Larry's Blog Pages

December 29, 2009

2010 Timberman 70.3 Confirmation

Well, you start to swim and you get to sign up for some of the big boy races. I have decided to follow a bunch of Falcons south in 2010 for my first real destination event with an official confirmation today for the 2010 Timberman 70.3.

I usually have a tough time getting signed up this early for an event so I was pretty happy that they were still accepting registration. I am sure a bunch of folks will make their New Year's resolution to do Ironman races so who knows what next week will bring for availability.

Currently, we have over 15 members from our tri club making the trip across to Gilford, New Hampshire so it should be a great time. I know I will set some very high goals for my first Ironman performance so I look forward to the training efforts to come.

Now that I feel like I am over that holiday speed bump (a solid run and swim over the past day) it is time to get a little more serious this season. Not so much training wise but diet wise. I would really like to drop a little more weight for my races in 2010 and know my appetite for treats was a major stumbling block. Hopefully, I can use the discipline I see in others (higher level, elite athletes) to keep myself out of the snack cupboard at home.

Write soon,


December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Lots of stuff left to do and it is hitting midnight here. More stuff to place under the tree, more treats to eat, more cleaning up for the big day tomorrow.

Just wanted to stop in and wish everyone a very safe and happy holiday season.

Take care!

December 22, 2009

Blasts from the Past - Canadian Duathlon Championships

Always on a quest to learn more about the sport I love, I took some time today to look back on some stats and even went deeper into the archives than before. It is really neat to see some of the familiar names (friends, co-competitors, pros, etc.) participating before my days of duathlon. I hooked up the links to the Age Group results for the years I could find (so far...) but if you want to see more (U23, Pro, etc.), I am sure you can follow the path names from the links to get all the awesome results from those years.


Canadian Duathlon Championships

2009 – Cancelled

2008 – Montreal, QC

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2007 – Parry Sound, ON

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2006 – Hamilton, ON

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2005 – Ottawa, ON

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2004 – Quebec City, QC

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2003 – Calgary, AB

2002 – Calgary, AB

2001 – St.Albert, AB

2000 – Kananaskis Village, AB

Impossible is Possible

I have resisted posting much about my secondary sports passion, hockey, but I could not pass this one up. I used to follow the game very closely and continue to work in it at a pro level (for almost a decade) so it is hard to keep most of my postings geared toward multisport.

As a goalie in that sport I have always followed the players in that position with great interest. I started organized hockey too late to have any chance of a pro career but I used the NHL tenders on TV as coaches, trying to copy their various styles. I was not a stand up goalie (that is for sure) and I was not flexible enough to be a true butterfly goalie so Martin Brodeur's hybrid style was right up my alley. I do not like the Devils as a team but I continue to cheer on their goaltender as he makes his claim as the greatest of all time.

What Martin Brodeur achieved last night, versus the Pittsburgh Penguins no less, is simply one of the most amazing hockey records of the modern era. Terry Sawchuk's record of 103 Shutouts was long considered the most far fetched dream any player in the NHL could imagine. Well, that has changed and Martin re-wrote the record books last night with a convincing 4-0 win.

With each passing season, Mr. Brodeur climbed closer and closer to this major milestone, setting many of other records along the way including most wins, most minutes played and most games played. The last three were all previously held by the retired, Patrick Roy (I was never a big fan!).

Next up for the Canadian born back stop, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and another shot at Gold. At the start of this season I was starting to doubt the selection of the 37 year old as his play was not up to his previous standards. An average 7-4 record during the first month of play, along with a very high GAA, he has settled into his usual consistent ways and now holds a 23-8-1 record with a 2.10 GAA and .921 save percentage. With Luongo not able to find his zone, it may be totally up to Martin to win the Gold in Vancouver.

December 20, 2009

Gearing up for the Holidays.

I finally pulled myself up off the couch and got outside for some excercise. It has been a very lazy week for me with far too many calories to count so I had to do something today.

Not really up for running in the cold for some reason (I used to enjoy it a lot more before I started to get comfortable with the treadmill at the gym) these days so I topped up the air in the cross bike and hit the roads for a medium distance ride.

