Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I am offically a Half Ironman!

My journey is finally complete...yeaaaa! I did it! my first half Ironman.

It's an amazing feeling looking at the man in the mirror when I get up in the morning knowing how much I have transformed, and how all that hard work paid off....and what a great time I had...and so let me tell you about my day.

Sunday morning came fast with the sound of our alarm at 4:00 am, we stayed at the Cherry tree inn so that we could relax a bit and get a good parking spot by arriving early. I was so full of nervous energy that I did not fall asleep till 10:00pm but awoke feeling ready to go. I ate my regular bowl of cereal had a cup of coffee and then began to prep my gel flask and make sure all my gear was ready; we finished loading the truck by 4:50 am and headed for the race site...we got there by 5:00 am and practically had our choice of parking stalls..that's the way I like it..he he ; I had some time to put my mp3 on and rock out with a few songs and before long body marking was happening, it wasn't to start till 5:30 am but they we're already going by 5:20 so we headed over and got in line to get marked and collect our timing chips as well..this now gave us access to the transition area to set up our gear. I was glad to be there early this kept things flowing smoothly and gave me lots of time to set up..I hate being in a panic mode! First thing we got done was getting tires inflated so that the pump could go back in the truck out of the way..don't want to be tripping on that thing, I soon had my bike all set up along with my towel and all my equipment neatly laid out on it, It was time to do one last dry run through transition from both exit/enter ends and by that time it was about 6:30 am and time to go get my wet suit on, the time was flying by and I knew this day would go fast..the 10 min call for the men's start came and Tam and I started to head over to the beach.

The swim

I thought the lake would be like glass this early in the morning but it was a little choppy and left me wondering what this was going to be like. We ran into Monica and she wished us both well on our day which was nice, I gave Tammy a kiss and we wished each other well as it was time for me to get in the water . I found Gary at the back of the pack and he thought I should be up there with all the fast swimmers...I giggled and said no I'll start back here..I just want to make it through this day. The 1:00 min call came and I made my final adjustments to my goggles...I was ready to go and then there was a loud boom! and we were off, the Canadian armed forces were there with a Howitzer for sounding the about adding drama for my big day...that was sooo cool. I started off easy and increased my speed as I progressed, by about 400m I was settled into a nice rhythm and was able to navigate around most swimmers..I even had time to take in a moment and thought here I am in the middle of 276 men slugging it out in the water I felt on top of the world! ...the chop on the water wasn't too bad and soon found my self upon the first buoy at 800m, I managed to navigate around it without any problems and was feeling confident , I rounded the second buoy 300m later and was still passing some swimmers , I was on the home stretch now and continued with my one point I took on some water and had to regain my rhythm and only encountered one little twack on the head, soon the beach was in plain view and could I hear the spectators cheering...I kept on slugging through almost till my hands touched bottom and then began to stand up and make my exit ...I was a bit dizzy but kept moving forward and completed my swim in 37:50 and in 111th position out of 276 men. I had a great swim and felt strong the whole way and learnt a bit more about working my way through other swimmers ...that's a challenge in itself.

