NYC Triathlon 2014

Race Report


A l(not so short) look at the two main options for fueling in endurance sports

My Famous Fails

A little recap of my accidents

Race Recap of the Demi-Marathon des Microbrasseries

Race report for this new race, complete with multiple distances, and BEER!!!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Coaching, The Future, and Races

Hi Everyone,

So it's been a while since the NY Marathon was a no-go, and I used the few weeks following as I had been planning to; relaxing, eating a bit too much, and recovering for the next season. With that done I've started to look forward and figure out what races I'll be doing, and how to set up my training schedule.

I had already signed up for the Mont Tremblant Half Ironman which is in late June, but I didnt know what to do before then. There are some smaller races in the area at the beginning of the summer, but nothing really major, so I started looking around at races to keep me busy, and I found the WINTERMAN!

This is a Somersault event that is actually right in the dead of the Canadian Winter. Race date is set in the middle of February, and offers various distances. Orignally, I was planning on signing up for the half-marathon distance, really just because I wasn't thrilled at having to spend so many training hours outside. After talking it over with some friends though, I got persuaded to man up and register for the full. Personally I think this is a better idea for me, since I know myself and I know that I wouldn't train as properly for a half.

As far as my training plan goes, I've begun constructing it based on the ideas laid out in Friel's "The Triathletes Training Bible", which accounts for periodization. It's a difficult plan to get exactly right, but thats kinda the point. Because as much science goes into the idea of periodization, it is also about how you feel during training. Basically I'm working off of a 16 week training period, but I haven't yet scheduled in other races that might occur during that period.

Also, my coaching with Team in Training continues, so until April I have at least two scheduled workouts each week. On my own I'm spending some time working on my biking using my trainer. It's amazing what a few weeks off does to your fitness.

Anyway that's all for now.

Keep Tri-ing!

Monday, 5 November 2012

The 2012 ING NY Marathon has been CANCELED

The headline pretty much sums this one up.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the New York Road Runners and Mayor Bloomberg got together and decided to cancel this year's NY Marathon.

I should first point out that I don't think that any of the 47,000 registered runners were genuinely upset at this fact. We were disappointed at the lost opportunity to participate in such an iconic race. We were empathetic for those that suffered at the hands of Sandy. We understood the unique and pervasive challenges that the city would be going through for the next long while. We were also seriously pissed.

To be clear, I take no issue with the race being cancelled. My problem, which was echoed by many others on the official ING NYC Marathon Facebook page, is the lack of information provided to us, as well as misinformation provided. On Thursday morning, I received an email from the NYRR telling me that the race would go on as scheduled. Along with many others, I made my way to NY. Some people took flights, booked hotels, and put out a substantial amount of money to find their way to New York midst the chaos left behind by Sandy.

On Friday night, once most runners were already in NY, Mayor Bloomberg went on the news to announce that the race was cancelled. Saturday morning was the first time we officially heard from NYRR that the race was off. Of course, the correspondence didn't JUST say that the race wasn't happening, but it sure didn't provide any useful information either. What it did contain was a request for a donation. I think that it is very important to support those in need right now, but come on. Many people have put in months of training, done incredible charity fundraising, and endured countless NYRR emails pushing sponsor's products on us. I think it only fair that we receive some information too.

I was not told anything about what I would need to do to defer to next year's race, nor if I would be refunded my substantial registration fee. So far, NYRR has announced that they are sticking to their no-refund policy. Attempts to contact NYRR has only resulted in automated emails that predate the cancellation notice.

In place of the official race, some 10,000 runners decided to do the race course on their own. Many also went and volunteered to help victims of the hurricane.

I hope that this post does not seem petty, as I do not mean to trivialise the suffering of those that have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. I just want some answers, and I think that the 47,000 runners deserve it.

Similar articles;

Runners raise issue with how NY Marathon was handled

Thank you,

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

New York Marathon coming up

There is just over a week and a half until I toe up the starting line of the ING NY Marathon! Strangely, I'm not as nervous as I think I maybe should be. I think that having recently ran the Montreal marathon helped me really get a sense for the kind of pain that I can expect. Yes, there will be pain. Since Montreal,  I will admit that I've taken a little break from training seriously. Not that I stopped exercising, but I may not have been going the distances that maybe I should have.

As the big race approaches, I've been trying to get my longer training run sessions to match up with my training plan, but have admittedly fallen a bit short. My biggest hope at this point is that I will be able to pull off the race using the always famous "muscle memory". I had wanted to have Montreal be my so-called training marathon, followed up by a slightly faster race in New York. As it stands, I find it entirely likely that I will be able to match my 4:07 finish, or finish not too far behind.

In other news, my role as assistant coach to the Montreal Team in Training triathlon team will be starting soon! Training officially kicks off on November 3 (I'll be starting when I get back from New York). Pre-training has already been underway for about a month, and I have met a nice handful of the participants at  the group Wednesday swims. Having a chance to swim again has been really nice, since I haven't swam since the Cornwall triathlon.

