Larry's Blog Pages

September 29, 2009

Marathon Training - No turning back now...

It is only a month now until the Hamilton Marathon and I am starting to remember what run training feels like. Man, I miss the bike to give the pounding legs a break.

No matter how hard I cycle, I never feel as tired in my legs as I do now. Training almost entirely for duathlon the past few years, I have always had a good mix of run and bike training to give certain muscles a breather but with my aggressive target in Hamilton, I really need to focus on the run and stick to the program I found on the web to get me to my goal.

Making things a little more challenging is the crappy, windy weather we have had over the course of the past few days. I know it is best to train in the wind but you really have to be watchful of your effort levels in these conditions as it is very easy to get the heart rate up, yet, being disappointed by the pace when you look down at the Garmin. Thankfully, I can see the experience in my training and I know that effort trumps pace in most cases during preperations for a race.

Tomorrow is another tough day with a swim planned at lunch and then 8x800m run intervals at night. I hope the wind settles down a bit as track sessions are not much fun with strong, gusting winds.

Safe training,

Photo Updates -
A FEW MORE MUSKOKA 70.3 (that turned out...)




September 27, 2009

Duathlon Worlds - Results for Age Groupers

Lots of fast times with David Frake being the quickest of all the Canadian AG'ers. Bruce was right in the thick of things but the AG catergory is so strong. Scary to think how fast others are around the world.

Overall Div DivPlace Last Name First Name City State Time
349 F2024 7 Veronique Legault Sherbrooke QC 2:16:31
401 F2024 12 Longval Audrey Montreal QC 2:20:32

297 F2529 4 Burczak Isabella Lausanne LA 2:11:51
448 F2529 11 Vander Klok Jozina Montreal QC 2:27:07

458 F3034 21 Leclerc Nancy Bromont QC 2:28:56
459 F3034 22 Owczarek Monika Burnaby BC 2:29:16
549 F3034 25 McIvor Kimberly Devonshire BE 3:00:42

251 F3539 10 Simpson Rachael Toronto ON 2:08:12
386 F3539 20 Lamothe Helene St-Basile-Le-Gr QC 2:19:08
417 F3539 23 Charest Sylvie St-Jean-Sur-Ric QC 2:22:51
441 F3539 25 Wallace Bernadine Chestermere AB 2:26:30
484 F3539 26 Chetley Thomson Cindy Cochrane AB 2:32:51

404 F4044 15 Richardson Christine London ON 2:20:49
429 F4044 17 Forte Elcome Lucy Stoney Creek ON 2:24:41
435 F4044 18 Cruse Haley Minesing ON 2:26:01
452 F4044 20 Hamel Dominique Longueuil QC 2:27:40
475 F4044 23 Lanctot Isabelle Mirabel QC 2:31:04
483 F4044 25 Carignan France Brossard QC 2:32:43
542 F4044 27 Deschamps Christine Brossard QC 2:54:12

316 F4549 4 Guerin Nathalie Alma QC 2:12:56
330 F4549 6 Yaworski Sandra Calgary AB 2:14:35
433 F4549 16 Dupras Anne Marie Montreal QC 2:25:18
490 F4549 20 Williams Cathy London ON 2:33:51

179 F5054 1 Ritchie Margaret Edmonton AB 2:03:53
237 F5054 2 Silvey Carolyn Toronto ON 2:07:06
444 F5054 16 Helle Janice Cochrane AB 2:26:45

473 F5599 11 Kroeker Campbell Elizabeth Toronto ON 2:30:59
519 F5599 18 Campbell Liz Leamington ON 2:43:20
523 F5599 19 Armstrong Jane Kanata ON 2:44:18

512 F6569 1 Lemon Lynda Welland ON 2:39:57

220 M1819 4 Despatie Mathieu Cornwall K6 2:06:01

34 M2529 11 Tremblay John Alma QC 1:50:24
78 M2529 18 Borduas Mathieu Montreal QC 1:55:20
105 M2529 25 Fernandez Ortiz Jose Antonio Montreal QC 1:56:33
131 M2529 29 Moreau Mathieu Victoriaville QC 1:59:26
276 M2529 37 Chui Michael Calgary AB 2:10:05

132 M3034 17 Milette Christian Gatineau QC 1:59:32
167 M3034 20 Hafez Omar Toronto ON 2:02:30
195 M3034 25 Lacombe Jason Hawkesbury ON 2:04:45

21 M3539 5 Frake David Toronto ON 1:48:45
127 M3539 21 Chenard Frederic Verdun QC 1:58:46
140 M3539 24 Noon Mike London ON 1:59:59
152 M3539 27 Brisindi Patrice Montreal QC 2:01:15
153 M3539 28 Busch Scott Burlington ON 2:01:18
176 M3539 30 St Hilaire Eric St-Basile QC 2:03:29
203 M3539 32 Lussier Benoit Lacine QC 2:05:17
271 M3539 37 Regis Pierre Shawinigan QC 2:09:28
363 M3539 38 Thorne Jason Rothesay NB 2:17:50
474 M3539 41 Lemyre Eric St-Basile-Le-Gr QC 2:31:03

57 M4044 10 Bird Bruce Toronto ON 1:53:09
114 M4044 18 Martinet Dominique Ottawa ON 1:57:41
137 M4044 22 Borrens Jim Ottawa ON 1:59:46
150 M4044 24 Clubb John Cochrane AB 2:00:57
216 M4044 31 Coyne Curtis Meaford ON 2:05:46
243 M4044 32 Sarraillon Serge Varennes QC 2:07:41
321 M4044 33 Bonneville Dany St-Hilaire QC 2:13:33
436 M4044 38 Prudhomme Martin Montreal QC 2:26:12
439 M4044 39 Coburn Richard Ottawa ON 2:26:21
469 M4044 41 McLauchlin Troy Brantford ON 2:30:26

