Tag Archives: 70.3

2012 Ironman Muskoka 70.3 Race Report-T1 & Bike


Toronto HarborfrontI bypassed the wetsuit strippers on the exit of the swim and started the long haul up the hill to the Deerhurst Lodge parking lot were the transition was. I can get out of my wetsuit pretty quickly and I thought the strippers would take longer than if I did it myself. I may take advantage of it at Lake Placid next year though. The path to transition followed the golf cart path up steady hill and ended up being about 0.35 miles in length. This was probably the longest transition distance I have ever had. I thought my transition was fairly decent for the things I had control over. I did put on socks since it was a bit cool out this morning. This will take up a good 30 seconds more, especially with wet feet.


T1 result: OK
T1 Time
: 5:01

The Bike

Technical Difficulties--Ironman Muskoka 70.3The start of the bike was a bit rough. After getting out into the mounting zone, I hopped on my bike and started pedaling. I immediately felt a rubbing of my back tire. I had recently put a new rear tire on and it was a bit taller than the previous one. I thought I had adjusted this correctly, but I think it may have came loose again. Funny how these things always happen in a race. My wife had made her way up to the road and came over to see what was going on. I heard my wife say “uh oh!” I managed to loosen the quick release and adjust the wheel to alleviate the rubbing and was on my way. I had taken my bike gloves from transition, but ended up giving them to my wife after I got the wheel fixed. I was finally on my way.


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The course was hilly to say the least. It wasn’t like huge mountain climbs, but it was just constantly up-and-down. There was a section on one of the major roads that was somewhat flat for a little bit, but even that had some undulations. Tried to settle into some grooves and made sure I was spinning at over 85 rpms on the hills. There was a couple hills that I had no choice but to go under, but for the most part I kept to that.

Toronto HarborfrontThe ride went through a couple small little towns that were a really nice change of scenery. There were usually groups of supporters cheering away. The scenery overall was gorgeous. Lots of lakes and woods. The trees were starting to change color too, which added even more to the picturesque surroundings. One stretch of road ran along a beach of a larger lake and there was fire boat docked shooting a large stream of water out over the beach which was really cool. I picked up a bottle of water and a Honey Stinger waffle at the first aid station. I usually don’t take food at race aid stations, but the Honey Stinger Waffle is my regular feed on the bike. This along with my homemade energy chunks kept me well fed for the race. I also kept well hydrated with 2 bottles of Skratch Labs Hydration mix and 1.5 bottles of water. Felt like this was the perfect amount. I had also taken 3 Salt Sticks and a bottle of Skratch Labs mix prior to the race too.

Toronto HarborfrontThe last part of the race was quite a bit hillier than the first half. My legs were really feeling it on the last couple of climbs. In addition to this was 3 sections of recently oil-and-chipped road…YUK! This shit should be outlawed! They did a pretty good job of sweeping it, but it just sucks the life out of me. Fortunately the sections were fairly short. In addition to the hilly course, they also extended it to 58.5 miles(94km)! What the hell??? Could we make this tougher please??!! Finally I rolled back into Deerhurst to get ready for the 13.1 mile run. I was hoping my legs still had some life left in them. While this was not my fastest bike ride, I think I may have executed it as I had hoped to and that was to remain steady and save something for the run. I also lost a minute or two adjusting my wheel at the start.

Bike Result: OK-(not superfast, but steady)
Bike Time: 3:18:59 ( 17.6 mph)

2012 Ironman Muskoka 70.3 Race Report-Start & Swim

Deerhust Lodge Entrance

I think the best things about the Muskoka Ironman 70.3 race is the later 8AM start and the hotel proximity to the transition. The latter is only a benefit if you are actually staying at the Deerhurst Resort, which I did. Given those items I was able to sleep in until around 5AM race morning, enjoy a casual breakfast in the room, and make a short walk to setup my transition at 5:30AM. The morning was extremely stress-free. I also think that I am really starting to lose some of the anxiety that comes with a triathlon, but not all. It had rained pretty heavily on Saturday so the bags I used to cover my handlebars and seat had collected a bit of water in them. I created a bit of a stream through transition when I dumped them onto the ground. I did manage to keep from running through others stuff.

MuskokaSep2012-8598I had plenty of time to setup my transition spot and head back to the room to relax a bit and hydrate a little more. I really felt well hydrated and my pores felt like they were ready to explode with sweat. I put on my wetsuit in the room since it was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit this morning. There was a large amount of steam coming off the lake, so I knew that the water was going to be nice and warm when we got in. With about 15 minutes until the first wave starts, we made the 10 minute walk out the back of the hotel and down the hill to the small peninsula where the race began. Once we got out there things started going pretty quickly. I don’t ever remember hearing them play “O Canada”. I thought that that would be kind of different hearing that instead of our National Anthem. I kissed my wife goodbye and headed to the queue where my wave of green swim caps was starting to congregate. We really didn’t get much time to warm-up and before I knew it the pink cap wave in front of us was taking off.

