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, 27 December 2013

My Famous Fails

"There are two types of riders; Those who have gone down, and those who will"

I don't remember where I heard this adage, intended to reference motorcycle riders, but I feel that it applies perfectly well to cyclists as well. Everyone has a story about either a close call or an actual spill. As an ICEdot athlete, I thought it would be appropriate to share some of my more memorable accidents (yeah, there's been a few).

My funniest falls were probably back when I just started getting into road cycling, specifically when I made the big switch to clipless pedals. When I got them, I was worried that I would't unclip in a high speed accident and risk breaking my leg. The salesmen assured me that wouldn't happen and that they were designed to unclip in that situation. What he didn't tell me was the risk of not unclipping when barely moving. Yup, the first few falls on my brand new bikes were a very slow teeter and collapse while rolling to a slow stop. Literally barely moving, a wobble as I failed to unclip, and just toppled over. Honestly it barely even hurt. Might have bruised my ego more than anything. One time though this happened near an intersection as a city bus was turning and I nearly ended up under of it's wheels. That was pretty scary. Lesson learned from these few falls was that it was pretty important to make sure that I got good at unclipping my pedals quickly and smoothly to make sure I don't look this silly again.

I've also had some more serious falls. One happened to me towards the end of last season, that left me pretty banged up. I was on a long ride, actually coming back from the shop where I bought my bike, having just received a quick tuneup. I was in an area that I'm not entirely familar with, and though i knew I had to get up onto a bridge, and saw it, I wasn't sure where the best place was to get up. Thinking I saw a way, I rode quickly across an empty parking lot. While turning, I was looking up at the bridge to follow the road, and didn't see a small patch of sand. As soon as I rode over it, my wheels went out from under me, I fell, and my bike continued another 10 feet (notice how my shoes unclipped though!). I was on the ground in pain for a minute or so when a women who was waiting at a nearby busstop ran over, telling me that she "heard" the fall. Because I was turning, I mostly hit my side. I ended up with a nice bruise on my hip that lasted over a year, wolverine-style scraps on my arms, and some nice road-rash on my legs/knees. Though it's hard to say because it happened so fast,, I'm pretty sure I hit my helmet to the ground, which is what I think the woman heard Overall, I still consider myself lucky to have walked away without breaking anything

My accidents have been pretty tame compared to some of the high-speed wipe outs my friends have told me about, which is why I'm glad to be part of the ICEdot team and to use their system. Accidents happen, and if they do, it's important that everyone has your information.
Feel free to share some of your famous fails!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A cold Demi-Marathon des Microbrasseries (Microbrews, hurray!)

Yes. There was beer

I'm Canadian and proud, so have races in the winter seems like a God-given right! With that in mind, this is a recap of my second ever winter race (the first being the Winterman Marathon 2013), which when translated from French comes out to the Microbreweries Half-Marathon. This race is part of the Gourmandes series, which features local food companies from various regions. It was also the first year that that this particular race was held, and from what I've read from the organizers might be last.

The race popped onto my radar by a Team in Training staff member, and what caught my eye was that I would get a free beer flute if I registered early. I don't even drink beer at home much, but hell I can always use a new glass. Online registration was done pretty fast through the Quid-Chrono system (kinda a simplified French version of As the race got closer, the race organizers sent out plenty of emails with information about packet pick-up, travel, parking, race info and the usual "get pumped" emails. The only thing I didn't love was that everything was in French. I don't mind reading French, but going through long detailed emails gets tiring, and makes it easy to miss important information.
Where's Eddie?
Driving to the race was pretty easy, as the site was only about a half-hour from Montreal. The only bad thing was that the parking lot (actually a soccer pitch) was on a side street, so there were dozens if not hundreds of people stuck waiting for the turn signal to be able to go, causing a fair bit of congestion. There was a little office/chalet to huddle before the race, before we all headed out to get ready. They did a good job of keeping music pumping to keep us motivated, but I feel that we stood there longer than we really had to. They started late, meaning we were all waiting outside in the cold without moving for a good 10-15 minutes.
The race itself was pretty nice. Mostly flat with very light rolling hills through quaint neighborhoods with little no to traffic. Honestly I don't even know if the roads were closed, or there is just so little traffic there. Some locals were waving from their windows or doorsteps, which is always nice to see. Water and sports drinks were set up every few kilometers. Nothing special, just the basics here.