I'll hopefully have another post very soon. I've been using the Zombies, Run! app for a little while, and also tried out some of The Sufferfest videos, and will be writing my thoughts on them.

Thanks for reading, and keep Tri-ing!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Rock 'n' Roll Montreal Marathon Race Report

Welcome back internet! It's been a while since I've made a post, but now is as good a time as any to get back into it. Since my last post, there has been some news. Firstly, Triathlon season is mostly finished for me for the season, and I have been focusing on my running in order to prepare for the Montreal and New York marathons. Also, I am officially one of the coaches for the upcoming Team in Training Triathlon team! I'll be training new heroes for the Hawaii Lavaman Triathlon in April.

On to the main focus of this post; my race report for the Montreal Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. This was the first year that race fell under the umbrella of the RnR race series, and in my opinion it was for the better. The first and most significant change was that they changed the race course. In addition to making the course easier to block off from traffic, it was also more interesting for participants. There were fewer long stretches of mostly-empty roads to run, not to mention more entertainment along the course. Every few kilometers there was a stage set up with a live band, playing a mix of cover and original rock songs to pump up runners. Since I don't generally listen to music during races anymore, it was nice to mentally sing along to familiar songs as I passed the stage.

Race morning was familiar enough and fairly organized, well as organized as you can be when you have thousands of people converging on one location. In all, there were 2759 marathoners, and another 8700 runners who all met at the Jacques Cartier bridge at 8:30 in the morning to start the run. It was a cold morning, and many people were huddled together against the wind to keep warm for the start. Corrals were staggered, and the starts were released every few minutes to prevent congestion.

My race started quite strong. I kept a solid starting pace, and I mostly followed up on any TNT participants I could fine, running alongside them for a few seconds to see how they were doing. For about an hour I actually ended up running with a friendly Montreal participant. His pace was slightly faster than mine, so rather than push myself too hard, I let him go ahead of me. My 21k split time was 54:30.

The next 10k went pretty much the same, but after that it got harder. A lot harder. It wasn't just an issue of cramping, or running out of gas, but it just got hard. By the time I hit 32k, I knew I had exactly an hour to run the last 10k if I wanted to break 4 hours. Unfortunately I knew that wasn't going to happen. I pushed, and walked a whole lot. I've seen videos and pictures of people crying when they cross the finish lines of races, and for the first time I really understood why. I crossed the finish line after a 4:07 run, and headed straight for the medical tent for a much needed massage.

That's all for now. Stay posted for training updates as I get ready for the New York ING Marathon.

Thanks for reading, and keep Tri-ing!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Race Recap, Graham Beasley Triathlon

The Technical Stuff
The GB Triathlon is set in Carleton Place, about 40 minutes away from Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. It’s an easy, drive, and parking is easy to find. It is part of the Somersault sporting events, which is a series of marathon, triathlon, and other athletic events, mostly in Ontario. The somersault events are usually very relaxed and casual, which was reflected in this event. One nice thing about the GB Tri is that it actually offers a range of events, including super-sprint distance, swim/cycle, duathlon, relay, try-a-tri, Sprint, and Olympic distance races.

Transition zone was in a first-come basis, so the earlier the you got there, the better position you could choose for yourself. Once set up, there were a few boutique boothsarranged where you could browse sunglasses, and various tri-wear. It wasn't an expo by any stretch, but still nice to see what's out on the market.

The swim starts are done as a mass start for each event. Because the event is really pretty intimate, having gender/age-group specific waves wouldn’t make sense. The swim was in a calm section of the Mississippi  river. There were 3 buoys set up in the water, and the various distances used them as markers.   For the Olympic tri distance, the swim had to do 3 full loops of 500M each.

The bike route followed a mostly straight out-and-back in Carleton Place with fairly rolling hills. Traffic was not entirely blocked off, but was very light anyway so was not of any concern. The road was at time bumpy, and a small stretch near the beginning seemed to be made of packed gravel, which was less than ideal to bike in. However, thanks to the simplicity of the route, few  volunteers were needed and let you keep your speed. Unfortunately. There was also no bottle exchange available,  so athletes had to know to fill their bottles before the race and pace their drinking.

The run was also an out and back, with the Olympic distance running two 5k loops. A lot of the course was loose gravel, which is never the best to run on. There was one water station set up about halfway along the course. My personal observation was that there was a lack of sufficient volunteers at street corners, and at one point I actually ran off course for a few hundred meters before realising.

My Race
Some citizens had thankfully set up sprinklers!
Being my second ever Olympic distance race, I still found it difficult but enjoyable. My swim pace was about even with my first at about 40 minutes. I was pretty winded when I got out so I just walked over to transition and got going on my bike. Not sure if it’s a pacing or nutrition issue, but I just couldn’t get into my groove on the bike, and though my HR wasn’t very high, I found it difficult to catch my breath.  The uphills were challenging for me, since I primarily train on flats, and I could have sworn that I was riding uphill both out and back. I know I know, impossible, but I m gonna have to go over my Timex results before I’m convinced I’m wrong. I cant really say much about the run. Out of the three sports, I have the most experience with running, so I was looking forward to having the chance to maybe catch up some ground. Unfortunately I was way too far behind at this point, but I ran a decent pace.  As I mentioned earlier though, there weren’t enough volunteers, and I did run off course briefly. 

