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!!!

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!