Rev3 Knoxville Race Recap

So this past weekend I drove down to Tennessee to race in Rev3’s first pro race of the year in Knoxville. If you have any questions about ‘what/who is Rev3?’ then a good article can be found here.

Race morning dawned a perfect cool and sunny day and with the half-distance athletes starting before us, we didn’t need to be ready to go until 7:30am. The swim takes place in the Tennessee River, and given that we have had a cool spring, the race was wetsuit-legal even for the pros (below 68 degrees). No complaints from me 🙂  I positioned myself in what I deemed to be a good spot at the start line with the intention of getting onto the feet of someone slightly faster than myself. Alas, as has happened I think every single time, I have no top-end speed and quickly found myself swimming on my own, a few people behind me but most people ahead. “Huh, well, good thing it’s not a swim race,” I thought to myself. The first 400m or so are directly into the rising sun and this is generally how we felt:

myeyes

However, as we turn and swim the 1km or so back to the swim exit it was smooth going and I found myself slowly catching back up to a couple of the women ahead of me. Exiting the water I was almost 2min down on the fastest swimmer, which (although is A LOT) is less than it was in St. Anthony’s a month ago.

Out onto the bike my goal was to have a cadence around 90rpm, versus the 80 or so that I was riding at last race. The hamstring issue that flared up has not gone away and from my training I have realized that the lower the cadence I ride at, the more aggravated it becomes- so, while I was sacrificing watts and speed at the higher cadence, I was giving myself the best chance of running decently once we got off the bike. I quickly started to catch some the of the people who exited the water ahead of me as we rode through the hilly bike course, and by about mile 15 or so I was in second place. I rode almost the entire course in my big chain ring, as on one of the early hills I decided to get into the small chain ring, only to have the chain jam- while it only took a few seconds to fix, there went my rights to ‘fastest bike split.’ Shucks. And I wasn’t about to risk it again so there was a bit of grinding up the hills. I was grateful for my several attempts at the down-Mt. Lemmon Strava records in Tucson though, as those handling skills were useful on some of the fast and technical descents on the course.

knoxvilleT2

I got off the bike with about 30seconds on third place, so I set to work to put out my best run possible. Unfortunately this was not enough to hold on to second place and I fell to third, but still ran significantly better than last race. My awesome homestay even came to the finish line to cheer, which was fantastic 🙂

knoxvillefinishedit

I would like to thank Rev3 and all the volunteers for putting on a spectacular race and once again to all my sponsors: C3 Canadian Cross Training Club, Skechers, Alto Cycling, Riplaces, Rudy Project, Wishbone Athletics, Neworld Cycle and Nineteen.

My *wink wink nudge nudge* to pros: Actions speak louder than words. Saying “I wish there were more Olympic distance races” means little if you don’t show up. $15,000 at Quassy for the men- hopefully that’s enough incentive to register (that’s more than there is at dozens of races put on by “other race organizations”).  Any age groupers who want a discount code to Rev3 Williamsburg or Rev3 Maine, please contact me.

St. Anthony’s Race Report

I started off my season in St. Petersburg, at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon- a long-running triathlon and one of the few Olympic-distance races that supports a pro field. Prior to the race I spent 7 weeks in Tucson, Arizona, putting in many hours of training with a focus on improving my cycling.

A couple days before the race I flew in to Tampa and was taken to my homestay’s apartment. The organizers of this race do a fantastic job of finding homestays for any pros who need one, thanks to a large triathlon club based in the area. This makes it a lot easier for us to get to races as the costs can be prohibitively expensive when hotels are factored in. I was in a fantastic location, just a few hundred meters away from the race expo and transition area.

I had already expended most of my stress before race day arrived, so was fairly calm headed into the race. At 5:30am race morning I headed down to the transition area and got ready to start the race. Although this race has been known to have very choppy conditions in the water, my prayers were answered and the water was fairly calm as we got into the water shortly before 7am.  Prior to the race I had worked out who was likely to be swimming about my speed and positioned myself near a couple of them at the start line. The gun went off and I eventually found myself swimming beside Mirinda Carfrae. So that is pretty much the most exciting thing that will ever happen. But seriously, I don’t look up to a lot of people, but Rinny would be one of those few people, and I thought it was pretty freakin’ awesome. I was not actually impressed with her sighting and felt we were swimming a little crooked, so took my own line and eventually was swimming with someone else, although all 3 of us exited the water together. Ideally I would be swimming faster than that, but no sense dwelling on my shoddy swimming. I was ‘only’ 2 and a half minutes back from the leaders, and I had been anticipating anywhere up to 3 minutes, so things could have been worse.

