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!

Muskoka – Pre-Race Nutrition Woes!

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!!

On Friday afternoon last week, my friend Jill emailed myself and a few of my other active friends, asking if any of us wanted to race with her in the HSBC Triathlon Series Binbrook Triathlon on Sunday. I really haven’t been training much this summer, other than a few bike rides and a little running, and haven’t been in the pool since January. But I figured there was no better way than to kickstart my season by getting out there and getting killed in a real race!! I also managed to talk my girlfriend into racing with me, so the three of us were up at 5:30am on Sunday and off to the races!

The weather forecast called for a warm, sunny day, and with how badly I felt on my first brick workout this week, I was expecting a tough day. With my complete lack of swim training, I also had no idea how I’d fare on the swim. We arrived at the race site an hour early, but still had to register and get setup in the transition area. I ended up making it down to the water only a couple minutes before the race started, and only had time for few quick warmup strokes before the gun sounded and we were off!!

SWIM: 750m – 16:44 (2:14/100m)
6/13 M25-29, 40/185 Overall

For not having any swimming under my belt, the swim wasn’t too bad. I think the course was a little long, as the fastest swim pace for the day was 1:47/100m. So my pace wasn’t too bad (my goal is to consistently swim under 2:00/100m). I felt alright for the first 100m or so, but after a couple minutes, had to fight to catch my breath. I finally settled into a nice rhythm about halfway through, and focused on staying on the toes of people ahead of me. The swim wasn’t nearly as rough as a lot of the races I did last year (I didn’t get punched once), and overall, I was pleasantly surprised with my performance in the water.

BIKE: 27km – 49:29 (32.7km/hr)
3/13 M25-29, 26/185 Overall

I have been on the bike quite a bit lately, and was expecting to have a good ride. I had a decent transition (7th fastest on the day), but lost the time I gained there trying to get on my bike. I had my shoes clipped into my pedals, but as I tried to climb on, one of them caught on the ground and got pulled out of the clips. So, I had to stop, climb back off, grab my shoe, put it on, then get going again. Probably cost me a minute or so right there… not a good start to the bike!!

Out in flat, open fields, the ride was also pretty windy. There was a good headwind for the first 7-8km, and with very no speedometer, I wasn’t sure how fast (or slow) I was going. I finally hit the 10km marker and was disappointed to see that I was just under 20 minutes, barely over 30km/h. I knew I would have more wind with me on the way back though, and tried to pick it up a little for the second half.

Overall, the bike speeds also seemed pretty slow, so maybe the course was a little long. I passed quite a few people on way back in, and was very suprised when I came into the transition to see only 3 other bikes on the rack for my age group.

RUN: 6.5km – 31:34 (4:52/km)
5/13 M25-29, 34/185 Overall

I felt alright coming off the bike, but after half a kilometre, I knew I didn’t have the legs left for a really fast run. I just hoped I could hold on to a decent finishing spot. The terrain was tough, with a lot of trail and grassy running, which made things slow. It was also very open, and by the time I got onto the run course, the sun was up and the heat was on. I gritted my teeth and kept moving on the run, and surprisingly, only got passed by a few people on the run. I think the heat was getting to everyone out there.

Total: 1:39:48 – 4/13 M25-29, 24/185 Overall (Full Results)

All in all, not a bad start to the year. I was happy with my swim, felt alright on the bike, and was a little disappointed with the run. This was my first race ever with the HSBC MultiSport series. It was fairly well run, though I really missed the mile markers on the bike and run course. TriSport marks out every 5km on the bike and every kilometre on the run. In yesterday’s race, I really missed the markers on the run, as I had no idea what sort of pace I was going.

I had a great day and it felt awesome to get out there and do it. The girls also had a lot of fun and we all finished strong!! Can’t wait until the next one!!

If you’ve read my blog entries from the last few months, you’ll know that my 2006 season has been one where I’ve pushed myself to my limits. Before the season, I had three major goals:

  1. Break 1:30 for a half-marathon
  2. Finish a half-Ironman
  3. Run a full marathon

I got goal number one out of the way early in the Waterloo Half-Marathon . In July, I managed to will myself through the half-Ironman run and cross the finish line (Peterborough Half-Ironman Report). Yesterday, my final day of reckoning for 2006 came as I took to the starting line in the Toronto Marathon.

