Sunday, December 14, 2014

Palm Spring - Race Report

I had been over a year I had been contemplating going down to Palm Springs to race in the HITS Triathlon Series Championships Half Ironman but never did pull the trigger and actually commit to it.  It wasn't until a couple of months ago in early September I really started thinking about it again and it would be cool if Kelly could come see me as race as she had never had that opportunity.  So early September I registered and plans were made to be in Palm Springs early December. 
All summer I really didn't think I would be racing a half this year and only did a few sprint distance races and it wasn't long after I decided to go that biking outside ended and I was stuck on a trainer.  I tried to make the best of it and signed up for a half marathon late September as my running had been going good.  That blew up and I had a horrible race so that made me question where things were really at. Then the fear set in of what if Kelly comes all the way there and I completely blow up again or even worse yet don't finish at the first triathlon she ever see's me do.  My mind does crazy things...
The rest of the lead up was pretty uneventful with just one swim meet tucked in there a few weeks prior.  We flew out of Sudbury on Thursday morning at 6am and 15 hours later arrived at our hotel in Palm Springs.  It was dark and we were tired and couldn't really see much anyways so went straight to bed.  Friday morning wake up and put my bike together and go out for a little spin to test it out because this bike is brand new right out of the box a few days prior to leaving (Thank you Adventure Ski & Cycle) and head outside to this view.

Headed over to the race site a little while later to check it out and go to the race meeting.  Did my usual day before swim and bike stuff at the race site and then checked out the meeting.  Nothing too crazy other than they were starting all 650 of us at the same time in one wave with an in water start.  These are the times I am thankful I am a swimmer. 
Rest of the day we just relaxed and got to bed fairly early so the 4am wake up call.  Got to the race site and it was still dark out.  I got my transition stuff set up and then had a couple minutes to relax before getting the wetsuit on and doing a little warm up.  Headed to the start and pick my line and then we were off.  I had clean water right away but I knew everyone else behind me wasn't as happy as I was at that moment.  It was a straight out and back and then exit the water before heading back in for a second lap.  The second lap wasn't quite as fun as I was lapping people who were still on their first lap and I'm sorry to those people because I didn't really slow down and may have run a few people over.  It was a pretty good swim but I held back just a little bit and exited the water in 22min and change. 

T1 was good and I got out pretty quick on my bike.  It was a 2 loop bike course as well so I knew I would get to see where people were at when passing them after the turn around.  I hit the first turn around and I was shocked to see how much of a lead I still had.  I knew I had been biking well and was feeling good but it was a bit of a surprise.  Unfortunately that feeling didn't last long as within only a couple of minutes after that first turn around my back just completely gave out all of a sudden and I couldn't hold the power I was pushing on the way out and I kept having to stand up and stretch out my back.  It was pretty frustrating watching the first guy pass me and then the second and then I was just in survival mode and hoping once I got off the bike I would be better.  Finished the bike in around 6th place overall but wasn't very happy at that point knowing I could have done much better and been in a better place starting the run where typically if I'm going to get passed is where it happens. 
Got out of T2 and was surprised that my back did let up and my legs were feeling pretty good.  By this point it was starting to get pretty hot.  Got to the first aid station and made the decision to do something I've never done before.  Typically I've never had much to drink or eat anything during my races but I went through and grabbed two cups of liquid and some food.  It sat well in my stomach as I kept going and I was feeling good so I decided to keep that up at each aid station as they came.  It must have worked as I finished the run in 1:36 and that was quite a bit faster than my stand a lone half back in September! 
Overall I finished in 4:36, 3rd in my age group and 11th overall.  I know I could have been up a few more spots but what happened on the bike was out of my control and I'm happy I just pushed through it and made the best of the situation.

I really need to thank my sister, Kelly for coming on this trip with me.  It meant a lot to have her there supporting me and for her first one she seemed like a seasoned pro knowing exactly what to do.  My dad never missed a competition that I had growing up, always being there for me and it was like having a piece of him there with me.  Hopefully I wasn't too crazy or anything getting ready for the race and that she will come with me again.

Had some fun after the race checking out a bit of Palm Springs and headed up the tram to 8500ft.  That was a great experience. 