113 M4549 11 Lindsay Jean Francoi Alma QC 1:57:35
126 M4549 13 Miron Michel Brossard QC 1:58:41
165 M4549 18 Sevigny Bruno Dollarda-Des-Or QC 2:02:19
201 M4549 22 Tourigny Bernard Orford QC 2:05:10
215 M4549 23 Caron Miguel Saint-Lambert QC 2:05:40
234 M4549 25 Stuart Gavin Chatham ON 2:06:50
260 M4549 29 Shmoorkoff Jeff Edmonton AB 2:08:44
389 M4549 35 Sarian Stephane Stoneham QC 2:19:40

107 M5054 5 Field David Barry's Bay ON 1:56:51
162 M5054 12 Clark George Kitchener ON 2:02:03
227 M5054 19 Campbell Ian Oakville ON 2:06:23
355 M5054 31 Barker Doug Cochrane AB 2:16:59
412 M5054 34 Giroux Paul Amherst NS 2:22:39

155 M5559 3 Wheeler Bill London ON 2:01:23
266 M5559 15 Drolet Normand St-Bruno QC 2:09:04
311 M5559 20 Giffen John Thornbury ON 2:12:40
345 M5559 25 Eavenson Scott Gatineau QC 2:16:26
379 M5559 30 Seyler Ted New Hamburg ON 2:18:42
472 M5559 34 Gauthier Michel St-Lazare QC 2:30:55
509 M5559 35 Caron Jacques Ste-Julie QC 2:39:42

340 M6064 13 Horwich Bill Kitchener ON 2:15:42
446 M6064 22 Bywater Phillip Parry Sound ON 2:26:56
521 M6064 28 Campbell David Leamington ON 2:43:39

289 M6569 1 Vankoughnett Ron Waterloo ON 2:11:22

561 M7579 5 Wild Robert Huntsville ON 3:04:13

Gearing up for a Marathon

I have been thinking about diving into the Hamilton Marathon on November 1st for a little while now as many FMCT Falcons are hitting the starting line. Many are looking for their Boston Qualifying time so they are in full training mode. With duathlon my main focus, I did not want to get out of my run/bike/run training before the end of the season, a few weeks back now, so I am now just really putting in the runs I need if I want to go sub 3 hours.

I pulled off a great training guide from the web that is petty aggresive. I looked at the first 12 weeks of the program and figured my previous training was relatively on par, except for the longer runs.

This Friday, I was suppose to put in a 10 mile (16k) run at marathon race pace, which is around 4:15 per kilometre for me. On that day, at work, I simply stretched my arms over my head and felt a huge burn go through my neck area. I must have pinched a nerve and I was in some discomfort. I ended up swimming at lunch, after a very warm shower to loosen up my back and neck, and put in a solid effort in the pool. Once I got home, though, things were back to stiff and I had little mobility.

Knowing a run, especially of that distance and pace, was out of the question that night, I concentrated on fixing the pain. With the help of my wife, we worked on the area with some heat, massage and "The Stick" roller. The next morning, I felt much better and wanted to get the run in, even though I had planned to do the 30k long run with the Falcons Sunday morning.

Just after lunch, once the kids were down for their naps, I took off on my 16k run. I hit the asphalt trails of Meadowvale and was clicking very well and running about 10 seconds/km quicker than the pace I needed. Being that I have not pushed very long distances since the spring, I decided to stay at this pace in case I started to lose it near the end of the run. Thankfully, I was able to run through my final kilometre expectations and post a nice 16k run at 4:06/km pace. Now it was time to stretch a bunch and get a recovery plan in place to run 30k the next morning.

When I woke up Sunday, my body felt very good so I was pretty sure I would get through the run at a slow pace even though 16k was the longest effort since May. I hooked up with the group at the Brampton Running Room and asked what the pace would be on the lead group with Brian and Marko. Brian said 4:45 to 5:00 so I felt OK with that. Well, it did not take long before we were laying down a bunch of 4:20's out in the country side on the west side of Brampton. With the three of us feeding off each other, I now knew the pace was not going to come down so I buckled in for the long haul.

I kept up with the other two quicker runners right up to the last few k's when I could tell I was starting to get to a point where my knees were feeling the stress of the extra distance. As we pull along the last portion of the run, we were about to make our last loop when I decided that I better pull up and let them finish the final 2k without me. They have been following the program pretty much since the start so there was no need for me to over do my first long run and risk injury. We blazed through the 28.5k that I ran in 2:05 or 4:23/k pace, just a little quicker than expected.

What do you expect with three competitive guys out for a long run. HAHA
Great run fellas!

Well, now I have 5 full weeks left of training and I feel that I am right in line with the program thanks to my multisport training. I know the final 10k of the marathon is where I give back a lot of time to the clock so I really need to come up with a game plan to avoid going out overly quick similar to 2007 when I was 1:28 at the half and feeling awesome before posting a disappointing 3:09 finishing time. The weather was not kind that day but I still should be able to muscle through the final section in a more respectable pace.


September 26, 2009

Duathlon Worlds - Results (so far...)

They are very slow at posting these but this is what I have seen so far.

Please do not take these as official as I think they have the U23 included in with Elite results. Very poor results sorter.

Elite Men
Matt Pieterson - 26th
Bryan Melnuk - 34th
Kevin Smith - 35th

Elite Women
Shari Boyle - 13th
Ingrid Cluzeau - 14th

Junior Men
Taylor Reid - 9th
Karsten Madsen - 13th
Aaron Thomas - 21st

Junior Female
Mariah Campbell - 11th

September 25, 2009

XC - It's time to get dirty!

Disclaimer - I am not sponsored by Brooks, they just make great stuff and their warehouse is super close to me so I visit very frequently!