As triathlon season wound down in August and early September, so did my training. I am also back in school this fall (see my MBET blog), and the last few weeks have been busy with projects, tests and networking. My training for the past month consisted of long Sunday runs (got up to 35km a few weeks ago), and maybe one short run squeezed in during the week. With the relatively low volume of training I had done, I was worried heading into the race about how I would hold up over the distance. On the bright side though, I was feeling fresh and strong heading into the race!!

One of my biggest concerns was the weather and how to dress. The high was predicted to be around 10 degrees Celcius, but it was much colder at the start. Despite being worried about overheating, I wore long tights, a long-sleeve running shirt and little “magic mitts”. I threw on a throwaway T-shirt overtop to keep warm until I heated up, and was ready to go.

First 21.1 km – 1:30:49 (4:18/km)

My strategy going in was to try to run around 4:25 – 4:30 / km for the first 10km, then see how I felt and maybe pick it up. As always seems to happen when I get in a race, I went out hard. Despite seeing my heart rate in the high 170’s (in training I tried to keep it around 165), I told myself I was feeling good and running easy. I tossed the throwaway T-shirt at the 5km mark and turned up Allen Road. The stretch of run through G. Lord Ross park was a nice change from the city streets, and I hit the 10km mark around 43 minutes. I kept it up, and passed the 14km mark in just over an hour – that’s almost a 3-hour pace!! Way too fast! However, at the time, I was feeling great, and thought that a 3-hour time may actually be possible.

Coming down Yonge St. back past the starting line was a lot of fun. There were people lining the street cheering us on. A few people even used my name, causing me to do double-takes to see if I knew them. After this happened a few times, I realized that my race bib had my name printed on it along with my number! DUH!!

I kept moving well down Yonge, and pushed on the steep downhill leading up to Hog’s Hollow. When I saw my time at the halfway mark, and knowing that there was a long downhill stretch on the second half, I thought I might have a shot at three hours, and figured I was on pace to finish in around 3:05!

Second 21.1 km – 1:44:36 (4:58/km)

The second half started with the toughest hill on the course, the nearly 1km killer just south of Yonge and York Mills. I missed the kilometre marker at the top, but I’m sure I managed to push up it in around 4:30. I was still feeling great when I passed my parents a kilometre or so later, and boldly predicted a 3:05 finish time as I ran by! It wasn’t long before I began to regret that!

At the 27km mark, I could feel my legs getting heavier. Take a look at the splits below, and you can see that’s where I really fall off the pace. I started stopping to walk through the aid stations around this point, and I knew any hopes of a 3-hour run were gone. At 35km, with my legs aching, I told myself that if I could hit 37km by 2:45, I’d still have a shot a making 3:10. I died in kilometre 36 though, and walked for a minute or, costing me precious time! The realization that I was not going to make my goal hit home at 39km, and the wind went out of my sails. Coming up York St., the final uphill and the mental battle took it’s toll, and I came to a complete stop somewhere past the 40km mark. Just as I stopped my friend’s Adam and Lynne walked by – Lynne had finished the half and they were walking home. Their cheering got me moving again, and I shuffled my way around Queen’s Park.

The last few hundred metres were lined with spectators, and somehow, I found then energy to turn it up. As I picked up the pace, I could hear the cheers, and broke into a full sprint for the last 100 metres! It was a bittersweet moment crossing the line, because I knew I had come so close.

The support of my friends and family being there at the finish was awesome though!!! Thanks guys!! Next year maybe one of you will step up from running the half and try this with me!

Total: 3:15:23.5, 10/102 M25-29, 97/1119 Men, 104/1618 Overall (Full Results)

Note: I posted my kilometre splits here.

Guess that’s it for the 2006 season of racing. Thanks for following along. Over the next couple months, I’ll try to post some of the things that I learned this summer as I challenged myself at longer distances! I’m looking forward to 2007, and potentially an Ironman! Stay tuned!