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Race Report

Thought I would give a little race report on how the swim meet went this past weekend.  My sister and I headed down Friday after she was done work.  Saturday we did a bit of shopping and I got a few Christmas gifts.  Finished the day off with a trip up the CN tower in the evening. 
I didn't know really what to expect being my first master swim meet.  I went in with more of a few personal goals of times I'd like to hit being a couple weeks out from my race and based on times I've been swimming the past couple of years.  It's hard not being a sprinter as the longest race offered was a 400 and I could never sprint to save my life.  I usually would only swim the 200fly but I chose to do the 50fly as my first event just to get something in before my other races.  I was seeded in lane 1 so not ideal for being able to see where everyone else is but I'll take what I get.  First time starting in a while and it showed as I was pretty late getting off the blocks but made up ground on everyone but one guy and finished second in 29.3  I'm in lane 1 on the far side of the pool in the video.

The 400fr was up next and this one being the longest was the one I was most interested in seeing how I would do.  There was a couple of guys seeded only a couple seconds behind me so figured they would push me pretty good.  I wanted to be under 4:30 as I hadn't been in a couple of years.  I took it out pretty hard to try and put some distance between me and the two other guys but hoping they would stay with me enough to keep pushing me.  I put a good 10-15m gap between them by 200m and that's the way it pretty much stayed the rest of the race.  I wish they had stayed a bit closer as I feel like I let up a bit at the end but still finished in 4:24 so was satisfied with that.  This is the last 75m's or so of my 200

After a 2 hour break 200fr was last and by this point I was shivering as the pool deck was so cold.  I over heard some people saying they were having a hard time controlling the heat either it was way too hot or too cold and that day it was too cold.  People in the stands were wearing their winter coats.  Going into the meet I had said anything under 2:08 I would be alright with but after my 400 I set the bar a little higher.  Thought I could maybe hit 2:04 but ended up with 2:05 but still alright with that.  Overall it was good to be back in the pool racing and having fun again. 

I leave in two weeks today for Palm Springs for my 70.3 and I feel like it's coming pretty quick.  Only about another week and a half of hard workouts before a bit of a taper leading into the race on Dec 6th.  I did a bit of speed work on the treadmill in my new race shoes on Tuesday 5x2min at 11.0 and it actually felt pretty easy.  I feel like I have the speed right now for a good Olympic distance race so just hoping the endurance is there for the 70.3. 
New race suit came in yesterday.  Thanks Olivier for setting me up with this beautiful suit.  I wanted some light colors to help with the heat in the desert and these are some of the fastest suits in the world.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

It's time to speak up

One week tomorrow will be my first Master's swim meet.  I feel like I'm in an alright place a week out hitting some decent times in practice so hoping they will transfer into some decent swims.  The meet is at the Etobicoke Olympian and that kind of brings things in a full circle.  I've swam at this pool many times over the course of 20+ years of swimming but it was where provincials were held the first time I qualified in 1994.  It was a bitter sweet experience as I was over the moon that I had qualified and was there with the best swimmers in the province but I came dead last!  The week leading up my dad and I made a quick trip up to our family cottage and we rebuilt the dock and the hammering of a thousand or so nails didn't leave my arms feeling all that great and resulted in not the results I wanted but it's where the fire was lit that I would be back.
Biking and running has been going pretty good.  Just been putting in the time getting ready for the half that is 4 weeks out now.  

I feel like its time that I open up about something I've been dealing with the better part of my life.  For the past dozen or so years I've been dealing with depression.  It's something I've kept pretty private only sharing bits and pieces with 2-3 people.  I know a lot of people suffer from some sort of mental illness and I'm a big fan of Clara Hughes and the work she's done over the past couple of years trying to erase the stigma that goes along with it.  I've been to some pretty dark places over the years and have considered if life is worth living anymore and have come very close to taking my own life.  It's hard to talk about these things with people and it's only been just recently I've felt comfortable enough talking about it with someone in my life and I'm very thankful they are there and willing to help me fight the voices that tell me I'm not good enough and nobody cares.  There are millions of people in Canada alone that suffer everyday from mental illness and I guarantee everyone knows someone who is suffering whether you know it or not.  I encourage everyone to do a bit of readying and find out some of the key signs so you can possible help someone in need.  You could literally be saving their life.  I know I'm very grateful for that person I finally felt comfortable talking to noticed something was wrong and is willing to fight with me.
Here are just a few signs and symptoms to look for:
  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
  • Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Half Ironman training update