With the fall comes a focus on running and this year I hope to get back to my high school roots with a few XC races on the Masters Series. I will also be aiming to go sub 3 at the Hamilton Marathon, if things start looking up for my training. I should be OK but I spent a lot of time in the past month getting my swim up and running.

As for the XC, I needed a pair of cleats for the season and knew that Brooks had several options in the store at very reasonable prices. With the race season being so short it is hard to justify spending a ton on shoes that are going to get beat up pretty bad.

If you do not mind wearing last season's colours, than head to the back of the store where they have a bunch of cleats in a bunch of different models, including some very recent styles. For $49.99 you can not go wrong with a solid pair of cleats that you will use maybe a dozen times. I still train in my normal shoes but race in the cleats.

The Brooks Mach 9 (the ones I got!!!!)

Also, they have a huge selection of discounted tops (short and long sleeve) and shorts that are ideal for getting messy. You know you will get muddy, wet and chilly at this sport so these prices allow you to run free without worrying about destroying your nice tech gear.

Anyway, just thought I would pass this along to all my readers in the GTA. The warehouse is on the north side of Britannia at Mavis in Mississauga. It is called Athletic Locker Room and has a bunch of huge photos of soccer, running, etc. on the outside of the building.

Happy shopping!

September 23, 2009

My 2009 Retail Customer Service Award - Swim & Sports

First some background - since this was my first triathlon, I have not had to enter too many swimming stores. My FMCT club is sponsored by the store but I actually called Swim & Sports (Mississauga, Ontario) after seeing the ad on a triathlon series website. I now know that I have a connection to the store for the future which works out very well for the following reasons.

Why they win the Award - when I was calling around to rent a wetsuit, I phoned a few different places in the area. Swim & Sports were second on the list. The lady that answered the phone was really nice and very thoughtful. She listened to my situation and when I asked if they rented sleeveless wetsuits so politely said no. In most cases this would lead to an up sell to another product or the end of the conversation. She continued to help me out with some pointers for my first swim and gave me the name of another retailer that may rent out what I was looking for. I knew the store and told her that I could look up their number but she was already on the case and provided that as well. I was impressed by the service she was giving even though it may lead to a sale for a competitor.

As the other place did not have the sleeveless option, I made sure to give Swim & Sports my business thanks to the special treatment I had received on the phone. When I arrived I was greeted by Alan, who set me up with my rental. He had a lot of tips and wetsuit information that I never even thought about during the lead up to this race. Once in the suit, he then positioned me properly in the gear to show me exactly how it should fit and then let me know what I should look for to get back to this fit on race day. As I checked out, he continued to pass along some very handy suggestions that I stored away upstairs and remembered at the tri to complete my first transition in very competitive fashion.

The swim, on race day, went well thanks to the suit which definitely made it so much better. The unfortunate thing was that I put a 4 inch tear in the shoulder removing the suit running up the beach to my bike rack. I felt terrible and started to worry about the extra cost associated with this venture into the tri world.

With the race completed early Saturday, I had a few days to think about this rip which was unsettling to say the least. The store did not open until Tuesday (they are closed Sunday and Monday) so I had to wait to find out the damage, dollar wise. Wanting to be prepared, I called ahead to see what their policy was for that type of damage and to my delight I was told that they have accounted for it and they will be able to repair before the next person rents.

This was a huge relief as I heard through the grapevine that some places may charge around $60 for the repair. At that rate, I may as well have bought the suit. As it turns out, I had a more than pleasant experience renting from Swim & Sports and would recommend their service in a hear beat. I know the service I received will bring me back to them when I buy my own suit this winter!

Here are some other details that made this rental an easy sell -

Cost - $35 for the week (you can pick it up Wednesday and return it the following Tuesday. This was the best value I received from the places I called by a long shot!

Tri Friendly - I was surprised at all the tri specific gear they carried. I figured it was just a bunch of swimming products that people could use as tri gear but they actually cater to the tri community in a big way.

Product Knowledge - the staff knew their stuff which really helped me as I couldn't tell you the difference between wetsuits, how to find sizes, or what type of goggle is best for outdoor swimming.

Much, much more...

September 21, 2009

Lakeside 2 - Sprint Tri photos






Thanks for all the great shots Mom!

Lakeside 2 - A TRIATHLON Race Report

With my duathlon racing all wrapped up for 2009, I figured it was time to get some open water experience for 2010. The HSBC Triathlon Series’ Lakeside 2 aligned perfectly with my previous schedule and allowed me to stay in game shape while getting a few weeks of swimming under my belt. Since, I am still very green around the gills, I selected the shorter distance race on the Saturday (600m swim, 20k bike, 4k run) to limit the time I would have to spend in the lake.

It was a chilly race morning but I arrived nice and early for my triathlon debut which gave me a bunch of time for a solid warm up. About thirty minutes before my wave, I started to get into my rental wetsuit to get a feel for it in the water for the first time. I was amazed at the extra float the suit gave me. It seemed like I only had to crawl in the water as my legs were so close to the surface without even working to keep them there. I tested out the suit for a few minutes and got used to the open water swim. Thankfully, the lake was calm on this morning and I did not have to work too much on my breathing over top of any waves.

When I finally felt confident about my chances to make it through the opening swim, I headed to shore to make sure my fans (my Mom and Jim) had made the trip safely, which they did after a slight detour through the side roads of Oxford County. My mom loves to snap away on her new camera and she wanted to put it through the full range of settings with a bunch of action shots. It was awesome to have somebody taking so many photos documenting my first real triathlon.