Toronto Marathon Split Times

Well, the marathon is over! Four days later, and I’m almost walking normally again. I’m in the process of writing up my report, but wanted to get my split times off my watch, and figured I’d throw them up in a post. I was shooting for 3:10, and thought I was there at the halfway point. Take a look and you can see that I was on pace up until 39km, then just couldn’t dig deep enough for that finishing kick. More to come!

 

KM Time HR Notes
1 4:07 161 Off to a fast start!
2 4:11 174 Heart rate’s getting high.
3 4:15 173 Settling in…
4 4:25 175 Better pace, heart rate still is high!
5 4:25 175 5km – 21:23 (4:17/km)
6 4:26 177 Pace I want, but can’t get the heart rate down!
7 4:07 178 Fast one!
8 4:12 180 Fast – but look at the heart rate!
9 4:26 179
10 4:18 179 10km – 42:53 (4:17/km)
11 4:24 178
12 4:25 179 Still got the heart rate high… starting to worry now!
13 4:15 176 Running strong.
14 4:22 178 ~ 1/3 finished: 1:00:24. At this point I was dreaming of 3 hours!
15 4:21 178 15 km – 1:04:45 (4:19/km)
16 4:17 178
17 4:25 180 Look at the heart rate again!
18 4:11 178 Pushing it on the downhill!
19 4:18 179
20 4:20 178 20km – 1:26:16 (4:19/km)
21 4:03 177 Down Hog’s Hollow – Fastest kilometre of the day!
Feeling great at the halfway point!
22-23 8:46 (4:23/km) 183 Great pace coming up the hill!
24 4:29 181 Not getting the heart rate down.
25-26 9:11 (4:36/km) 177 First kilometres over 4:30!
27 4:47 175 Starting to slow.
28 4:48 175 2/3 Finished – 2:02:20 (1:01:56 for stage 2/3). Only two minutes off the pace of my first 14km, and I know I’m hitting the downhill stretch. Still thinking 3:10 is possible!
29 4:53 173 Feeling the burn… getting worried.
30 4:36 175 A little better… gotta get the 4:30/km pace back.
30km – 2:11:50 (4:24/km)
31 4:38 175 Still holding on.
32 4:47 176 Supposed to be downhill!
33 4:58 170 Think I walked through a water station.
34 4:47 175 Starting to really struggle.
35 4:57 175 35km – 2:35:57 (4:28/km)
Need to make 37km mark by 2:45 for a shot at 3:10!
36 5:50 166 First big break… walked a lot.
37 4:59 171 Split: 2:46:46. Have 23 minutes for 5.2km for 3:10. Can I find the strength?
38 4:51 176 Trying to push, but not looking good.
39 5:00 176 2:56:38… realized I’m not going to make it. Barely holding 5:00/km.
2:56:38 (4:32/km) – Would have been right on 3:10 pace! Needed a finish that I didn’t have.
40-41 12:29 (6:15/km) 160 Up hill at York St. Absolutely killed me. Came to a dead stop just past 40km marker… the fellow runners giving me pats on the back was a nice touch though.
42.2 6:15 169 Shuffled around Queen’s park, but managed a strong sprint finish.
Total 3:15:22 175

It’s hard to believe that the 2006 triathlon and duathlon season has come to an end. In my first full summer of racing, I gained a lot of experience, and made some great improvements throughout the year, particularly on the bike.

The final race in the Subaru series was a duathlon held in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Heading into this race, I was sitting in 6th place overall in the series point standings. The top five get invited to the series ending banquet and receive an award, so I needed a good race to move myself up in the standings!

I woke up early and headed down on a grey morning. I was worried that it would be cold, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the temperature was perfect for racing! Blair had also come down for the race, along with his parents who were visiting from Ottawa. After losing to Blair by all of 9 seconds in the season opening duathlon in Waterloo, I really wanted to go hard and see if I could take this one!!

RUN 1: 4 km – 14:25 (3:37/km)
5/23 M25-29, 37/487 Overall

If you’re read any of my previous posts, you’ll know quite well that swimming is my biggest weakness! I was really looking forward to going out hard in the first run, and trying to stick with the lead pack. With the relatively short distances in this race, the term “sprint” really did apply. I stuck with the pros for the first kilometre, and realized how fast it was when we hit the 1km mark in 3:15! I slowed a little in the third kilometre coming back up the hill from the turnaround, but finished strong and came into T1 with a very fast 3:37/km average, and in 5th place in the age group.

