On Sunday, I was back in Muskoka for my first triathlon in over a year, the popular and challenging Muskoka Long Course event. With a 2km swim, 55km ride, and 15km run, I was planning on making this a tune-up for my upcoming half-Ironman in Peterborough. I had been feeling good about my training, and was hoping to significantly improve on my 2006 race here.

We headed up to Muskoka on Saturday afternoon, and into mistake number one: camping in Arrowhead Park, about a 15 minute drive into town and to the race location. Why mistake number one? The mosquitos. Within about two minutes of getting out of the car, I had bites all over the place.

After setting up camp, we headed into town for dinner and mistake number two. This one was East Side Mario’s, and the all-you-can-eat bread and salad. The pasta dish likely would have been enough, without a few extra helpings of bread and that last salad.

Morning came quickly, and mistake number three: bagels for breakfast. I was completely stuffed after a Boost, banana and whole wheat bagel with peanut butter. Too much – I could feel it sitting in my stomach as we made our way to the race site. Not to mention we were late leaving, and had to rush around to get setup and down to the swim start.

SWIM: 2km – 39:38 (1:59/100m)
30/60 M30-34, 232/778 Overall

I have been swimming a lot this winter, and had consistently been around 36 minute pace on my long swims in the pool. During the swim, I felt pretty good, and passed a lot of people from the wave ahead of me. Coming out of the water though, I was pretty disappointed with my time, as I had been hoping for something faster. Looking at the results though, my swim was a lot better than I realized at the time. In 2006, I was 49/57 on the swim in my age group, and 542/745 overall. So relative to everyone else, it was a pretty good day in the water for me.

BIKE: 55km – 1:47:37 (30.7 km/h)
34/60 M30-34, 315/778 Overall

T1 is where all my mistakes caught up to me. I got to my bike and had this sudden urge to toss my cookies (or bagel, in this case). I felt horrible. I took a few seconds to catch my breath, and slowly left the transition. The feeling didn’t pass, and I ended up spending the first 15-20km on the bike spinning along slowly, almost stopping to try to throw up every two minutes. I have been hurting a lot in races before, but had never been sick like this.

About halfway through the bike I started to feel better, got a little pissed off with all the people passing me, and picked it up to turn in a middle of the pack bike ride. My cycling has been strong on my training rides lately, and I had been hoping to really have a good ride, but I definitely learned a thing or two about how not to eat before a race on this one.

The bike course was extremely challenging – lots of steep hills and some technical twisty sections. It was also pretty dangerous though – the roads were in very rough shape! I lost a water bottle after hitting a pothole, and I wasn’t the only one – the course was littered with water bottles, spare tubes, and toolkits. I saw a few people bloodied up from crashes – I wasn’t the only one having a rough day on the bike!

RUN – 1:09:59 (4:40/km)
22/60 M30-34, 182/778 Overall

After my swim and bike ride, I was pretty demoralized, and started to shut it down a little. I had been aiming for a 1:05 run, but just didn’t have it mentally. My legs actually felt pretty good most of the run, but I couldn’t bring myself to push it harder. Despite bettering my 2006 run time by over 6 minutes, I was still disappointed.

Total – 3:40:26, 32/60 M30-34, 216/778 Overall (Full Results)

Overall, I was a pretty disappointed with my results, mainly because I had set higher goals for myself this year. On reflection, I had a pretty decent swim (for me), though I was unhappy at the time. The ride was a real letdown, and by the time I got to the run I didn’t have the motivation to push. This was a great learning experience for me about the mental aspects of this sport – hopefully next time I’m having a bad race I’ll be able to dig a little deeper and push it a little harder. I also am going to change up my pre-race nutrition a little, eat a little less and stick to stuff I normally eat on the mornings of workouts.

On the bright side, slacking off in the race has left me feeling relatively fresh for training this week! Three more weeks of training and then off to Peterborough for the half-Ironman!!


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