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. 

Timberman 70.3

Timberman 70.3
I was able to travel to this race with another pro, Cindy Lewis, which made life a lot easier, not having to worry about directions (we had a GPS) and having some company for the long drive to New Hampshire. After a 12 hour trip we arrived Friday night in the town of Alton. If you are ever travelling to New Hampshire, don’t go to Alton- there is nothing there. Also, under no circumstances whatsoever should you stay at the River View Motel- despite what the false reviews on expedia tell you, you will be lacking hot water and lights, and those will be the least of your worries.
don’t stay here. just don’t do it.
Saturday provided some unwanted adventure as I went out for my morning run and encountered a less than friendly dog that was not contained in his yard. I survived, my clothes did not.
not supposed to have holes here…
Timberman was my first actual IM branded race, not that it means much other than more people, both pros and age groupers. We arrived very early at the race site Sunday morning so that we could park there and not 20km away, so I had lots of time to chill before the race started.
I had a bit of a mental ‘reset’ before coming into this race. Somewhere along the way this season my thoughts had become a lot more self-defeating, which was sucking the fun out of racing. So I really wanted to come into this race with more confidence and positive thoughts. In previous races I somehow got it into my head that I was the worst swimmer in the world and should just try to get on anyone’s feet that I could, although that was quite erroneous thinking. This may stem from the fact that when I swim with the varsity swim team I actually am the worst swimmer, but swimming with triathletes is not the same thing. So with this in mind I lined up at the swim start right by Rachel Joyce (one of the top swimmers in the sport) with the intention of trying to get on her feet. Go big or go home right? For the first 25m or so I was in her wake, but not surprisingly she started to pull away. Even though I lost her feet, the extra effort put in at the beginning of the swim meant that almost everyone else was behind me and I had a really clean swim, no violence. About 400m in I caught up to 2 people and decided to swim with them as we turned the corner. Since the next 900m was directly into the sun I thought it best to let someone else do the sighting while I chilled on her feet, rather than me pulling her and getting blinded by the sun. Once that stretch was over and we turned to head back to shore I pulled up a bit to push the pace a little more. We ended up exiting the water just over a minute behind Rachel Joyce and 1 other person, which for me is an outstanding swim (in comparison, I was 3min back from the leaders at Challenge Knoxville in May).
Lake Winnipesaukee. we swam somewhere in here

T1 went very smoothly and quickly, as I had planned out my route through transition to my bike prior to the race (and therefore was faster than the other two I was with).
The bike course was decently challenging with some good climbs and descents. Angela Naeth caught me fairly early on but was evidently way out of my league as I could not stay with her. I did stay with Heather Jackson when she caught me for several kilometers, but she gradually pulled away and I basically rode solo for the rest of the ride. I passed one person but two people caught me in the latter part of the ride as I was fading from the effort put out to begin with. Definitely something to work on but overall was not a bad ride. 
I entered the run in 6th place and was feeling pretty good to start off with. The run course was fairly challenging with some good steep hills as well as long gradual hills. About 8km in my quads started to cramp up and there didn’t seem to be anything I could do about it. Still relatively new to the distance, I have not figured out a good fuelling strategy for the run as my stomach seems to be very sensitive; each race seems to be a new test to see what I can handle. So far flat coke is winning, although I’d like to find something more tolerable. The second loop was definitely a struggle and I ended up getting caught by one person with about 5km left to go. I tried to go with her but wasn’t able to sustain it so ended up in 7thoverall. Not a bad day considering the field of women that showed up.
Overall it was a great race- some people have complained about the conditions of the roads but those sections were really not that long and anyone with two eyes and a brain can navigate the potholes without too much trouble. The volunteers were awesome and they had ice-cream at the post-race food tent, so you can’t really ask for much more 😉 (apparently ice cream is REALLY popular in New Hampshire. It’s like the Tim Hortons of Canada. Definitely a good thing J) And I made some pretty nice sand castles at the beach waiting for them to open up the parking lots. 😛
finally a can with my name on it 😉
Thanks again to those who are supporting me- Nineteen, LouisGarneau, Blade Carbon Wheels, Skechers, C3, Multisport Canada, and Kristen Pawlick from Wishbone Athletics.