When our wave was finally up, I easily found a spot on the far left side of the swim course. I am sure there was a reason for the rest of them lining up more to the middle and right side of the starting buoys but I liked the left side that seemed to be the shortest line to the first turn in the water. As the horn sounded to start (wave number 2), I tried not to get caught up in the action to my right and set out at a controlled pace. I was doing pretty decent, so I thought, but wanted to do a sight check. This is when I noticed how fast the rest of my wave was going. Wow, they were flying in comparison to me.

I think this pushed me into a poor decision to increase my stroke pace. By the time I was to make my first turn, I had already started to wear down and found myself in breast stroke mode. I made the turn right beside the buoy and talked myself into returning to a sloppy freestyle stroke. I had not spent three weeks in the pool to do breast stroke around the 600 metre swim! I put down another 100 metres in a very inefficient manner before my tired shoulders forced me back to the breast stroke again. I used it as a chance to catch my breath and scope out the others around me. I was actually catching some of the wave ahead but, in reality, I was falling behind the leaders of my age group in a big way.

Once again, I found the strength to get back to a front crawl and was down the home stretch. I could see the others ahead of me exiting the water about 200 metres up on the beach but every time I got my head back into the water, the small current would push me to the other shore. I fought this for a little over a minute before I finally got in close enough to start walking through the weeds and sand. I had made it and 75% was actually freestyle, a poor version but still quicker than my trusty breast stroke.

Running through the water was tough and zapped my energy. I made sure to use all the tips from Alan at Swim and Sports to get out of the suit as quick as possible. Pull the Velcro tab, yank the zipper down, get my swim cap off, start peeling off the top of the suit one arm at a time. Well, things seemed to be going well until the darn wetsuit ripped big time in the shoulder. I hope the charge to repair is not too much as it would put a damper on an other wise great experience.

I had to clear this possible expense out of my mind for now as I had a lot of work to do to catch up. Upon reaching my bike, I got the rest of the suit off and grabbed my bike from the rack. This would be my first ride without socks but I was not too worried as the air seemed warm enough at this point. My goal was to hammer out a top 5 bike split to get back into the game. I rushed to get up to speed and was off through the field of triathletes and duathletes. I felt like I was really moving as I cruised down the left side of the competition. The road was already busy with several other riders so I was constantly yelling out “on the left” to make sure I did not lose any momentum. I pushed harder and harder but was not quite at the pace I wanted.

When I hit the turn I could tell I had made some big gains and knew it was hammer time. The wind was now a little to our backs so I used it along the ride home to get my average up to a more respectable split. A few hundred metres from transition I was up near 38km/h on my computer so I was pleased with my progress and started my dismount preparations. I have noticed in the past few races that I need to maintain speed leading to the dismount and will work on this over the off-season. I continue to throw away valuable time taking it easy after posting very competitive bike splits leading to those final few hundred metres.

Back in transition, I saw only one other bike on my rack so things were looking good. My bare feet, though, were numb from the wet of the swim and cool wind on the bike. I stumbled to get my racing flats on but was still out the back gate with one of the faster changes. The first several steps were very strange as I could not feel my feet at all. I did not worry about it and just pushed on as hard as I could thanks to my fans urging me on! I lost a little time from my goal pace right out of the gate due to the grass and curves covered to get out of the staging area but was up to speed by the time I hit the asphalt.

The first 800 metres consisted of an asphalt street joined to 1.2k of gravel country road. The gravel road had tire wide paths of hard surface that I was able to keep the pace through as I made my way down a slight slope to the turn around. Just before I reached this marker, I started to cramp in my side. I slowed down a touch to work it out with my hands and also used some breathing methods to relieve the pain. It seemed to work and I was able to race on without tossing away too many more seconds.

Feeling that I was in decent shape (judging by the lack of runners coming back towards me as I made my turn), I decided there was no reason to hold back now. I had the one minor hill to climb but other than that I made short work of the 2k on the way home. I could only see one other person in front of me that resembled my age but he was a couple hundred metres out in front and moving at a clip very similar to mine.

Once I hit the final kilometre, I hammered it out, leaving nothing in the tank. It was so cool to find that gear again at the end of a race and helped me move up a few spots on the overall standings. Being a duathlete, I am use to knowing the final placing immediately after the race but here I had to wait several minutes before they posted some results to show how the waves mixed together. My goal was to go top 20 overall in my first tri attempt. In the end, I reached 6th place overall and 3rd in my Age Group which I was very happy to achieve.

The challenge has now been set to improve dramatically in the water over the course of the off-season. Although, my swim was not quite what I imagined in my pre-race visualizations (I honestly thought I could pull myself across the 600m in roughly 2:00/100 m pace based on my pool times), I still feel pretty confident with my abilities to bring my splits down by the time Milton rolls along next spring.

On the bike side, I was able to lay down a solid split and recorded the fastest time of the day (tri and du included) which slightly exceeded my target heading into the race.

On the run, I really felt I put in a solid effort but I could not get my watch on to pace accurately. I also left some seconds on the course negotiating the grass out of transition and trying to work out the cramp but I am still pleased with the result. Looking at the overall run times, I was fourth quickest among the field and still under my yearly goal of 4:00/km.

With multisport events now finished for the season, I will relax for a few days before gearing up for a few running races this fall/winter. Currently, I have a marathon in mind and would also like to test a few 5k races to see where I sit these days at that distance.

Thanks for reading,

PS - I have to say hi to a number of people that I talked to in Lakeside. John from FMCT, who has been very generous with swim tips and videos. Anne from Saugeen Tri Club was down from Hanover (my old high school town) competing and cheering on her daughter in the KOS! Energizer Bunny (Jeff) and Triskele (Shayne) from Canadian picked me out of the crowd and introduced themselves which was cool to finally meet after several conversations online.

September 17, 2009

Kinetico Running Festival - This Sunday

After some discussions due to our very heavy schedules this weekend, I am very happy that I will be able to take my daughter to the 1 Mile Kids run this Sunday in Caledon.