Things have been rolling along these past couple of weeks other than a little pneumonia set back that caused me to miss about a week of training.
Spent the Thanksgiving weekend on Manitoulin Island with my sister and her family at their cottage and although sick during that time manged to get out for a nice bike ride.
  On the Thanksgiving Monday I was registered to run in the last of 6 races in the Sudbury Fitness Challenge a 8km cross country run.  I was leading the overall points race going into the final race but with being sick I knew I was going to have have a good race to be close enough to keep my lead.  Race started and right away I could feel it in my lungs and about half a dozen guys got a away from me on a very wet and muddy course.  At about 3km's I started to feel better and felt like I could actually breath again and I started running quite a bit faster and started to pick off a couple of guys who got away from me at the start.  At about 4km's I felt the chain around my neck drop down the inside of my shirt.  Right away I made the decision to stop and find it.  I was hoping I could just grab it and keep going.  Unfortunately it feel in a big long section of wood chips.  The chain has quite a bit of importance as it is one of the only things I have left that my dad gave me but it also had a pendant on the chain from my sister that was very significant to me.  It turned out I found the chain fairly quick but the pendant must have come off and was no where to be found.  I spent the next couple hours searching for it with no luck.  Needless to say I didn't finish the race and that meant I didn't win the overall title but sometimes in life there are things that are more important than winning a race.  I did win my age group so for this year that will have to be good enough.  Next year is another year.
Swimming has been going really good and I'm happy I made the decision to swim with the Master's team this year.  Although there's still no one that can really push me at least there are others to swim with and a coach on deck that will hold you accountable.  This mornings 2:11 from push 200 at the end of practice is a good example that it's been working as I haven't swam that fast in practice in 10+ years.  Hopefully this will continue and will translate into some decent times at my first Master's swim meet November 16th in Toronto. 
Probably even a bigger change for me training wise was deciding to get a personal trainer at the gym.  It's kind of a weird concept for me as I spent almost 6 years as a personal trainer and at least 10 years coaching sports but even the best athletes in the world work with trainers and what not so it shouldn't be any different for me.  I haven't done much strength training in quite a while and it really kicked my butt the first time but it's getting better now and I'm hoping it will help to eliminate some nagging injuries I've delt with in the past. 
Last week I had the opportunity to get Kelly and I a ride in a little plane up around the North end of Sudbury over the lake I grew up on.  It was nice to see some of the tail end of the fall colors but what was most interesting was listening to the pilot communicate with the air traffic controllers as that was something dad did for 30 years.

This past weekend I was able to get to Ottawa and was able to visit my grandma for a little bit.  Got a swim in on Saturday morning and then went for a run along the river on Sunday morning.  What a difference running in Ottawa vs Sudbury.  I saw more people on my one run in Ottawa out running than I would if I was to go running every single day in Sudbury for easy 2-3 weeks.  Very different culture and atmosphere in Ottawa.  For someone who enjoys being active Sudbury sure makes it hard!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Base Borden Race Report

Since my last post training had been going really well.  I kept up the bit of a running block I was in with decreasing the amount of biking I was doing for a few weeks to really focus on my run.  I was able to hold my 1/2 marathon goal pace in my training runs for 12-14km's without of a problem finishing and feeling like I still had quite a bit in the tank so I was really looking forward to my first half marathon and felt that the goal I set out was very realistic. 
Saturday Kelly and I headed out in the morning for a drive up to the cottage.  The weather was beautiful and the trees were in full fall colours.  We got the chance to visit with some close friends at the cottage spending the afternoon with them.  It also gave us the opportunity to visit with dad and spend a few minutes with him.  Kelly never had the opportunity to him so it was pretty special to show her where he is buried and to share that time together. 