The 1.2 mile(2km) swim course formed somewhat of an flipped “P”. We headed in a clockwise direction flanking the beach, before turning towards the opposite shore and then back. The majority of the guys in my wave had congregated on the left, outer side which was closer to the shore. I assume because they were able to stand up. I had started to line up there myself, but my wife motioned out to the inner buoy towards the middle of the lake . I looked and there was hardly anyone there, which is quite odd. Usually this is where everyone congregates and you better know what you are doing to line up there. Today it was empty, so I headed over there and found a nice open space right behind the line. I could not stand here so I just laid back and floated until the gun went off.

Finally the gun fired(not sure if there was a gun actually) and we were off. The swim down to the first turn was so nice without all the typical congestion. The sun was directly in front of us, so spotting was a little tricky, but not bad. The first turn was pretty good as well. I made way across to the other side of the lake and then made the next right heading back. I somehow got out a little wide, but there was no one around me. Probably one of the least congested swims I have ever had. I felt great the whole time and just got in a good steady rhythm. I felt my 15 min timer go off on my watch part way down the upper side. It felt like I had a ways to go yet, so I really was not sure if I was doing good or not. I didn’t take any time to look at my pace on my Garmin, as I was trying to not waste any time.

I IMMuskoka2012-1420eventually made the final right turn heading back to the swim exit on the green just below Deerhurst Lodge. The water got very shallow and it felt like I could reach the bottom with my hand if I tried. It was pretty cool since it gave some perspective as to how fast I was going. I never felt the second vibration for my 2nd 15 minute timer on my Garmin, so I was thinking I was either going blazing fast(< 30min 1.2mile?? Yeah right) or I just didn’t feel it. Undoubtedly the latter. The swim exit approached and I swam as far into it as I could before a volunteer grabbed my arm to help my up the steps. A quick glance at my Garmin indicated 38 mins and some odd seconds…SWEET!!!!  Last year at Ironman Miami 70.3 I did it in just over 45 mins, so chopping off around 7 minutes is huge.

Swim Result: Success!
Official Time: 38:13
Pace:1:49 min/100yds

Ironman Muskoka 70.3 Quick Recap

Despite the fact that I missed my goal of finishing under 6 hours, I had a really great day today. But the bike was actually 58.5 miles instead of the 56 mile standard for a Ironman 70.3 race and I finished 2 minutes and 55 seconds past 6 hours, I will consider that goal reached. I know 2.25 miles take much longer than 3 minutes. Given my average speed of 17.6 MPH, that would come out to .3 miles/min. So 2.5 miles would take around 8 minutes at that same speed. So figure a typical course distance would have given me a finish of 5:55. 5 minutes under 6 hours. 🙂

The swim was awesome. I finished in ~38 minutes which was around a 1:40 min/100yd pace which is really good for me, especially when swimming 1.2 miles. It ranked 36th in my age group. The water was nice and clean and there was plenty of open water to swim without getting beaten up. I really enjoyed the swim and it was nice to pass the pink and blue caps from the 2 waves ahead of me. I guess that is what happens when you have a kick-ass swim coach!

T1 was a bit crazy. It was about 0.35 miles in distance and included a large hill to run up. Took a little longer than usual. I also put socks on since it was a bit chilly out. My toes ended up being numb the entire ride anyway,so I wonder if it was worth it.

The bike was pretty hilly, but beautiful. There didn’t seem to be too many flats on this course. The start of the bike was a bit crazy too. My back wheel was loose and my tire was rubbing against the frame. I straightened it out enough to get going, but I felt it rub a little every once in a while. My pace was around 17.8mph which is a little slow, but given the hillage no wonder.

T2 went well. 2 minute quick change. Kiss for the wife too which made her day.

The run was great compared to last year. Course was hilly as well, but I felt good and was able to pull it in under 2 hours. No cramping! Thanks Skratch Labs and Salt Stick!

In addition, the weather was incredible. Sunny and cool. After yesterdays, damp and raining day it was greatly appreciated. All in all a great day. More details to come soon depending on whether we have internet access. Heading to do some camping tomorrow.

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Ironman Muskoka 70.3 Pre-Race

Up by 5 am this morning.
Temp outside is 7 deg C or 44 F. Arm Warmers and gloves are going in transition.
Hope water is warm!
2 bagels with almond butter and a banana.
Fresh pressed coffee.

6:45 AM – Transition setup and back to the room to relax for a bit. Socks, gloves and arm warmers are optional today. First walking outside did not seem as bad as temps indicated. No wind which helps. By the time I was done setting up transition hands were pretty cold. Got body marked. Only right arm and left calf, unlike Steelman where the they covered as much skin as possible.