The roads were actually in pretty good shape and I was happy to get out during the day to enjoy the sun. I bundled up nicely as it was a touch chilly with a cool wind out of the north. I headed down 9th line to Oakville and then across Lakeshore to visit Gears Bike Shop. I needed to replace some cleats from one of my other rides so this seemed to be a good opportunity to get it done.

As my cross bike has my cleats that match my mtb shoes, I could not use my botties designed for my road shoes. This was the only part of me that ended up getting cold. Man did they get cold! I was probably right on the edge of frost bite (flashbacks to skating on the pond as a kid) as they took a long time to thaw and to get the feeling back into them .Guess I will have to splurge for some another set of booties!

Other than the cold feet, it really did feel good to get on the bike outside. I ended up with 46k under my wheels and a decent workout on my legs and heart. Nothing too major as I am going to hold off until January 1st before I get back to some sort of structure.

Yesterday, we ended up being in the same spot as the torch run so we parked our car and got out to cheer the folks on as they passed by the Square One shopping mall. It was a cool experience that I did not plan on viewing but I am very happy that we had the chance, now that we saw it live.

Now I have to get ready for my last minute shopping marathon. I am one of those day before X-Mas shoppers and enjoy the challenge of finding something neat for my family members under the gun. Some traditions I just love to keep, especially when I see others cracking as the big day nears. HAHA

December 18, 2009

Please Don't Drink and Drive!

I cannot say that my past was without stupid mistakes but I can proudly say that I have been able to learn from my errors and hopefully help others avoid bad choices in life. I hope!

This is only one very sad story (that I just read on and thought I would share) of far too many. I selected this one only because it fits the theme of my page but I could have selected any number of examples of unnecessary loss to help with my message.

Awareness is still the number one educational tool for this problem so I hope some new people get a chance to read and pass it along.

This is not just a holiday message but stats prove that the occurence of this behaviour is far greater at this time of the year. Please remember that this applies to the entire year!

Thank you!

December 16, 2009

Egg Nog Jog Photo


Photo credit - Sue S (FMCT Falcons)

Thank you Sue for snapping a pic of my 1st Egg Nog Jog!

December 14, 2009

Egg Nog Jog 10.8k Race Report

As I was driving up to Terra Cotta to take part in the 2009 Egg Nog Jog, I asked myself, “Do I really want to run in this rainy, winter weather?” For some reason the answer was yes so I continued to drive up the road a little further to my destination just fifteen minutes north of Mississauga.

After arriving at the Terra Cotta Conservation Area to park, I moved through the busy registration routine and then headed back to my car to suit up. It was mild enough to warrant shorts on this day (my opinion, HAHA) so I pulled them on and tied up the spikes before heading out to the road for my warm up and stretching. During this pre-race run I kept on my wind pants and hoody but it didn’t take long to get up my body temperature so I jogged back to the car to peel down to my race gear.

Start time was now upon us so I ventured towards the line where I met up with a number of Falcons and friends including Marko, Peter, Robbie-T, Jen C A, and Hans. After a brief chat to discuss the conditions, strategy, gear, etc., we all switched our attention to the task at hand and moved over to the starting line. I was actually surprised to see the front of the corral so empty, almost like nobody wanted to be on the chalk. There were over 500 people registered for the race so the numbers were there but everyone seemed more than happy to approach this one with caution. This course does have a reputation.

Once the cow bell sounded, I took off in my usual fashion (bad habit!). With a few days of rest my legs felt amazing and I was quickly out to the front of the group as we darted down the park’s laneway. I did not expect to jump out to that position (and was not really wishing to be in the lead) but with the open space around me, I did not have to worry about making the turn onto the road in a crowd. I rounded the corner and started to make the big drop in elevation that would lead us down into the tiny, tiny village of Terra Cotta.

This is a severe plunge right out of the gate and a place that can easily ruin the rest of your race if you don’t control your speed. As my Garmin hit 1km it read 3:14 so I knew I was in jeopardy of falling into this trap. Thankfully, it was around this time when the first two runners to pass me cruised by to offer up some sort of guidance. I knew from past results that the leaders would be in the 36 minute range so I was happy to let them lead knowing that they would most likely be heading for that approximate finish time.

