Syracuse Half Ironman

Last Sunday was the initial Syracuse Half Ironman. Me and my family headed there Friday. Saturday morning was family time so we headed to the zoo to visit a bit in the morning. Then in the afternoon I headed to the expo for pre race meeting, packet pickup, shopping etc.

After that we headed to the transition zone to drop the Speed Concept and then we drove the bike course to get a feel of what it would be on Sunday morning. The more I was driving on the course the more I was nervous about the ride. There was hills everywhere!!! One thing you can say about that bike course, it is far from being flat 😉

Sunday morning

On Sunday morning I woke up early, the hotel was at 20 minutes or so from the transition zone and I wanted to be sure to be there early. I had some oatmeal for breakfast and a coffee, then I woke up my wife and kids and we got ready.

I was REALLY happy that we left the room early because there was a ton of traffic on the way, I would say easy 30 minutes wait. When I finally got to the parking I was at like 10 minutes walk from the transition zone. I finally got there just to hear that it was closing in 5 minutes, I rushed through my routine to make sure everything was laid out for both transition. Finally they postponed the start by 15 minutes since there was too many people still jammed in the traffic.

The swim

I was in the second wave of the 40-44 men and I was hoping for a 40 minutes swim at best. I said to a friend that if I had a perfect day I could probably swim a 40 minutes 2k. We jumped in the water and started swimming, after what felt like 2 minutes we started passing green cap which was the from wave before us. At first I figured that it was someone having a bad day, but when I saw a second one then a third I knew I had a good day.

Then I saw a couple of yellow cap, and then some purple. At that point I almost thought I was a good swimmer for once. Now I know how it feels like to pass people on the swim.

When I reached the first yellow buoy I felt really good and thought that I just started to swim and I was already at the first turn. The turn was crowded, even if we had wave start it was still crowded. For the second part of the swim I still felt great and was drafting from a bunch of guys in front of me. We were still passing people left and right. When we finally got to the second yellow buoy there was a guy who was holding it. I hope everything was ok with him.

We then turned and started heading back to the beach, still I was feeling awesome and I could have swim all day long.

We finally reached the beach, when I got out my son yelled at me “Check your time” I was really happy to see that I was at 40 minutes or so for my swim, first of the three done with a time that made me happy, yeah 🙂

I then proceeded to the wetsuit stripper, dammit this is something I could get used to. When I started running after the stripper I lost my goggle, someone was kind enough to grab them for me and gave them to me. Then I restarted running and dropped my swim cap … WTF was up with me at that point. Anyway, grabbed my swim cap and run to the transition zone which was a long way from the lake.

I am usually in the last 15% of the swim but today I got out of the water in the top 45% 🙂

Transition 1

I decided to put socks on for the ride, it was cold and I knew I would need them so I took the time to put them on. Running without the shoes but with the socks kinda ruined that purpose since when I jumped on the bike my socks were wet but still, they kept me for having frozen feet I guess.

The bike

When I got on the bike I didn’t know what to expect, the day prior to the race I drove the entire bike course to see how it was and I was scared of all the hills. It seems like there was always a hill.

So when I jumped on the bike that morning I was really unsure of what kind of bike split I could come up with.

The first 3km or so were downhill which was nice, besides the railroad which was really dangerous. When we reached Jamesville we got to the start of the first hill, nothing too long but it had a good % still. I decided to not push too much while going up the hills and to keep my energy to push on the flat/downhill instead so I just cruised up the hill. Then when we got up it was flat for maybe a km, I hammered it down to pass as many people as I could pass.

Since my wave was the 19th of 21 so I had a ton of people to pass on the bike which was really cool. Then we got to the hill, it was around 10km(6 mile) long so once again I cruised my way up. When we finally reached the top of the hill it was really cold and we were in the fog which was really special to ride. It was a little bit more dangerous, but so much fun to ride.

I knew that my family would be at the hill where we were crossing the 20 and I was happy to see them there. My son ran by me for a while yelling, I almost fell like the riders in the Tour de France going up a hill 😉

After that I was all by myself for a long while, I knew I wouldn’t see them again before at least 60km. I tried to get into my best racing bubble and passed as many people as I could.

It was the first time that I was in a triathlon with that many people, and it was really cool because I always had someone to pass 🙂 There was a couple of riders which I pass and they re pass me over and over. I remember Liam, Steve and Lucy for sure. Also a guy with a nice Cervello whom I couldn’t see his name and another one with a black Trek TTX.