Overall, I do recommend this race, particularly to new triathletes since there are various distance races, and the smaller community feel isn’t as intimidating as some of the bigger event series like the 5i50.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Lake Placid Half Marathon Race Recap

Outside of Lake Placid. The Olympics seems to be the town's only claim to fame.
Some race mornings are warm, some are cold, some loud, others quiet, but somehow they are always perfect. This morning, I found myself in Lake Placid, New York, at just after 6:30 in the morning. Packet pickup was quick and painless, since most participants had picked it up the day before. The morning air was still chilly, so I stayed in the sun as I went through everything I would need for the race; gels and bib on my race belt, changed into my race jersey, and applied sport sunscreen. The race was only set to start at 8AM, so I had a bit of time to wait. I walked around the race setup area, stretching lightly, sipping on water, and generally taking it easy.

Wearing my Team in Training Tri-tank, I was easily recognised by current TNT as an alumni, so chatted with athletes from various chapters, mostly from the New York and Northern PA region. The race directors did a good job of herding athletes to the starting line with about 15 minutes to go, and had great music pumping to keep everyone energised. We were treated to a wonderful rendition of God Bless America, with Pro Triathlete Caitlin Snow holding the US flag.

The race started at exactly 8, and we were off! The course itself was fairly hilly, with the Half-Marathon comprising of a 7 mile switchback. Long downhill stretched on the run out were met with scepticism, since we all realised we would be running back up before too long.  "What goes down, must come up" seemed to be the joke of the race.

With all the TNT'ers, and other friendly racers, there was plenty of words of encouragement and the occasional chit-chat. I actually pulled alongside a TNT alumni and ran with him for what must have been at least half of the race. It was great for me, since he pushed me a bit, forcing my pace up a bit from what I would have probably otherwise ran.

The temperate was fairly hot, and breaks from the direct heat were welcomed, as the forested shade was easily a few degrees cooler than when exposed. Aid stations were spread out every mile or so, and the friendly volunteers handed up an assortment of gels, water, Gatorade, and the occasional orange wedge or halved banana.

The last mile or two of the race were the hardest, with long uphills to get back to the Olympic Oval. Honestly whoever designed the race must be a sadist, because the uphill stretches were cruel, long, and torturous. Nonetheless, the hills crested, and we finished the race by running a lap around the Olympic Oval inner track.

My final time was 1:49:13, a personal best for me by over 20 minutes. I came 27/89 in my division, and 191/1250 overall. I guess triathlon training helps!
I'll add race photos as they come up, and also post the GPS data from my watch shortly, so check back.

Thanks for reading,and keep Tri-ing!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Swimming Drills

As I was browsing the twitter universe this week, I noticed a freind was asking for advice for swimming drills that would be useful, and make his swimming sessions more interesting and more effective. While long straight-swim sessions are important and useful for building endurance, they do little for building proper technique, and can get quite boring ater a while. I typically try to get into the water 3 times a week, and the way I like to split up my sessions is to make one a continuos long-swim, one will be focused on drills, and the other a combination.

So here are some of the drills that I like to use in my training. I'll try to update this occasionally in case I forgot anything or find good new drills.

Catch-up - This drill has two purposes; to teach you to not let your arm drop during recovey; and to help establish a long "stride" with your arms.
Do freestyle as normal, but after your hand enters the water, keep it extended far in front instead of falling into the usual drop and catch. Keep your arm extended until your other arm "catches up" and your hands touch. Then drop the first arm down to propel you further. Stay focused on making long gliding strides with each push.

Finger-drag - Swim regular freestyle technique, but when your arm comes out of the water to reach forward, do not raise it as high as you would normally. Instead, try to just barely touch the surface of the water with the back of your fingers, so that they are somewhat dragging along the water as you extend your arm forward and enter the water for the catch.

Fists - When I was introduced to this drill, my coach actually had me hold tennis balls, but making a fist will work just fine. Quite simply, swim freestyle but keep your fists clenched the entire time. Though this sounds easy, you will notice that your catch becomes a lot less pwerfl, and you may find it difficult to stay high enough in the water to draw a proper breath. The purpose of this drill is to learn how to use different parts of your arms to push you through the water. When you combine this with the regular hands-open stroke, you will ultimately have a stronger stroke that incorporates your whole arm to generate force, instead just your hands.

Speed Sets - Much like running with intervals, it is important to incorporate speed-work into your swimming sessions. Depending on you personal swimming skill, feel free to half or double the distance, but I like to use 50Metres for this drill. Essentially, do four sets of 50M dashes at 90% effort level, allowing yourself 45 seconds rest between sets. Make sure to not too strong on the earlier sets, or you will find yourself just trudging through the later ones. Instead, I find it helpful to sort of think about negative splitting my time between the first and last 2 sets. Also, because I swim in a 25M pool, I'll allow myself a little more effort in the the last 25M of each set. Keep track of your time for each set, and see if your time is improving from month to month.