Update + Bracebridge Race Report

Update + Bracebridge Race Report
The last couple of weeks

Social media makes it very easy to believe that every other athlete is out there putting in ‘epic’ workouts day in and day out without rest, recovery days, or bad workouts. Because this isn’t the case I have written a very candid report of the last 3 weeks of my training, which have gone, in all honesty, terribly.
A few days before the race in NYC three weeks ago I started to feel slightly low on energy, although I brushed it off as pre-race nerves (which may or may not have been the reason). The race itself did not go well and I was frustrated with the result, mostly because the effort level and resulting splits did not seem to match up. However, these things happen and I was (mentally) ready to get into another hard block of training in preparation for Timberman 70.3 (which is next weekend).
I did the normal recovery routine post-race, although I did not bounce back as quickly or as well as I have in the past. The next couple of weeks seemed to be a continual downward trend in performance, although my list of excuses for it was as long as Santa’s naughty list. I told myself to stop being a wuss, things would be better tomorrow. Always ‘tomorrow.’ Unfortunately ‘tomorrow’ never came and workouts became poorer and even difficult to finish. Still I maintained that I was just being a wimp and that nothing was actually wrong.

Last weekend was intended to be a hard few days of training in Collingwood. Friday was okay (just okay, I survived at least). However, on Saturday’s bike ride I self-imploded by the 40km mark and was sent home early, where I spent the next 14 hours practically comatose in my bed. I have NEVER cut a bike ride short because I was tired, so I was rather unhappy with myself; but I was EXHAUSTED (not a word I use lightly). Sunday and Monday were taken very easy, with the intention of getting back at things on Tuesday. A few minutes into Tuesday morning’s swim practice it became very evident that 2 days had not been enough and my body was still in a hole (more like a gigantic crater). My coach got wind of this and told me to take the rest of the week off. This was very hard to take mentally but I knew it was for the best, so I spent the rest of the week doing nothing. This was actually the lowest weekly training volume I have had in 5 years.
There are likely a number of reasons that contributed to how I was feeling. While on paper the training I have been doing this season makes sense, with gradual progressions in duration and intensity, our bodies are not machines there is no magic plan that works for everyone. Perhaps mental stress played a role. Blood work results indicate that dietary changes need to be made. Maybe I really just needed a couple more rest days. Regardless of the reasons, the down time served its purpose and I was excited to go to a fun, no-stress race in Bracebridge.
The Race

Bracebridge is one of my favourite races on the Multisport Canada circuit and I try to make it out every year that I can, so was happy to be here this weekend.
The swim is a time-trial start, with the pros/elites starting 15 seconds apart. As my luck would have it, Angela was starting 15 seconds behind me. I knew if there was ever a race that I could get on her feet it would be this one and that was really the only goal of the day. About 500m in both Sean Bechtel and Angela caught me, with Sean leading the way. I tried to jump in with the two, but this didn’t last long before Sean had dropped us both and I swam the rest of the way with Angela. #goalachieved
I didn’t rush with my transition and therefore needed to chase Angela down on the bike, although there wasn’t a huge gap so it didn’t take long. About 7km along I actually made the pass and enjoyed the bike course the rest of the way. As I still felt like I was on the edge of the hole that I had been in all week I didn’t push the pace but chose to simply enjoy the fact that I was racing on some of the best roads in Ontario. Coming back past Santa’s village provided some excitement as a local person (not a racer) on their mountain bike decided to cross over to the wrong side of the road and ride directly at me as I was going 50km+/hr down that hill; I swerved to avoid him and not 10 seconds later a pick-up truck pulled out from a parking lot, blocking both the on-coming traffic in the opposite lane and then stopping in my lane as he saw me, completely blocking the entire road. I slammed on my brakes and slid through the sand on the side of the road, safely making it around the blockage. Gotta keep me on my toes I guess?
Onto to run I felt pretty crummy, although having not run for an entire week this was not a surprise. Again, no need to overly exert myself, just a solid effort to close out the race.
finishing up
Thanks again to everyone who has supported me thus-far:  Nineteen wetsuits, Blade Carbon Wheels, LouisGarneau, Skeckers, C3, Multisport Canada, and Wishbone Athletics.
Next weekend I will be headed to a very competitive race at Timberman 70.3, the rest of the season is TBD.