The bike

I got to my bike and quickly removed my wet suit , got my helmet on and then that dizzy spell hit me a bit more as I stood after putting on my socks so I crouched down for a moment to let my racing heart settle a bit and then I was fine ...I slipped on my shoes and was headed out of T-1, I had hoped for a faster transition but had to take the time to regain my balance...once again a learning thing which is great and feels good once you make it past that point. I was glad to be on my way with the bike and started of easy to let my legs warm up...and then at about the 4km mark my chain dropped off the inside ring...oh darn not a good start ...I got off the bike and was trying to get the chain back on when the front end rolled of the edge of the pavement causing the large now exposed chain ring to run into the front of my left shin leaving a good gouge and a puncture wound from one of the caused some immediate pain and a small stream of blood ran down and I decided at this point I really don't have time for this now...grrrr! I got the chain back on and took off and regained my race focus. from this point the ride was going well I was eating and hydrating and felt great...then at around 15km I some how managed to hit this pothole about 4 inches wide by 2 feet long 3inches deep and it was like thud! thud! both tires right through it ...I swear it was perfectly designed for me alone to hit as it blended well with the road... My first concern was double flats but as I road on the tires seemed fine , I was in the aero position when I hit that rut and it caused my right elbow rest to slip down , try as I might I could not pull it back into its original I was dealing with my right arm continually sliding outward and had to use some upper body to try and keep my position for aero...this was a pain! and so early into the ride! but I wasn't going to let that wreck my day. At the 20km mark I heard a loud pop! and looked back to see if someone behind me had flatted and then heard a sssssssssssss and realized it was me that had the flat! ...gggrrraaaa! have I not had enough yet? why was this happening? and so I went about the tube change with the just let me finish attitude...many other riders asked if I was OK and I had remarked to one that this was just another day in paradise and I was fine.. and I was ...hey I had one more tube for one more flat right? So I continued on passing riders here and there doing the best I could as I was struggling with aero position and soon found my self starting the second lap and at 55km my chain dropped of the the big ring but this time I was extra careful not to get bitten again! ha ha....that was #5 but I soldered on knowing I would finish....I was at 65km mark and began to have that urge to pee but figured I would make it back to T-2 for that but by the time I hit the airport section I thought maybe I'll go when I get to the last water stop as there was a portable at that station, I should have gone sooner as holding it caused a lot of discomfort not to mention mental focus on riding instead wasted on holding pee !!! ha ha he he ...I finally came upon that portable and got to relive my self and it seemed like an eternity doing so...another learning curve for this dude!I was now on may way for the last leg of the ride and could feel some tiredness in the legs at this point but pushed hard to make up any time I could . The stop line soon appeared and I was happy to be finished my ride and felt high and mighty going into I was my own hero out there today on the bike...adversity looked down upon me many times and each time I looked it squarely in the eye and said I don't think so! not on my day! I finished the ride in 3:12:21

The run

I came out of T-2 in 1:38 and went right down to business of settling into my run upon the first water stop I took in a gel and water to make sure I stayed well hydrated and fueled...I was feeling great and at 3km had a manageable pace going and was determined to run this non stop other than fueling up. I was slowing pecking off runners here and there and continued to do so through the first 8km at this point I had caught up to one fellow who was wearing an orange jersey ( I'll call him orange)and had a good pace going so I paced off him right up to the end of the first lap when he stopped for water I kept going till I hit the boat launch and went for a pp break...whew that felt soo I could get back to the task at hand ...I was passed by a 30-34 female before my break and commented on her great pace she had going...she said thanks and flew on had passed me while I had my break but I soon caught up to him and asked how he was doing? he said he was beginning to suffer and I said come on only 8km to go we're almost home you can pace of me now I was feeling strong, I never looked back after that and I pushed on; at the 13km mark my quads were starting to feel the effects and I remembered Tammy saying this is probably where You'll have to use mental will power to get to the finish line so I just pretended that I was trying to catch this guy named Ivan and I was going to hunt him down ...he he, I continued to pass many others along the way. At the next station I took Gatorade and water then kept on going 5km to go I said to me hey this is just a 5k run bud! And then at 16km I caught up to that blond 30-34 and said to her I thought you were long gone...she still had a good pace going and one that I was hoping I could manage to the finish, I could not believe I caught up to her so I just dug in there and held on as the markers went by 17, 18 and finally the 1km marker...I was so close now and as I entered near the finish I had nothing left to sprint with as the spectators cheered us to the finish line , as I crossed the finish line feelings of a great accomplishment engulfed me as I had now completed my first Half Ironman and endurance event. My run time was 1:51:29 a 5:35 pace woo hooo!

The final note

My final time was 5:45:40 I was hoping to do it in 6 hours so this was the icing on the cake for me, I had the time of my life and am looking forward to doing another one. Great love and admiration goes to my wife Tammy for pulling me through some difficult times during all the training and a special thanks to Gary V. our Ironman and tri bud for all the support and encouragement along the way and many friends and family that wished me well on what was... my journey to my first Half Ironman.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Peak phase week 19 " One week to go! "

With the 1/2 taper week behind me now I am happy to finally arrive at full taper week...whew what a long haul! but really most of it has become a pretty routine part of life and I am sure there will be a little emptiness soon after, but you know it will be good to get back to doing some regular things around the house and with friends which have both been neglected a bit..he he.