Paddle - For this drill, you will need to channel your inner surfboarder. Imagine that you are belly-down on plank of wood, and are paddeling out into the water. Instead of making the regular stroke motions, keep your arms somewhat stiff at 90 degree angles, and swim making a "paddle" motion. The purpose of this drill is to get used to keeping your arms farther apart. Too many swimmers end up crossing their arms over their bodies as they swim, and this will help prevent that.

Hand-to-Hip - Swimming is all about bieng efficient, and one area that efficiency is often sacrificed is at the end of the pull. This drill is to help focus on pulling for the entire time that your arm is in the water. As your arm is pulled through the water and begins to raise up, make sure to brush the side of your leg with your hand. Make sure to keep your hand face-down the entire time. Doing this will make it more natural to continue pushing for the entire stroke.

I hope these are helpful.
Have a great swim, and keep Tri-ing!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

T+2 weeks, new running shoes, and news

It's been 2 weeks since my big race, and now it's time to start planning for the next one. It seems like June will be a quiet month for triathlons, as there aren't all that many around. Also, I will be running the Lake Placid Half Marathon mid-June, and hope to volunteer at IM 70.3 Mont Tremblant June 24. Trying to find nearby tri's is actually proving to be more challenging that I had hoped, but I discovered , which is an awesome site. You can visually see where races are, on a map, and filter by month. The one issue I have is that you generally can't see the exact date without going to a specific race website.

I also picked up a new pair of running shoes (you can never have too many). I got the Saucony ProGrid Guide 5. It is a light cushioning shoe, with an 8mm heel-toe drop. It lets me have a pretty good feel with the road, but has just enough support to be used for heavy-duty training. I ran in them for the first time last week on a 10K and feel great. They only weigh 10.1 ounces, and are super comfortable. My only issue, and probably nothing to do with the shoe, is that towards the end of the run and the days after, my calves are killing. I think this is caused more by my running primarily on the forefoot without the muscles being strong enough to support long runs in that technique. I'm starting to get very annoyed with my calf injuries, so I'm going to try to take it easier going forward and really focus on technique

In other news...I'm going to be a Mentor with Team in Training Montreal!!! I'm going to be helping new triathletes fundraise and train to compete in the Nation's Tri in Washington! I'm super excited at this opportunity to giver back and help others have the same amazing experience that I did for the past 6 months or so.

That's all for now, enjoy the summer heat and keep Tri-ing!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

St. Anthony's Triathlon 2012 Race Recap


This past weekend, I went to St. Petersburg, Florida with my team and had an amazing race weekend. St. Pete's is a cute town just outside of Tampa, and although doesn't really have any beaches to speak of, is just a 30-45 minute drive to Clearwater, which has beaches that lives up to its name.

Fitness Expo

The Fitness Expo for the event took place in Vinoy Park, just a short walk away from the transition area. A nice touch that I haven't experienced before was that the whole expo was outdoors, including registration and packet pick up. The staff and volunteers for the race were quick and helpful, and packet pick-up was all-together pretty painless. The one issue I had was that being a member of Team in Training, I was expecting to be racing with the rest of the charity waves, which went last, but was originally scheduled in my age group. Nonetheless, the staff quickly switched me, gave me a different colored swim-cap, and I was on my way.

There were also many triathlon related  retail booths set up throughout the expo. These little stores were selling everything from race chip-holders to full bikes, and everything in between. Prices were generally what one could expect anywhere else, but the sheer volume and range of products made the expo a great one-stop-shop for everything a triathlete might need. I myself picked up this beautiful Zoot Tri Bag.  Also, because we weren't allowed to bring any CO2 cartridges on the flight over, most of us grabbed a couple cartridges, which mostly went unused and were later thrown out.

Body Marking & Transition

Body marking was efficient and early as it usually is. My team got marked up at about 5:30AM, and had everything set up and out before the required 6:30 transition closing. Space was a little tight, but everything fit, and because the area was fenced off, we were allowed to move our bags and non-necessary gear to lean against the fence, out of the way of any athletes during the race.


The Pros  had the first wave, with elite, age groups, and finally novice/charity waves starting every few minutes after. The course itself had apparently changed from previous years, and basically followed 3 sides of a rectangle. The water was a few degrees under the wetsuit legal limit, and between my full body wetsuit and the seriously salted ocean water, I floated pretty well. Honestly I don't think I could have drowned if I wanted to. I'm going to chalk it up to my inexperience with open-water swimming, but I swear the marker buoys were moving. Every time I looked up to sight, I ended up facing the wrong direction. By the end of the swim, I must have swam at least 2000 meters instead of the usual 1500. I finished the swim in just over 40 minutes. I had been hoping to finish about 10 minutes faster than that, so now I know Ill need to practice sighting a bit more before my next race.


