Tag Archives: transition

Ironman Lake Placid 2014-Pre-Race Saturday Update #2

Last year I pretty much did nothing exercise-wise the Saturday before Ironman Lake Placid. This year I decided I was going to take it easy on the Friday before and then do a light bike and run on Saturday. I usually feel better if I do a little something the day before a race.

Lake Placid Ski Jumps
Lake Placid Ski Jumps

I fired up the VitaMix immediately after waking up to get the engines fueled with a nutritious breakfast smoothie. I did a little bike check and maintenance after eating.  Then I headed out for a nice easy ride out River Rd to Route 86 and then follow the IMLP route through town and then back to River Road. I did extend it a little past the ski jumps to the Adirondack Loj road to take in the great view. The bike seemed to be in good working order and I felt confident now to take it in town and rack it in transition for the race.

Next, I headed back to the house and jumped into my run shoes and did a little brick run down River Rd. It was only about 10 minutes, just enough to get the muscles warmed up. Everything was feeling good and ready to roll!

I through the bike in the rack on the car and prepped my Bike and Run Gear bags for transition.

Bike Gear Bag:

  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses(dark & light lenses)
  • Socks( 1 light and 1 thicker wool pair)
  • Sunscreen
  • Spare jersey(for warmth)
  • Gloves
  • Arm warmers
  • Leg warmers

Run Gear Bag:

  • Sneakers
  • Spare socks
  • Run Hat
  • Run Belt and bib #
  • Fuel Belt & 4 bottles(2-Skratch Labs, 2-Honey & water)
  • 2 Amrita Bars
  • 4 Salt Tabs
  • Sunscreen

Denise dropped me off in at the back of the speed skating oval and waited for me. I racked my bike and hung my bags. It was pretty busy, but everything went smoothly. I tied the bags closed at the plastic instead of the string so that water would not get in. The weather forecast did not look promising for Sunday.

IMLP 2014-Bike racked in transition
IMLP 2014-Bike racked in transition
IMLP 2014-#2422 Gear Bags in Transition
IMLP 2014-#2422 Gear Bags in Transition

We then headed over to the Dancing Bears for some lunch. I was not real hungry so I kept It light with a nice salad which was perfect. After lunch we headed back to the house and just relaxed for the afternoon.

I had made some Sweet Potato Chickpea curry before we left home for my go-to pre-race meal. I did a little thai pepper to it that had a little punch to it. Hope that would not come back to get tomorrow!

I was in bed and asleep by 9:30pm. I really didn’t feel as freaked out this year as I did last year. Having done the race last year, I now knew what to expect and the anticipation anxiety was much less. It was a long training day and I had been through this before. I had no trouble falling to sleep this time! Big day tomorrow!

2012 Ironman Muskoka 70.3 Race Report-T2 & Run


Heading out on the run--Ironman Muskoka 70.3I was so relieved to arrive into T2! For one the hills were over. At least I thought so. And two, I had not suffered any mechanicals. While walking my bike to the rack, I did notice that my tire was just slightly rubbing the frame. Can I use this as an excuse for my slower bike split? T2 went really well. I had my socks on already, so I just slipped my New Balance Minimus Roads’ on, grabbed my run hat and Fuel Belt and I was on my way. I did start heading out the bike exit and a volunteer quickly redirected me in the proper direction. I saw my Wife over, in what I thought was an out of the way area, but it all made sense once I headed out the run exit. She was standing along the chute that we headed out of. I swung over to give her a smooch, which I think surprised the shit out of her. Everyone around her made a loud ”Ahhhhhhhh” as I hit the exit timer. Time for a run!

T2 Result: Good
T2 Time: 2:14

The Run

Toronto HarborfrontWell the anxiety of what my legs would feel like on this years run was swirling in my head. I was ecstatic to realize I had some legs this year. This was most likely due to an increase in brick workouts this season, increase in sodium intake and also saving it a little bit on the bike. I went out with the intention of running 9:30-10:00 pace for the first 2 miles. I noticed that I was having trouble going that slow unless I was going uphill. After that first two miles the course was relatively flat and ran along the major roadway Highway 60 for a bit and I got into a nice cruise pace. My legs were feeling so good. Then we crossed the highway and headed onto Fairyview Drive. This is where the hills began.

The course seemed to be constant uphill from this point until the turnaround on Williamsport Road, with one very long uphill right before. I really don’t mind going uphill, except that obviously my pace slows down. When I reached the turnaround point I glanced at my Garmin and saw 57 minutes. I thought “Ok, cool under an hour, time to turn it up a notch!” All along I had been vaguely trying to calculate if I still was able to come under the 6 hour mark and thought I was most of the day. Even at this point I still thought I had a chance. The course should be mostly downhill or flat from this point on. The problem I didn’t anticipate was the toll the downhills would take on my IT band.

