Sure, they always just turn into laundry hangars but we all have good intentions. Perhaps someone has a used laundry hangar of their own they are willing to sell. I could be like Chaz from the bowflex commercials - because he got that body on that little workout bench right? Sign me up!
I finally loaded the purple-people-eater pic from the 24hr race. Don't look too close.
I'll thow in a pic of my son's and I chilling at the Ride-the-Plank mud pit too. :)

I have started to visualize my Swim. I forsee it going something like this:


I've set the bar high, but this is how I imagine how fast my transition will be at Muskoka:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Your Fault



OH MY GAWD! 9 Days to go! So who's bright idea was it to sign up for Ironman Muskoka anyways? Who should I blame for all this suffering? Well that has a bit of history that I would like to share.

Twelve months ago Mrs. Lord of the Chainrings returned from work and told me about her day as usual. One of the gurls she works with is into running and had told Fran that her husband is looking to get (back?)into triathlon and do an Ironman. At the time, my initial reaction was something along the lines of "pfft yah right, good luck with that as he is going to die. Let him do a couple small tri's and he'll change his mind.". Now at this point, I had no triathlon experience. I didn't even know how far an Ironman was. Admitedly I might not have even known what disciplines were involved and what order they were even in. Yes, I was ignorant to say such a thing but you have to understand where I was coming from. I know from experience that as a weekend warrior you dream big, set lofty goals and then its quite common those goals turn into sliding goals that tend to get smaller and realistic as reality sets in. I know this as at one time I was quite successful at mountain bike racing. Life got in the way and I took time off. When I decided I wanted to get back into it, I was mentally still in race mode but physically in washed-up has-been mode but I didn't know this yet. Going into my first race in a very long time I had high hopes of finishing quite well. About 10 minutes into the race I started to suck wind and didn't remember it being so hard. 20 minutes into the race I was adjusting my goals to 'I just want to finish'. 30 minutes into the race I was saying 'I just want to come out of this alive'. Yes reality set in, it was a cold hard slap in the face. So I figure I understood what this guy was thinking when he said he would do an Ironman. Or so I thought...

Later that evening the seed was planted. Ironman. What is it? Why does this guy think he can do it? I looked up the distance and started putting real world applications to the distances being discussed. Swim 156 lengths of a pool, Bike from Brantford to Niagara Falls and back, Run from Brantford to Downtown Hamilton. THAT IS NUCKING FUTS! I would have been amazed by someone just doing the bike split alone, nevermind the rest of it. One of the quotes I came across was, "If you have to ask how far an Ironman Triathlon is, then you are not ready for it.". Well that sums it up, I don't think I would ever want to do that.

Now at this time we were looking for a big goal for 2010. Our big goal in 2009 was to dominate the Clydesdale category at a 24hr mountain bike race. A 2nd place finish and practically not clydesdales anymore our team contemplated doing a 3 day mountain bike stage race called Crank the Shield. I wasn't sold on this idea as every race so far has been plagued with rain and mud and I can't fathom 3 days of it. I suggested an Ironman but it was quickly brushed off as insane. The standard 'I cant run', 'I dont know how to swim' and 'I dont want to die' excuses were tossed about. The seed was planted in them though.

Weeks passed and I had this knawing sensation in the back of mind. I love a challenege. I never lose. I can do anything. Is that guy(I'm looking at YOU Lopes) really going through with this Ironman thing? And then of course those classic words that drive most everything I do "Well if HE can do it, then I can do it!". I started watching Ironman race videos and came across this Ironstruck website that blew my mind. It was able to outline everything I was feeling and thinking about this inner drive to always be improving myself and dreaming big and capturing goals. It really hit home. I took some great advice from this site, especially the "I believe in you" portion. You will have to dig through the site to read and understand what is meant by that, but ultimately I look back at my initial reaction to my wife telling me about that guy saying he wanted to do an Ironman and I now realize that I was completely wrong. Anyone is capable of amazing things and sometimes something as simple as someone believing in you can alter the course and place you on the path to doing great things. While the Ironstruck site is not well laid out and some of the best content is buried, it's worth reading the Ironstuck revalation. Those that get it, do.


That seed planted weeks ago had come to fruition and now I had a dream. I shared this Ironman dream and the Ironstuck site with my like-minded teammates and it hit them just the same. We still had our sights set on Crank the Shield, however that same knawing sensation ate away at the other guys over time. I think if it wasn't for the mud races, we would have been doing Crank the Shield. Surprisingly one of the deciding factors was the IM Muskoka is televised and has some well known glory associated with it. Crank the Shield doesn't mean much to anyone.
Now there are no full Ironman distance events nearby, THANKFULLY as in my ignorance I might have signed up for that instead! So we signed up for a more reasonable 70.3 with the expectations of doing a 140.6 in 2011 if we didn't die in Muskoka. Of course, that hasn't planned out well as we have already registered for Ironman Lake Placid this year and still have only done a few sprints under the belt. Yup, dream big. *Gulp*


On the training font - The last couple nights I've gone a short run with my dad. He likes his quick short run along the mountain brow. He does the same route every time and has timed it down to the last second. He is way more experienced at running than I am but he does the same short route constantly. I am trying to get him to take it up a notch and add some distance. I'm pretty sure I can coerce him into a 10km run by next year. Maybe even get him into a half-marathon one day. He's capable of much more.

I'm working on getting a new phone too. The one I have is b0rked and its a real pain to take photo and video for the blog. Thus I'm short interesting pictures. Oh and I forgot to post the purple-people-eater picture from the race on the weekend. I'll try to get that up soon.

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