For the first two kilometres we were running downhill as the track leads us west of the little hamlet. I ended up going through this section a touch too fast and when I hit the first climb, along the rolling hills of 27th Sideroad, I was starting to feel the wind come out of my sails. I hoped that I could push hard up the hills and then catch a little rest on the down side to set up for the turn onto a flatter section of road on 10th Line, just over 4km from the start of our journey. This approach came in handy as I made the turn still sitting in third spot but there were two pods of chasers coming hard. The fear of getting caught by this many runners helped me pick up my pace again. I was really looking to finish in the top 10 on this day and if they all went past I would be sitting on the edge of this goal.

Shortly after hitting 10th Line the road turns to gravel (snow, ice and gravel on this day) so it was time to make hay with the spikes. I knew I had about 1200 metres of relatively level roadway until the biggest climb on the course so I stepped up my speed and focused on keeping smooth to save some energy for the Egg Nog Jog’s version of “Heartbreak Hill”.

I ended up putting in another respectable split during this stretch and held my position until the bottom of the hill. At this point, I was met by another runner making an effortless ascent up the winding slope. I waited for the competitor to pull alongside before checking to see who it was. As he slowly pulled away I would see (we raced earlier this season) that it was Greg McNab.

This gentleman, from Burlington, is a very strong runner and has put up some very impressive times for our age group this year. With his experiences on the hills, and with this race last year, I realized that I better keep to my plan and just get to the seven kilometre marker before making any defensive moves.

From my one training run on this course, I had an elevation map on my Garmin and knew that after the 7th kilometre it was predominantly a downhill ride back to the finishing tape at the conservation area. For now, I just had to worry about getting up the rest of this hill without zapping too much of my energy. It was not a pretty site but I pushed on up that sucker (with a little help from photographer Nick!) and finally got my legs back up to speed for the short zone leading up to our last real uphill tester.

I was still happily running along in fourth spot through the tail end of the 10th Line portion of the route. I could see Greg opening up a larger gap as we approached the next turn onto Wellington Road 42 but this directional change gave me an opportunity to check my rearview. As I made my right hand turn, I could see Rob in his orange “” singlet making his move. He had dropped the rest of the group and was the only person I could see being a threat, unless I really blew up on the decent.

There must have been about three kilometres left so I figured he was going to put a good push on in the next few minutes. He is a patient runner with solid pacing skills and he would probably have a little more in the tank than I at this time in the race. I knew I had to get into the next gear and just keep my eyes forward and that is what I did, using the fans’ cheering as a gauge to measure how close he was.

I kept charging ahead and was finally nearing the 10k marker. I was sure the support coming from the Falcons at our club’s tent they set up would be all the energy I would need to make it through the final 800 metres in very strong fashion. I soaked in the loud applause as I reached the tent and then rounded the bend down Winston Churchill to the start/finish line. When I was directed into the driveway, I took another glance back and could see Rob was not very far back so I could not let up.

Getting into the park, I could now see the time counting up. I had missed the sub 40 minute barrier but still had a very good shot at sub 41. Another kick for good measure and a few extra seconds put me over the line in 4th spot with a clocking of 40:37.

Even though I missed my secret stretch goal of sub 40 minutes, I was extremely happy with my race. It was a very amazing season of athletics where I was able to meet a number of great people through the club, racing and online. After the race I congratulated all the other fantastic athletes and then headed over to the covered shelter in the park for some Egg Nog and mingling before the awards. As Greg took third overall, I was moved into 1st in the 30-39 Age Group which earned me a very nice prize from Brad Maillaiux and his Georgetown store, Feet in Motion. Who knew you would get such a great prize from such a local event!

BTW – How inspiring is it to have a world class athlete take time out of her busy schedule to run the course to cheer all of us weekend warriors on! Lisa Bentley was out cheering on one of her athletes but she always spreads the joy to everyone else as well. We are lucky to have such a classy ambassador of athletics supporting our races!

December 11, 2009

Last Race of the Year

This Sunday I will be joining a bunch of the FMCT Falcons in their yearly tradition of running the Egg Nog Jog. This is a 10.8km race held in Terra Cotta and is a very tough course with many hills, cold weather and usually snow covered roads (so I am told).