NYC Tri- How to Lose a Race in 20 Seconds

NYC Tri- How to Lose a Race in 20 Seconds
The NYC triathlon is one of the most iconic triathlons in the USA and attracts 4000 competitors every year. On Friday I drove down to the city that never sleeps and was graciously allowed to stay at the apartment of Erik Reitinger.
Pre-race
The race starts at 5:50am which meant getting up at 3am and driving from Brooklyn to the race site (even at that time of morning there is traffic). Because we had to carry our transition and post-race stuff with us in the clear plastic bags provided, I soft-pedalled the mile to transition, and that was my bike warm-up. Even without carrying the stuff I don’t think I could have done a bike warm-up though, as it’s NYC and there is literally nowhere to ride. I did a short run warm-up, and swim warm-ups were not allowed. So at 5:45am I was as ready as I could be, but left much to be desired.
Swim
I’m sure we’ve all heard “you can’t win the race on the swim, but you can lose it.” I always thought this really referred to going out way too hard and then not being able to bike and run well. However, I found there is another way to do it too. The swim is a straight shot down the Hudson River, swimming with the current. This allows for very fast swim times, but you have to know how to play the game. We were lined up based on our bib numbers, and since I had a higher number I was on the left side (close to the side of the river). I didn’t think this would be an issue as presumably everyone would swim straight forward. Key words, I didn’t think. The gun went off, we dove in- my goggles didn’t come off (yay!) I do a couple dolphin kicks and come up to the surface. WHAM! Someone punches me in the back of the head. They didn’t stop there as they kept hitting me. I tried to move over to the right to get away, but then the person on that side was repeatedly trying to grab my shoulder and pull me back. So I’m being attacked from both sides, and although this would in the past have left me in extreme panic mode, my only thought was WTF! 
I extricated myself from the situation by jumping over to the left side of the person who seemed to want to beat me to death. By this time however, a lead group had already formed and created a gap, which I was in no way able to close. I ended up swimming solo and made the mistake of not moving over to the right side (towards the middle of the river) where the current was strongest. It’s a big river, and this would have made a hugedifference to my swim time, but as it was, I came out of the water 2+ minutes behind those in front of me.
T1
It’s a good thing we don’t really need skin on the bottom of our feet as it was a 600m run on asphalt from the swim exit to transition. Ouch.
Bike
If I had been able to get out of the water with those ahead of me, this would unequivocally been a very different race. Those in front of me were in small groups, and this not only offers a mental advantage, but due to the stagger rule used in the U.S. there is a small but significant drafting effect that occurs when riding with others. Alas, I was in no-man’s-land, so rode solo the whole way. I didn’t pass anyone and no-one passed me.
Run
The run course went through Central Park, which was pretty cool, and offered a fairly challenging route of large rolling hills. Although I wasn’t exactly blazingly fast on the run, this is the first time this year that I wasn’t slowing down significantly on the uphills. I didn’t have the extra gear to go faster, but I feel I probably could have done another 5-10km at that pace. Again, I was in no-man’s-land and did not catch anyone or get caught.

So while not the result I was looking for, I learned a lot at this race and it will only make me better in the future. Thanks to everyone who is supporting me:    NineteenLouis GarneauBlade Carbon Wheels,SkechersC3MultisportCanada, and Kristen Pawlick from Wishbone Athletics.