The finish line was where the party really started. There was a great arrangement of fruit, chocolate milk, hot food from local sources and plenty of beer (remember the name of the race?). Unfortunately I was feeling pretty cold, so skipped the beer. However the local McDonald's got in on the action and had a trailer parked and handing out free hot beverages. I helped myself to a hot chocolate with whipped cream because, hey, I just ran a half marathon.

Now is where the trouble started... Something that I didn't mention is that the race was a point-to-point. As in you don't finish where you started. Thanks to only glancing at the all-French emails, I didn't realize that I was a full 18km from the start. The organizers had rented school-buses to shuttle people back to their starting point (were different spots for the 5k, 10k, and 21k routes). The problem is that they only had 2 working buses, which the majority of runners needed to use. Being a race with a few thousand participants, this meant that A LOT of people were stuck standing in the cold, wet and tired, for a while. I think I had to wait a good 30 minutes before being able to get on a shuttle. As much as it sucked, I could forgive the organizers for this one misstep, seeing as it was the first edition of the race, and everything else was pretty much smooth sailing. I finished in 1:49 on the dot, which though I felt like I had given a decent effort, I'm happy with considering I hadn't genuinely trained for it.

This race also marked the official end of my 2013 race season. I took the medal, along with the others from this year and added them to my now quite full shadow box. I'll be on the lookout for other ideas of what to do with medals/bibs.

In the meantime, thanks for reading, feel free to comment below, and keep tri-ing!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Catching up

Wow it's been too long since I've gotten a blog post out. I figure I've got about half a year's worth of catching up to do, so I figure the best way to do so without overloading one post will be to spread it out. This post will focus on what's been going on most recently, then I'll add some older race reports in the near future.

So....first big change has been in my nutrition (as the title suggests..duh). I've basically gone Paleo for the past month or so and it's amazing. Paleo (or at least my version of it), means no grains, no dairy, and as little processed sugar as possible. The reason I say that I'm doing it in my own way is because I don't necessarily agree with all the tenets of the Paleo movement, but I agree with the main principles.Fit, Fast, Fat", and doing my own reading, I've decided to give it a go and see how my body reacts. In addition to following the Paleo diet, I also try to focus on reducing my carbohydrate intake in general, focusing instead on consuming healthy fats.
Eating more whole foods is downright better for your body, and after listening to podcasts like "Ben Greenfield Fitness' and "

I can't say all this has been easy. Or cheap. I've slowly begun stocking my kitchen with coconut oil, "Paleo-friendly" flours, non-processed sweeteners, and more Kale than any one person should have. The hard part is coexisting with my family at dinner's, who don't understand all my choices or that I really do feel like I am doing what is best for my health.

The results so far have been pretty awesome. As an endurance athlete, I was already pretty lean, weighing about 160-165lbs. Since switching my diet over, I've dropped down to closer to 155lbs, and lowered my overall body-fat to just over 11%. Keep in mind that just a few years ago, before starting Triathlon, I was weighing in at almost 190. No, it's not Biggest Loser style weight-loss, but I think thats pretty damn good.
Since nutrition is so important, I'm going to add a "Recipes" tab soon and link to posts with good recipes that I've created or found that are simple, healthy, or just really delicious, all made with an ingredient list that you can pronounce.

On the endurance sport side of things, it is officially the off-season! That means a slightly reduced load of the 3 main sports, and putting in some time to improve general conditioning. My personal goal is to use the next few months to regain some muscular strength through weight training. I am also trying to introduce the maphetone method of training, whereas a majority of your training is done below lactate threshold, which happens to also be the point at which your body switched to using carbs as fuel instead of fat. Since it's winter and icy, this is fine by me since sprints and hill training could be a bit dangerous.