After a short ride on the boat we headed out and got into Orillia around 9:30pm.  That put us close enough that we would only have a short drive in the morning to get to Borden for the race and with a 10am start time we had plenty of time.  I wasn't overly excited about the start time for a couple of reasons.  One with the forecasted temperature I knew it was going to be hot and with the majority of my running for the past month or more being between 0C-10C.  Second I know I couldn't eat before I run so the later the start time the longer I had to go without any fuel. 
My warm up went good.  I felt good and ready to go...I could tell it was going to be hot as I got a good sweat on just in my warm up.  I had a good start and took it out pretty hard but I didn't feel like it was too hard that I would blow up from it later in the race. I ran side by side one other guy for the first 2km's at which point one other guy bridged up to us and the 3 of us ran side by side for the next few km's.  At about 6km's I could start to feel the heat getting to me but was still running strong.  At that point just figured I was going to have to digger a little deeper on the back end of the race.  At about 8km's is when I saw a significant drop in my pace and I fell back of the leaders.  By 10km's I was in a lot of pain and more people were passing me.  The middle 10km's we ran around a big grass field with not a tree in sight and this completely sucked any energy I had left in right out.  It was over 30C and I was in pure survival mode.  Did the whole battle about just calling it a day so I didn't have to deal with the end result and minimize the damages but there was someone special waiting for me at the finish line so I shuffled on.  It was during this time though I noticed something very different than what I'm used to in triathlon.  In triathlon on the run I'm always encouraging others with just a good job or a high five if I know the person as we pass each other going in opposite directions and they almost always respond back with a few words.  Yesterday even though I was in a lot of pain I knew there was nothing I could do to go any faster and I just needed to get to the finish line and I was alright with being passed so as I would get passed I would say good job to everyone and not one person answered me.  I think triathlons are very unique in that way.  Anyways I did end up walking 3 times in the last couple of km's as I felt something go in my foot and having delt with several stress fractures in the past I was pretty worried.  I finished exactly 20minutes slower than what I had wanted.  That was a bit of a tough pill to swallow but all things considered I am happy I didn't need an ambulance ride off the course like some others and I had someone there to pick up my spirits after the race. 

This week has been mainly just trying to recover the legs with a couple easy rides and of course swimming with the Masters.  I had a good set this morning with 15x100 @1:15 so I am happy with where things are going there.  Last night I did a 10km TT at delki. It was raining a bit and the track was pretty wet so everyone took it pretty easy on the corners so again I'm pretty happy with 14:32.  As far as what's up next I have an 8km run on Thanksgiving Monday.  It's the last of 6 events in the Sudbury Fitness Challenge and after the first 5 events I'm leading the points race with 4978 but very close behind me is Kerry Abols with 4845.  Kerry is a strong runner so it will all come down to where we place in this final race.    

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

One last kick at the can

I know I've tried a few times to keep this up to date for friends and family but I certainly haven't done a good job at that.  I will give this one more attempt as I feel I have a bit more inspiration lately for training, racing and life in general. 

I guess I will back track a little bit and bring everyone up to speed on how I got to where I am today.  After starting to race again a little bit last summer I let everything go once again and put on even more weight.  At one point I was 220lbs!  Throughout the second part of the winter though I decided I wanted to race again a little bit this summer so I started doing some light training.  I entered a few local races during the later part of the winter and into the spring just trying to get back into things.
My first tri was North Bay.  I love this race for some reason but I was pretty nervous because I still hadn't lost much weight and wasn't in the best of shape.  It turned out to also be one of the hottest days of the summer being one of probably one 2 or 3 days that got over 30C.  It was a very tough race because of this and I really suffered in the heat but I was very happy being able to win the overall race.
Next up was Belwood where I only did the swim/bike.  Wasn't a great race, got there late so it was a rush to set up and no warm up.  Five minutes to start was announced and I was still trying to get my wetsuit on!  Still won overall in the swim/bike but wasn't what I was looking for.
I then did the Beaton Classic right here in Sudbury.  The event has been running since the early 80's and is unique because you still swim, bike, run but they also add in a canoe between the bike and run.  I've done the race many times but also as part of a relay never solo.  This year I decided though I was going to do it all.  Again I got lucky and it was probably the second day all summer that was over 30C.  I was really happy to be able to win this race even though my run really struggled because of the heat.  After I finished I was pretty dizzy and sick.  Took also 20minutes before I was able to stand on my own with no support.

A week later I raced the tri in St Josheph Island.  Had a really good race here despite going completely off course in the swim.  It was the first race where I actually started to run half decent again.  Again happy to get the overall win.
Thought I would go for 3 wins in 3 weekends and heading down to Parrysound for the triathlon there.  Another really good race but one of the top pro guys showed up and my fitness was just not there to stay with him so I had to settle for 2nd that weekend. 
Some alright results and a fairly big life change that I will speak to in a minute put a boost in my confidence to up my training even more and will be racing my first stand alone half marathon next weekend in Barrie and then my first "big boy" race December 6th in Palm Springs California.  It will be the US HITS Triathlon Series National Championships for the half ironman distance.  My first half ironman since 2009!  Things have been going well though in my preparation as I've been able to lose some more weight and start to put in more miles on the bike and run.  I've also started swimming with the master's team this year for the first time.  The last 8 years or so I've been swimming all on my own and never really could force myself to stay in the pool or lake very long so this will be good for me to have someone coaching me and an actual workout to follow.