Challenge St. Andrews

Challenge St. Andrews
After the race in Philadelphia last weekend I headed straight to New Brunswick and stayed with my teammate Reid Burrows parents, who live just north of Saint John. Awesome people (also triathletes and had awesome races on Sunday) and it helped me to get used to the time change (although only one hour, my body did not like getting up an hour earlier in the mornings).
Benny
Sadie
On Thursday I headed to Saint Andrews, a lovely little town surrounded by water, and stayed with my awesome homestay family, the Scouten’s. I don’t have pictures of them, but they had two dogs, so I have pictures of them of course J

This allowed for a relaxing, unstressful week leading into the race. It would literally have been impossible for me to get lost in town, and I was only 150m from the transition area and the Algonquin Resort, so I could walk to any of the pre-race functions. I was feeling great leading into the race, and it was fantastic to have a large group of people from C3 there as well.
Although I never expect to sleep well the night before a race, this is probably the worst sleep I have ever had. I doubt I even got three hours of sleep, due to many little things (like the fact that it doesn’t get dark until well after 10pm, 4th of July fireworks, and a drunk person in the middle of the night yelling for half an hour about who knows what). Regardless, I got up at 4am and got ready to race.
**if you have read the race report on Slowtwitch or triathlete.com they are wildly inaccurate. This is a better report of what actually happened
Swim
The swim is situated in a cove that is protected from the ocean, so the water was very calm, but still chilly enough to require wetsuits. This was awesome, because the buoyancy offered by the salt water and wetsuits makes for good times, in both sense of the term. The men were off at 7am, and the women at 7:03. The initial plan was to get onto Jillian Petersen’s feet, as she is a great swimmer. Since I have an absence of ability to sprint, I went out as hard as I could, and found myself right beside her (I was shocked to say the least). She made the quick decision to jump onto my feet so I found myself leading the swim. Since I hate being behind people, regardless of what I am doing, I quite enjoyed this, even though I knew she was saving a lot more energy by drafting off me. I had no idea where the other women were, so I put in a couple of little surges in the first half of the swim in case they were drafting off Jillian. (and having read Melanie’s race report it would appear that it worked. #fistpump) Coming around the last turn buoy Jillian pulled out around me and got out of the water 2 seconds ahead of me. The other women were well back. We got our hiking gear on and climbed the mountain up to T1.
up up up we go to T1

Bike
I had felt a little flat in my warmup and was hoping that would go away in the race. Unfortunately that was not the case, and just didn’t have that extra ‘pop’ in the legs that I would want on race day. Not that I felt bad, but I don’t show up to races to have an average day. Alas, there is nothing that can be done in these situations, so I just kept riding the best I could. Melanie was chasing hard, and caught me just after the half way point. At some point I pulled away from Jillian and got to T2 a couple minutes ahead of her and a couple minutes behind Melanie.  The bike course was very beautiful, and decently challenging as there were no flat sections (literally), just rolling hills the whole way.
Run
Heading out onto the run I wasn’t feeling too bad and put my mind towards catching Melanie. Angela had told me that the run course was ‘deceptively challenging’ which would be a very accurate description. A two lap course, it starts out with a long gradual downhill, some flatter sections with a few small ups and downs, and then you come back, and get to climb up the long hill (which seems never ending when you’re doing it). Over the first lap Melanie put about 10-20 seconds into me, so the plan of catching her wasn’t working, and I was very aware that Jillian could be running faster than I was. The splits I got during the second lap indicated that I was starting to gain time on Melanie, but not enough to catch her, and I could see at the turn-around that Jillian was gaining on me. Barrie told me how far back she was, but it didn’t matter as I couldn’t go any faster, if she caught me there would be nothing I could do about it. Very aware of my terrible hill climbing abilities I was pushing any slight downhill and trying to not slow on the up hills as I headed back to the finish line. I had that 2km hill to climb to the finish line, so needed as much time as I could get before I hit that. One of the Challenge guys was riding up the hill to the finish line as I was heading into the last kilometer. “She’s catching you, you’d better not let up on the gas,” he said. ‘oh shit,’ I thought.