Vineman 70.3 2014 - L'chaim!
For next year, I'm starting to build my race list, and the first major race looks like it will be the Vineman 70.3 in California with the Dozer Team! I love how triathlon gives me an excuse to do some traveling to places I've never been. Also, since I'm moving to the New York area soon, I'm looking at races in that general area, which of course there are many. I was lucky enough to win the lottery entrance to the NYC Triathlon, and I'll be sprinkling in a few short course triathlons, as well as some half-marathons, a full marathon or two, and maybe even a Spartan Race.

As always, thanks for reading, and keep Tri-ing!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Tough Mudder Montreal 2013

Aside from a quick stint in the Dead Sea, I’ve never really been the type to enjoy putting mud on my body. Apparently it’s quite good for you though, and is supposed to even be relaxing. The Tough Mudder is anything but. On July 7, I participated in the TM just outside of Montreal, alongside a small airport landing strip. Though I’ll be calling this a race report, TM is quick to point out and remind participants that it is a challenge, not a race, and that completion is the point of honor. To that end, there are timing mats, no pacer bunnies, no prizes for finishing faster than the guy next to you.

I’m going to try to cover most of the obstacles in the order that they appeared on the course, to the best of my memory.

My wave started at 10AM, a pretty late start for a race but fine by me, since I had to drive an hour to get to the site. Check-in started a bit late in my opinion but was fairly fast, with many tables to check in at depending on the first letter of your last name. Some quick body-marking and bib-attaching later and that’s it. Actually, not quite. In order to get to the starting corral, participants have to first make their way over the 10 foot  tall “Wall of Pain/Shame”, a kind of warm-up and quick physical test.

After reciting the National Anthem and TM code of honor and much cheering, the “race” began. The off-road nature of the course meant that you had to be careful how you stepped, or easily risk spraining an ankle. With around 20 official obstacles, and a 16km course, there was a good mix of running and obstacles to keep you entertained even if you find running boring.

The first obstacle, Arctic Enema, involved jumping into a cargo container filled with ice-water and swimming to the other end, bobbing under a couple of planks at surface level along the way. For the first few seconds it wasn’t so bad, then I realized just how cold it was and breathing started to become difficult, but by then I was almost out.

After that was some more mud-covered ground with some natural hill/mud pits. The next major obstacle involved crawling in mud under barbedwire while being sprayed with water. Not really challenging per se, but I had to make sure to really hug the ground to avoid some low hanging wire. Muddy for a few minutes, Iquickly came up to the next obstacle, the Boa Constrictor which had me crawling and sliding down a pipe into a water hole, then trying to make my way up another pipe, which was a bit more difficult since the wetness made finding a grip pretty tough.

OK, at this point I’m gonna start forgetting which obstacles came in what order, but basically there was a fair bit of crawling through mud, running/walking in mud, and general mudiness. There was the “Berlin Walls” obstacle, with 2 10-foot walls, which participants were generally very friendly and were helping each other mount. Same goes for Everest, where you had to run up a half-pipe ramp. Though theoretically possible to do on one’s own, most were helped along by grabbing the arms of waiting mudders. In general, participants across the course were very friendly and helpful to each other.

The most memorable (and painful) obstacle was by far the Electric Eel. This obstacle has participants crawl in the mud and water under dangling wires that electroshock you if you get to close! According to TM, the shocks can be up to 10,000 volts. The craziest part is that because you are wet, you don’t even have to be touching a wire to get shocked. I started as low down as I could get, but still got shocked quite a bit. I was expecting it to feel like a jolt, the way you sometimes get when touching someone after walking on a shag carpet. Instead, the shocks felt to me like punches, and for some reason they focused on the left side of my lower back. I really wanted to get out fast.