I have actually been training pretty hard to have a solid race here. After this one, I am going to take a little break, as per the suggestions of many people, and enjoy a lot of treats. The spot I visit for most of my lunches, "Buka Bean and Begal", has loaded up on a huge selection of amazing looking treats for the holiday season. I have resisted the temptation to purchase some of the awesome shortbread cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, cinnamon rolls, etc. since they started the display a month or so ago. I am going to sugar load on Monday for sure!

This place is a great little cafe at Erin Mills and Millcreek in Mississauga that has a fantastic lunch for those on the move. I usually make my routes end at this point and take out my lunch for the walk back to the office. If you ever get a chance, stop in as the folks that own and operate the cafe are really nice and very good at making a tasty lunch. Just a heads up that they are only open for mornings and mid afternoon meals so you will be disappointed if you show up after 4pm during the week.

Back to the race, I was hoping to go fast and really test my hill legs but that plan was built when the weather was unseasonaly warm. Things have changed in the past week and we now have snow, cold air, and super gusting wind. I almost feel like I trained too hard and should have been just putting in the base training that most others are wisely doing at this time of the year.

For me, it is tough to slow down as I know one of the reasons I have been able to improve at my rate is my work ethic. I have been fortunate not to burn out, to date, but I really need to listen to those that know the sport and put it in cruise control for a month or two. If anyone wants to share a typical base building week, please send it my way. I would love to see exactly how others are putting their's together.

Anyway, I will get my race report up to share my experience in the Egg Nog Jog. If you are taking part in the event as well make sure you say hi!

December 9, 2009

2010 Tentative Schedule

I have attempted to map out my season for 2010, based on what I know so far. Once again, I am disappointed that OAT and Triathlon Canada have not posted the provincial or national championship locations at this point.
I am not sure why they cannot be more organized on this matter, especially in Ontario, as Trisport and Multisport have had their calendars set for a little while now (the usual race holders for such events).



THANK YOU RANDY! now if only OAT and Triathlon Canada could get their site updated...)

They must know that most of us are trying to set up our training calendars before January. I have had to make some major overhauls in the past few years to re-shuffle events to make the Provincial or National championship races fit. With some races (mostly the destination ones) selling out, we have to make early commitments to ensure spots so I can only cross my fingers that they will select dates away from the destination race I am about to sign up for.

The provincial du championship is a race I have competed in during each of my multisport years and I look forward to the event to see if I am making progress and to test my abilities against the best field of the year. It would be a severe burn if I sign up for one of the 70.3 races now (so that I don't miss their cut off) and then OAT goes and selects a date for the Du Championship within weeks of the 70.3.

2010 Schedule

*Around the Bay - 30k Road Race
*Victoria's Du - May 24 (a yearly tradition!)
*Milton Sprint Tri - June 6 (my first Tri on the Subaru series!)
*Guelph Lakes Olympic Tri - June 20 (first attempt at this swim distance)
*Muskoka Long Course Tri - July 25 (my favourite race location)
*Timberman 70.3 - Aug 22 (85% convinced but must reg very soon)
*Guelph Lakes II - Sept 4 (tri or du??)

2010 Maybe List

*Peterborough Half Iron - July 4 (depends on swim progress)
*Niagara Sprint Tri - Aug 8 (depends when/where Ont. Du Championship?)
*Lakeside Sprint Tri - Sept 19 (depends on weather)

December 8, 2009

More Music Reco's

I should really be pushing my Canadian listening pleasures but most of them are more for the chill moments of my life (i.e. work) and not really my first picks for training.

Dance/Urban, whatever they call it these days, is not my usual genre but I have found a spot on my playlist lately for more beats.

Today, while I was on the tready at the gym, Much More Music played most of these newer hits and I felt my energy levels boost so they work for me.

Here are three selections that caught my attention and I seem to be stuck on for a pick me up.

"Empire State of Mind" - Jayz feat. Alicia Keys
"Meet Me Half Way" - Black Eyed Peas
"I Got A Feeling    " - Black Eyed Peas

Have fun and don't be afraid to make your music diverse!