The biggest news of all and that's way more important than anything else I've written about so far is a few weeks ago I was contact by someone claiming to be my sister.  First look at her picture pretty much sealed the deal but it was still a pretty big shock.  My sister Kelly was adopted at birth and about a year decided to search for her birth parents.  She found her mom first and then found out her dad had passed away and then found me.  Yes we have the same dad.  We've done a DNA test just to confirm everything and it came back positive that we are without a doubt brother and sister.  It's been great as Kelly lives right here in Sudbury with two great kids and her husband that we've been getting to know.  It's been pretty special to me not having any family and now being able to share that connection back to my dad with someone so special.  This whole thing has really renewed my outlook on life and has just been such a positive experience.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

North Bay and Firecracker Race Reports

This past weekend I headed over to North Bay on Saturday morning for some coaching at the kids races of the North Bay triathlon weekend.  I had 8 kids from the team make the short trip over and they all did amazing like always!  After about 6 hours of being there I headed over to Josh's house who is a boy from North Bay I coach and who was racing in the adult race the next day.  Josh had just put some new pedals on his bike so for after some good pasta and chicken we headed on the bike for a little trip up the famous Lee's Rd.  After that it was a hot tub, a couple games of pool and then off to bed for an easy morning. 
Josh had a great race and finished 2nd overall among the individuals and I say that because there was also teams and I was participating as a team.  I was of course doing the swim, Charles Dumas from the Sudbury Cycling Club was the biker and Eric Leishman who just ran a 15:40 5km last night at the Firecracker was our runner.  We had a great race with all of us setting individual course records and the overall course record and finishing about 20minutes before anyone else and there were a couple things that prevented us from being even faster!  This looks good as the three of us will be teaming up again for the Beaton along with our secret weapon in the canoe who I've recruited from out of town who is a very fast paddler and this time our goal is to not hold anything back and set another overall course record but this time one that will not be beat!  Should be fun!
After I was done my part of the race on Sunday I quickly got on my bike and still headed out on the course as I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to bike the beautiful and challenging bike course North Bay has to offer!  Probably not the best idea since I was racing a 5km run the next day but I just couldn't pass it up.
On Monday the family headed into Lively for the annual Canada Day Firecracker Run.  First up was Hudson in the 1km!  He finished in a very quick time of just over 9minutes with a big smile on his face.  Then it was my turn...I really didn't know what to expect from my first 5km race after starting to train again.  I knew I would love to be back under 20minutes and I knew from my 3km on the track a couple weeks back it might be doable but this is a fairly challenging run course compared to running on the track!  I started out really strong and felt pretty good and I settled in right behind this one girl who was running really good.  Now I don't run with a watch but I've done enough of these I could tell we were running at a good pace and I started to get excited we might break 20min.  Everything was going good that is until I hit about 1km to go and things really started to hurt and I lost focus for a second and she was gone and there was no running back up to her.  I lost a lot of time in that final km and I felt like I had missed my chance of getting my goal by as I approached the finished I was surprised to see I was going to make it once I saw the clock and finished in 19:47 and 12th overall out of 93 runners.  The girl I was running with finished in 19:18 so it was a little frustrating to know I was on pace for that until that last km but it will come with more time.
Next up this weekend is I'm heading to Milton for Nationals off road triathlon.  Never done one before but I borrowed a bike from my new team mate Charles and as you can see from the picture Hudson say daddy is going to be #1 this weekend!  We'll see about that though...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Short update

This past week has been very rewarding to say the least.  I've already finished a couple of contracting jobs and have a couple more lined up.  I've always liked working with my hands and building things and that's exactly what I've been doing.  It's been a big change but I couldn't be happier.  Here's a picture of a bathroom I did last week.

On the training side of things I haven't done as much as I would have liked over the past week or so with all the changes but that's to be expected and I'm hoping things will get back to normal on that side of things.  However I am going to North Bay this weekend and will be coaching the kids on Saturday and then racing on Sunday morning.

Also got some great news the other day...Aron who is one of the boys I coach has been selected by Triathlon Ontario to the next stage of qualification for the Canada Summer Games this summer.  Aron started out with just over 20 other guys in Ontario who were trying for one of the 4 spots on the team and that list has now been shortlisted down to only 8.  These are the top 16-19 year olds in the province and Aron is only 16 and just to be named to this list is a huge accomplishment!  Aron will have a huge month ahead of him as he tried to get one of the 4 spots available.