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Relatively calm waters

Slow transition for me and then out onto the bike. I quickly chased down a couple people and set my sights on Rinny. I have been practising my time-trialling so was more intent on riding the 40km well than catching people, but about 3 miles in I was in position to pass her and put it in the big gear, 80rpm, and went by. Also pretty freakin’ awesome. I did not drop her and we rode the rest of the bike leg within 15m of each other, passing a few people throughout the 40km. Sixty-one minutes later I was back in T2. So although that is a fast course, I would say the extra time and effort put in to my cycling has paid off.

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My weapon. Cervelo P3 complete with Alto race wheels.
I wish the race had ended there, but unfortunately we had to go run. A nagging hip/hamstring issue flared up on the bike ride, and I basically limped through the 10km at a pace not much faster than my long-run pace. Shit happens, better luck next time.

Huge thanks to the race organizers for putting on a great race. And a massive thanks to everyone who is supporting me while I try to figure out this pro triathlon stuff; C3 Canadian Cross Training Club, Skechers, Alto Cycling, Rudy Project, Riplaces, Neworld Cycle, Wishbone Athletics, and Nineteen.

The beginning of 2016

So as the snow blows furiously outside my window, and I happily think of the sunshine I will be in at this time tomorrow, I thought I’d provide a little update on the first two months of 2016 training. They’ve been fantastic and I am really looking forward to getting outside, feeling the wind on my skin rather than the blowing of my fan.

For the latter part of November and December I had less structure to my training but more just what I felt like doing and getting fit and ready to put in some serious training. I spent a lot of time during these months researching the science behind triathlon training, becoming familiar with terms such as V02 max, lactate threshold, efficiency and economy, periodization and reverse periodization etc etc, and reading and evaluating the research studies behind different training protocols.  By gleaning this knowledge I was then able to confidently progress with my training, knowing that my approach was backed by science.

Swimming

Much of January was focused on bringing my swim volume back up. There was some intensity added in, but I have learned that trying to maintain a high level of fitness in the water over a long period of time is not really possible or practical. Therefore, the approach is to become aerobically fit and technically a much better swimmer, and then starting (very soon), to work on the higher end speed. Miguel Vadillo has been a great help with improving my technical efficiency in the water, and while it will be a matter of practice, practice, practice, I am confident that some of the changes I am making to my stroke will pay off over time.

Cycling

This is where some of the bigger changes to my training needed to be made. In January I was left to my own devices with creating my own training, something I thoroughly enjoyed. Having done my research the intention was to follow a reverse periodization plan, which meant lots of very high end work. Intervals were typically 2-4 minutes long, targeting the V02 max range of effort. This work was really challenging and tiring, but also very satisfying to see progress from week to week.  As a change from last year, I made sure that my training was either very hard or very easy, with very little time spent in zone 3. I also have not done very many rides in the 3hr range. Last year I was doing 2 rides a week that were ~3hrs in length, while this year I have not even been doing one a week (usually every 2 weeks), and have switched to doing many rides that are around 2hrs in length. This allows me to get in more quality, while knowing that there is still plenty of time in the year to get in some long rides. Moving into February I was persuaded by Barrie to allow Mirek Mazur to take over my cycling coaching. I was skeptical at first, as his approach is different to what I was doing, however after a month of his workouts, I am seeing improvements and am willing to see how this goes over the next few months.

Running

Nothing remarkable is happening here. I have followed the gradual progression in running volume and intensity and am following a pretty standard plan of 2 workouts, 1 long run, and 1 short brick run per week. Overall I am satisfied with how things are progressing, as I am far ahead of where I was at this time last year. My intention is to get my run volume to somewhere around 4 hours/week and stay there, hopefully remaining injury free. While this is a very low volume for a pro triathlete, given that I averaged less than 2.5hours/week last year, I don’t want to set too lofty a goal that will see me injured in short order.