Coming to the top of the hill Melanie was in the penalty tent, fuming like a caged lion. This meant I was now in first place, but I just had a gut feeling that this was not going to stick. Although I crossed the finish line in first (Jillian was only 20ish seconds behind), I quickly learned that Melanie had a 5 minute penalty for racking her bike about 30cm to the side of where it should have been. I can’t believe that anyone would think that should deserve a 5 minute penalty, and indeed, the decision was made to make it a 30 second penalty, meaning Melanie won, I was second, and Jillian was third. (the results sheet made the adjustment on her swim time, which is why the race report constructed by someone who wasn’t there is inaccurate).

suffered some serious battle wounds on the run.
largest blister i have ever seen

It felt awesome to get on the podium for the first time as a pro, but certainly could not have done it without the support of others. Thanks again to Nineteen, Louis Garneau, Blade Carbon Wheels, Skechers, C3, MultisportCanada, and Kristen Pawlick from Wishbone Athletics.

TriRock Philadelphia

TriRock Philadelphia
Saturday didn’t really start off on the right foot as my 45min bike ride turned into a 2hr extravaganza (25min of which was spent at a YMCA trying to figure out where I was and how I was going to get back).
I asked THREE different people for directions and each time this was the result
Despite being confident that there would be no swim on Sunday I went to a pool anyways to do the usual pre-race day stuff. Someone in Philadelphia is doing things right as I was able to go to a 50m outdoor pool for FREE (although the cleanliness of the water may have been a little suspect…).
After the race briefing in the afternoon I once again got lost as some of the roads I needed to be on were closed. This led me to driving around what the locals called “the hood” for 40min, at which time I was completely and utterly stressed out and one of the locals convinced a police officer to drive with me following him back to a point I could recognize.  Perhaps not the best day to have before a race, but I was feeling ready to go and calmed myself down before heading to bed.
As the race was to start at 6:30am I didn’t leave a lot of wiggle room in the morning, thinking it most important to grab as much sleep as I could. I had directions to the race site, so what could go wrong? Well, in keeping with the theme of the previous day, I got lost on the way to the race site as well, costing me another 10min (and another chat with a police officer as to where the heck I was). I got to the race site at 5:30, which was cutting things tight as we had to warm up on our bikes before getting to transition, which was to close at 6:15. I did a quick warm up on the bike, but was already freaking out a little due to my unintended detour and the ticking clock, so my heart rate was already pretty high and didn’t take much for me to feel like I was ready to go. I still had to put the stickers on my bike as I hadn’t gone out to do it the night before in the torrential downpours. It was still raining so the stickers didn’t want to stick, so what should have taken 30seconds took a couple of minutes. “Tick tock tick tock” is all I was thinking. I rode down to transition (about 900m) and again, something I did not factor in was 3000+ athletes needing to get body marked, rather than the normal 300. I racked my bike and was out for a run warm-up at 6:05. 10min til transition closes. As I’m jogging along I realize that the new race suit I got on Thursday has sleeves, and I need to go get re-marked on my arms so the numbers would be visible. At this point I was just telling myself to calm down and things would be okay. I was feeling great on the warm-up and it took no effort to get up to a good speed. Time to race.
Swim- 0min0sec – yup, just that fast 😉
It was cancelled due to unsafe waters- not sure whether it was floating trees or something sinister in the waters. This meant a time-trial start on the bike.
Bike- 1hr5min
I was third to go off on the bike and felt awesome. I caught the person who left in front of me after about 4-5km, and could see Alicia Kaye in the distance at certain points on the course, who neither seemed to be getting closer or further away. After just over one lap Alicia had gained only 5 seconds or so. Unfortunately it would appear that I slowed down over the second lap, as her bike split was 50 seconds faster than mine, and the person who left 40 seconds after me ended up catching me. In hindsight I may have been thinking too much about the run on the second lap of the bike and riding slightly more conservatively. A rookie mistake as I know that it is important to always focus on the task at hand. The bike course was a lot of fun, very technical, which offered a definite advantage to those who had done the course before, but with all the twists and turns it keeps it interesting and might be my favourite bike course yet.
Run-39:30 L