IM Muskoka 70.3 2012 – Transition

Taper Time…One More Week To Go!

It is hard to believe that my “A” race for the season, Ironman Muskoka 70.3, is only a week away. With that comes the surprisingly challenging taper weeks. You would think that a relaxation in training volume and intensity would be welcomed with open arms at this time, but strangely it is a bit of a challenge. It is like going 0-100mph and slamming on the brakes! The prior two weeks I was training from 12-13 hours each week and this first week will be about 6-7 hours. The additional free time left me a little confused at first, but I managed to get through it.

I thought I would just flop on the sofa the first night and watch some TV, but of course there isn’t shit on anyway. Why is it, when not watching TV, you feel like your are missing something? Then when you have some time to watch you realize you were never really missing anything anyway? I did end up finishing Rich Roll’s book “Finding Ultra” (which I hope to review soon) and I started reading “The China Study”. Both books are keeping me “pumped up” on my plant-based diet. I also started going to bed a little bit earlier too, which made getting up early much easier. I was then able to get into work earlier which I think shocked a few people. Worst thing was it seemed like lunch would never come.

The other strange thing about a taper week is that you start to feel like crap. I had a 35min run on Wed which should be no big deal, but I felt like I did when I first started running several years ago. I was sucking wind and my legs were all stiff. I actually was starting to panic a bit because I was thinking “what is going on here??” Fortunately, after talking to my coach I realized that this is how you should feel during the first part of a taper. I guess it is your body replenishing itself from all the breaking down that has been done in the past few months.Things actually starting feeling a little better as the weekend progressed.

One thing I thought was pretty cool is to see how my coach’s training program coincided with my TRIMP (Training Impluse) calculations(See image below). The red ATL(Fatigue) is gradually coming down below the blue CTL line(Fitness) to finally come out with a positive TSB Training Stress Balance. The CTL has been very gradually climbing throughout the season, while the ATL peaks and valleys with the increases in volume and recovery weeks. I thought that was pretty cool how that is all coming together. Below the TRIMP graph is my weekly training volumes for the season, which show the periodization of my training program. Hard to believe I have been at this for 9 months already!



I also took advantage of my free workout trial at the HPC. This place is pretty nice, but there sure is a lot of seniors there. I headed into the pool around 7:15am and there was only one woman swimming. I chose the other middle lane and started my workout. The pool itself is nice and I like the 25 meter distance with the extra stroke or two. The pool eventually filled up by the end of my workout and the one lane was doubled up too. I am still a little fearful about joining this place since this may be an issue. I do want to get a good strength program going over the fall and winter so it may be a good time to try it out. Well, time to start getting those packing lists out and start packing up. Short week this week with the holiday and vacation. Stay tuned for some other posts since I have some extra time on my hands.

2012 “A” Race – Ironman Muskoka 70.3

Ironman Muskoka 70.3

It is hard to believe that the 2011 triathlon season is already over. With the end of the season there is a feeling of emptiness that comes over me during that 2 weeks of being slug(aka recovery) after my final race. Therefore I wasted no time though in signing up for my main event of 2012, which will be Ironman Muskoka 70.3 in Ontario, Canada. Why Muskoka? There were several reasons. Time of year, vacation, and a lake swim.  Ahhh…I feel better now! 🙂

I wanted a race that was later in the season so I can make the most of the warmer weather training and also hit some of the local shorter races too. Muskoka is September 9th. The other advantage for me is that early September in Canada should be a little cooler, but not too cold(I hope). This is still earlier than my final races this year in October, which I felt were just too late. Early September is nice cause it gives some vacation time left after the masses go back to school and work. Which leads to the next reason.

Spending some to Canada is something I had wanted to do again. I love Kingston and I have never been to Toronto, at least since I was very small. We can then bundle a little vacation afterwards and check out the area a little more. It will be like an international adventure! LOL! The culture shock could be a little challenging! 🙂

The other reason was that I wanted a nice lake swim that I can pretty much guarantee a wetsuit swim. Although this last half IM in Miami actually not bad at all without one, but it is pretty nice with one. I had read some reviews on this race and it sounds like the race is a bit hilly, but that can be relative to the reviewer. I am used to hills so I think it will provide a nice challenge. Lake Placid is not by any means flat, so I should start getting used to it. Of course I thought that the bike for Miami would be a piece of cake being so flat, but with that headwind it was no cakewalk. Flat courses force you to constantly be pedalling whereas on downhills you can get a little reprieve sometimes.

So the stage is getting setup now and I have that milestone to start working towards. Should be challenging, but what fun would that be if it wasn’t. Next will be time to start filling in some local races. I am hoping to get back to the Belleplain sprint down in NJ again. That was where I did my first duathlon and D&Q events do a  nice job of organizing their races.