I have no idea where the past week has gone but it has gone in a flash! and this week will be no exception I'm sure; most of the training week was all standard stuff except for my last visit to physio on Soleus has come a long way and healed up pretty good, I shouldn't have to go back unless I have problems after the race but overall its done well considering I continued to train through it all and just backed off the running a bit.

On Saturday we headed down to the race site to do a preview of the bike route and most of it seems pretty good other than some narrow sections with no shoulder , and a few busy intersections which I'm sure will be well controlled on race day, this was my first time riding out on West Sanich area and I think its kind of hard to really learn where all the hazards are so I will have to exercise some caution! and not let the full dare devil out of me..ha ha.. I do want to finish the day in one piece right.

Afterwards we went a did one run loop around Elk/Beaver lake...And lots of memories were coming back from when Tammy did here duathlon here in 2005 and of course her ultra marathons 50km in 2003, 2004 and I'll never forget the 50mile in 2005 which was the ACU championship for that distance / year and she took the #2 spot in Canada and placed 1fst in her age group.....these are great memories for me and her as well and now I will finally run the same route ...this so cool I never imagined one day running here ...but there I was running side by side with Tam previewing the route and getting a good feeling that I would be fine on race day.

So this is it my final regular posting and I am kind of sad it has come to an end, but in doing this blog and being faithfull about it I have learnt that perseverance comes in many forms not just physical but mental as well, and by pushing to get blogging done no matter how tired I was from work or training taught me along the way that I would make it through the training program as well...the two combined have been wonderfull companions.

OK I guess that's about it, I'm all fired up and ready to rip as the excitement begins to build now for race day......and I look forward to posting my race report.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Peak phase week 18 " The count down is on! "

Wow I cant believe two weeks left to go!, and today marks the end of peak phase ..this week is 1/2 taper then the following week is full taper and finally Race day on the 22Nd. I have still been dealing with that Soleus injury and going to physio but I 'll manage to do my race just fine in spite of that, this weeks training has really allowed me to see how my fitness level has improved and come to be ready for this endurance event , I can actually feel it even in my runs! its an amazing that I'm entering the taper I hope I don't get too wound up ..ha ha.

Today I must confess that I skipped my swim and run.. well as far as the run goes I had some aching in my leg so it just needs a good rest for a couple of days...this I know is best for me, and the swim ...well we were up in Nanaimo with our gear and wanted to hit the pool for a change...had shopping to do first and by the time we got done Tam said she had a bit of a headache and my poor tummy just was not right so we mutually agreed not to go at all...the fact is we both pushed hard this week and have had so much other stuff going on in life right now...hey that training plan is not Gospel and meant to be flexible anyway.

The weather has been real crappy for training and we had to use the trainer for one bike session due to rain, and the lake is kind of so so for warming up yet and seems to be pretty cool in the late afternoon...I wonder what the weather will be like on race day...hmmm....probably super hot and it will totally kill me because all my training has been done in cooler temps!..well most of it, but we'll have to wait and see and just make the best of whatever it is.

So other than my injury everything is going great, I got my front rim back from Experience cycling and Dale had to replace a total of 5 spokes due to that little accident I had a couple of weeks back, I am very excited about the taper phase of training .. this is all new to me for an event of this distance and will give me some time to reflect on the last couple of months and to begin to mentally finish preparing for my big day.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Peak phase week 17 " Pain in the Soleus! "

Well I finally made to my physio appointment on Friday and seem to have nailed down the pain in my shin as a aggravated Soleus, it got all flared up two weeks ago from a 20km run and while there can be multiple reasons for this, I do have a plan to treat it so i can get through my half iron and after that I'll probably try some new runners for starters and then go from there.

All week I skipped on the running and concentrated my efforts on the bike and swim as to allow my injury to heal , really all my workouts felt good through the week and pushed hard in the gym, on Friday when I went for my appointment the therapist managed to bring back the pain in a good way and got that muscle lengthened again but it hurt allot and thought I may not run on Sunday but she said to go ahead but to cut the distance and stick to some trails, I will see her on Wednesday again for another treatment and hope the prognosis is good.