Overall it has been a blast. I love having the consistency and schedule that winter training can so easily provide, and I think there are a lot of benefits to doing the indoor workouts. That being said, there are certainly a lot of benefits to being outside, so I am headed to Arizona in the morning to take the fitness I have been working on to the roads. I am excited to get some natural Vitamin D again and will make sure to post periodic updates here to tell you about all the fun I am having. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

A look at 2015

Apologies for not having written anything since the end of the season- I needed a little time-out and then started having too much fun training to write about it. 🙂 And then I ended up making this post quite long, so it all balances out 🙂

“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”- Benjamin Franklin

And you can’t set a good plan in place if you don’t know where you’re coming from. For those who are interested, the following will outline what 2015 looked like for me (and when relatives ask me “but what do you do?” I can point them here).

Some of the things accomplished in 2015:

  • Got a piece of paper that proves I’m smart [kidding, it just proves I have a BSc, intelligence is still in question 😉 ].
  • Got my pro card (a relatively easy process- meet the criteria, give Triathlon Canada some money, they e-mail you a number, voila, now a pro)
  • Discovered more of the world (more specifically, the USA)

Now to look at my training over the year. This is absolutely NOT a guide of what you should do, nor are total hours giving any idea of how that time was spent. The reason I have looked at these statistics is to make changes, and there are many to make. Even as I have gone back to look at what I did, there are times when I’ve said to myself “wtf were you thinking Kristen?” It all made sense at the time…

Graphs:                                      Monthly Training Volume 2015 (stacked bar chart)

monthlytrainingvolume2015barchart

Monthly Training Volume 2015 (line graph)

monthlytrainingvolume2015linegraph

Weekly Training Volume March 30th – December 28th, 2015

weeklytrainingvolume2015

**water running is included with running because the site I use to log my training puts them together

***misc. refers to crosstraining

Swimming

A total of 453 hours, highest was January (61.25 hours- building into university championships in February), lowest was November (26.4 hours- end-of season break).  I wasn’t overall happy with how the swim training went over the year. Up until May things went well, but moving to Hamilton meant changing who I was swimming with (I have been training with the Mac team), and the triathlon season doesn’t match up with university varsity swimming. This meant that workouts were too easy when I needed to go hard, and the hard workouts were too hard (pace times that were appropriate for those much faster than myself). Given that the Mac team is no longer a varsity team, I have no idea what will happen with my swim training come May.

In races: Any race with a large pro field I was consistently front of the first chase pack- not bad for someone who didn’t grow up swimming, but lots of room for improvement.

Biking

A total of 628 hours, a max of 64.25 hours, a minimum of 24.8 hours (in a month) but too much of this was ‘fluff.’ (not ‘junk miles’ or ‘waste’ because I think it all has a purpose). Fluff is like ice cream-so good you want lots of it, but should really only be consumed in moderation. Image result for ice cream

consume in moderation

I think I could have done probably 70% of the volume to achieve the same results if there had been more intensity at the appropriate times.

In races: Consistently around top 5 in bike splits, fastest 90km was 2hrs20min in Miami. #crushedit

Running

Well, well, well, what can I say about this… Total run volume for the year was 137 hours (no that’s not a typo). Average run training per week was 2hrs22min, ranging from 0-5 hours over the year. Given that my average half-marathon time in a half-iron distance race was 93 minutes, I would say I was getting a pretty good ROI from my run training (unlike my bike training, there was no fluff with the running), but I don’t consider 93 minutes to be an acceptable time for someone who wants to call themselves a pro. I guess I have set the bar pretty low for improvement.

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In races: My weakest of the three disciplines, times were mid-pack within the field.

Cross-training

To supplement the lack of running I was on the elliptical/stair master/ water running a fair bit, totalling 156 hours.

Strength

I consider strength training to be a fairly important part of being an athlete- I know there are differing opinions out there (some would rather just swim/bike/run more), however I think each person needs to find what works for them. There is fairly good evidence that strength training improves running economy, 5k run times, and reduces the risk of injury, all of which I think are good enough benefits to warrant going to the gym. Injury prevention is my biggest focus although I also notice a substantial difference in the water when I do weights vs not doing them. Total time spent on strength and core was 79.8 hours- I was doing really well with it until August when I needed a little time-out from triathlon for a few days and then the strength work just never got added back in…such is life. I am back on the band wagon now though 😛

Sleep

I don’t track my sleep, but I have always considered sleep to be vitally important.  According to this article, it is actually better to cut down on training volume and intensity in favour of more sleep. I definitely notice a huge difference in my mood and ability to perform in training when I don’t get enough sleep. My optimal sleep time is 9.5- 10 hours, so I make sure not to stay up too late very often and if I can sleep in, I do.