The bike course for the race wound through the streets of downtown St. Petersburg. Probably in order to  minimize the total area of the course, the bike route had several out-and-backs. Police presence was heavy. and they did a great job of keeping local traffic off the bike course. The course was very flat, but technical with many turns. Also, because my wave started at nearly 9AM, it was beginning to get pretty warm by the end of my ride. Unfortunately, I had some pretty severe abdominal cramping throughout my bike ride, which slowed me down a little bit, and so I finished with a segment time of 1:32.


The run course was another out-and-back through some nice residential neighborhoods. Though the route was mostly flat, the 90 degree Florida heat made the run very difficult, especially with fairly limited shade cover. The aid stations that were set up every mile or so were a godsend, with water and Gatorade. Many local residents were also out on their lawns or sidewalks with water hoses, party beads, and even some cups of ice-water. Having trained almost exclusively in the cold Canadian winter, I found the heat very hard, and was reduced to walking a few times. Still though, I finished the run at just over an hour. Not exactly a PR, but with that heat and after 2 hours of exercise, I'll take it.

So that's it, my first Olympic distance triathlon. I finished with a total time of 3:17:28 (I spent just over 2 minutes in both transitions). I had been hoping to go under 3 hours, but I'm going to keep that as my seasonal goal, and with many races ahead for this summer, I am determined to hit that mark.

Thanks for reading this rather long post, I hope you have enjoyed it and are getting ready for the race season. 

Happy racing, and keep Tri-ing!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Almost Race Day

Less than two weeks until the big race! I'm technically supposed to be having a big training week before tapering next week, but after a long run on Sunday (following swimming), I noticed my leg was sore, and I quickly realized that I have once again managed to strain my calf. Add on a fever and some funky stomach issues, and I think it would be best to go a little easy to let my body recover. My injured calf is starting to really bug me. Last Wednesday I got a calf cramp while swimming. That stayed sore for a few days after, and this time it still feels tight almost 3 days later. One thing I have noticed is that it happens mostly when I put in any speed work. During my long run, a teammate and I sped up for a few minutes at a time, and I was acutely aware afterwards of a little "niggle" in the calf. I don't know if this could be improved with stretching/exercises, but I will definitely be speaking to a professional about it.

Anyway, as the day gets closer, we are all getting very anxious for the trip and the race. I'm planning my meals for race weekend, and mentally psyching myself up. Here is how I thin my time will break up;

I'm hoping to finish in under 3 hours if all goes well. I've swam 35 minutes in a pool, so I'm thinking that with a wetsuit on and without having to stop and turn at walls I can shave maybe 5 minutes off. Also apparently the saltwater will make buoyancy even better (hopefully!). The once challenge will be the water conditions of course. I am not used to open water swimming at all, but hopefully it wont be too much of a difference.

Though my recent outdoor biking is limited, I feel that I should be able to maintain about 28Kph average on the bike. The course is supposed to be pretty flat, so I'm sure that I will be able to push 30-35 on some stretches if the wind isn't against me.

Running is obviously the leg that I have the most experience in. I've done a few 10Ks before, as well as a few half-marathons. My most recent 10K saw me set a PR with just over 47 minutes with a big uphill section. My recent leg injuries however, have my a little bit worried. Also, I don't really enjoy running it hot weather, and at the time that I write this, the forecast for race day is 32C / 89F . Either way, barring any leg problems, I would love to finish the run in under 5 minutes. Hopefully I wont be too tired from the rest of the race. My plan is to run about 5:15/km for the first half, then really punch it up for the last 5K. Of course, I don't know what kind of toll the heat will take, so again really anything under 50minutes and ill be ecstatic.

That's it for now,

Keep Tri-ing!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Countdown, going longer, and update

There’s only 5 and a half weeks until my race in St Petersburg, Florida!

The countdown is on, and I’m starting to get pretty excited.
As I expected, I feel pretty confident in my bike/run ability, but am still kind of worried about the swim. I haven’t yet actually swam a straight 1500 meters, so I guess I should probably get to that soon. I got some good advice from a teammate though, and now focus on just keeping a steady slow tempo when doing long swims. I know it might be a bit of a copout, but I feel that I get annoyed when doing long swims because I keep losing count somewhere around 500M. At that point, I really end up not knowing how many laps I have done, and honestly don’t know if I’ve done 300 or 800, so just stop. To address this, I was looking at picking up a swimming lap-counter. These devices are typically the size of a large ring, but is worn on your index finger. Every time you finish a lap, you just press a big button on the front with your thumb, it marks a lap, and your good to go.

From the bike/run side, everything is looking great. In the past few weeks I’ve done a couple 2.5 hour bike training sessions as well as some long runs. Last Saturday I ran the equivalent of a Half-Marathon in under 2 hours, which would be a new PR for me by over 15 minutes. I ran it at a very comfortable pace until the last kilometer or so, at which point I got excited to finish in sub 2, so kind of punched it up a notch. My worries about my calf sprain have also subsided. I’ve been running pain-free for the past couple weeks in both my old training shoes, as well as the Zoot Ultra TT 4.0 shoes that I think caused the injury in the first place. Although the shoes are meant to be worn sockless, I personally find it more comfortable with socks. If I choose to wear the Zoots on race day, I’m not sure if I’ll go sockless or not. I guess I’ll have to do a few more training runs both ways before I make a decision.

