Larry's Blog Pages

December 28, 2011

2011 - Year in Rear View

Sitting here as the final days tick down I have to admit I am not totally satisfied with my athletic achievements during the past 365 days. I set some big, but obtainable, goals for 2011 but only cashed in a few solid performances.

Looking in the mirror, as scary as it may be (HA HA), I can only blame myself for the short comings. I laid out a silly schedule that I hardly stuck to. On workouts, I got lazy on the bricks and it showed big time on the few duathlons I competed in. Lastly, I never really got serious about my eating habits and raced almost every event 5 to 10 pounds over my desired weight. If I really want to take my performances to the next level in 2012, I will have to get serious about cutting calories. This older body just doesn't have the metabolism it once had.

So thinking back on the year, here is a quick month by month account of how 2011 played out.

January - things were going really well to start the new year. Tyler had us geared up on the spinning and strength end of the training with several group sessions per week. I was getting through the routines with more ease than a few months earlier so I was getting pumped about the season. At the end of the month I went on a work trip to the USVI and this set me off track with the food and drink.

February - Back at it with the gang until I made a bad lift with the kettle bells and trapped a nerve in my upper back. This required several weeks of physio and reduced my running and cycling for most of February and March.

March -  A lot more rehab on the back continued to slow my desired speed work I had planned. Due to the condition of my back I decided to hold off pre-registering for any races until I knew I would be ready to race up to my potential.

April - My back and neck were feeling much better so I jumped into the Spring into Motion 5k to see how things were lining up. It turned out to be a tough day with wind and snow but I managed to go mid 17 minutes so I felt OK with speed. With Mississauga Half Marathon as a priority race in May, I had to adjust the rest of my duathlon schedule as I would not have recovered enough to race Victoria's Du.

May - As my first major race arrived, I felt ready to run fast but at the Mississauga Half Marathon the wind was not our friend and I missed out on sub 1:20, again. This time by less than 20 seconds so that was disappointing but I took the positives and keep training hard for my first duathlon in June.

June - This month was rather busy with the Milton Duathlon to start things off. I was third on the opening run, first off the bike but suffered on the run to finish second to a new friend. This should have motivated me to pick up my brick training but I brushed it off thinking I will get back in the next race. The second race was a four person, 5k relay. It was after work so I rushed down to Exhibition Place to meet Jo Jo and the crew. I ran a strong 5k but still mid 17 minutes. Lastly, I ran the 10k portion of a triathlon relay team in Guelph Lakes. With Ang and Richard, we pulled off the win but I still wanted to go faster than 37minutes. At the end of the month I changed my Peterborough Half Ironman Du focus to the Tri as Syd and Ryan asked me to guide Brian Cowie.

July - Brian and I completed the Peterborough Half Iron Triathlon on a very hot and humid day. It was quite an experience and I am very happy to have had the privilege to race with Brian. We have stayed in contact since the race so I am very thankful for this opportunity to make a new amazing friend. After Peterborough, I had to travel twice for work (Calgary and California) so my schedule had to be adjusted again. This meant I missed out on the Provincial Duathlon Championships in Cobourg.

August - With my commitment to Centurion Collingwood to my FMCT friends, cycling took a front seat for the next few months. I spent a lot of weekend time riding with the gang so running was not too important. I did not want to go into a 100mile bike race without the proper training. In early August I did wet my duathlon whistle one more time for 2011 and raced the Niagara Duathlon. It was a decent race and I managed the victory to add some confidence to my future training.
September - After joining the Ontario Masters Association (looking to do fall XC races) I decided to take a flyer and race Carrotfast 5k. It was the OMA 5k Championships so I tested my running legs against all my cycling training and was able to match my earlier 5k time of 2011, winning my AG for the 2011 OMA 5k Championships. After that it was all about Centurion. Leading into the race I ended up tearing a muscle in my lower abs that hurt my running but I could continue to ride. When race day finally came, I settled in with a good sized chase group and did well to navigate through the challenging hills of Collingwood. I did end up falling a part in the last 10k but still beat my expectations on time and average pace so that added to the cycling fire.

October - With our cycling legs still in fine working order, the FMCT gang decided to tackle the 100km Tour de Hans in Waterloo. My injury continued to hurt on my runs so I skipped a xc race and jumped on the tour and had an amazing race. I hung with the lead group for 30k and then battled hard to create a new chase group and ended up in 21st overall. My next race was suppose to be a shot at sub 2:50 in the Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I was not sure if I was up for it but the injury was feeling better. I was then called out to California the week before race and once again had to ditch my plans due to travel. I probably was not ready for the marathon but now wanted to finish the season on a good note so signed up for the Hamilton Half Marathon.