Although, the Subaru series often has fun runs for the kids, I am usually up and out of bed for my races much too early to drag the family along. With the festival this weekend holding its kids run around 2 pm, we have lots of time to get ready and make the trip north of the city.

Hannah seems excited that she gets to race with me and I know she will have a blast when she sees how many other kids are running/walking. I am sure the medal for finishing will be a nice touch as well! The event sounds like a pretty neat set up so it should be a bunch of fun for the kids and adults alike.

Hope to see everyone there!

September 16, 2009

10 Non-Tri Questions with Simon Whitfield

When I set up a poll (LINK TO POLL) a few weeks ago, I mentioned that the person brought up the most in the answers would be a possible interview subject for my blog. Well, since my blog is not all that popular, yet, I only received one answer (thanks Bruce!).

Sticking to my word, I sent Bruce's favorite triathlete a quick email interview and here are my Q's and the A's from Mr. Whitfield. I must mention that Simon responded to my email with full answers in less than 1 day, building on his reputation as one of the most classy professional athletes ever!

1. Where is your favourite place in the world to relax for a week?

home home home, with my daughter and Jennie.

2. What is your favourite hobby outside of the sport?

guitar. i'm terrible, it's humbling!

3. What is the one food you cannot resist? How often do you actually get to enjoy it?

is beer a food, once a week in season, ok maybe twice.

4. What do you think you would be doing as a career if you did not have athletic success?

never considered it. something competitive and creative. marketing?

5. Do you enjoy wine (in moderation and in the off-season)? If so, what varietal do you enjoy?

yes, I've been fortunate enough to enjoy some really nice wines while in Tuscany with a bunch of wino's.

6. Who, outside of sports figures, do you respect the most (current or historic)? What did they do to capture your attention?

Jim Cuddy lead singer Blue Rodeo and Barney Bental. cool dudes, driven, compassionate, funny as hell, incredible relationships with their kids and their wives. astounding musicians

7. I am sure you always get questions about your sport but is there a topic of conversation outside of athletics that you are very passionate about?

now, music. loving this challenge around learning the guitar.

local issues, sustainability, sewage treatment (VICTORIA DON'T BUILD THE TREATMENT PLANTS).

8. How many break away attempts would it take you to score a goal on Martin Brodeur?

one. 5 hole.

9. What song is your secret guilty pleasure? Or was until this became public…

while others are listening to high tempo pump up music I'm listening to Iron and Wine and Bon Iver......

10. Did you have to practice your autograph when people started to recognize you for your achievements?

rubber stamp....

September 14, 2009

My Day Watching Muskoka 70.3!!

Yesterday started a little off schedule as I received a call at 1:00 am from the security company at work. Apparently, someone(s) decided it would be a good night to attempt to break into our office. When I got there the front, glass door had a huge hole from a rock. I immediately called the police and waited around for them to clear the scene. After they wrapped up their duties, I cleaned up the mess and made some repairs to door, patching the hole as best as I could with some cardboard. By the time I got home it was 4:00 am and I had the alarm set for 6:00 am to get up and travel north to watch the Muskoka 70.3.

Nolan ended up waking us at 5:45 am but my wife got him back to sleep right away. I knew 15 minutes would not be worth the effort to get myself back to sleep so I hit the shower and then quietly made my way out to the car. Leaving this early made for a quick trip to Huntsville free of traffic on the way to cottage country.
I ended up getting into my parking spot around 8:30 am and took my bike off the rack. I brought my cyclo cross bike to allow for easy transport around the race site. It was actually a good idea as I saw so much more this year compared to last year when I spectated in the pouring rain. I spent most of last year walking between viewing areas so I missed a lot of action.

As I reached the 1k marker on the bike course, the first of the pro men were just rolling by so I decided to get down to the backside of transition to cheer on my age group buddies. They were spread across the various waves so I stuck around here for awhile trying to catch them all before the mount line. I think Paul Bregin was the first person I noticed with his age group heading out 15 minutes after the pro men. After Paul, they started to flood through the gate including Syd, Bruce, Brian, Jim, Bill, Laura, Terry, Natalie, Andrea, Colin, John, and many others looking excited to hit the bikes.

After watching the bike mount area, I headed back down to the 1k turn at the top of the first climb. I saw a few others pass by here including Gavin and Richard so I was happy to see them continuing on their way. The 2k swim can be a very tough and intimidating task so I was just glad that they all made it through the first section.

After Richard flew looking very strong on his distinctive yellow Cervelo, I decided to make another move to check out the bike course. I ended up finding a great spot about 3k from transition on the top of a serious climb. I knew I had a long wait before the leaders would be back here but I used the time to grab a snack from my pack and cheer on the last of the waves heading out. These folks always seem so upbeat and appreciative of the support that you cannot help but cheer them on.

Once the last of the cyclists cruised past, I had close to an hour before the pro men would be in the area so I continued down the route and put in a bit of a workout myself on the very technical and hilly course. I got out to the 10k sign and figured I better head back to my spot to get set up for some photos. With some other fans out on this section, I received a lot of attention as they thought I was a racer from a distance. As I got closer you could see the disappointment in their cheering. I guess my pack back, baggy shorts and cross bike gave it away. HAHA

When I reached my viewing area, I had worked up a little sweat. Oh well, it was worth it to get an idea of the pain the athletes would suffer on this course. Just a few minutes after I was settled, I could see the top riders making their way around a fast sweeping curve in the distance. They were flying around the bend and down the hill on the other side of the valley that I was using as my vantage point. By the time they pumped their way up to me they were 91k into the ride and dead tired from the effort expended on the challenging track.

At this point my favourite long course triathlete, Craig Alexander, was in second only a few bike lengths behind the leader and in prime striking position with his running abilities. The rest of pro field was now in chase mode as they made their way by with locals Sean Bechtel and Wolfgang Guembel sitting nicely up the rankings.

