On Sunday I was back in Peterborough for another shot at the half-Ironman. Two years ago, I was crushed by the swim and bike, cramping up very badly just a kilometre into the run. My training this year has been much more focused and consistent, and despite struggling in Muskoka a few weeks ago, I felt confident heading into this race.

Race day promised to be another hot one, with temperatures forecast for 30 degrees and the sun shining all day. Departing from the tradition of camping at the race site, I decided to get up early and drive up. It worked out well, as I was at the race site by 6:10am, and managed to get myself a prime spot at the end of the bike rack. I had plenty of time to get setup, get in a short bike run, a run warm-up, and down to the water to swim a couple hundred metres before the race started. It was nice to be relaxed and not rushed, and I felt ready to go as we lined up for the 8:00am start.

SWIM: 2km – 35:54 (1:48/100m)
17/50 M30-34, 109/471 Overall

My swimming has come a long way in the past couple weeks, and this was a personal best swim pace. I finished the first 1km loop in just under 17 minutes, and felt strong right through the second lap. I came out of the water at around 35 minutes, and running up the beach, had the girls cheering me on. My friend Blair was racing with me, and he is typically a couple minutes faster than me on the swim. I was shocked when I heard them say “Come on Dan”, immediately followed by “Let’s go Blair”. I looked back and saw that I had beat him out of the water – a nice way to start the day!! On the run up the beach however, I started to feel some twinges of cramping in my hamstrings – not a good sign at that point in the day! Blair and I went into T1 together, and after a quick transition, I was off on the bike.

BIKE: 90km – 2:34:32 (34.9 km/h)
10/50 M30-34, 68/471 Overall

Despite the soreness in my legs from the swim (still got to figure out why that happens), I managed to quickly get my breathing under control and settled in on the bike. On my training ride in Peterborough a few weeks ago, the wind was pretty bad, but I could tell within the first few minutes on the bike that we were going to have a nice, calm day for the ride. After my poor performance on the bike in Muskoka, I wanted to see what I could do, and kept up a solid pace. I hit the turn around averaging about 36.5 km/h, and knowing that the second half was a little harder, still figured I could fairly easily finish the ride with a 34km/h average. Around the 60km mark, with my average still hovering just over 35km/h, I began feeling the beginning of quad cramps in my legs. I backed off a little, and managed to cruise back into the transition with a very respectable bike split. I was surprised to see only about 10 bikes on the racks, and figured I was on pace for a sub-5 hour time.

RUN: 21.1km – 1:56:16 (5:31/km)
23/50 M30-34, 160/471 Overall

Running has typically been my strong suit, and during training the past few weeks, I have felt very fast on the run. I pushed through the first two kilometres in just over 9 minutes, but then started to feel my old friend the “quad cramps” setting in. Despite changes in my nutrition strategy on the bike, including more electrolytes, I still suffered badly from the swim and ride. By the 5km mark I was walking for a minute through the aid stations, and around the 8km mark my hamstrings started cramping up. At the 11km mark, I needed a 48 minute 10km for a 5 hour time. I gave it everything I had for about 2km, but pretty much blew up with 8km to go. The rest of the run was a painful jog, walking the aid stations. I had put some distance between myself and Blair on the bike, but knew he was gaining on me. At the final turn around with less than 2 kilometres to go, I could see he was less than a couple minutes behind. I dug down again and finished strong to break 5:10, and finish about two minutes ahead of Blair. It is amazing how close we end up, considering that over a 5+ hour race we were less than two minutes apart!

Final: 5:09:28 – 19/50 M30-34, 102/471 Overall (Full Results)

I was pretty happy with my performance, especially with the swim and the bike. It was nice to see that the work I have put in on both paid off in some faster times at both, and overall, I was close to 20 minutes faster than the last time I raced here in 2006.

I was disappointed with my run, because I am a much stronger runner than I showed. I’m trying to figure out why I cramp so badly getting off the bike – that hasn’t happened to me in my training rides. I am leaning towards blaming my swim technique, since the swim is the only addition to the day than my long brick workouts. Even coming out of the water, I could feel the tightness and soreness in my legs. I’ll have to work on loosening things up in the pool over the next little while, and hopefully that will help me to be able to put down a little better run split next time!

I haven’t sorted out my race schedule for the rest of the summer, but hopefully I’ll be able to fit in another half-Ironman and see if I can get even faster!


4 comments untill now

  1. Hi Dan! I am a triatlete here in Europe. I have been in Toronto 2 year ago. I loved the city. But must be hard to train in the winter there 😉 So cold!
    1 year ago i have started a part-time business opportunity in nutritional suplements and skincare worldwide. I am looking for partners in this field who are really looking to develop in the wellness area, at the same time achiving financial freedom. You can check my story at http://www.brunogrilonetwork.com . Do you know someone that have this profile? Thanks for your help! Regards, Bruno

  2. I just had the same problem this week at Steelhead in Michigan. I had a very strong bike but could not run without extreme cramps. A fellow runner next to me saw my agony and gave me a salt tab. In desperation I took it. Within about 2 minutes I had complete releif from the cramps and resumed running only to have them come back about 2 miles later. I am now talking to many triathletes that have been doing this for a while and tell me you “can’t do a race that long without salt tabs.” I am now researching this and it seems to have some validity.

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