Stress

This is not something I delved into much over the season, mostly because I was in denial of the toll it was taking on my body. Yes, I mentioned in race reports that I was stressed, but really that was an understatement. While most of this pressure/stress was self-imposed, the reality remains (as my father likes to remind me frequently), the only income I’m getting is coming from races “so you’d better do well.” The reason I had to take a time-out in August was only partly physical fatigue. I got some blood tests done that showed some low values (B12, iron, etc) that needed to be addressed, but nothing was a ten exclamation point (!!!!!!!!!!) alarm bell that something was wrong.  The doctor tried to tell me it was stress but I just brushed it off- I didn’t want to admit that I was mentally unfit. However, things had gotten to the point where I couldn’t finish run workouts as I was dizzy and in danger of fainting, and I felt like my lungs were constantly constricted- bad enough that I wouldn’t ride in my aero bars as it made the symptoms worse and I felt like I was hyperventilating. The constant headaches and lack of quality sleep then just made me even more irritable etc. Eventually the lid on the bottle of stress just popped off (and then I slept about 16 hours a day for 3 days straight). No doubt all of this led to under-performing at races and is something I am working on for the coming season.

If you’ve made it this far down the post, congratulations, you’re a trooper! (and you should probably get back to work… 😉 ) I am thoroughly enjoying the off season now and am waking up excited to train every day. I hope everyone has had a great holiday and thanks for reading! Please feel free to leave questions/comments and/or harshly criticize my training.

Austin 70.3

First off, thanks to my brother for getting this site up and running- no more blogger.

Also, thanks to Jesus Riveros from UltrabikeX for letting me stay at his place in Miami after the race, and for the Jerome family here in Austin for putting up with me for a few days (and yes, i’ll take your dog back to Canada, no problem 😉 )

Getting back into training after Miami 70.3 did not really go as planned, every workout seemed forced and more difficult than it should have- I attributed this to the 43 degree temperatures and baking sun and assumed that arriving in Texas would see me feeling great again. Austin went into winter mode about 6 hours after I arrived, with race morning dawning a chilly 10 degrees and significant wind- it felt like Ontario.

I have not looked at the results from the race, I can only tell you how things felt during the race.

The swim was in a pretty large lake, and with the wind in the morning there was a significant amount of choppiness, however by no means the hardest swim I have done. The gun went off and we started swimming- I did not manage to stay on anyone’s feet so swam on my own, a group was up ahead, and there were people behind me, but no-one with me. I don’t feel like I had a great swim, but not awful, just an average day in the water.

A muddy run through transition and out onto the bike course. I normally do not agree when people complain about bad road conditions in a race, but this would be an exception. Partly due to the country roads we were riding on, and partly due to the massive amount of rain Texas had received in the past couple of weeks, these roads were pretty atrocious. There were sections where there just was no road left as it had been washed away, and other roads were just bumpy as hell, not to mention the potholes and large cracks (more like crevices that could swallow you and your bike up, never to be seen again). The ride started out okay, but at mile 17 or so there was a short but very steep hill- I got to the top and my body just seemed to shut down- I had no energy and could not get my speed back up. This was not a nutritional matter, I was just tired- a deep, general, overall fatigue. I kept riding and trying to race, but I was losing time to those ahead of me and people started to catch me.

Getting into T2 I thought about just calling it quits, there was no way I could get in the prize money and could probably just fall asleep at the bike rack if I lay down. But I don’t want a DNF beside my name for no good reason, so I went through the motions of getting my run gear on and walked out onto the run course, trying to gather myself together and get on with the 13.1 miles ahead of me. It was painful, it was slow, my left leg was cramping and my hip was in agony, but I eventually got to the finish line. I could not stop shaking with exhaustion for a while after the race, so huge thanks to David and Karen from Riplaces for letting me chill at their booth for the next few hours.

Obviously this is not how I wanted to end my season, perhaps this race was just a result of doing 4 half-distance races in 7 weeks, perhaps there was more going on. Regardless, I will take some down time now and then get ready for 2016.

Once again, a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me through this season- C3, Multisport Canada, Wishbone Athletics, Nineteen, Blade Carbon Wheels, Louis Garneau, and Skechers.