On the ladies side, a number of the international pros (Mirinda Carfrae, Rebeccah Wassner, Kelly Couch) made it to the top of the hill before the Canadian gals. Magali, Paolina and Lisa had their work cut out for them but you could tell they were not about to quit. Along with the ladies came a number of the top age groupers from the early wave so I was getting excited to see how far Bruce had made it through the field. It didn’t take long to find out as he crushed the bike (an amazing 7th fastest bike split) and was making serious ground up on the entire age group contingent.

I waited at this spot for a little longer and watched as Paul and Syd passed by, both looking focused and ready for the half marathon ahead of them. I then jumped back on my bike and made my way back towards the run section of the course. By the time I reached the main intersection (the 1k marker on top of the hill), Paul was just about to catch Lisa Bentley and he was surging. I drove past and offered him some more encouragement as I headed deeper into the run course. As I progressed along Highway 60, I found one of Bruce’s main opponents, Darren Walton, making his way along the side of the busy roadway. I was going to estimate a split for Bruce but the Birdman must have been out on the switchback section that I did not travel.

In searching for the former Du’er, I biked out to the part of the course where the runners entered an asphalt trail along the east side of the highway that was about 6.5k from the finish. When I arrived to this location the official I spoke to mentioned the leaders had already gone down the trail quite some time ago. Since I wanted to see the finish, I decided to head back but did not want to get in the way so I let Wolfgang and Andrew Russell make their way down the path before I made my way back to the staging area at Deerhurst Resort.

Even though I cut some corners on the way back, I still missed the first 4 or 5 triathletes cross the line. I could tell by the athlete’s body language how they had done. Crowie had another amazing 21.1 k run (1:11:41!!) to take the title by 4 minutes over Richie Cunningham.

With so many fans congested in the transition area about a hundred metres up from the finish line, I figured I would just hang out where I was and wait for all the people I came to cheer on. Because of the gaps between starting times, this was a longer wait than expected but so worth it when I saw the excitement of the guys when they finished.

The first age groupers started to roll in around 40 minutes after the winners. I watched as a few 35-39 and 25-29 AG athletes ran down the final chute to the finish. I knew if Bruce was having a good run he would not be far behind. As expected he was not far at all and he had made his first year in triathlon an incredible story winning a the competitive 40-44 Age Group, placing him 16th overall and more impressively finishing FIRST overall of the non-pro triathletes. Not bad for a duathlete that only started swimming last fall!

Bruce’s results and progress this year have been very instrumental in leading me into the water for next season. As we competed on the duathlon circuit in 2008, we had some close races at the start of the year before Bruce really picked it up later in the summer, especially on the longer races where his cycling dominates. Seeing him succeed in the triathlon has showed me that I will be able to compete in my age group next year as long as I put the same effort into my swimming as I do with the bike and run. I don’t think I will have as big of a rookie season as the Birdman but even if I am a small percentage back, it will still be very respectable on the stats sheet.

Back to the race, as I continued to watch the finishing area I caught site of FMCT teammate Brian Hastings looking great down the final hundred metre stretch. He was closely followed by Syd (sorry I could not find you in the crowds after to congratulate in person!), Richard (FMCT), Peter (FMCT), Hans (FMCT swim coach), Laura (FMCT), and JJ (Running Free). I stuck around for a few minutes to congratulate all the Falcons for their great races. By this point it was pushing on 1:30 pm so I figured I should head home to help out with the family work around supper and bedtime.

On my way to my car, I saw Andrew (FMCT) looking very happy to see the finish. Then, on my way over to highway 11 (stuck in traffic for 30 minutes on highway 60 where the runners cross the road), I saw several others making their way back to the finish area. Jim (FMCT), Peter (FMCT), John (FMCT), Natalie (FMCT), Terry (FMCT), Kevin (Guelph buddy) and Andrea (FMCT) were only a few kilometres from the end of their races.

Unfortunately, when I checked the stats at home that night, I noticed Paul was not able to finish because of an injury. He was looking so strong the last time I saw him so I am sure he was disappointed. I was really hoping his injury string was done for this season. Hope you are back to 100% soon!
To all those I missed in the above message, great racing! I hope you all achieved your goals and are able to take some positives into your next challenge!

Also, I have to say a big thank you to my wife for letting me follow my friends around the course. I know she likes to read my odd story (just to make sure I am being a good boy, HAHA)!

Photos from Muskoka 70.3

I use to take some nice shots before digital came around. I ended up losing a lot of photos from the race due to focus issues. Very disappointing!







September 11, 2009

Busy day at the pool

So I am convinced I will not be able to do this sport without proper coaching. Most of the other sports in my life, I have made up for lack of technique with hard work and lots of practice. Swimming is not so easy.

I have pushed myself into the pool earlier than expected as I want to race once more this season but feel my duathlon spirit will not let me enjoy a race at a nice pace (I expect to finish up the results page everytime I run/bike/run). Picking a late summer triathlon allows me to race without the pressure of top 3 expectations. The problem is that I have been swimming by myself trying to prepare for a 600 metre swim, in a respectable time (aka faster than my breast stroke in last years Welland Triathlon), but probably picking up many bad habits along the way.

Hopefully, this old dog can learn a new swimming form once the fall sets in and I get some proper lessons.

September 8, 2009


Well, it is much too early in my swim career to tackle the 70.3 but I would like to send my best wishes out to all my friends and team mates that will be competing this weekend in beautiful Muskoka! I really wish I could be flying along besides you all but my plan is to come up and cheer so don't be startled if you hear your name being yelled out from the side lines!
Here is a quick list of those I saw on the registration list. Sorry if I missed anyone (please let me know!!!!)