I don’t know what to say about this. I am very unhappy with it. The course was perfectly suited to me (flat flat flat), yet I couldn’t execute. I ran as hard as I could but my feet felt like they were falling flat on the ground and I just couldn’t get into that higher gear. I wasn’t expecting this as my training would indicate that I should be running low-mid 38min off the bike. I have no excuses and no reasons for it, I was just slow. I ended up 6th out of about 25 women, which left me one spot out of the prize money (highly unfortunate as it is getting to that point where student loans have to be paid back L). This race was far more competitive than last year, likely due to the lack of Olympic distance pro races (the person who came 3rd last year was 10ththis year), which hopefully means that the race will remain as a pro race. It really was a fantastic course and I would definitely race there again. 
Thanks once again Kristen Pawlick at Wishbone Athletics, C3, Nineteen, Louis Garneau, and Skechers. I wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of everyone who is helping me and cheering me on, it really means a lot! Next up is Challenge St. Andrew’s this weekend!

Woodstock Recap

Woodstock Recap
This marked the start of race season for Ontario triathletes. I was excited to do this race as typically most of the pros/elite age-groupers show up, all keen to get their seasons started. They did not disappoint and the likes of Angela, Meghan, Elise, and Lauren were there.
A breezy morning meant for some choppy waters to start the race. Not a fan of the start, I warned Meghan that if she punched me we would never talk again (we are still on talking terms) J. As far as swim starts go, it wasn’t too bad, a little chaotic but I survived. I didn’t manage to get on anyone’s feet, so swam solo for the duration of the swim.
About 30 seconds back from Angela I, as usual, took my time in T1, and then went to chase her down on the bike. Elise passed me in T1, but as I said in my last race report, it is faster to put bike shoes on before you get on your bike, and once again this proved to be the case. At about 7.5km into the bike I caught Angela, although I knew I wasn’t putting in much time over the remainder of the bike course, and probably only had about 30 seconds coming into T2.
into T2. i will admit i need to learn to do flying dismounts

Not up on my run fitness yet, I didn’t want to leave anything to chance, so went hard out of transition onto the run course. This is probably the best I have felt while running in several months, so although I still have a long way to go to get back to where I was 8 months ago (pre stress fracture #4) I take the view that every workout I do is a small deposit in the bank- eventually it will accumulate and amount to something significant. I held off the fast moving Angela and Meghan behind me, for a solid 65 minute race (so short!).

I’d like to give thanks to John Salt and Multisport Canada for putting on fantastic races and for having created the pro/EAG categories that bring the best athletes together to race. With the lack of women in triathlon, we don’t want ourselves spread too thin or we’ll never see each other! Thanks to Kristen Pawlick at Wishbone Athletics for providing the most amazing massages ever, Nineteen wetsuits for express-mailing a wetsuit that wasn’t ripped in time for the race, Louis Garneau for their fantastic Gennix TR1, Blade Carbon wheels, because no bike is complete without some awesome race wheels, and Skechers Performance because their run shoes are absolutely amazing- ran to the fastest run split in the Gorun Ride 4’s today J

As I realized I never mentioned what I am doing post-graduation, I am now living in Hamilton with the other young guys from C3, training every day and living the dream. Life is good down in the Hammer, but I really miss the Waterloo swim team (please come visit anytime).
Next races: Tri Rock Philadelphia- Olympic distance, June 28th
                Challenge St. Andrews, half distance, July 5th

Thanks for following along!