I'll jump right to Saturdays ride of 101 km which kind of zig zaged around the valley, we were going to ride out to lake Cowichan and back but soon abandoned that because the main highway was just to rough on the shoulder and we did not want to get rattled apart! ; I hydrated well on the ride and took in a power bar and 2/3 of another one.. also did 3-4 gels so the fueling aspect went good, no flats and managed an average speed of just over 27km on hilly Maple bay and Croften area, it was nice to see some of our old routes for a change and I had a strong ride for the most part.

On Sunday we headed for Fuller lake under gray skies for a timed swim of 2000m I finished with a respectable 42:23 but had lost a minute or more trying to navigate around a fisher.. I could not tell which way he was going and was care full not to get caught in his lines! ...That would make things tough if someone was trying to reel you in hey! he he; once we were done that we then ventured across the lake and back again for a total distance of at least total swim time was 57:43 and I felt pretty good after that...the fitness is definitely there! On the way home we grabbed a snack and did a few errands then headed back to the house to gear up for a run...this was supposed to be a 2 hour run but had to be cut back to 1 hour for me and I felt kind of nervous of doing any distance at all; and off I went to my favorite trail.. at first I had no pain at all and figured it was done giving me grief but at the backside of the trail I was getting some of that dull aching but nothing to severe and I just kept a nice easy pace ; at times the pain was a bit more intense than I liked but as I warmed up it became very manageable and continiued on a easy pace and soon found myself on the home stretch and I was feeling good knowing that I will finish my half iron run portion latter this month, With a few more week to heal up I 'll be in good shape for shure!

I have renewed confidence once again as I was getting worried about this injury but most of my people said I would be fine and me thinks they are right too...and the count down is on ...and then there were three...3 weeks of training left that!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Peak phase week 16 "Shawnigan race report"

What a beautiful setting for a race and we had perfect weather to boot, the bus ride to the race site was not to much of a hassle either, our bikes were dropped off the day before so that things flow smoother in the morning I'm guessing, we arrived at about 6:15am so we had lots of time to set up for T-1 & T-2 and just check out all the awesome race bikes and chat with fellow triathletes. We were doing the sprint today so we got to share the same course as two of Canada's young Olympic hopefuls Paul Tichelaar (Edmonton) and Kirsten Sweetland (Victoria) also did the sprint distance, and of course they each placed first for there respective gender amazing young athletes! Tammy and I also got a great picture of use in transition zone with good tri bud Gary just before his start of the half iron man.

So now onto my start of the day ... we soon found ourselves down at the water wading in to go for a small warm up swim and sooner than I knew the 1min start call came, and then with a small starting bang we were off...( the half iron start got a military cannon boom! that was so cool!!!) at first I was struggling to find a place to get into a rhythm as everyone was also jostling a little bit to find their place, I managed to stay somewhere in the middle and that seemed to work well for me but I must admit I did not kick as much or push as hard as I could have ...I was trying to take some notes and learn a bit while out there , by the time I was at the first buoy I had settled in pretty good and was passing other swimmers and soon came around the third buoy and was headed down the last leg back to the beach, I did take in a little water and had to slow a bit from a small choking session ...single side breathing for about 9 strokes and then got back to bi breathing ...whew! good recovery... and then very suddenly found my self coming out of the water up the carpet and I could not find my zip and finally got my arms out half way to my bike, I managed a 52 place in the swim out of 96 and was very happy with my first open water wet suit race....swim time was 9:59 yea! sub 10 by 1 second! ha haa.

I think my T=1 went well at 2:00min but I vow to get better, hey this is only the 4th time I 've ever done a T-1, I was now headed up the carpet with the JT and was soon flying down the road like nobodies business, I attacked every hill fairly well passing many others and leaving them in my wake, I pulled out all the stops on the downs and felt strong and comfortable with my performance for the level I'm at, I had 3-4 half iron elites pass me and they were really going man! that was also cool to see. before long the stop line was coming up and could not believe how fast the ride actually went... well no wonder I just had my fastest bike split ever of 40:26 for 22km and averaged 32.6 km per hour on this hilly course, I ranked 33/96 and was stoked with my bike performance.