Miami 70.3

This was my second last race of the season, and was glad to escape the cold Ontario weather by heading down to sunny Miami. Heading into this race my goal was to go out and have fun, focusing not on the end result, but on each task at hand, right from doing a good taper, to executing one thing at a time during the race. I have spent far too much time this season worrying about the end result of the race before the gun even went off, which I don’t think was the best approach to racing, and the new mindset definitely paid off.
During the race briefing the day before the race we were told that the swim was in question, due to a large presence of jellyfish. I had mixed feelings about this, as I know that I do better with a swim, but I also didn’t want to swim with jellyfish or any other stinging sea creatures. The call on the swim was not going to be made until 10 minutes before race start. I didn’t let this bother me though, I was prepared for either scenario.
Due to the dwindling daylight hours, the race was not to start until 7:30, half an hour later than usual, which was great as it just meant a little bit more sleep for me. I woke up excited to race and not nervous at all. We did end up having a swim. Once the men were off the women had 4 minutes to get in the water and warm up before the gun went off. Loads of time. Literally the second I jumped in the water I got stung by a jellyfish in my armpit- perfect. Brief warm-up and time to go. While there was a large pro field at the race, there were a lot of people from European and South American countries, so I didn’t recognize a lot of names. There were 3 women who I was sure would swim faster than I would- Jen Spieldenner, Sarah Haskins, and Leanda Cave. I got right behind Jen at the start line with the intent of trying to stay on her feet as long as possible. With my incredible top end speed, I lost her feet within 10 seconds. No sweat, next task was to get to the first turn buoy quickly, as it was only 300m out- not enough time to really separate the field and I didn’t want to get in a boxing match going around it. This went as planned and as we headed out into the bay I separated myself from almost all the other swimmers, I think a couple people remained on my feet, but it felt like I was swimming alone. There weren’t thousands of jellyfish, but there were some. I punched one right on the top (dunno if that is classified as the head), and another one got me pretty good with its stingers on my arm. Finding Nemo popped into my head.

I don’t know if the swim course was short, or if the waves were helping a lot, but all the swim times are quite fast. (or maybe it was the fear of the jellyfish). Getting out of the water I had literally no idea how many people were ahead of me. (Looking at the results, I was 4th out of the water, woot woot)
My plan for the bike ride was to hold back slightly on the way out- my power meter has gone from not working well to not working at all, so I didn’t have the option of looking at my power numbers, although this was not a problem as I have never used them in a race. Even holding back slightly I was easily able to pass a few men in the opening miles of the ride which gave me a boost of confidence. There was a woman up the road about 200-300 meters, who was neither pulling away or getting closer. I didn’t worry about it, reminded myself that it was a 90km ride and there was plenty of time to catch her, no need to burn any matches up early in the ride. At the turnaround I saw that this person was Leanda Cave- like holy shit! I was riding the same pace as a former 70.3 and Ironman world champion. Buoyed by this and sticking to my plan, I increased the effort for the ride back to T2. Leanda had obviously been told to ride harder by someone (coach/ friend?) who was at the turn around, so we remained the same distance apart until about mile 40, where I started to reel her in and was able to make the pass.  Coming into T2 I felt like a) I had absolutely nailed the pacing on the bike and b) I was in third!!!
Now for the run- I was determined to keep a positive attitude during the run, despite the fact that I have not been running well this year. I actually felt pretty good heading out and pushed the pace beyond what I thought was going to be sustainable for 21km, but a) you don’t know if you don’t try (or “tri” if we go with terrible puns) and b) Leanda was hot on my heels and I knew there were other fast runners behind me. I held Leanda off for 6km but could not go with her when she passed me. No need to worry, and there were two people behind me who were running much faster than I was- I wasn’t going down without a fight. Coming from Ontario, the 30+ degree sunny weather was cooking me, especially the 2 mile section that had no aid stations and was over a bridge; a large hill to climb and no shade available. Nothing I can do about the weather, so every aid station I made sure to drink lots of water, put water on my head, and grab ice (when available) to throw down the front and back of my jersey. Literally the only good thing about wearing a bra is that it holds ice remarkably well. This was a two lap run course, so each time we had a turn-around I was able to see 5th and 6th place getting closer. I held onto the hope that I would get to the finish line before they caught me, and was pushing myself as fast as I could go, but no dice, one caught me with 5km left, the other with 3km. But Spieldenner, who was 2ndoff the bike, had slowed down considerably. With one mile left I caught her and pushed to the finish line, ecstatic that I felt like I had a great race and my best placing at a 70.3 so far. While the final run split doesn’t have anyone thinking “gee Kristen, you’re fast” this is the closest I have been to the leaders in run splits. Progress is being made.