Aside from the Electric Eel, some obstacles were actually pleasant, like Walk the Plank, where you climb up some angled scaffolding and then jump about 15 feet into water. Unless you’re really afraid of (average) heights or water, there was really nothing to it. According to the TM website, there was supposed to be some fire-jumping and obstacles involving smoke, but I guess due to local permit restrictions these obstacles were left out.

At the end of the course you had to jump some 5 foot pits, and then face off against a larger version of the Electric Eel, with two valleys with wires divided by a small hill. In this one you could actually stand and run, or risk crawling through. I chose to scream, cover my head and charge, somehow making it to the hill without feeling any shocks before diving under the second set. The I just mud-crawled my way under the remaining and came out unschocked (but completely covered in mud).

After crossing the finish line, I was awarded with the staple Tough Mudder orange headband, finishers t-shirt, and a can of Dos Exes beer. Then, courtesy of Samsung I got a giant bubble bath before hitting the shower (actually a bunch of high pressure garden hoses lined up.

All in all, a fun “race”. Maybe not quite the toughest thing in the world as advertised, but definitely challenging. Make sure to bring along a few friends if you are going to do a Mudder, because it makes the experience way more memorable.

Friday, 28 June 2013

2013 Mont Tremblant 70.3 Race Report

My first 70.3
This past Sunday, I raced my first Ironman 70.3 in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. Though my race did not go as I wanted, it was by all other accounts a great race.
The race weekend began on Friday, with athlete check-in (also available Saturday) taking place in the main Mont-Tremblant village, which is in itself a picturesque vacation village. The resort village looks somewhat what I would expect of an old town in Switzerland, with colourful roofs and quaint storefronts.
Check-in was quick and painless. All I had to do was bring a piece of ID, find my bib number from a wall of athlete names. From there I was given some consent and emergency contact forms (OK, maybe a bit overboard here, I felt like I was getting a mortgage) which didn’t take too long to get through. Next, everyone had to get weighed. I’m assuming this is for medical purposes, such as if a participant passes out during the race, it would be important to know their original body weight to determine how much fluid loss occurred. After that, I just simply moved down a line to pick up my goodie bag,  swimcap, race chip, free t-shirt, merrel headband-y thing, identifying wristband, and that’s it.  The goodie bag is actually a pretty nice version of your typical 2-string backpack. Inside was just some local flyers, a 2-pack of deodorant (like it would help over the course of a 70.3).
Bike check-in was on Saturday, which again was simple and clean. The transition area was easily navigated, with signposts and name markers for each spot. Later in the afternoon was a mandatory athlete briefing, where various speakers went over some rules (such as not needing to wear a number bib on the bike) and some course details. Really most of the course specifics was redundant to anyone who had read the athelete guide, which I’d be surprised if anyone had not at that point.
Race Morning (Sunday)
Transition and body marking began around 5am lasting until 6:20. Since I was in the last starting wave at 8:05 (IM has recently introduced wave starts instead of mass starts for safety reasons), I went towards the end of the allowed time, quickly set up my transition, got marked, then headed back to my hotel room. Unfortunately my stomach was feeling a little off, which I attributed to pre-race jitters. Though I would normally stay for a quick warm up swim, I didn’t feel like “hanging out” for 2 hours, not to mention that warm-up swims would not be allowed once the first wave started.
By my fault alone I got to my wave corral pretty late because I was unsure of where it was, and I was doing some last minute packing Sunday morning. With maybe 5 minutes to spare, I quickly slipped into my wetsuit (more like squeezed into), and ran to my corral. Shortly after I was lining up and then with a bang was running towards the water. Immediately the cold water caused my chest to contract making it hard to breathe properly. Also not helping was that my brand new goggles (no choice, lost my regular pair) did not fit properly and my right goggle kept filling with water. Within a few minutes I started to breathe more or less normally but I was pretty far at the back of the pack. A slow swim for me, and with the aid of a couple of cayaks guiding me, I got through the swim in 58 minutes.
Coming out of the water, I realized my stomach was giving me serious issues, so my T1 took a little longer than it should have for a potty break. After that I was on the bike. Being in the last wave and one of the last out of the water at that meant that most of my ride was alone, mostly seeing athletes coming the other way.