November - In this month I ended up striking one goal off my 2011 list. In the Hamilton Half Marathon, I raced to a 1:17:41 time and finally went sub 1:20 for a half marathon. I was then taking some time off when a friend asked me to run the Mississauga Canoe Club 15k so I decided to just go all out and try to see what I could do. It was not my best effort but I still beat the FMCT club record so I could take some positives out of the race.

December - This has been down time. I was going to race the Boxing Day 10 Miler but I had a conflict with work so I just kept running and added some swims and bike rides in there. I hope this time to recharge the batteries will get my motivation fueled up so I can get off on the right foot in 2012.

December 20, 2011

Some New Web Reading Material...

Hey Folks,

I made some changes to the site so I hope you have a chance to check out the new link tabs across the header of the page.  I have replaced some of the side material (results, links, etc.) and added pages for a nicer, clean read.

Let me know if you have any more comments of questions!

Thank you,

December 8, 2011

Interactive Reflection - Why?

I am sure most of you are in the same boat as I am and often have friends or family ask you why? Maybe it is even you asking this question when you are looking in the mirror in the morning?

Why do I train as frequently and as hard as I do for a recreational pastime?

When I think of my days in hockey and golf, I do not recall wanting to spend hours a day on training. Even though I wanted to be the best I could be in those sports, the norm (among the people I competed against and with) was not to practice a hour or two or three per day to improve my game day performance.

With hockey it was always just show up at the rink, once or twice a week, and play the game. In golf, we just booked a tee time and whacked the ball around a course (when you could find six hours of spare time). I would maybe go to the driving range a few times a month to try to fix the numerous flaws in my swing, but not five or six time a week.

There is definitely something different about triathlon...

I would love to hear from as many readers as possible. As the comments and email responses come in, I will add them below on this posting to create a motivational piece to spark everyone for the new year.

Please send me a comment or email ( so I can post your thoughts!


the short answer is "it's in me".

When I was about 9 or 10, I got my first bike and, though I don't remember much about riding around on it, one memory that does stand out is circuit racing around the mini strip mall not far from my house. The tarmac went completely around the mall and my friends and I used to race around it. It was dangerous, as we'd have to weave in and out of cars that were driving in to buy milk or whatever, but that didn't stop me. The cars were just obstacles to go around. I loved this game; it was the thrill of racing but there was also the high from exerting myself. When I was a bit older, I'd used spend hours hitting a tennis ball against the school wall. This time I was by myself which showed that it wasn't just about competition; the activity itself was enough. Now I'm 55 and I still get the same feeling of elation when I'm out riding my bike or in the middle of a run. It doesn't happen all the time but often enough to keep me coming back. Throw the thrill of competition in there and the elation is magnified tenfold. So I don't know what the scientific or philosophical or medical answers are. All I know for sure is it's in me.


For me, Triathlon (SBR) is my thing and my lifestyle now. My kids have their hockey/soccer, etc. and I have my triathlon. I think what makes it addictive to most is when we see that little bit of improvement year over year. This just makes me want to train more and harder. In our sport, we have world championship events that are out of reach for most, but after doing the 70.3 World Championship in Florida, the Boston marathon and recently "qualifying" for the NYC marathon, the last thing that really motivates me is to earn and take a Kona slot for Ironman. It's that carrot that is out in front me and drives me to keep working harder and harder, even as I approach that magical 40 number in age. A lot of people in triathlon who give it their first go, quickly get addicted, as they, like me, can see those small incremental improvements year over year. In doing triathlon/running/cycling, you surround yourself with like minded individuals and you feed off each other. I'm not going to lie that I watch what you do and think to myself, "man, can I do that?"

In addition to the performance improvements, a lot of people see dramatic physical changes to their body the more training they do, which is also a huge motivating factor. I'm as fit now as I have ever been in my whole life, and that is awesome. I look forward to 2012 and the challenges that lie ahead, as I'm sure you do as well.

The reason why I originally got into it is kind of funny. I started racing and training for mountain biking when I was about 12 because- believe it or not- I was a huge X-Men fan, and I wanted to push myself and my body to be as close to a super hero's as possible!
Obviously not my main goal now, but that's what got the ball rolling way back when! haha


December 1, 2011

Mississauga Canoe Club 15k - Race Report

This race was not originally on my calendar so I wasn't totally prepared to go super hard for 15k. A co-worker, who has always been supportive of my racing and my tri club, is a member of the "Missy" Canoe Club and asked a few of us in the office to join in the fun. It didn't take much to convince me to run so I re-arranged my weekly schedule to make it fit into my training so I that I wouldn't miss out on any of my workouts.