Lastname Firstname
Alexander, Craig / AUSTRALIA - Go Crowie!!!!
Ballantyne, Allison / Toronto - old friend from High School
Barrett, Gavin / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Bentley, Lisa / Caledon - how do you not cheer for Lisa!
Bird, Bruce / Toronto - I see big things from this former Du'er!
Bregin, Paul / North York - Watch how fast this guy is!
Cairns, Mark / Newmarket - Go Running Free!
Christie, Andrea / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Chung, Colin / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Clarke, Terry / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Dalzell, Jim / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Ehgoetz, Luke / New Hamburg - Best of luck Luke!
Fritzsche, Klaus / RR # 1 - Fellow Falcon!
Gazzola, Laura / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Halferty, Peter / Brampton - Fellow Falcon! Go TT partner!
Halloran, Dan / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Hanson, Andrew / AUSTRALIA - Fellow Falcon!
Hanson, Kelly / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Hastings, Brian / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Kapral, Michal / Toronto - Go Joggler!
Kennedy, Gary / Toronto - Go Running Free!
Koole, Kevin / Guelph - Best of Luck Kev!
Laplante, Natalie / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Mueller, Peter / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Oudit, Shanta / Mississauga - Fellow Falcon!
Passmore, Brent / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Porten, Hans Jurgen / - Go Fast Hans!
Ritter, Terri / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Song, John / Mississauga - Fellow Falcon!
Thornton, Scott / Blue Mountain - former NHL 'er
Tisseyre, Magali / St Sauveur - Add another "W" to 2009!
Trefiak, Syd / Port Perry - Good Luck Coach!
Vieira, Bill / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!
Westwood, Richard / Brampton - Fellow Falcon!

September 5, 2009

Guelph Lakes II - Duathlon Race Report

What a great way to wrap up the 2009 Subaru Duathlon season! I was accompanied to the race by a truck load of fans (my aunt, brother, niece and step-nephew) willing to pull themselves out of bed early Saturday morning. The skies were as clear as one could wish for and there was hardly a hint of wind. Perfect racing conditions!

We pulled into Guelph Lakes Conservation area a little more than an hour before the race which gave me plenty of time to get organized. The event was very close to being sold out so the racks were super crowded by then time I entered transition but the overflow bar had a very nice spot that I staked out for my ride.

As I had not raced in a full month, I knew it was imperative that I put in a very good warm up so I headed out to test the bike. With everything rolling along smoothly, I made my way back through the park to park my bike and do some final preparation for the big race.

Since it is the last competition on the series for the year, all the categories (sprint tri, sprint du, triathlon relay and try-a-tri) were full of athletes and our duathlon had a sizable group of 212 participants. This is the biggest duathlon I have seen since the Victoria’s Duathlon in May, which is generally the largest because there is not a triathlon offered.

While warming up at the start line I ran into one of the few familiar faces in the crowd, David Frake. I expected David to show and knew that he would be a very tough opponent as I have yet to beat him in a race and he is coming off a very impressive second place finish at the Ontario Du Championships in Gravenhurst, where I was sixth. We spoke for a few minutes leading up to the horn and exchanged best wishes just as we were sent out for the opening 2k run.

As usual, I bolted out to the lead to get away from the crowd but I had company right out of the gate. Another athlete, that I did not recognize, decided to take a shot at setting the pace which was much faster than I was anticipating. Not knowing what this fellow could do on the bike, I did not want to give him too much room so I kept within reach, pushing a little harder than in the past few events. By the turn around, he had opened up a five second gap and I could see that many others were right on my tail, including Mr. Frake.

As we all headed back to the main staging area to grab our bikes, I had another younger runner zoom past me to pull up to the leader. David had also made a move up beside me as he patiently stalked his prey. He is so experienced and calm out on the course and able to sit back to size up the field, knowing that his bike skills will put him in a very favourable position for victory. I have seen this in a few top duathletes over the past few years so I never get too excited when I am leading them through the first portion of any race.

We continued to run side by side for a few hundred metres heading up to the bikes. At this point I figured it would be best to settle myself down a touch and get ready to push the bike as hard as possible. I entered transition in fourth spot just behind the leaders. With several solid pit stops this year acting as confidence boosters, I put together another extremely efficient switch over to my cycling gear posting the best time (tied with 1 other person). This bumped me up to the second spot overall just behind Jason Smith.

After negotiating the slower riding zone to get out of the park, I was now picking up the pace. I knew David would be up with me at any time so I just focused on keeping up my tempo. By the time he pulled up alongside, we had just passed Jason Smith and David was encouraging me to keep pace with him, legally. I was pretty sure this was not going to happen as he is much stronger on the bike than I am but I kept the hammer down to make sure he did not get out too far in front of me.

Thanks to the speedy opening leg of our race, we had very little traffic to deal with out on the roads. I passed a few triathletes near the start of the ride but, by the time I was 7 or 8 kilometres from the park, I was riding in a wide open space.

Getting closer to the turn back marker, I could see just how few people were out in front of us. I am pretty sure there were fewer than fifteen riders in front of David, who was now on his way back. I was next but he had close to a minute or more on me at this point.

After making my turn, I found another gear knowing that half the ride was in the books. From this side of the road, I could see many others still making their way to the turning point but nobody from our race seemed to be within striking distance.

Although, that was a little comforting, I did not want to let up as I had numbers in my head and also wanted to make back some time on the leader, if possible. This helped me move up even more through the field as I tried to keep an eye out for the top duathlete.

The final portion of the bike went very smoothly but I dropped several points from my average speed when I re-entered the park. Riding beside a triathlete seemed to slow things down even more than usual through this rough and bumpy section. We were being very cautious not to create any unnecessary wreckage being so close to the dismount line. Just outside the gate my computer showed 38.6km/h for the cycling portion but it was all the way down to 37.8km/h when I turned it off at the end of the 30k. I am sure everyone suffered some loss during this stretch but I think I may have been too conservative on my approach.