BIKE: 23 km – 37:41 (36.6 km/h)
6/23 M25-29, 50/487 Overall

The bike course was flat and fast. I usually try to keep my heart rate around 160 bpm on longer bike rides, however, in this race, there was no holding back. The first 10km was into a strong headwind, however I hammered through it, and really turned it on coming back in. My speedometer broke a few weeks ago, so I could see my speed, but I knew my average was going to be fast! When I checked the results after the race, I was very happy to see the 36.6 km/h average! My fastest yet in the tris, and certainly getting up to another level compared to the 32-33km/h range that I was in last year and through the beginning of this year.

RUN: 4 km – 16:05 (4:02/km)
5/23 M25-29, 47/487 Overall

I was a little disappointed coming into T2 to see five or six bikes alread on the rack. I didn’t think there were that many age-groupers ahead of me, but there were a few unfamiliar faces at this one. After the fast first run, I really wanted to push the second run. I just couldn’t seem to find that sub-4:00/km pace though, and was 1:40 slower on the second run than the first.

Total: 1:09:21, 6/23 M25-29, 33/487 Overall (Full Results )

Overall, I was very happy with the race!! I was happy with sixth in the age group, especially since there were a few duathlon specialists ahead of me. My 33rd place overall finish was one of my best ever, and my finishing time relative to the winner’s time was also the closest I’ve ever been! All in all, it was a great way to end the year!! I managed to beat Blair by a little over 5 minutes, which made up for a couple of the whoopings I took earlier in the year!!

Looking at my duathlon result, I think it’s clear what my goal needs to be over the winter – learn to swim effectively!!! My biking came a long way this summer, and I learned how to push harder on the run. With some improvement on the swim, I’m hoping to be even more competitive next year!!

Sherkston Shores – Last Tri of the Season!

It’s hard to believe that the triathlon season has come to an end! I have had a great summer of racing, challenging myself at longer distances and learning a lot about the sport of triathlon along the way.

Trisport added a new race this year at Sherkston Shores, located on Lake Erie just a short drive from Fort Erie, ON. This would be the last race of the year, and the Sprint Championships – age group prize money would be up for grabs!

I headed down on the cloudy afternoon, thinking it would be a good day for a race. As I was pulling into the race site, the clouds opened up, and I spent the next hour setting up and getting soaked by the rain. As luck would have it though, it stopped a few minutes before the swim start, so at least we didn’t have to race in the rain!

In the transition area before the race, I noticed that all the really, really fast guys in my age group had decided to show up for this one. There was going to be some good competition, and while my strategy for this short race was to hammer it out as hard as I could, I didn’t expect a podium finish this week!

SWIM: 750m – 16:00 (2:08/100m)
11/15 M25-29, 84/244 Overall

I started out feeling great on the swim. I really gave it my all over the first 300m, and was right up with one of the front packs. However, I will admit that since Belwood, I have been slacking off on my swim training, and I sure felt it. I slowed dramatically over the next few hundred metres, and came out of the water with the top swimmers from the next wave! At least I don’t have to swim until next year now!!

BIKE: 20 km – 33:03 (36.3 km/h)
7/15 M25-29, 45/244 Overall

The bike course was short and flat. Despite being a little wet, I really wanted to hammer the bike course. I kept myself in a high gear the entire time, and after getting the heart rate under control in the first few kilometres, I dug in over the last 15km. I was rewarded with my best bike speed ever in a triathlon, over 36 km/h! I know it was a short, flat race, but it still felt good to know that I can hit those sorts of speeds, especially since I am still riding my Giant OCR 3 road bike!

RUN: 5 km – 19:29 (3:54/km)
7/15 M25-29, 30/244 Overall

This really was a “sprint” race. With the short bike ride and short run, there really was no letting up from start to finish. I was averaging about 3:45/km over the first three, but then the run course took us down and right along the beach (on the sand) for a kilometre. I was almost 4:15 for that one, but finished strong and managed my best run pace in a triathlon as well.