December 7, 2009

Tax Breaks on Race Entry Fees

Just wondering if, or should, race entry fees be subject to tax breaks to help out all active Canadian residents?

The one area that I think they should qualify for sure is the portion that is put towards any charity donation by the race organizer. I realize the full entry does not go to the charities but there is usually a small component that is paid out per entry fee. This amount should be displayed on a receipt that the athletes could use at tax time and claim on the donation line of their income tax return. This would be a great start (if it is not already allowed?) and for most of us the small amount per race would add up over the course of the year.

I am sure I am not the only person to have these thoughts but when I put together my annual return (and a few other family member returns as well), I continue to see other items on the income tax forms that I would consider non-essential or specific to a very small population.

I know our kids are given special consideration for some of their activity fees but why not extend this into the later years. There are so many benefits to getting people off their butts as they age. Hopefully, the money the government would return into our hands would be off-set by the savings in the health care system thanks to more healthy people.

Another possible positive spin off would be the "role model" effect on kids. Assuming a large number of people actually use this as a motivating factor to become active, it may rub off on the youth and they too will follow in the healthier footsteps of the adults they have in their lives. I know my active lifestyle is brought up in the conversations of my 3 year old on a number of occassions. I am not going to push her into any of the sports I enjoy but there is a much greater chance that she will want to try something if her parents are participants.

Just a couple thoughts as I sit here icing after another late night run.

Happy training,

December 6, 2009

Joke of the Day...

Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, grabbed a snack, and slipped quietly into the garage. I threw the bike on the rack, and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50 mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather would be bad all day.

I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed. I cuddled up to my wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered, "The weather out there is terrible."

My loving wife of 5 years replied, "Can you believe my stupid husband is out cycling in that?"

December 4, 2009

The price of convenience...

So I went to register for a race online today. The timing matrix went a little something like this...

If I paid before Nov 1 - $37.00 (missed that one)
If I paid after Nov 1 - $42.00 (I am in this bracket)
If I pay race day - $48 (cash only)

I figure I may as well save $6 and sign up today but as I get through the registration screens, I finally come to the invoice which states there will be a $4.20 service fee for online registration! Last time I checked, this is 10%! I did some very rough math based on some guessing (200 people registered at $37, 300 people @ $42) and the high side of this would be a $2000.00 pay out to the online company.

I am not sure if they get hit with the credit card fees (or if the race promoter has to pay that in the service) but it is still a pretty big take away at the expense of us athletes. And they don't even offer American Express as a payment option!

To me, I would rather pay an extra $1.80 that goes directly to the race even if I miss out on the door prize if 500 people register before I do.

December 3, 2009

Pro or Age Grouper

I brought this up on another forum back when I first cracked into the sport about three years ago. At that point in time, I wondered why some super fast people were racing as Age Group athletes when they would easily meet the Elite times in this area? I was also curious as to why people raced elite on HSBC, or another one-off event (i.e. Windsor Duathlon), but Age Group on Subaru?

Now that I have had a some success in duathlon (mainly by default as most of the top athletes are too busy with the triathlon to fill the high positions in the Du), I wonder if I should apply for my Elite status with OAT for Duathlon?

Not sure what benefit I would get out of this as most duathlon races in the area do not offer that category, and I will be racing many more triathlons this season, so the only race this would really matter for is the Ontario Du Championships. I know I will not be a top three elite duathlete in Ontario, even if I worked my butt off this year, but I guess it would be more of a status reward for getting into the overall top 10 (8th in 2008, 6th in 2009) in the province. It would also open up an Age Group spot for somebody else that has been close to the podium for a few years.

To be honest, I think all the guys and gals, who have been up at the top of duathlon over the past few years, should go into an Elite category to battle it out and allow other Age Groupers a chance to taste the top three or five in a race.

What are your thoughts?

I would also love to hear why some of you have decided to apply for Pro/Elite status (benefits, pride, money, etc.) or why you have elected to compete at the Age Group level, even though you are more than fast enough to race at the top of many events?

Or, should it be up to the governing bodies to decide if we are Elite or Age Group? I know this is a whole new can of worms!!!!