Next and final race is Austin 70.3 in two weeks. #lastonefastone
Special thanks to Jesus Rivero from UltrabikeX for putting up with me for my time down in Miami.


Thanks once again to all those supporting me, Nineteen Wetsuits, Louis Garneau, Blade Carbon Wheels, Skechers, WishboneAthletics, C3, and a huge huge thanks to everyone who reads these reports and offers encouraging and supportive words- it truly means a lot.

Silverman Race Report

First time to Vegas calls for only one thing- a race! Silverman 70.3 boasted a competitive pro field and a very challenging course right from the gun. To cut to the chase, I came 10th and was initially very upset with that. Really this was only because I was outside the money, and am very stressed about that whole situation (not that I didn’t know this was what I was getting into, and not that I haven’t applied for jobs, but apparently having a BSc makes you over-qualified for part-time work). After chatting with a fellow competitor who was at the same hotel, I realized that I shouldn’t be upset with the race. He asked what I could have done differently, and the answer is nothing. There is nothing I could have done to place better, I raced to the best of my ability and simply have work to do to be faster.
So on to the race.
The swim takes place in Lake Mead, which is a small part of Lake Las Vegas, a massive, man-made body of water. 
 

The swim course was essentially a triangle, but the top side was only 300m, with the other two sides being very long. I mention this because it made the swim extremely challenging. The wind (at 40+km/hr) was coming from the side, which meant we had big waves coming from the side for the majority of the swim. I am sure I spent more energy attempting to swim in a straight line than I did trying to go forward, and also drank A LOT of water (yum yum, all that algae). Warm water temperatures meant no wetsuit, but this was the first time I had a Nineteen speed suit- it definitely made the swimming feel smoother. I started on the outside, which was technically the furthest distance to the first turn buoy, but with the waves this was a smart choice as they pushed me over to the side without me consciously needing to do it (I actually had to make sure I didn’t go too far inside the buoys). With 40 pro women signed up for the race, I was 7th out of the water- I honestly cannot ask for more than that at this point, that is a really great swim for me.

Onto the bike. Here is the elevation profile:
 So yes, that is 1,300m of climbing in 90km. It was not as challenging as I was expecting, as the hills are very rolling- I think the only times I stood up were to stretch my legs, and not really because I needed to to climb the hill. However, the wind. Holy crap. This makes that race in Georgina seem like we had a gentle breeze. On multiple occasions I had to get out of aero just to control my bike, and this is with only a 33mm depth Blade Carbon race wheel on the front.  I caught a couple people on the bike, but 3 or 4 passed me. I was already going as hard as I could and had nothing to try and go with them, so spent most of the ride going solo. As a person who likes greenery and trees, I found this course to be very boring. Just brown rolling hills with dead vegetation- it all looked the same so seemed like we would never get out of the national park.

By the time I got to T2 I was totally fried, physically and mentally.

On went the Skechers GoRun Ultras and onto the run course. Here is the run course profile:
I hope you are cringing as you imagine running that. Up, up, up, down, down, down and repeat x3. The first lap I focused on trying to settle into a manageable pace and taking one lap at a time. By lap two I was thinking things weren’t so bad and managed to catch two people, Kate Bevilaqua (3x ironman champion) and Melanie McQuaid (3x Xterra world champion and person who beat me in St. Andrew’s)- this race really had top notch athletes. But then I got to lap 3 and things started to not feel so good. I hadn’t been able to totally follow my nutrition plan on the bike and coke wasn’t sitting well on the run, so I was running on empty and definitely feeling the effects of it. Malindi Elmore (former track Olympian) passed me like I was standing still at 10miles and another athlete caught me as I shuffled up the gigantic hill. I held on for 10thand was completely drained crossing the finish line.

I have taken some extra recovery time from the race as it was definitely needed, but will now do a good block of training in preparation for the FLAT Miami 70.3 on October 25th.

