Monday, December 26, 2011

Ironman 70.3 Austin 2012

Well, I am finally sorting out my year.  After MANY conversations and discussions with loved ones, friends and coaches, I have decided NOT to jump to the full Ironman distance this year.  Too many unanswered questions about jobs, etc. and with those issues unresolved, hard to put the family through a year of prep for a full Ironman.  Instead, I will do  a couple of more Half Ironman distances focusing on getting faster and smoother.  As such, I have booked a ticket to Austin on October 28th, 2012 to complete my year.  Looking forward to it.

I will really try to do a couple of century rides this year to see how my body responds and basically try to ease my way into the full Ironman preparation this year.  IMAZ is my goal for 2013!  Can't wait.

Thanks to all who have helped me and been patient as I worked through my plans for 2012.  I really appreciate your feedback and guidance.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Trot - 2011

Did the Lifetime Fitness 5K Turkey Trot with my daughter Hannah today. Was her first official race and we had a great time. It was the inaugural event in Phoenix and there seemed to be a lot of participants, several booths and support. The route was a closed off downtown Phoenix loop that started at the State Capital. Had great time with Hannah and set the tone nicely for a big day of food! Glad she and I could spend some good time together....


Phoenix Half Marathon 2012

A friend told me to sign up for this relatively new race. Happens to be right down the road (well, maybe a little more than "right down the road") from my house. Will be a good primer for the tri races I have planned this year - a good workout day! Look forward to it.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just signed up for Ironman 70.3 Boulder for 2012. Did quite a bit of research and I am happy about this choice. It is a mere 16 hours from my home in Phoenix and a big elevation change. The water temp, however, is usually nice and warm and the run will be hot - not that I welcome hot runs (remember Soma) it's just that I will be doing most of my training in Phoenix this year so I should be used to the elevated temps... Wish me luck.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Soma Triathlon 70.3 2011

Just finished the Soma Triathlon in Tempe, AZ on October 23, 2011. What a difference from the other 2 events I particpated in this year!

I LOVE Arizona. It is truly my home and we are in the process of moving back here for good (that's another long story). BUT... as far as racing goes, I am amazed at how much the heat takes a toll on a racer! Maybe it's just because I haven't become accustomed to it again, yet. That was the real story today...

Soma does a pretty good job with this one. The expo was as good as Calgary and Boise. It isn't an Ironman marketed race so no IM store with lots of crack to pick up. Still, you get a tech t-shirt, a headsweats visor, a great water bottle and a cool medal so the graft is as good as many races...

Started with the swim @ 6:44 (my wave) in the AM. Temp was 65 degrees and water temp was 73 degrees so was wetsuit legal and fairly warm... This would be the operative word for the day. Swim went great. The hold it is Tempe Town Lake right next to my alma mater, Arizona State University. In fact, the entire course is a scaled down version of IM Arizona which happens later in the year. Swim was unenventful except for a few people smacking me around... Did forget my earplugs and nose plug which I prefer to swim with, but played with the cards dealt to me.

Got out and had some snags with the wetsuit strippers. Probably cost me my PB at least. Still happy to have them there.

The bike course is flat and fast. However, it is like a rat maze. Constant turnings, several U turns and 3 total laps. Haven't decided how I feel about it. Got my best time but could have been better without all the choke points and narrow areas for passing, etc. Saw several crashes. I decided to stick to 2:00 KM pace and play it safe most of the time...

People threw bottles all over and there was a fair amount of littering - something I do not condone and I am not used to it. Made some locations a little dangerous. During the 3rd lap you could feel the temp creeping up.

Slathered plenty of sunscreen on during T2 in prep for the run.

The run is two laps around Tempe Town Lake, running by ASU, apartments and dorms. Not a damn cloud in the sky and almost no shade. Aid stations every mile were my anchors. Given the weather we were dealt, the volunteers did an amazing job keeping us cool with ice, water, snacks and whatever we needed. I walked the aid stations and ran the whole way.

Saw the family for the first time after the first lap. Really brought my spirits up! They were great.

Temperature for the run reached 94 degrees or so. But "it's a dry heat" they say down here...

Totals - 46:48 swim; 3:00 ride; 2:24 run. 347 out of 523 men. Total participants were over a thousand. 57 out of 84 in my age group. Dedicated this race to my daughter, Hannah!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just signed up for the next and final race of the season. The Soma Triathlon in Tempe, Arizona. A "Fair Weather" favorite given the normal weather for the Phoenix area that time of year (late October). Follows much of the Ironman Arizona course, including a swim in Tempe Lake. All around ASU, my alma mater and half ironman distance. Should be a blast!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ironman 70.3 Calgary - 2011

Now, it's time to talk about Ironman Calgary. The race in my own backyard, literally. The bike route comes right past our backyard somewhere post 70K...

 Ever since I started Triathlon, I wanted to do this race. Made sense. Close, familiar, Ironman sponsored (again, should be run pretty professionally). In this case, given my pending move back to the U.S., it would be a "last hurrah" for me in terms of my Canadian racing, at least for now.

Unfortunately, again, my family couldn't be here for the race. Except for Drew, Madison (girlfriend) and my grandson Caden, my family was all in Gilbert, AZ having moved there a month or so ago. That didn't stop some great friends from coming out to wish me the best and congratulate me (Cly, Darcie, Grant, Tara, etc.).

Swim: Ghost Lake is never warm and this year was no exception. It was, however, warmer than Lucky Peak Rez in Boise. Having endured that earlier this year, I knew I would survive whatever Ghost gave out. It's a tougher swim than I thought given the time of day - you swim out into the sun and take a hard left at a buoy you can barely see... You then swim under the highway bridge in a big rectangle. Boise had about 20 buoys guiding you along the path and providing small little bite size goals for the swim. Calgary did no such thing. 4 total buoys. This meant that it was easy to get off course, which I did a few times... I came in at 48 minutes which was about right for me.