T-2 went good at 1:19 except that I forgot my race belt! time spent in transition 3:26 first tri I spent around 4:30 in transition so I am improving and was taking note on this as well. My run went pretty good and I felt strong the whole way, it was somewhere around the 1 km mark I started to settle into the run and continued on my own pace trying not to worry about going any faster as I have been nursing a shin splint ( Medial Tibial stress syndrome) ; there was no real pain just some dull aching today from it as I did not push too hard, I have to save myself for the big day in 4 weeks from now, my run time was 24:53 which was on trail so it was OK and I know this is only a temporary very small set back in the overall big picture. On the way back to the finish line with about 2km to go I passed Tam and we high fived each other and was glad to see she was also having a good day. My finish time was 1:18:41 and I place 40/96 in the overall, 28/55 males and 7/12 in my age group , so I am pleased with my performance as I continue once again to improve and grow into this wonderful world of triathlon.

Today was a fun filled day and I managed to take allot in and am now totally primed for my first half iron man , also got to chat with Jasper blake Ironman Canada champ 2006 at the finish shortly after he came in...he placed 3rd today... nice guy to talk with always giving of advice if you ask, and seems really down to earth... oh yes I also got an personalized autograph from him on a cool magazine ad I had brought with me to the race and thanked him at the end of our chat for the autograph and he said "no thank you for asking". After that Tam and I just hung out with Linda and Julie waiting for our iron man Gary to complete his half iron and cheer him on at the finish line.

I Can't believe only 4 more week of training left.....then its hammer time baby!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Peak phase week 15 " Back on track "

It's been a great week of hard training and I was feeling better just in time for our first week of peak phase, we had shifted some of the workouts around to get the bike rides done on the dry days and this worked fine for me as the routine can become stale and changing things really refreshed it for me.

On Friday we got down to fuller lake for another swim , this time with a bit warmer temp but still a little cold on the hands and feet; we did a loop around the lake and it went pretty good.

We had a planed ride for Saturday to preview the race course at Shawnigan lake, our tri bud Gary decided to join us as well, we left from Duncan and did two loops of the lake... it's going to be a bumpy race, the roads are a little rough but I guess I forgot it's been a while since riding out there; the ride was around 85km and the weather was awesome, hope to have the same on race day.

Sunday morning we did our 20km run at a steady pace of 5:37 and it was getting pretty warm by 10:00 am but this will be good to get some heat conditioning in , yea so if I can do this pace at my half iron man that would put me in at under 2 hours but if not no big deal, I just want to try and take in as much of the day as I can. After lunch we met up with Gary and Linda at Fuller lake, did about 1600m staying close to the edge so we could check out all the plants and logs and stuff...that's always fun, oh and no cold hands or feet.. the warm weather has really brought the lake temp up, once we were done we lounged around the beach for a while soaking up the rays and just enjoyed each others company...what a great end to a terrific week of training.

Next weekend is our Shawnigan sprint on Sunday so I shall have a race report and it will be interesting to see how t-1 goes its my first open water race and I 'll have a wet suit to remove!....yikes!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Build phase week 14 "Here I cold again!"

I was hoping at the end of last week I wasn't coming down with something but I was wrong, (sad) I have had this crappy head cold all week and still have it today with no signs of it going away yet, it has made getting all the workouts in very tough so I have been just doing the ones I feel most important, like the track work I vow not to miss at all! I feel like I have missed too much but when I look at the training log I really have not and in fact I even set two PR's on one of our regular run routes this week, one was after a 76km bike and again I have been amazed by this progress in myself.
Next week is the start of " Peak phase" and we only have 6 weeks of training left! the time has been really flying by I tell you, also we are supposed to get some warmer temps at the end of the week and hopefully it will help cook this awfull head cold out of me..he he. The JT has been great so far but will take a few more weeks to adjust to this aero position, I really seem to feel it in my hamstrings after long rides which saves my quads for the run...hence Sats. PR.?
Swimming I have not done all week..bad bad...but I am not at all worried about it as I have progressed so well in this discipline as well, it would have been nice to get the lake swim in to prepare for the Shawnigan sprint on the 25th but I will try to get in a least two more before that event.
And on that note due to increasing head pressure...oh no it's gonna explode! Ha ha!.. I am going to sign off and kick back with a cup of lemon ginger tea and get some much needed RR.