Sunday I raced the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington. It’s the first time I’ve been fit and ready to run a fast half since I ran the Harvest Half Marathon in Waterloo in 2014. This race had been the focus of my training over the past 9 weeks with Frank. Frank felt like I was capable of running 1:16:XX, I felt like I was ready to have a good run, but 3:37/km pace is pretty quick, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to hand on.
Training kicked off Jan 1, 2018, 9 weeks out from the race
530km total running, 58.9km/week average
95km was biggest week, 35km was smallest week
5 track workouts w/ Frank
29.3km – longest run
12 days where run training was compromised by sore shins
Woke up at 6:30AM
Had a bagel with almond butter and honey, and some water for breakfast
Took 7:43 GO train to Burlington to get to race site by 9:00AM
Had a bottle of water with a nuun tablet in it, 5 crackers, and then a gel 20 minutes before the start of the race
From the gun I tried to not start with my signature ‘hot’ kilometer. My first km ended up being 3:28, so not too bad.
Really focused on settling into a pace like Frank would have me do during long track intervals. I tried to be light on my feet, high turnover, and let it come naturally.
1-3k we had a tailwind, 3-13k was a headwind, 13-21k was a tailwind, then it was one last blast of headwind when you turned up the finish chute
Packs started to form about 2k in and I accelerated to the group ahead of where I was. This proved to be a good decision because I hung onto the back of them until about 12k, most of which was in a headwind (I was only able to hold on, so I wasn’t doing my share of the work on the front, sorry guys!)
I felt really strong and comfortable 1-5k. 5-11k I struggled, falling a step or two behind the group and feeling like I was really working. 11-16k I felt stronger, and the pace was coming a bit easier. Then 16-21k it was just a grind to keep the pace up and get to the finish.
I had a gel at 11k, and took a small sip of nuun at every aid station
I had 4 km’s that were 3:40 or longer, and I had 6 km’s that were sub-3:35 (including 4 in the final 7k). Fastest km was 3:28, slowest km was 3:44
Completely spent at the finish, I didn’t have anything left for a sprint
Really happy with the result, I think I ran about as even as I could, and ran to my capabilities
I think my nutrition for the race was good
I think I made good ‘racing decisions’ throughout the race, such as jumping to the group just ahead when the field was splitting, but also letting some guys go when they turned up the pace
Beer and chilli after the race was a nice touch by the organizers!
Been a while since I’ve done one of these because I’ve been doing the weekly videos instead. I decided I’d do a race report that is a little more on the technical side.
My prep leading into Ironman Louisville was amazing. As I eluded to in one of my videos, I did the best ever 4 week block on training in my life. I got to Louisville Wednesday night, and Thursday I did a short brick workout. I didn’t have a ton of pop in my legs, but the effort was coming easy.
Saturday I tried to do the practice swim, but there was a Breast Cancer walk going on in Louisville and I wasn’t able to get to the swim in time. Not a big deal, but I would have liked to of gotten in the water before the race.
Race morning I was up just after 4. I had a bagel with Cookie Butter and worked on some Gatorade. I got to the race site around 5:45, pumped my tired, set up my nutrition, and was ready to go around 6:15. I ended up eating a second bagel with Cooke Butter because I was a little hungry, and then had a donut (now a pre-race ritual) about 45 minutes before the start.
The swim start was a bit of a mess. We were suppose to get into the water at 7:20, but they did the national anthem at 7:20, so it was closer to 7:22. The race started at 7:23! It was still pitch black out, and for the first few hundred meters I could feel a lot of contact but I couldn’t see anyone. At this point I just tried to find space.
The swim is about 1.3k up stream, and then 2.5k downstream in the Ohio River. This should have been a quick swim for me but it wasn’t. I didn’t feel like I got into a good groove until about 2/3 of the way through and I got the sense I was well behind. Also, my right hip flexor was bothering me in the swim. Fortunately it didn’t persist throughout the day. I did manage to find Matt Shanks, and we swam together for a lot of it.
Swim – 58:01 (28 of 37)
Rolling through T2 I wasn’t surprised to see most of the bikes in the pro rack gone. It was time to put my head down and go to work.
T1 – 3:20
I focused on just racing my own race. Not chasing, not getting caught up in anyone else’s race, just being steady. The Louisville course is a lollipop. You have an out, do two loops, and come back. The out and first loop were great. I was riding well, on top of my nutrition, and feeling strong. The course is always undulating and I could just focus on my power. I was surprised at how spread out everyone seemed to be. At Mont Tremblant the field was half the size, but it seemed like everyone was together moving forward/backwards in the field. Here I was alone most of the time, and when I caught anyone they always seemed to be alone too.
The second loop of the bike wasn’t nearly as fun. The roads were really crowded with AGers starting their first loop. Most of the race takes place on narrow 1 lane roads with rumble strips on both sides, so there was a ton of congestion. Also, the roads were open to traffic, so cars were getting stuck or moving very slowly along these roads. There was never a time on the second loop that I wasn’t passing other athletes, and it made for some very tense moments.
Early on in the second loop I had a minor mechanical problem. I dropped my chain when I was going down a hill. I was able to get it back on while still riding, but it was stuck in the small ring and was making a horrible clicking sound. After 4-5k of fiddling with the derailleur as I rode it finally ‘fixed’ itself. I’m not sure what the problem was or how it was fixed, but I was glad to keep moving.