Once I had my bike back on the rack, it was time to push the limits on the final run where I had my created some relatively expectations based on recent training. I made way back around to the front of transition and past my family who were cheering me on. This pumped me up and got me into a real run instead of my usual final run shuffle. I kept this pace up for much of the first half of the run and finally saw our leader as we passed each other about 300 metres from the turn around. I knew this would be a tough task to catch him now but still wanted to hit my target time so pushed ahead.

Upon reaching the same spot where David and I crossed, I picked up a visual on the third place racer, Jason Smith. He was pouring it on so I knew I had to pick up the pace even more. Thankfully, I was able to stir up some extra energy for the home stretch as this speed demon made up more time than I could ever imagine and finished only 16 seconds behind.

When I checked out the results after the race I could not believe how fast he had put down the final 7k and thought it had to have been an error. He ran the quickest final leg of the race among all athletes (tri and du) in 23:40. When I finally Google’d his name at home I could see that he finished 7th at the 2008 Ontario College cross country championships, making him more than capable of running such a blazing time. Great racing Jason!

My second place showing was an extremely satisfying way to end the 2009 season. I ran my quickest opening leg and hit my goal time in the final stage of the race. My ride was very strong with only a few lapses that I can work on this off season to correct. Now that the duathlons are over, I am looking forward to a late season triathlon to get some experience in the swim.

Click Stats Box to Enlarge!!!

Guelph Lakes II Sprint Duathlon Photos

Out of T1 With Quickest Transition

Final Run - Progress!

Coming Down the Finish Chute!

Seconds Place in Age Group and Overall - Great Race David!

September 2, 2009

A Quick Poll - Who is the most personable pro triathlete you know?

We are very fortunate that the sport of triathlon has so many excellent role models. My experiences in other pro sports have not always left the same impression so I enjoy reading stories about your encounters with the top triathletes.

Leave me a comment with a vote for your triathlon "hero", along with a quick story why you selected that person. I will try to write a piece on the athlete that receives the most votes submitted by Sept 15th.

Don't be shy and vote today!

Web Training Plug -

Hi all,

I have been meaning to pass this along for a little while now. Just in case you are looking for a handy tool to track your training please check out a local site hosted by Robbie T (his RunningMania handle) out of Erin, Ontario.

Click here for quick access!

He has put together a very neat tool that is getting better all the time as he continues to consider the multisport athletes in his updates, i.e. the new multisport workout upload.

Anyway, if you are looking for a quick, reliable tool to track your progress then please stop by his web site for a visit.

If you want to see an example pick user "Shaggytour" in the training logs to see my data.

Good luck to all those racing this weekend!

September 1, 2009

Will running faster in practice pay off?

I sure hope so! Watching everyone else post some crazy fast run splits of late has me looking for the jets I have been training so hard for the entire summer. Finally, some new times in the past month seem to point in the right direction. Now, all I have to do is apply them in a race.

This Saturday's sprint du seems like the perfect stage and I am pushing myself mentally to go as fast as ever. This may be tough as I did not position this race to be an "A" race but the reduction in training paces have me pretty excited.

Over the past several weeks, I have watched my easy run pace per kilometre drop by close to 15 seconds after nearly a year being stuck in the same time zone. My new comfortable running pace is now a lot closer to my old tempo pace and my new tempo is closer to my old race pace (in relation to 10k splits).

This may all be just a big illusion in my head but a number of weeks of continued results may be just enough of a confidence builder to help me pull off a great 7k on Saturday.

Gearing up for the race, I made sure to enter the last ITT of the FMCT season on Monday night. I just made it in time to hit the line (they actually waited a few minutes for me) but did not have any warm up at all. My legs were not responding to my desired output for the first 6k and I was averaging well below my normal rate for these rides. I finally found some power along the King Road section and then let it fly down the back stretch pushing 50 to 52 km/h to pump my race average back up over 40 km/h. This was just enough to edge out Richard by 3 seconds but he also was not properly warmed up so we pretty much went stroke for stroke.

Tonight, I threw in a decent brick work out in the limited time I had after the kids went to bed. Work has been silly since I came back from training so I have not put in my lunch workouts and really needed to put in something solid at night. I wanted to ride at a nice, relaxed pace and then pound out a hard 5k run before cooling down. Only issue was that I scared myself from riding on the road after watching the news and hearing about the latest cycling tragedies in Toronto. Just don't feel very safe these days so I took the cyclo-cross bike and hit the paved trails in the area. The effort was there but, with all the turns and obstacles, my average was well below usual.

Hitting the run, I had relatively fresh legs but I wasn't turning them over as quickly as the norm out of the gate. After the first km, I stepped it up a little and looked down at my Garmin to see a pace I don't see too often (except track workouts) and I decided to stick with it, that was until a train decided to come through and force me to turn back. I knew if I stopped and waited, I would be done so I looped back and lost a few seconds but got back up to speed.

I kept rolling along making sure to maintain decent form (not that I usually run my last duathlon stage with any form) and let the watch just beep away at each marker until I had put in 5k. I knew it felt fast for me but I was not ready to evaluate so I just slowed down for a few seconds and then eased it back home.

After cooling down for a few more km's, I got back to the garage to clean up and check my splits. I was happy to find that I had posted my quickest run off the bike in training and the pace for splits 3 and 5 were my fastest kilometres outside of a race or track workout by a good chunk of time.

These times may not translate into anything faster in a race but the results are very relieving as I had seemingly plateaued on my training runs for the longest time. I was starting to doubt if I could push it to the next level so I hope this is just the start of my climb to the next level.

Best of luck!