For most of the bike, I was actually surprised that the elevation profile wasnt as bad as it had seemed when I looked it up earlier. In the first 70km, there were maybe 2 or 3 big hills, but aside from that fairly flat/rolling terrain. Looking at my watch, I seemed to be on a pretty good pace. The big challenge came in the last 10km or so, going up Montee Ryan. What a bitch! I was forced to get off my bike and walk a few times, again not helped along by my cramping stomach. By the time I pulled into T2, I been biking for 4:10, and missed the bike cut-off by maybe 5 mins.

A quick transition later I was on the run. Leaving the village was a little hilly, and my overall fatigue had me walking up some of the larger hills. at about 5km I met up with a nice couple from Ottawa who were doing a 1 minute walk, 15 second run pattern, so joined them for a bit until about 9km, at which point that I might be pushing the course cutoff once again, so tried to do more running. Still having stomach issues, I had to stop again for some potty time. From aroun 15-19 began walk/running with a former TeaminTraining participant from NY, and then pulled ahead, sensing the finish line.

The last kilometre was great, the last 500M even better, as I began running into the Tremblant village, and down the finishers shute. I finished my first 70.3 Ironman at 8:10:00 , and though not happy with my results, am still happy to say that I did it.

For after the race is a nice lineup of typical post-event food for participants, bagel, fruit, yogurt, chocolate milk and so on. Bike pickup was painless with just a flash of the wristband to match with your bike number and the day was over.

I highly recommend this race to anyone who dares take on a few challenging hills amidst beutiful scenery. My race could have gone better, but after taking a month and a half off due to injury (and getting engaged), and a less than 100% race day, I still feel like I got my full IM experience.

Monday, 27 May 2013


Thursday, 23 May 2013

A New Foam Roller Front Plank Move for Triathletes

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Scotiabank Half-Marathon 2013

You never really know what you're going to get on race day. Train all winter in the cold for an early-season race, and you'll probably end up with race day hitting record high. You can end up with races in extreme heat, pouring rain, bitter wind, and everything in between. Fortunately, as I toed the starting line at last weekend's Scotiabank Montreal 1/2 Marathon, I didn't have to worry about the weather. Though the weeks before had been strangely cold  with a full-blown snowstorm hitting Montreal 2 weeks earlier, race day was perfect. It was about 20c, but with a gentle cool wind. Not enough to make it harder to run, just enough to take the edge off of the sun.

The Scotiabank Half is an annual race held in Montreal that includes a 1k, 5k, 10k, and half marathon distances. The start and ending point for all distances are about the same, with everyone running in/out of Parc Jean Drapeau. Near the start are sponsors tents, washrooms, and lockers available for rent. While it was nice to have everything in one place, I found it also created some confusion. This is because there were different start times for different race distances. By the time I got to the general preperation area for my 10AM (I got to sleep in) race start, other runners were already finished or finishing. I was thoroughly confuse about where the race begin and end were. As a past Team in Training participant and coach, I found my way to their tent, met up with some friends, and we all found our way to the race start.

This summer, I'm doing a few of my races as part of "Team Dozer", a small split-off of Team in Training alumni who keep racing and raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. So at 10AM, we Dozers were lined up in our respective corrals, wearing bright yellow team jerseys. My goal time as prescribed by my coach was to run a 1:40. The thing that scared me the most is that i was really just barely recovered from a nasty cold that had been troubling me for a few days. That Friday night, I went to sleep early and logged an impressive 11 hours of sleep. I was hoping that getting enough rest would help me hit my target time. For the first 10k or so, I was actually keeping close to on pace to hit this goal, but I was realizing that I was working too hard to maintain that pace and soon had to slow down. I ran a few kilometers with my past coach Sacha, but  ended up telling him to run ahead since it was clear that he could hold the faster pace better than I could.