Although, the weather was a little cool and wet on the morning of the event, I was curious to see how close I could take this race to my 15k split in the Hamilton Half Marathon. This kept the motivation high while I warmed up in the chilly rain as the rest of the small field assembled near the starting line. As the gun time neared, I decided shorts were still acceptable but went with arm warmers and a tri top to kept a little warmer up top.

With the Canoe Club trying to keep costs down (rightfully so) they designed the course to stick to the walking paths around the Lakefront Promenade Marina. This made for a lot of twists and turns with some blinds spots out on the course so I made sure to listen to the lead bike guide during the pre-race instructions. When it was time to begin the run, I positioned myself behind some of the younger athletes and just came off the line in a relaxed effort. This was probably a good call as many of the teenaged runners went off like canons, getting out well ahead of me to the start of the path.

I was fairly certain a good number of them would burn out after their short sprint so I just set my target on a few of the smoother looking ones and slowly made made way through the crowd. By the time we had covered the first kilometre I had moved up to sixth spot with a couple solid looking runners chasing the bike very quickly. One of them was relatively young but had great form so I was not sure what to expect from him at this distance. The other was a familiar face from a few previous races. I knew he was a gamer so there was no way I was going to stay on his heels for 15k. I just patiently hung back as we circled RK McMilland Park to the west of the starting area.

After making the loop around this tree filled park (could not see the competition during this section), we doubled back past the beach cove and headed to the northeast trails. I was now running in fourth spot, about a hundred metres back of third, feeling confident that I could catch this guy somewhere down the road.

We were just over three km into the race as we zigged and zagged along Waterfront Trail and I was making solid ground on my target. From a previous 10k race on these grounds, I was now comfortable enough with the course to zone out (take my mind off the pain building in my legs) for a little while and focus on my form and pace.

As I reached the 5k mark (water station), I could tell I had fallen too far off the pace of the two leaders so there was little chance of reeling them back in. I now had to settle with the possibility of a third place finish. Not so bad but not exactly they way I imagined the day...

A little further through Marie Curtis Park, as I neared the turnaround at the far east end of the course, I noticed I wasn't too far off that podium position. I hurried over to the volunteer pointing out the turn marker and made a quick pivot to re-trace my steps. Two things hit me at this point. Firstly, my legs died on me right out of the blue. Secondly, I could now see how close two runners were just behind me. Oh Oh!

The twosome on my rear brought a bit of a spark but I felt like I was suddenly struggling with my form over the small rolling mounds of asphalt, fighting despreately to speed up. By the time I weaved through the kilometre in the forest, I had lost contact with the last spot on the podium. I hit the 7km aid station and was afraid that reaching for a drink would stop me in my tracks so I just kept my eyes forward and hoped to hold off the guys on my heels.

Watching my garmin on the way back to the marina, I could tell my pace was suffering compared to my early splits. My goal of fifty-five minutes was in jeopardy now so it was all about getting through the final portion of the race without losing too many spots or dropping out. Thankfully, my mental game was on to make up for the lack of physical game on this day and I talked myself into staying as efficient as possible.

This was not pretty, believe me. I couldn't see the guy running in third at this point so I was starting to doubt some of the upcoming turns on the course as we twisted back to Lakefront Promenade Park for another loop. I got through the loop for the second time in the race and was really not sure where we were heading next for the last four kilometres. I just hoped the volunteers were on top of the situation as they directed both 8k and 15k runners along the pathway.

Lucky for us, they did a great job! I travelled back along the Waterfront Trail, along the back edge of an industrial park, and counted down the distance knowing the final turnaround must be coming soon. Shortly after that thought, I watched the leader zoom past me with second place a litttle back from the young, talented runner. After I saw third place, I knew I was getting close to my final switch back and hit the line and blasted off to get back up to speed. I could once again see 5th and 6th place licking their lips so I just gunned it for the final two km.

My legs were too tired to put any length into my stride so I had to concentrate on just speeding up the cadence of my shuffle. This was enough to increase the gap and provide a respectable final few thousand metres. I was very relieved to make my way back to the marina parking lot and see a low 56 on the clock. I made a final sprint to keep it under 57 minutes and broke the tape in 56:32 (on my garmin).

This was good for 4th place overall and a nice, new standard for 15k (not including splits from longer races)for me to aim for next year. I still have not seen the actual chip time results so I am not sure how that looked for my age but I would assume two of the three runners ahead of me where under thirty years of age.