Toronto HarborfrontAs I was cruising down Muskoka Road 3, I could feel a tinge of irritation in my left knee. I knew instantly that it was IT Band issues which I had dealt with about a decade and a half ago on my right side. That time it also occurred running downhill. I tried to take it easy and eventually I made it to the flatter section coming off of Fairyview Drive. Instead of heading back down Highway 60, we then took a little walking path that ebbed and flowed through the fields paralleling the highway. This seemed to slow me down a bit. Not sure if it was my knee, my mind, or just that I was getting a little tired. I eventually reached a wooded section that seemed to motivate me a bit and the pace picked up some. A relay guy came by me and gave me some words of encouragement which also gave me a boost. With about a mile to go, I finally realized this was going to be real close for hitting the 6 hour mark. I then tried crank up the pace a bit more.

The small section down Cookson Bay Crescent was a push. A volunteer at the turn down said “Almost There”.  To which I replied “Almost Molson Time!”. The downhill stretch tested my IT Band some more and I hoped nothing disastrous would happen at this point. The climb out of Cookson Bay was a little killer of a hill. I even had to resort to the  Jens Voigt tactic of telling my legs to “Shut Up!” I even became vocal and I am sure the guy in front of me heard it, but at this point I really didn’t give a shit. It helped! As I turned onto Canal Road I blew past a bunch of people. I had less than 2 minutes and still had a half mile to go. It was not looking good. Then when I got to the Deerhurst entrance I realized I had to come in the back and all the way around the transition area. So there was no chance at this point. I was disappointed, but happy to be done and feeling pretty good.

As I came down Canal Road I was trying to spot my wife in the crowd but didn’t see her anywhere. All through the finish chute I didn’t see her anywhere. WTF?? As I came into the finish line there were two other pretty close in front of me, so in order to clean up there finish photos and mine, I laid back a bit. This gave me more time to scan for my wife, but still nothing. They held up the finish ribbon for me and I continued through the finish gate. Immediately greeted by volunteers and my finishers medal was placed around my neck. As the volunteer walked me back a bit and chatted I saw my wife running down from the road with a disappointed look on her face. She tried to catch me coming down the road and just missed me and then also missed me coming through the finish. She heard my name announced as she got up to the road. Thank God for pictures!

Toronto Harborfront

Run Result: Great
Run Time: 1:58:30(9:05 min/mile)

I finished and I feel like I finished strong. My wife commented that it looked like I didn’t do anything. I really had to take a leak as I had been holding it for most of the run for fear of losing precious time. I didn’t have the nerve to wet myself either, so l held it. Last years Miami 70.3 run was a 2:19(10:39 min/mi pace) and this year was a 1:58(9:05 min/mile pace). Chopping off 21 minutes is a huge improvement and I am very psyched about that. Especially considering the over 700 feet in elevation gain/loss compared to the bridge in Miami. All-in-all I am immensely happy with the way this whole season has progressed. I feel like I am making large improvements in every facet. I guess that is something that comes with the experience. Ironing out those mistakes every year.

Race Result: Great!
Race Time: 6:02:55(*for 72.8, not 70.3. I figure for 70.3 my time would have been around a 5:52:25)

Toronto Harborfront

Now it is time to relax! A week off camping in Algonquin Park is just what the Dr. ordered. Pretty soon I will be ramping up again to get ready for my race of races, Ironman Lake Placid.

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.


[singlepic id=120 w=400]

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 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

Ironman Miami 70.3 – Race Day – Pre-Race & Swim

The alarm clock started to beep at 4:06AM and I quickly made a precision slam of the snooze button for another 9 minutes. I had been in and out of consciousness all night long except for the hour before the alarm clock went off, which I slept the soundest of the whole night. I laid there for 9 minutes pondering what the day would bring for my 2nd attempt at a half-Ironman this month. Would I experience another equipment malfunction? Would I malfunction? The thoughts whisked through my head and before I knew it it was 4:15AM and time to get up. I stumbled to the window of the Hyatt Regency hotel room to see that things look very wet outside. Not sure if it is raining now, but it has definitely rained during the night. Hard to tell from the 9th floor. Rain seems to be a recurring theme in my quest for Ironman 70.3, but at least this time it will be warm.

I don my headlamp and make some hot water in the room coffee maker. I mix in a packet of Starbucks Vanilla Via coffee mix. Ahhh caffeine…starting to wake now. I sliced up a bagel and butter it with some natural peanut butter with my trusty pocketknife. Then I peel a banana and scarf that down too. I had packed most of my gear the night before so it is just a matter of getting dressed and heading out. I say goodbye to my wife and I head for the elevator. As I am walking to the front door of the hotel I overhear someone saying “it is still raining!” Great. Heading out of the hotel I am met with a wall of humidity that practically stops me in my tracks, but I push on. It IS still raining. And raining very hard. I unzip my rain jacket and drape it over me and my backpack. I make my way through downtown Miami through the torrential rain to the transition area in Baypoint Park. I position myself along the buildings to the windward side to minimize the rain. I approach the transition area with the bright fluorescent lights glaring in the early morning darkness.