The course did a couple long loops over Ile St. Helene and the Circuits Gilles Villeneuve, also passing by the olympic basic. It was at this point, around the 15 or 16 km marker that I began to really fade, and even had to resort to walking a bit. The last few kilometers were becoming painfully exhausting, but I tried to run as much as I could. Ultimately,  despite some walking and slowdowns, I finished with a new PR of 1:47:42 , beating my Lake Placid Half marathon record by about 2 minutes! I know I could have paced better, but I still know that the methodology of my training helped me hit a PR, and am happy to see solid results, despite recovering from a cold!

Thanks for reading, and keep tri-ing!

Racing in Paradise

Oh man I wish - Timex
Racing in Paradise

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

How To Ride A Triathlon Bike

wish i had known this or the past year - courtesy of timex
How To Ride A Triathlon Bike

Friday, 17 May 2013

2013 Mother's Day Gift Guide

Friday, 3 May 2013

Team Hoyt Honored With Statue At Boston Marathon Start

As a member of the Timex Factory Team, I will occasionally be posting interesting articles that are published through Timex. This is a great article that covers the amazing actions of Team Hoyt.
Team Hoyt Honored With Statue At Boston Marathon Start

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

"Strive for progress..."

Courtesy of Timex
"Strive for progress..."

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Getting Coached, Getting Sponsored, Getting Ready!

You might remember in my recent post about Triton Triathlon that I was in the market for a tri coach to help push me through this season. After doing a lot of searching around the web at different coaching options, I ended up going to some local triathletes that I know and asking their opinion. They referred me to a coach working out of one of Montreal’s most popular tri shops, Cycle Technique.

I met with the coach, Gil, and I really liked his approach! He definitely knew his stuff, and made it clear that he was readily available for feedback when needed. All my training would be planned and logged with TrainingPeaks, which I have already using for over a year, and getting coached meant that he could co-opt me into his Premium edition of TrainingPeaks. Gil schedules my workouts for the week every Saturday, but also responds to any feedback that I had for particular sessions. So far, his workouts have been definitely kicking my ass and getting me to push more than I would have. Beforehand, my typical bike trainer session went something like this;

5- 10 min warmup
About 45 mins of constant cycling at  90rpm
Maybe a sprinkle of one-leg drills
5 -10 min cooldown

Now, this is a typical workout taken from the past week

90 cad / warm up 2x(2'@z1.5+2'@z2)
70 cad / @ z2 with 15" pick ups to z3
3x(85 cad / 3'@ z3 +2' @ z4)
100 cad / @z1
60 cad / @ z2 jumps 15" intervals
100 cad / 10 x ( 1'@ z4 + 1'@ z2)
100 cad / @z1-2 in aero
cool down

Other big news is my getting accepted into the Timex FactoryTeam

While many people call this a sponsorship (I guess it technically is), here’s the jist;
After applying and being accepted, athletes are required to pay $100 to Timex. A sponsorship that you have to pay for? Sounds weird, right? But it’s not so bad. Once a part of the team, Timex will send you the following branded products;

My collection of shwag

Headsweats Visor
Headsweats Light-weight hat
Run belt
Water Bottle
Timex Watch (mine was an Ironman 30-lap watch)
A bunch of Timex Stickers

Along with these, athletes also receive a one-time use code to receive 40% off at the online Timex store, and an $80 credit to purchase specially designed Timex Factory Team Clothing through the Champsys network. To be fair, most of the nicer gear costs more than $80, but I could still use it to get away with a free cycling jersey, tri top, tri shorts, windbreaker jacket, and other basic clothing (like a lot of socks), or at least get a nice discount on other gear. So far I haven’t decided what to get.