Ironman Miami 70.3 Post-Race Review

Now that I have had a couple weeks to mull things over, it is a good time to review my first half-iron distance race as well as the entire season.

The Good…

First and foremost, I completed my first half-Ironman distance triathlon! That was the primary goal of the season and I was able to accomplish that even despite being setback from the original race(Pocono!). This is a big step towards my ultimate goal and it provides me with some good experience for improving. I started this triathlon journey 4 years ago and I really wasn’t sure if I would ever get this far.

Swimming is not my weakest discipline anymore. I only started competitively/properly swimming 4 years ago. The first time I swam I went 25 yards with my head above the water and I was wiped out. Now, I can swim at least a mile and a half non-stop and am still able to bike and run afterwards. I am actually beginning to really enjoy the swim. I still have a large amount of improving to do, but it is not so scary anymore.

My nutrition went fairly well I thought. One of the biggest unknowns for me was how the feeding would be on my first half-iron distance race. I think I did pretty well. I was actually kind of full at the end, but that could have been from the cola I had at the last 3 rest stops. The summary of my feeding…

Discipline Feeding
Swim Hydrate before and Bar
T1 Shotblocks ready to eat on bike
Bike 5 Gels taped to bike, ate 3
2 1/2 bananas at aid station
4 bottles of water
T2 Shot Blocks ready to eat for start of run
Run water at each rest stop, occasional gatorade
Cola at last 3 rest stops.

The Things That Could Be Better…

The run was very slow. 2:19 half-marathon was much slower than I anticipated. Running 10-11 min/mile pace is too slow to be competitive. When I was running I was thinking my legs would cramp up if I tried to run faster, but now I am wondering if that was just my mind trying to make things easy on me and not push the pain barrier too much. I know I wanted to finish, which was a top priority. I accomplished that, but next time I need to push the limits a bit more. In addition, knowing how I felt it gives me something to really work on. I have run a half-marathon by itself at ~8:00 min/mi pace(1:47) so I think I could get a little closer to 2:00 in a half-iron distance. I also suffered during the run at the Steelman olympic too, so that seems to be my downfall.

Transitions could be quicker. Both T1 and T2 at Miami were ~4:00. I should be able to get down to around 2:00 each. The lack of adequate space really messed me up cause I had to run around the rack to get my bike. Also putting socks on wet feet takes a minute too. I have to admit I wasn’t really trying to break any record times there, so with a little more effort I can definitely pair them down.

My bike time was much slower than I anticipated for such a flat course, but taking into consideration wind, weather and conditions I don’t think an average of 19.2 mph over 56 miles is that bad. Have I ever actually gone that fast that far before? NO! The wind was usually always a head or cross wind at ~10 MPH, so without that I could have been 22-23(maybe?). Regardless, would like to increase my speed and endurance more so my legs are not so crampy next season.

Goals For Next Season

The following items are the things I need to work on and improve for next season…

  1. Run 9 min/mi or less pace for half-iron distance runs(8:30 for olympic dist). This will require some more speed work and some more brick workouts. For my LSD runs, inject some short tempo work into the mix. Not too much that I get injured.
  2. Get down to 165 lbs. I competed this entire season at ~185lbs, which I think is a little too much. I was around 170-175 for the 2010 season and I felt much better and was more competitive at that weight. Getting down to 165 will be tough but I think that 20 lbs will make a huge difference.
  3. Consistent strength training and especially core work throughout the season. Development of core and strength will aid in keeping together for 70.3 miles and especially in the run when keeping an upright posture is essential. This will need to start in the offseason building a good base and habit of basic strength training and continue into the tri season. Tri season will taper a bit due to time constraints.
  4. Maintain 20+ mph average speed for all races. Granted this will depend on the course and conditions, but moving out of the teens should not be out-of-range for even the most difficult races. Need to do more hill repeats this season too. Could probably look into an aero helmet to gain a little edge there as well.
  5. Decrease Transition times by 20%. This is just dialing in my transition times a bit more. Getting sockless running shoes will make a big difference here. Always room to fine tune things.
  6. 2:00 min/100 yds pace or less for swims. This should easily be accomplished by continuing to work on swim form and putting the time in the pool and open water swims. Swim leg is the shortest so no need to make any huge changes here.
  7. Dial-in on long course nutrition. Try out some different nutrition on long bikes and runs. I.e. Accelerade. Gels and shot blocks worked pretty good, but it seemed like so much sugar for my stomach. A calorie packed drink mix may be a good addition.
  8. Continue to Have Fun! Remember what this journey is all about and if you are not enjoying it than it is time to rethink things. Make sure that along with this I need to keep a balance with other things in my life. If I don’t finish smiling, then this goal is not being met. Smile