I made my way to my little spot at the back of the transition area near the run exit. There are several bikes crammed together in the small space and I have about a 6 inch wide area to layout all my stuff. Setting up a transition area in the rain really sucks. Fortunately I have some large ziplock bags to keep my sneakers and run hat dry. I eventually get everything setup and head over to the port-a-john for a last minute pee. As I was setting up, I heard the announcement that wetsuits were optional and would take you out of qualifying. I had no idea how I would do, so I wasn’t going to take the chance if I did do well, so no wetsuit for me. Bummer. Two guys near me started talking about the Pocono race and my ears perked up. They both did that race too. The one guy only did the bike and part of the run, but quit early since the swim was cancelled. His wife registered them for this race as soon as they got home from Pocono. Ironic. I am not sure whether the other guy finished or not, but seemed very disappointed with that event. 7AM came and last call was made to get out of transition. 

As everyone made their way to the swim start, the rain started coming down harder and the winds picked up. People were shivering and hiding behind any object they could to block the rain and wind. My wave didn’t start until 8AM so I would have to wait an hour to start swimming. I waited next to a guy that was in my wave, which I knew from his green swim cap, who was also doing his first half-iron distance. We chatted a bit about wishing we had our wetsuits on and other race related issues. They started staging the waves with people holding large signs that had the wave number and an appropriately color swim cap stapled to it. The age group was also listed at the bottom. I knew my wave was supposed to go at 8AM, but wasn’t sure of the number. A sign for wave 14 came up with a light green cap on it and an age group designation that said “40-40(A-C)” . Hmmm…Ok so they made a typo on the 40-44 age group, but why would I be in the A-C last name range when my last name begins with “S”? IMMiami703_2011-0763Did they go by first names? I stayed with this group as we shuffled slowly like cattle to the ramp where would eventually make the plunge into Biscayne Bay. Denise showed up while I was waiting and we said our goodbyes and she wished me good luck. I kept looking back for other waves with light green caps, but they never materialized. Then we took the plunge.

The Swim

We all took the 3-4 foot plunge off the platform into the water, waiting for the people in front of us to get out the way. The water felt good as it was warmer than the air and rain that was falling. The sky was still very dark and gray with the heavy cloud cover. I made my way to the back of the pack on the inside. I like to let everyone go and start out with a nice lane so I can start my swim without getting mauled. The gun went off and I waited 10 seconds for the others to get going. I started with a nice easy pace just like my long swims in the pool. Eventually I made my way into the other mix of swimmers and established my lane. Now I would have to deal with feet and kicks. I started to make the right turn around the first buoy which was a little tough since everyone had coagulated there and there was a good current pushing us back. I took one hit to the head, but eventually got around it. I started my stroke again heading towards the bay outlet to the Atlantic Ocean. I noticed that things were a little easier now as that current I felt rounding the buoy was giving a little boost. I kept on the inside of the intermediate buoys since there was not much congestion there. Swim felt really good and I totally forgot about not having a wetsuit on. I think I would have been too hot with it anyhow.

Eventually I reached the second turn buoy and made the right heading back towards Bayfront Park crossing bay outlet. IMMiami703_2011-0781I noticed as I was spotting that everyone was being pushed out to sea away from the buoys and the lifeguards were trying to wave everyone back in. The current was really strong. I picked out a intermediate buoy and angled back in towards it. It felt like I was swimming and not getting anywhere. I persisted on and eventually I got back in close before reaching the final turn buoy. I made my last turn and now was in the home stretch which was right along the shoreline of Bayfront Park. It was pretty cool having all the crowds lined up on the shoreline cheering everyone on. As I breathed to the left I tried to scan the crowd to seeIMMiami703_2011-0787 if I could see Denise. I knew she had my yellow cycling rain jacket on, but there were many yellow jackets along the shore. I saw the swim exit now and decided to kick it up a notch. I really felt great swimming and was thinking I could have done another lap. I reached the astro turf steps and made my way out of the water. I did a slow trot to get the blood flowing in my legs and started rehearsing my transition plan. Swim time: 45:25 at a pace of 2:22/100yds. Not too bad considering the current blowing me off course a bit.

IMMiami703_2011-0789I made my way through the long cattle shoot and spotted Denise on the left side of the line of cheering fans at the last minute. I said “hey” and continued on. Due to the lack of transition space, I had my bike helmet on one side of the rack and needed to un-rack my bike on the other side. Not optimal, but what can you do. I donned my lid, ran around grabbed my bike and made my long trek to the bike exit. The transition was configured around a fountain in the park and the walkway was made of marble. It was very slippery with all the rain. I had bare feet still since I keep my bike shoes clipped in the pedals. Can’t image what people with the bike shoes on would endure. I reached the bike exit and the timer mat made the loud beep. The bike leg has begun.