In other good news, the weather is finally nice enough to bike outside, so this past Sunday, my team and I did a 1.5 hr bike ride, followed by a 1 hour run. (Timex GPS data to come)

I also finally received my official TNT Tri singlet!
I’ll get a photo of it up from Sunday’s training run with it on as soon as I have it available to me.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Zoot Ultra TT 4.0 review

As any triathlete knows, competing and training is largely mental. You can train all the time, but if you aren't confident in your ability, then you've got nothing. Now, while I've got plenty of self confidence in my ability, I find there's no easier way to give myself a little boost from time to time by buying myself little "gifts".

My first gift was my bike. Kinda pricey yes, but an investment. Then came some new shoes, my Timex Global Trainer GPS watch, a wetsuit, and the latest addition, triathlon specific running shoes.

I know I know, it seems like a gimmick. There are plenty of ways to sink money into triathlon, so shoes is just another one. But I began seeing Zoot all over the place and I knew I wanted them. I checked out my local shops to try on different models and sizes and settles on one that I like. Then I scoured the web to find the best price. The same pair that sold for $160 in store, I kind for $81.12 (including shipping) online!

Zoot Ultra TT 4.0
I had to wait a few days for delivery sure, but it was well worth it because I soon received in the mail my new pair of Zoot Ultra TT 4.0 triathlon running shoes!

So what makes these shoes special for triathlon?
The most noticeable thing is that these shoes don't have regular laces. It uses a built-in quick-lace system. This, along with the pull tab at the top and heel of the shoe allow for quick entry at transition, saving precious seconds. The Ultra TT is also designed to dry quickly while running. The shoe materials are very light and thin, and there are actually holes in strategic places to improve airflow. I love this because I know that I get really hot when I run and dump a lot of water on myself, which ends up getting my shoes wet, heavy, and blister-friendly. One last big thing is that they are specially made to be worn without socks.

After receiving the shoes I took them on a practice run on the treadmill at lunch for some long interval work. They feel great! The shoes are super light and move nicely. The one thing to note though, is that they are a fairly "minimal" shoe. I don't know if it was because I'm more used to shoes with a lot of support, or I was running very forefoot, but I managed to strain my calf, which has me out of run-training until it heals up. Also, I did notice that after 6K I was beginning to get the start of blisters near the ball of my foot. I checked online for suggestions, and I think that using a bit of BodyGlide on that area should prevent this until my feet get used to running without socks.

That's it for now,
Keep Tri-ing!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Ile Bizard Blizzard Run 2012 Race Recap

It has been a few weeks since the last post, and I think the best way to go about this is to start at the most recent events then go back.

From Ile Bizard and new FB pic!
Last Sunday I competed in the Ile Bizard Blizzard Challenge 10K. I decide to do this run really as just a fun run, and it isn’t too far from me. I had been planning on running it at a pretty casual pace…but then I checked out last years results. In 2011, there were only 17 people who competed in my age group (25-29), and a fair amount were over an hour. Since I know my easy pace is about 6:00/km, I figured that if I push myself to even 5:00/km I could potentially break into the top ten of my age group.

I should also point out that I didn't want this event to disrupt my Training schedule, so I still went swimming the night before, and did 90 minutes of spinning the morning of the race. Anyhow, the race started and I got off to a pretty decent pace. The run began with a long uphill before winding into a forested area, turned back for the first 5K, then repeated.

The race was tough to be honest. I haven't done much hill training, and I was definitely running faster than I normally do for such a long time. At the end of the first 5K, you had to run to the base of the hill and then climb to the top before catching a break and leveling off.

In the end I finished in 47:10, a time that I was pretty pleased with, and I thought I probably made it into the top 10 of my age group. NOPE! I guess my age group got faster because I only came in 16th!
Either way it was a nice race and I enjoyed the challenge. My coach actually had a 10k time trial scheduled for this Saturday anyway.

I'll give a training update in my next post later this week, since this is getting a little long as it is.

I hope you've enjoyed reading, and Keep Tri-ing!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Suicide Run Drills

This past Saturday, I decided to accept a friend's challenge to run suicide drills from his house to our old school, which is about 1.5km away. This was a bad idea.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, a "Suicide" is a drill used most often in basketball training. It's a pretty simple exercise that basically goes like this;
1) Line up at one end of the gym
2) Sprint to the the first line or a cone, turn around and sprint back to the beginning
3) Sprint to the second nearest line or cone, turn around and sprint back to the beginning
4) Continue until the farthest line, then build back down.

In a gym setting, this is a pretty tiring exercise because the athletes are going at a really high intensity the whole time. The challenge that I accepted was to do a Suicide, using city blocks as my markers. I originally had it in my head that I could do it in a half hour. Obviously I had not done the math, because it turns out that this 1.5Km stretch becomes closer to 15 when you are running it Suicide-style.

I did the run at night, because there are less cars on the road ( I live in a pretty quiet neighbourhood), and I wanted to run on the street since the sidewalks were pretty icy. Oh ya, it was also somewhere around -20celsius while doing this. It was so cold that the display on my Timex Global Trainer stopped working.