All in all, my math works like this (assuming I would pay for similar items at some point, and that whatever I would buy from the Timex store costs at least 100 bucks)

So from a financial perspective alone, yeah its worth it for me to join the TFT. Also, being part of a team or community in any way is always fun and makes racing more enjoyable. Members also get occasional emails with exclusive discounts or offers, making members feel really privileged. 

Yes it’s part marketing gimmick, but its also a fun idea!

With about 12 weeks to go until 70.3 Mont-Tremblant, I’m getting excited and doing what I can to prepare. I know that I still need to do a lot of hill work, both on the bike and on the run, so I’m hoping that warmer weather will let me do more work outdoors.

Thats all for now!
Thanks for reading and keep Tri-ing!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Winterman 2013 Race Report

The Team in Training Coaches!
Ok it's a cheesy line for a frozen race, but it was printed on my number bib, so don't blame me exclusively.
This past Sunday I went over to Canada's capital, Ottawa, for the Winterman Marathon. I had signed up for the full distance a while ago, but due to a lack of proper training, I felt that I should maybe switch to the half. Of course, machismo kicked in when I got there so when I approached the registration desk to pick up my number, I blurted "Marathon" quickly without hesitation.

The Winterman Marathon has been going on for a number of years, put on by the good people at Somersault events, who organized other races that I've done such as the Carleton Place Tri. This year was the largest yet, with 1,500 people participating between the different events (5K,10K, 1/2, Marathom, relays), but you wouldn't really notice it, especially when comparing to a 20,000+ person event like the RnR Montreal. Registration happened inside the Canadian War Museum, where they also handed out souvenir shirts, sold race merchandise, and picked up your timing chip.
The race officially started at 8:30 with a cannon shot (real cannon! It's a WAR museum after all), though you were able to request an early start for 8am.

The course for all the events were basically the same course, with the marathoners running 8 loops. The course was slightly rolling One aid station was set up near the turnaround at the end, as well as right after the timing mat that marked laps. The aid stations carried either water or Gatorade. For the first time ever I was actually HOPING that the water would be warm! I really have to hand it to all the volunteers, who rotated in shifts, for standing outside to support our foolishness.

My race went as well as I could have hoped for considering my lack of marathon-specific training. My time was not very impressive (4:35:52), but thanks to the small size of the race, I managed to snag 3rd place in my age group! My first time on the podium, so I'll take it! The race wasn't particularly scenic, and running loops didn't help. Neither did the -20 degrees temperature or wind coming off the river. But all these things are what made the race fun. One of the most special parts for me was running most of the second half of the race together with fellow Team in Training coaches, and running across the finish line in tandem, with smiles across all our faces.

Did I mention that it spins?!
The finisher medal is appropriately shaped like a snowflake, and the marathoner's flake spins inside an octoganol metal frame. Though distinct, they do reuse the race medal, but change the lanyard. Along with the medal and T-shirt, the race also provides participants with a small towel (perfect for using on a bike trainer), and a reusable Somersault grocery bag filled with some sponsored booklets, a snack, and some Deep Ice lotion.

Winterman 2013 will always hold a special place in my mind. It wasn't particularly the hardest race (aside from the temperature), and it wasn't my fastest, but it was certainly a lot of fun, and I hope that I can make it back in future years because, hey, I have to defend my (bronze) title.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Looking for a Coach - Triton Triathlon Coaching

In my attempt to better myself as a triathlete and my overall fitness, I've began looking for a coach or coaching program. I don't really mind using an online service or interaction, but I don't think I'm quite ready to start shelling out $100+ a month for a coach, so for now I'm trying to find an effective but cost-sensitive coaching program.

The criteria that I'll judge any programs on are:
- Price
- Training Plan structure/ adaptability
- Coach responsiveness

One that I found was the newly created Triton Triathlon Coaching. This online service was created by Simon Whitfield, a renowned Canadian Olympic triathlete.