Bike: Beautiful course leading out from Ghost and traveling around the countryside of Calgary. I seemed to stay in a pack of a few of the same people... Funny, I thought I was going pretty fast but then all of the sudden someone would get further in front of me and eventually almost dissappear. Put me in my place. The bike course is actually longer than the perscribed 90K - clocks in closer to 94K in reality. More challenging than Boise also. No wind, though, which is a rarity for Calgary rides.

I really enjoyed that aspect. Felt very comfortable on the bike and had a lot of energy for the last 20K. Drew parked himself near our backyard and I estimated when I would be coming by... Sure enough, he was there and snapped a few photos of me as I passed! Had to pee twice on the bike and lost some time there... Still, even with a more challenging course, two pee breaks and 4 extra K, I came in at 3:03 which was equal to Boise!

Run: By the time I hit T2, it was starting to get hot. I welcome the heat but knew I was going to burn. The race organizers had promised sunscreen for T2 but when I asked they volunteers said there wasn't any. Luckily I brought a small tube of sunscreen in my T2 back - jammed it in my back pocket and was off... Put on the sunscreen as a ran the first K. Lucky for me, I found. It was hot and I ended up missing some spots... The first 6K was brutal. I have to admit I struggled. I thought a couple of times I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish! Then I saw Grant my coach and he gave me a high five and said I looked great. It made a big difference and I started to shrug off those thoughts of inadequacy. I knew I had done the training necessary to perform and I just did it. At almost the 1/2 way point Darcy and Cly were sitting out in lawn chairs! They took some pics and cheered me on also... It was great to see them. Right after was the turnaround point and then I knew I would be OK.

The last hill coming up to the final 4-5K is a real ball breaker but some guy coached me on as I started to walk it... He got me to run it, which I did and off I went. I did great for the next 3K but the last 1-2 K was brutal... I felt alone and I was very tired... I still plugged on... Drew was at the finish line snapping photos and then I crossed! It was a great feeling. Dedicated the race to Drew!

Here is the final tally....

Swim 48:40; Bike 3:03:39; Run 2:19:33. 323 out of 710 racers and 29/64 in my age group.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Ironman 70.3 Boise

I admit I am not very good at this blog thing... Not that anybody is reading this anyway. Still, I should be a little more consistant.

June 11, 2011 was my first half Ironman distance race. Decided to do Ironman 70.3 Boise because it was relatively close (15 or so hours), in the state of my birth, similar terrain and race style to Calgary and an Ironman sponsored race (assuming these have a high standard of organization, etc.).

Kids were still in school so I had to make the trip alone. Drove to Pocatello the first night in driving rain most of the way. Spent the night and came into Boise the following day around expo opening time.

Stayed in a great hotel within walking distance from the finish line. Expo was smaller than I anticipated but still well organized. A fair bit of Ironcrack to partake of and I partook... Met up with a close high school friend that lives in Boise and spent some time with him and his wonderful family. It helped fill the void of my own not being there...

Boise is a great town and full of wonderful support for the race. It is a bit different in that it is an afternoon race and is on Saturday - both ended up being GREAT from my viewpoint.

The race was VERY well organized and we couldn't have had better weather. Known for punishing winds, it was relatively wind free race day. A sunny sky about 80 degrees was perfect for the starting gun given the water was bone chilling cold (10c or 50 degrees). The wave starts were very well orchestrated. I was in the 7th wave. Those buoys looked soooo far away. They were pulling people out right and left and I must say, it was hard to get used to the cold water, even being from Canada where the water is never warm. After a few minutes though, I just started swimming... No bilateral breathing, just one side. And I didn't stop. My garmin kept making noise and I had no idea what it was doing... I thought if I stopped I wouldn't get started again so I just kept going. It was the pivotal moment of what ended up being a great day. As I exited the water, I looked at my Garmin and it said 46 minutes... I thought it was frozen. I expected to be about 60 min and I dismissed it... It ended up being correct!

Transition was pretty simple. I had intentionally kept my tri top at transition to avoid riding the bike in a wet top. Changed and was off. An immediate screaming decent down off Lucky Peak Dam followed by a long up hill out into the country side. Again, the wind was not a factor as it had been in previous years. And it started to get overcast cooling things off a bit. The route was well policed and lots of spectators and volunteers. The out and back (and then some) was a a nice and relatively flat course. Several smaller hills and some false flats. You end up going downhill right into downtown into T2. Ended at 3:03 on the bike - I was expecting about 3 hours.

The run was great. Circled around the greenbelt in downtown. Plenty of trees. Some water flowing in the river. Right past the blue Boise State football field, twice. Aid stations every mile! Very well stocked - bananas, coke, pretzels, chips, powerbars, gels, etc. Lots of volunteers. A very well run race. Ended up at 2:15 for the run - my fastest official 1/2 marathon time ever! After the swim and bike to boot. Ran the whole way except walked the aid stations...

Overall a 5 out of 5 race for me. Loved it. Recommend Boise to anybody! Dedicated this race to my son Garrett!

Here is the overall information....

Swim 46:18; Bike 3:03:45; Run 2:15:45. I was 781 out of 1221 and 67th in my category.

Although the above is Pro Race footage, I am actually in the red capped group getting ready to enter the water.  I am in this video!


Monday, May 23, 2011

New Weapon....

Just got through breaking in my new weapon for the races this year. Definately taking some getting used to in terms of position and riding but a lot of fun and very fast. Boise is less tha 3 weeks away!!!