The final 50k of the bike was into a pretty stiff headwind. Around this time (3:30 into the bike) my power, and energy level, began to drop. It was hard to stay focused, and there were a couple strong gusts that were pretty demoralizing. I didn’t fight it and let my power drop, hoping I’d gain a second wind. The final 33k of the bike was the ‘back’ section, so I was relieved to have made it through the second loop. I managed to catch 2 guys in the final 33k who I’m sure were feeling just as demoralized by the wind as I was. I went through spurts where I held good power, and other times where it wasn’t go great. I was happy to get back into Louisville and I was ready to get off my bike.
The goal for the bike was for me to hold a steady 245 watts. I managed this throughout the first 3:30, but I had long segments in the last hour that were closer to 200-220W.
One big change for me nutritionally on the bike was taking salt pills. I took one every 30 minutes. This was in addition to about 1L of Gatorade Endurance per hour, and a 1/2 waffle every 15 minutes. I stopped eating waffles at 3:30 and meant to take 2 gels in the final hour on the bike, but only took 1 (around 4:25) because my stomach was pretty full.
I was a little slow in T2. i had trouble getting my shirt on.
T2 – 3:28
This run would be made a heck of a lot easier by the fact that I was so far out of the places (top 6). Right from my first step I focused on keeping my pace under control, my cadence high, and ensuring I got in proper nutrition.
I was a little stiff in the first mile, but quickly got into a rhythm. Louisville is essentially 2 very long, straight out and backs. It was starting to really heat up so in addition to Coke at aid stations I was also getting ice to put down my shorts. I was taking salt on the run too, I took either 3 or 4 salt pills throughout the run.
The weather throughout the run was wild. When I started running it was heating up, and got really hot. And then when I got to about 12k it suddenly got really cold and the wind picked up significantly. Tents flew across the course, barricades came down, and a lot of trees lost their leaves. The rain moved in as well, but it was only light, and didn’t last more than 30 minutes. The temperature was significantly cooler for the rest of the run.
I crossed halfway in 1:32 and although my pace was slowing I was optimistic about a 3:05 marathon. I got a boost seeing Steph and Robert, my homestay, out on the course cheering when I finished my first lap. It wasn’t until about 28k or so when things started to get tough out there. It seemed to take forever to get to the far turnaround, but I was happy to be running for home. I did my best to stay in the moment and tick off kilometers. I felt like I picked it up the final 5k, my splits say otherwise, but I did my best to finish strong.
All-in-all I was happy with this race. It was really satisfying to learn from my mistakes at Ironman Mont Tremblant, and apply what I learned. I felt better throughout the majority of the race, as well as after the race, than I’ve felt in any previous Ironman. Going into the race I wasn’t chasing sub-9, but I’m glad that I got it. It’s time for an offseason to recharge my batteries after a heck of a lot of racing in 2017.
I want to say a big thank you to everyone that supported me. This includes my sponsors: Dare2Tri, Skechers Performance Canada, and Velofix Toronto. Also, all the incredible homestays I’ve had throughout the season. And everybody that has sent me messages of support, watched my videos, or given me advice/feedback throughout the year. I’m really optimistic about what 2018 can have in store.
On Sunday I raced my first professional Ironman, Ironman Lake Placid. This is a race I’ve been wanting to do for a couple years. I’ve been to the area to train for the past 3 years and really enjoy it there. Race day turned out to be a very good day for me, I was happy with my splits across the board.
On Saturday I raced the Skechers MultiSport Canada Gravenhurst Olympic Distance Triathlon. This race has been one I’ve wanted to do for a couple years and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a unique swim that has you shuttled to the middle of the lake by steamship and you get to swim back to shore. That’s followed by a challenging, but very fun bike course. And the race finish with a run that you may believe gains elevation in both directions. This race has shot up to the top of my list of favourite local races. I had a strong race across all 3 splits and was happy to get my second win on the MultiSport Canada Series this year.
Race Results: https://www.sportstats.ca/display-results.xhtml?raceid=43701&status=leader
Bike File: https://www.strava.com/activities/1085340904
Run File: https://www.strava.com/activities/1085339365
Supporters: Dare2Tri, Skechers Performance, Velofix Toronto
Sunday I raced the first race in the Skechers MultiSport Canada Series, the Welland Long Course Triathlon. It was a 2k swim, 56k bike, 15k run. I had a solid swim, my first race in my new Dare2Tri Challenge 4Speed Wetsuit, and then my legs were completely flat on the bike. I was dreading the run, but when I slipped on my Skechers GoMeb Razors, my legs came to life. I felt light and my pace came easy. I was able to run may way into the lead 8k into the run, and held on to the finish. I’m really excited to be a MultiSport Canada Ambassador this year, and I’ll be racing the Kingston Long Course Tri after Lake Placid.
My virgin pro race is done and dusted. I did Ironman Eagleman 70.3 in Maryland over the weekend. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was really happy with the race I put together. It wasn’t a perfect race, but I was happy with my swim (my first non-wetsuit race – a big thanks to Matt Shanks for letting me borrow his swim skin), a solid bike where I got my first experience riding in a group, and then a steady run. Up next is Mutlisport Canada Welland Long Course.
Supporters: Dare2Tri, Skechers Performance, Velofix Toronto