The drill is called a Suicide because it is extremely intense. On the road, it is pure torture. I had to run the same path over and over and see the same scenery, the same parked cars, so many times that I still see them in my dreams. My pace wasn't spectacular, which is pretty expected considering all the stop-and-going that I had to do. Also, I was for some reason unable to connect to GPS so I'm basing pace on my footpod, which I find to be a little off. However, I think I ran around 13KM in about 1:20, which come up just under a 10min/mile. Not fast but I'm satisfied.

Oh, in other news, I am officially registered for the Lake Placid Half Marathon ( see countdown on the right). I didn't realise that it happens to be the same weekend or right after my local Spartan Races, so I don't think I'll get a chance to try those out this year, but a Half in a  beautiful new location works for me! Hopefully I'll get to PR with all the training I'm doing now :) .

The next week should be interesting, as we are starting to ramp up the duration of our training sessions.
That all for now, keep Tri-ing!

PS. Shout-out to Tamara! (she definitely didn't ask to be mentioned)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Back to Recap and New Races

It's been a little while since my last update, so I figured I would shoot off a post before hitting the sack.
Training has been going fairly well overall. I've been slowly increasing the duration of my training sessions, and have started doing brick sessions with the team. In case you don't already know, a brick session is where you go from one activity in triathlon to the next immediately, simulating race conditions. Its is more common to do bike-run bricks, simply because its harder to find access to a pool with stationary bikes nearby.
Anyways, last Sunday was the first brick session that we did, with an hour and a half on the bike, and then a half hour run. It went fine overall, and I think I made somewhere around 6 or so kilometres on the run, but something weird happened to my knew and it was kind of hurting for the rest of the week. To let it recover, I stayed away from running last week, and limited myself to swim and bike training sessions. Unfortunately my HR monitor is going to be out of the picture for at least a few weeks until Timex repairs it and sends it back to me. Though this is somewhat annoying, it is interesting to get back to training solely by Rate of Perceive exertion (RPE). It forces me to be more in tune with how my body is feeling, and to trust my body.

This past weekend has been solid in terms of training. I went for a good hour and a half run on Saturday night, and covered just under 15K.

As you can see, my path overlaps a few times. I avoided my usual run because of the weather. Although it actually wasn't too cold, a lot of the ground was slippery, and it was expected to snow heavily. I figured it would be safer to try so stay near my house.
Again, because I don't have my HR monitor, I don't know exactly where I was in terms of Zone, but it was a nice easy pace, and one that I feel I could have kept up for a good period of time.

1/2 ??? Been there, done that! Time for the full distance!
Oh, big news before I forget! I've registered for the Montreal Rock 'N Roll Oasis Marathon. The full distance this time! It will be tough, and need a lot of training, but I think it will be a fun challenge. I was also going to race in the Ottawa race Weekend Half Marathon again this year, but due to scheduling I wont be able to make it. I'm trying to find other nearby races that are close to the same date, and I am currently looking at the Lake Placid Half. It is a much smaller race with a cap of 2,500 participants, but I hear that it's a beautiful course and fun event. Not sure if I mentioned it in a previous post, but I also re-registered for the Cornwall Sprint Triathlon. I got DQ'd last time, and I need to take revenge on the course.

That's all for now,
Keep Tri-ing!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Facebook profile

I was working on a new facebook profile pic, only to realize that since the new timeline came out, Its not the right dimensions.
At least I can post it here.... don't forget to donate!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Tacx Speedmatic T1810 Trainer

If you follow my twitter @FoxontheMove, you may have noticed that I had been promising to write a review on the Tacx Trainer that I bought during the boxing day sale season. Finally, I've had a chance to ride with it a few times, and feel like I could write a fair review of my thoughts and observations about the trainer.

I bought the trainer from They routinely have pretty decent specials on a wide assortment of bike-related products, and I have bought a few different things from them. They happened to have a deal on the Trainer, which aside from having a reduced price, came with a free Tacx Training Tyre! Having a training tyre is important because using the Trainer causes a lot of heat on the rear wheel, and will quickly wear out your regular, possibly racing-specific tyre.

I received the tyre and the Trainer separately about a day apart, which gave me time to figure out how to change my tyre. I found youtube to be pretty useful for instruction guides and tips:

Unfortunately, even with youtube on my side, I managed to pinch my tube right at the valve, which made one hell of an explosion when I was pumping it. The result was this;
This is why you should check for pinches
Anyway, I managed to get my replacement tube on properly, and then waited eagerly for the Trainer itself, which came the next day. I don't know who is to blame, but the box that I picked up from the mail depot was pretty much just the standard package with some tape around it a few times. It had clearly not been handled properly, and there were holes and cuts all over. 
Right off the bat, I should say that the instructions that are provided to assemble the Trainer are pretty complicated. There are some pictures and then a lot of writing which consist of IKEA-esque labelling. "Attach component A to part C and push on Tube E". Kinda nonsense, but you should be able to figure it out for yourself since there aren't too many pieces. Once built, the Trainer is pretty sturdy. With your bike locked in (with the Tacx wheel spoke, provided), your precious bike has become stationary. 
Now that's a pretty sight
One thing that I was worried about was that the Trainer would make a lot of noise, which I had read was a problem for many Trainer. I don't know what everyone is talking about, because with the Training Tyre, the unit makes no more noise than a desk-fan. The Tacx Trainer has a controller that attaches to your handlebar, and offers 10 levels of resistance. Personally, I don't always notice big shifts between the different levels, but it satisfies my needs, and I can usually cruise around level 6. The one thing that I almost definitely cant do with the trainer is stand up and peddle. Even on level 10 and with my gears shifted down, trying to stand and peddle would cause the back wheel to spin too fast, and slip from the resistance roller. Not a big issue, but it  is usually nice to stand and stretch  from time to time on long sessions.
I hope this review is useful. If you have any questions just shoot me a message and I will respond as quickly as possible.
Thanks, and keep Tri-ing!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

First Run Interval Training

So today I got a chance to go for a run with the TNT triathlon team, which is nice because I tend to not be able to make it to the run sessions, and also because it wasn't the bitter -30c cold that we have been getting lately. Our coach introduced us to speed intervals today, where we run at about 90-95% of our max heart rate (HR) for 2 minutes. we did this twice over about 6k, including warm-up. Below is a graph of my pace (blue line) and elevation (green line) for the run. 

I learned some interesting things from these intervals. You can pretty clearly see that the two peaks about a third and two-thirds of the way through represent the interval periods. In the first interval, I pretty much bolted right out of the gate, immediately hitting my peak of a bit fast than a 5minute mile, but was decreasing pace over almost the full two minutes, reaching a 6:41 at the end. The lesson learned is that I may have been pushing a bit too hard early on. Sure I was in the lead, but I heard footsteps not too fair behind, and I would have definitely been passed if we kept going much longer.

During the second interval, I decided to try to pace myself a bit better. I started out not quite pushing myself all the way, but still at a good cadence and decent pace. As you can see, I kept about 6min/mile for the entire period. Unfortunately, my HR monitor is currently broken (hopefully just needs a new battery), so I was not able to properly monitor my HR zone. Nonetheless, I still felt tired out after the interval, but not the crash-and-burn that I felt in the first.

The graph from the 5k run that we did (above) after is somewhat less informative. My pace was a little spastic, though I managed to keep an average page of about 9min/mile. Interestingly, my pace actually increased on most of the small uphill climbs. This wasn't really intentional, I just try to maintain a solid 90rpm cadence on hills.

Anyway, I will likely be taking the better part of the week off, as I will be travelling a bit for work.
Oh, I also got on my Tacx trainer for the first time for 2 hours last night, Ill write a little review about that soon.

Thanks for reading, and keep Tri-ing!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Holidays Training

I hope that this new year find everyone in lots of health and happiness, and a shiny new PR.
Personally, I hate the idea of making a New Year’s Resolution. Resolutions are stupid in general, because they are made too general. It’s easy to say “OK, this year I’m going to be healthy”, maybe go to the gym once or twice, then fall back in to old unhealthy patterns. If you do make resolutions, they need to be S.M.A.R.T! That’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. So a better way of making that same resolution would be to say “In order to live a healthier life, 6 months, I am going go to the gym 4 times per week, and try to lose 10 pounds a month for 6 months by eating more vegetables and less junk food”. Of course, you also need to actually follow through.

I prefer to say that I make a New Years CONFIRMATION. This is because I don’t see a point in choosing one day to change my life. I know that I want to lead a healthy life, and generally I try to do whatever changes need to made to get there (diet and exercise, duh). This means that when Jan 1 hits, all that I’m really saying to myself is “OK keep going”, instead of “let’s change everything now”. Leading a healthy life is hard to do, especially with work, school, family and many other commitments, and it is the gradual changes that I find to me more effective. It is said that our will is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. Trying to immediately cut out all junk food, sodas, chocolates and fatty food is too much all at once, but by slowly eliminating these vices ones at a time, you will make you will stronger over time, and it will be easier to say NO to bad food. Of course, having a small cheating dessert from time to time cant be too bad, right?

Anyway that’s all I have to say about New Years. Back to my diary update; I used my Xmas and New Years vacation days to do a fair amount of training. I went for a nice X-Mas day run with my TNT coach on the mountain, had a nice spinning session or two, and got in some good distance in the pool. I also took advantage of the boxing day sales to order a Tacx Speedmatic Trainer, (more on this on my next post), which will hopefully be coming in the next few weeks.

I’ve gone on a couple nice outdoor runs as well, and realize that it is definitely the way to go, as long as the mercury is above -15 C. I’m not crazy, and with the windshield factor anything colder than that is just too much for me.

Fundraising for St. Anthonys Triathlon with Team in Training is also going well, to date I have a bit over $500. Still a long way from $5K, but a good start I think.

That’s it for now, check back soon for my review on the Tacx Trainer.

Keep Tri-ing!