Getting Started

Triton offers a free 10 day no credit card required membership, that grants full access and is really a nice way to check if the program is for you. Set-up is quick and painless; input basic information, then select goal race distance and date, then add in any additional races that you have scheduled between now and then. Since training for races requires a minimum training period, the system will not let you select a race that is too soon (don't expect a 1 month training program for an Ironman). The system will then populate a complete training calendar for you to follow.

Using Triton
As you go through your calendar, you just click on the workout(s) of the days, length and specific exercises or intensity levels is prescribed for you to follow, along with tips and instructional videos.

After your workout, it is important to log how it went, which is supposed to help the program adapt to your responses. Since you don't upload anything (recorded HR, pace etc from a watch), this is the only way for the program to get a sense of what you need going forward.

So how does Triton stack up in the end?

At only $40 a month, Triton is arguably one of the cheapest triathlon coaching programs that I have seen. Membership can be cancelled at any time.

Training Plan
- Visually clear, and entire training calendar is visible right away
- Workouts can be moved within the week account for time limitations
- Workouts are clearly explained
- Feedback is available
- Site is slow

Coach Feedback
Coach feedback is available through a messaging dashboard. You simply write any concerns or questions and can expect a response not long thereafter. My first emails to customer service took 36 hours to respond, and the second not too long after. Depending on what you're used to, this might be considered a while.

- Can only schedule triathlons can be scheduled as non-goal races. How do I account for a half-marathon during my training period?
- Training time seems on the low end. For a half-Ironman, my longest bike ride is less than hours
- Feedback sometimes takes time.
- Plan adaptation is based on just a few log responses, not recorded data (HR, pace, etc...), uncertain how much it really changes based on input.
- Scheduling must be done completely manually. Since I know I will not be able to train on Saturdays, I'll have to move each week's training to different days
- There has been reported issues with a lack of sufficient REST days

Overall, I think that Triton has the potential to be a great training program for many athletes, but at this time the service is just too new, and has too many features that are "coming soon" to be a complete training guide or substitute for a live coach.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

2013: my Goals and SWOT

2013: my Goals and SWOT

I've been doing a lot of schoolwork lately, and so I figured the best way to go ahead and talk about my upcoming year is the way I would on any business report.

My overall goal for the year is to double the total distances that I bike/ran last year, and double the hours in the pool. Thanks to my handy dandy Timex Global Trainer, I know that last year I covered 453km of pavement, and wheeled my ass over 447Km. These numbers aren't totally exact, since I don't always run with my watch, but those are the numbers I'm using and I'll try to use my watch as often as I can.

I havent planned all the races that I'll be doing, but so far I'm registered for;

Winterman Marathon
Scotiabank Montreal 1/2 Marathon
Montreal Marathon
Mont Tremblant 70.3 Ironman
Cornwall Sprint Triathlon

I know I will sprinkle in a few half marathons and other triathlons here and there, but I dont want to make my schedule so rigid just yet.
The Winterman Marathon is coming up pretty soon (less than a month away!), and it has me nervous as hell. Not because I'll be spending around 4 hours outside in the middle of a Canadian winter. Not because the course involves running 8 2.5km switchbacks. Not because I know Ill have to drive back home with legs cramping. The scariest thing to me is that although I've kept decently fit, I haven't been running much. I feel like I've just been busy with travelling, holidays, sickness, blah blah blah, but I just haven't been training right. I know I can do half of it no problem, but I'm worried that the second 21km might be really tough for me.

Time for the SWOT
I consider myself a decent runner
I have confidence from having completed a number of endurance events

Weaknesses (oh boy this is gonna be long)
Need to improve hill climbing (both on bike and run)
Swimming isn't that great
Diet needs to be improved
I don't get enough sleep

I've got a pretty fixed schedule so I just need to plan myself better
I have friends who are into endurance sports as well who might train with me
My girlfriend is recently also health-conscious, will help motivate me

Unexpected schedule interruptions
Family Events
Delicious food

Gotta say that after writing it out, I see how much room I have to improve. but know that I have time in the future to do it.

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