Barrelman

Barrelman
Sunday I was back to Barrelman to defend my title, although some other pros and top age groupers showed up to make sure I had to work for it.
As this was the first of 4 half-distance races that I have in 7 weeks I had never planned for much of a taper into it, Friday and Saturday just to freshen up a bit. This went perfectly until I woke up Friday feeling really tired, and as the day progressed it became apparent I had some sort of stomach flu, and spent Friday night beside the toilet. Saturday I was not feeling much better so scrapped the usual pre-race day training in favour of resting, in order to try and get some energy back for Sunday. I awoke race morning not 100%, but feeling okay and drove down to the race site. Definitely nice to be able to sleep in my own bed the night before a race.
Taking my bike out for warm-up the brakes were rubbing AGAIN (an on-going frustration this year), but the guy at the Velofix van was able to do some quick adjustments to get things back in working order. No time left for a little run, so I was headed down for a quick swim warm-up before the start of the race. My stomach didn’t like the horizontal position of swimming so I left some breakfast in the canal (sorry guys) before the race.
The pros were off at 8:59 in the Welland Canal- an awesome place to have the swim as there are no waves and sighting down the straight line is very easy. The men took off quickly but I slowly reeled them in over the first 500m and was eventually swimming with a small group, not much drama which was nice. Given that we were in the section of the canal set up for rowing there were small buoys every 12.5m in the inside of the swim course. I discovered on my way back that all these buoys are attached by a string, so it was pretty much like swimming in a pool. No need to sight, just follow the string.
follow the line
Onto the bike I felt like crap for the first 35km or so. Somehow I convinced myself at 30km that I was basically done (1/3 done, that’s like almost done right?) and just kept riding steadily. At about 45-50km two men and I came together as a group (I can’t remember who caught who). This was extremely frustrating as they clearly had no respect for proper drafting rules. In 5 pro races I have done so far this year, pros have NEVER been allowed to slipstream (ride up in the draft zone and then make a pass), yet one of the seasoned pros tried to tell me he didn’t know this. Wtf? Seriously?
Don’t give me that shit, you know the rules

In addition, whenever I looked behind me they were both well within the 10m zone. Then on the occasion that they wanted to pass me they would ride up, cut right in front and then slow down. Given that we were riding into a headwind for the last 50km of the ride, the only way for me to drop back 10m was to sit up and completely stop pedalling. Obviously this seriously disrupts my rhythm, so I did my best to stay ahead of them, and let them cheat by riding in the draft zone. (can you tell I’m pissed yet?).

For those of you who like numbers, I do have some data from my ride. My watch does lose signal with the power meter on a fairly frequent basis, but is strapped around my seat post to minimize this (so I don’t have any data while riding, not that I want it). Having uploaded the file to Strava, it looks like I averaged just over 40km/hr for the first 20km or so down Feeder Rd (with a tailwind), and 36.xkm/hr for the last 50km of the ride (with a headwind), with an overall average speed of 37.3km/hr. Average power was somewhere around 205W +/- 5W (given that the signal kept dropping, I don’t have perfectly accurate data).  I believe this is the highest average power I’ve ever had for 90km.
Onto the run there were a few men around, but given that my running has been shitty all year, I was once again not setting a blazing pace and they pulled ahead. My left leg that has been giving me problems for 3 weeks now was sore right from the get-go. This is such a great run course though as it is very scenic and kept interesting, passing through the burning springs section and by the casino and then directly by the Falls. With about 5km left to go my quads cramped up really (REALLY) badly, so if it looked and sounded like I was in pain, I was. I can still barely walk today. 
Not as jubilant as last year. very sore.
My massage therapist Kristen Pawlick will have her work cut out for her.
Next up is Silverman 70.3 in two weeks. Not sure what I’ve got myself into with this race as there is 1,300m of climbing on the bike (200m more than the Muskoka course), and we do not start and end in the same place (what goes up does NOT come down). Then the run looks like it is 3 loops up and down a friggin mountain. Basically I am going to die.