Total: 1:10:11, 10/15 M25-29, 45/244 Overall (Full Results )

Overall, the last tri of the year went pretty well. I felt really good on the bike and run. With some work on my swimming in the offseason, I may be able to shave off a few more minutes and really compete with some of the top age-groupers! I was very happy with the progress I made through the year, I am stronger in all three disciplines, and have also shaved time off by working on my transitions!

I still have the Niagara-on-the-Lake duathlon coming up on September 23rd, and then the Toronto Marathon (my first full-distance marathon) on October 15th, so check back for updates!

Guelph Lake II – An Age Group Plaque!

The Trisport series runs two races at Guelph Lake – one in June (see my results from Guelph I), and another on Labour Day weekend. Racing the same course once near the start of the season and again near the end gives you a great chance to measure how much you’ve improved over the summer. I knew I had gotten stronger on the bike, and have been working on really pushing the runs, so I was hoping to shave off a little over 3 minutes and break the 2:30 mark!! I was looking forward to giving Blair a good run for his money as well!

SWIM: 1.5 km – 31:16 (2:06/100m)
10/14 M25-29, 104/215 Overall

I really haven’t been swimming much since my week up at the cottage before Belwood, so I wasn’t looking forward to the 1.5km swim. I was about 1:20 slower than Guelph I – I definitely paid the price for slacking off on the swim training!! Blair pulled off a 27:45 swim, so I had 3:30 to make up on him!!

BIKE: 43.5 km – 1:15:27 (34.6 km/h)
4/14 M25-29, 28/215 Overall

First note – my practice in the transitions helped me knock off over 30 seconds off my T1 from Guelph I. As I said a couple posts ago, this is easy time to shave off.

I have been feeling really good on the bike lately, so I really wanted to try to hammer it out. I knew I was a little slower on the swim, so I pushed hard on the bike. I was about 2.5 minutes faster, and I was extremely happy with my 34.6 km/h average and 28th overall bike split. It was even more satisfying after the race to see that I beat out Blair and his $3000 speed machine by 19 seconds!!

RUN: 10 km – 41:28 (4:09/km)
3/14 M25-29, 29/215 Overall

I have been working on trying to push myself on the run, the last few races, and it paid off again here. I was almost a minute faster than in June. At the turn-around, I knew I was only about half a kilometre behind Blair, and trying to catch him, I ripped through the last 2 kilometres, both in under 4 minutes! My swim had done me in though, and I finished 30 seconds behind.

Total: 2:30:25, 5/14 M25-29, 33/215 Overall (Full Results )

I missed my goal of breaking 2:30 by 25 seconds, but I improved by almost three minutes over Guelph I. Despite the relatively weak field (Ironman Canada was last weekend, and it was a long weekend), I was very happy with my bike and run performance, both were in the top 30 overall. Blair managed to break the 2:30 mark by 4 seconds, so he had a good race too! Comparing my results to the top people in the race, it’s obvious that I should be spending a lot of time in the pool this winter – that’s where I can make the biggest gains!!

Orillia – Finally A Victory*

Sunday, August 20th was the Northern Triathlon, held in Orillia, ON. This was the eighth stop on the Subaru series, and not coincidentally, my eighth race of the year.

After racing on own own for a while, my good friend Blair (who happens to be the only person who I REALLY want to beat) was also doing this race. We discussed heading up on Saturday, but due to our lack of foresight and unavailability of hotel rooms, we were stuck driving up on Sunday morning. Now, for those of you who don’t know Ontario geography, it is approximately 200km from my home in Kitchener to Orillia. 200km makes for a two hour drive!!! With the nice early 8am race start time, this meant a 4:30am departure and a 4am wakeup!!!

So, with all of four hours sleep under my belt, I hauled myself and my gear down to the car and got on the road. My friend Derek, who really must not have a life anymore, decided he also wanted to get up at 4am so he could come cheer us on!!

Arriving in Orillia at 6:45am, the weather was overcast and cool. I was very happy to have my wetsuit this fine morning!! However, I was also looking forward to a race where we didn’t have to worry about getting baked by the heat!!

