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!