Challenge Knoxville

Challenge Knoxville
This marked the start of pro-triathlete racing for me, and I was nervous (like, extremely nervous).  Many doubts running through my head in the week prior to the race, so I tried to just focus on proper race preparation and showing up on race day ready to give it everything I had. A 11.5hour drive to Tennessee on Friday meant 11.5hours of country music Jbut also getting quite stiff by the time I arrived at a somewhat sketchy hotel north of the city. Saturday morning I drove the bike course and got to see all the hills that were in store for me (there were lots), and thankfully in the afternoon I was able to meet up with fellow Multisport Canada ambassador AlexVanderlinden at the race briefing, where he assured me I was needlessly worrying.
Race day dawned with some rain, but warm waters so a no wetsuit swim for the pros. Everyone else was wearing a speed suit, which I don’t own given that Ontario doesn’t provide much opportunity for non-wetsuit swims, but i don’t think that it made a difference in the end.  A 15 minute warm-up in the water and the men were off. 3 minutes later were the women. I initially jumped on the feet of the person beside me, but quickly realized she wasn’t taking the best line to the buoy and with one quick move was on the other side of her and chasing down the chase pack. I worked my way up to the front of the chase pack and was swimming beside Rachel McBride, which I had already figured was someone who was going to swim about my speed. I couldn’t get away from them, so swam beside her at the front of the pack for the last 1200m and got out right beside her. The lead swimmers were almost 3 minutes ahead, but that was actually less than I was anticipating.
T1 was rather uneventful, although I would like to say that I always put my bike shoes on in transition and clip in, rather than having my shoes already clipped into my bike. I know it looks way less cool, but I have always thought it was faster my way in the end. Because I got out of the water with 3 other people, I now know for sure that my way is faster. Although the last out of transition, within the first 50m of the bike I was ahead of the others as they tried to get their feet into their shoes. So to everyone else who puts their shoes on in transition, keep doing it that way J

The rain picked up significantly while we were swimming, so we had torrential downpours during the bike. It was awesome. Rachel McBride took off in the early miles of the bike, but I ended up cycling with 3 others for almost the entire ride. I got my ass kicked on the uphills, but beat them to the bottom every time (something to do with E=mc2, particularly the ‘m’). It was a hilly course, lots of technical riding with the turns, but it was a lot of fun. Another fun part was riding past a farm where the cows were lined up like spectators.

something like this
I had the feeling that I was cycling above my ability levels and that I was going to pay for it, but it was a risk I was willing to take (you never know if you don’t try). With about 10km to go 2 of the women dropped off the back, so myself and eventual 3rd place finisher Jeanni Seymour got to transition about the same time. Two women had significantly faster bike splits than the rest of the field (Mcbride and Rebekah Keat), but the next 5 women or so had very similar times, of which I was a part, so I am pretty happy with the bike split.

As soon as I started the run I knew it was going to be a tough 21km. My back and glutes were unbearably tight (they still are 2.5 days later) so every step was painful. I don’t know whether this is a bike fit issue, or due to the fact that I spent so long in a car on Friday (or a combination of both). Initially I was hoping to run with Seymour, but after 1.5 miles she obviously started to feel better and picked up the pace, and I had nothing to go with her. I just focused on getting to the turn-around, one hill at a time (and there were many of them). I definitely did not drink enough on the bike and was feeling the effects of that, so was slowing down (not that I was moving particularly fast to begin with) at all the aid stations to chug two cups of water. At the aid station at 3.5miles one of the volunteers told me that “just past the lights it’s pretty flat, no hills for a while.” I was suffering pretty badly at that point as it was just after the biggest hill on the course, so I got pretty happy. But it was a lie! It was nothing but enormous rolling hills for the next 6 miles.
 Maybe she was just trying to make me feel better (it worked, so can’t complain). I plodded my way to the turn-around, by which time my back was loosening up a little bit so I  silently cheered myself on with each mile marker I passed. With 5km to go I saw one of the women ahead of me (Spieldenner), who seemed to be suffering more than I was, so made it my mission to catch and pass her. By that time I was less than 2 miles from the finish and just held on to the finish line. Definitely one of the toughest runs I have ever done, but crossed the line in 5th place in a field of almost 25 women. I am certainly in no way pleased with the run split, but thankfully I know I can run faster than that, so it is just a matter of being able to do it after biking hard for 90km. I sense more brick runs in my future 😛
Post race I got to chat with some of the other pros including fellow Canadian Rachel McBride (who is awesome)
And my name even snuck into the race report on triathlete.com http://triathlon.competitor.com/2015/05/news/dye-smith-claim-challenge-knoxville-titles_116293   #smallvictories

Thanks for following along and all the support. It’s been amazing so far and I’m and looking forward to improving from here