My main goal for this race was to push myself on the run. In my recent sprint distance races, I have gotten off the bike and kept a relatively slow pace over the first few kilometres of the run, not wanting to crash and burn. So I wanted to really try to hammer out a fast run in this one!

SWIM: 750m – 15:24 (2:04/100m)
8/27 M25-29, 124/652 Overall

The water was pretty choppy, and judging from my rankings, I think the swim times were slow for everyone. I managed to get through relatively well, and took off on the bike a minute and a half behind Blair.

BIKE: 33 km – 59:17 (33.4 km/h)
8/27 M25-29, 124/652 Overall

The bike course started with a long, slow incline, and I struggled to get my bike shoes on and strapped up. I may need to work on that a little more to smooth things out, since I think I lost some time there. The bike course had a lot of turns, and it was pretty technical. However, I hammered it out as best I could, and to my surprise, I caught up with Blair around the 30km mark. I quickly learned why – his hand was bloody and knee scraped up from the wipeout he took, riding up a hill of all things!! We rode the last 3km together, and I knew I had a good shot at taking him on the run. Check us out coming into T2 – I’m laughing because Blair was trash-talking about me running like a “baby” with my bare feet!

Dan & Blair - Orillia - 2006 - T2

RUN: 7 km – 27:42 (3:58/km)
7/27 M25-29, 60/652 Overall

I came out of T2 with Blair a step behind. Here’s another great shot – thanks Wolfgang!

Dan & Blair - Orillia - 2006 - Run

I pushed the run right from the start, and quickly lost Blair. I hovered around 4:00/km the whole way through, and was passing quite a few people on the run. I pushed hard at the end, and cruised in just under 28 minutes – my first sub-4:00/km run split yet in a triathlon!

Total: 1:43:53, 7/27 M25-29, 83/652 Overall (Full Results )

It was nice to finally beat Blair!! Though this victory will have a little * beside it, since he wiped out on the bike. He was pretty bloodied up, and his leg was scraped and bruised. At least he was going up hill though, so it could have been worse. I finally had a fast run, and I’ll have to see how much more I can push it!!

Belwood – A Swim Best!

I spent the first week of August up at a cottage in Haliburton with my parents and siblings. I would be an amazing triathlete if I spent more time up there!! We were in a great little bay, which was perfect for swimming, and the area was full of hills, which made for some great biking and running. I swam nearly every day, and was looking forward to a good swim split.

This would be the first race of 2006 where I would be able to compare myself to last year. I did my first sprint-distance tri at Belwood last year, and was hoping to knock at least five minutes off of last year’s time of 1:55:41 (see results here).

SWIM: 1 km – 18:39 (1:52/100m)
16/22 M25-29, 94/348 Overall

With all the swimming I had done up at the cottage, I felt smooth and comfortable in the water. I had worked on breathing every third stroke instead of every second one, and was more balanced and efficient in the water. It was great to be well under the 2:00/100m pace, and I came out of the swim feeling good!

BIKE: 33 km – 57:18 (34.6 km/h)
11/22 M25-29, 85/348 Overall

I had a pretty good bike ride last year, and I was actually hoping to be a little faster on the bike than I was. It was a little windy, and the course seemed a lot tougher than I remembered. I still rolled in with a 34.6km/h average, which was a new best for me!!

RUN: 7 km – 29:41 (4:15/km)
5/22 M25-29, 57/348 Overall

After my sub-28 minute run at Niagara, I was looking for another fast run here. However, the extra 9km on the bike combined with a hot, sunny day must have taken their toll, because I didn’t feel real strong for most of the run. I did manage to track down the 11th place finisher in my age group in the last 250m, and blew him away with a strong sprint to the line to finish in 10th place.

Total: 1:47:22, 10/22 M25-29, 66/348 Overall (Full Results )

Well, comparing things to last year, I’ve certainly improved in all areas of the triathlons. I was over 8 minutes faster this year!! Most of it came on the swim, but I also knocked a minute off in T1 (it’s amazing what taking the wetsuit off fast and putting your shoes on while you’re pedalling can do), and another two minutes off on the bike. My run was a little faster as well. All in all, a pretty good race – it was great to see how far I’ve come in a year! If I can take another 8 minutes off by next year, I may be able to climb into the top 30 or so!!