Thanks for following along! If I survive in Las Vegas, I will have another race report then. J

Georgina Triathlon (Duathlon)

Georgina Triathlon (Duathlon)
This was the last stop on the regular Multisport Canada circuit (but Barrelman is this coming weekend!!) and a new race venue for them. From the beginning of the season I knew I would be coming here as I have ridden on the roads up there and they are fantastic, and it is not too far from my parent’s place in Newmarket.
The weekend brought some unexpectedly cold temperatures and on Saturday evening I predicted that the race would be switched to a duathlon on Sunday morning. I awoke to rain and howling winds, which was only more noticeable by the lake at the race site. Indeed, the race was switched to a sprint duathlon- 5km run, 20km bike, 2.5km run. I think this made some people very unhappy, but was undoubtedly the right (and only) call to make by John Salt and the MSC team- safety first!
I had not run for 10 days leading into the race as one of my legs was hurting quite a lot. I was 100% convinced I had a stress fracture, but just received the results from a bone scan which indicates I have other problems but my bones are fine. I was very frustrated that I can’t seem to get in any good run mileage or intensity without something going wrong, so poured that frustration into my bike and swim training, which meant entering the race feeling quite tired.
Given that it was so cold out I did not warm up on my bike, and didn’t want to run any more than I had to, so my ‘warm-up’ consisted of swinging my arms around a bit and hopping up and down on the leg that doesn’t hurt. Triathletes started 3 minutes after the duathletes, and as typically happens, the gun went off and people sprinted out onto the run course. Not my style of racing, so I thought ‘haha, I’ll catch ya later’ and set out at a more reasonable pace. Indeed, not too far in I started picking people off and it was fun to start catching the duathletes too. By the end of the 5k I was starting to feel warmed up.
I took a super long time in transition, chatted to the spectators while I got my bike shoes on etc. What’s the rush right?
Out onto the bike course I thought my legs would feel really crappy having had to run first (which is not something I practice), but I felt pretty good! (I guess I didn’t run hard enough). With the wind being so strong it was essential to get down in aero to be blown about the least amount possible. I had a fantastic time out there and am starting to think I should find races where it is super windy. Looking at my garmin file after it looks like I averaged 38.6km/hr for the time I was actually riding my bike (so excluding the time running around in my bike shoes)- seems pretty fast to me!
The 2.5km run at the end seemed very short and then it was time to get inside and warm up!
A very cold and wet day out there but Multisport Canada did a great job in ensuring that everyone who wanted to race could get a race in.
I will see you at Barrelman in a weeks’ time- I have put in my request for windy weather, we’ll see what happens!

Thanks to all my supporters- Kristen Pawlick from Wishbone Athletics, C3, Nineteen, Louis Garneau, Blade Carbon Wheels, Skechers, and Multisport Canada. 

Wasaga Beach Triathlon

Wasaga Beach Triathlon
This was my third race of the year with Multisport Canada and was very happy to see the later start time at 10:30, meaning I could sleep in and still get to the race.
The swim takes place in Georgian Bay and provided for some rough waters to start the race. Although I am not afraid of these type of conditions, I have little practice in them and was uneasy about how it would go. I tried to find feet at the start but ended up losing them as we got closer to the first turn buoy and found myself swimming with Andrew Bolton and Jack Laundry.
 This became my motto for the swim and was glad to get out.
My only goal in this race was to have a really fast bike split, hoping to get close to an average of 38km/hr. However, once I was on my bike a heavy week of training seemed to catch up with me and my legs were burning. I avoided getting any draft from a couple men that passed me as I wanted to know how fast I could do the course, not how fast I could do it with assistance. For the first 15km I got the gap between Angela and myself down from over a minute to about 20 seconds, however those men that I avoided drafting caught up to her and the three of them used the 5meter drafting rule to its full advantage. There is no doubt that at 5 meters you still get a significant amount of drafting effect and I got extremely frustrated as I saw them pulling away from me, after I had been catching them. I did my best to keep my head in the game for the rest of the ride although will admit that I was more than a little pissed getting off the bike. (I am not saying they were cheating, it was smart racing; but I do think that the drafting rules should be changed for pros/elite age groupers so that we can have a fair race).
In transition I was surprised to hear Steve Fleck say that I was only a minute down from Angela (we ended up with almost identical bike splits). I put my shoes and socks on and headed out onto the run course. I made quick work of the minute and just past the 2km mark I passed Angela and didn’t look back. My run split was as terrible as it has been all year so not much to say about that.
Thanks to Multisport Canada for another great race venue- I will be in Georgina in 2 weeks and then Barrelman after that. See you there!

Thanks again to those supporting me: Nineteen Wetsuits, Blade Carbon wheels, Louis Garneau, Skechers, C3 and Kristen Pawlick from Wishbone Athletics.