After maybe 60km or so I decided to check my average, I was pretty sure I would have an ok average but nothing great. To my biggest surprise I was at almost 31km/h which made me really happy since I knew that he last 15km was mostly downhill and that it should help me get that average up.

When we passed the 20 again I was hoping to see my family there but I didn’t, I wondered what happened since my wife told me she would be there. Maybe they went for food or something and missed me who knew. Anyway I just kept going knowing I would see them at the finish line.

Even if that was the downhill part of the course it was still hilly. Most of that course was rolling, with some HUGE hills to go up here and there.

They said that this race had the most challenging bike course of the Ironman 70.3 series, since I haven’t done them all I can’t confirm this but it was not the easiest course for sure.

We finished the last kilometers with some rolling again and once I got to the top of the last hill my family was there waiting for me. Then it was time to remove the shoes and head to transition again. I felt great for the entire bike course and I could have kept going without any problem which was a really nice feeling on race day 🙂

Transition 2

Once again I decided to get some dry socks on, I had three pair of socks with me. At that point I had the weirdest idea of putting on my compression socks. I tried for maybe 30 seconds before deciding that it would take me an hour to get those things on with my feet all wet. So I grabbed my other socks, but them on then my running shoes and off I went. I had to go pee, but the porta potty were all full with people waiting in line. So I started running instead.

The run

Accoring to the profile of the run it was mostly downhill for the first 7-8km then mostly flat up till the finish. So my plan was to try to get some nice split on the downhill while not pushing too hard and then settle into a pace when we would hit the flat section.

As they said the first section was downhill but with some uphill here and there which was more than enough to make those splits harder than I thought that they would be.

During the first km I stopped to pee. Then I started getting the km in. There was people all the way from jamesville to Syracuse, not a ton but alwayssome people here and there who were cheering for us which was cool.

Every time I hit an aid station I grabbed water, I had two gels with me and decided to get one in after 3km or so, thinking that I would have the other one after 12km. The run was tough, I wanted to hit a 5:15/km pace for the entire run but there was no way I could hold onto that pace sadly. I tried to convince myself to run faster at almost every split, but I had a hard time.

At some point around the 5th mile I wanted to walk the aid station, but told myself I was not allowed to walk a damn aid station before mile 10, which I did. At mile 10.5 or so I walked the aid station and I stopped to pee once again. I guess that the fact that the weather was colder than usual didn’t help since I was probably sweating less than usual.

From mile 7 or so to 11 we were on Erie blvd which is as straight as you can have a straight street and it was tough on the mental to see that long in front of us.

Around mile 11 we finally turned on another street, the nicest part of changing the scenary came with a false flat going up for a mile and a half maybe. Then we turned left with maybe 1 mile to go and it was downhill and then flat to the finish chute.

My son was waiting for me maybe 250 meters from the finish line and he ran with me behind the other spectators since WTC doesn’t allow family member to run with us anymore.

I finally crossed the finish line in 5:34:38 with a huge smile on my face.

I just love this sport 🙂

Every time I do a long event like this one I always think how long even if they like that, those days must be for the families coming to cheer on us. I am really happy that my family was there with me, and for that I thank them 🙂

Swim : 40:43 (97/276 AG 852/2098 OA)
T1 : 3:52
Bike : 2:49:13 (62/276 AG 458/2098 OA)
T2 : 3:19
Run : 1:57:31 (102/276 AG 812/2098 OA)

Total : 5:34:38 (77/276 AG 581/2098 OA)

Getting ready for Sunday

I am getting ready for Sunday, this is my A race of the season, the race for which I trained for the last 6 months. Yesterday I installed my new Renn disk on the bike, I will have to get out tonight and test it out, just to make sure everything is working fine before the race. Then tomorrow will be the last day at work. After that it will be packing all my stuff, putting everything into the car with the bike and heading to Syracuse on Friday. 
If I said I am not getting nervous I would lie, so I won’t say it!
This will be my second half Ironman, but my first official one since the other one was not the official distance. I am aiming for a sub 6hours, but the bike course seems to be a tough one. I will try to not push too much on the bike and make sure I still have a lot of energy for the run. I also need to eat more this time around, last time I didn`t focus on that and I lacked energy at the end of the half marathon. 
Here is how the bike will looks like for the race 🙂

My bib number for the race on Sunday is #1727 in case you want to follow me on the website

Marathon des deux rives – Half marathon

Last Sunday was the Quebec city marathon. I decided to run it as part of my training for Syracuse 70.3 which is in less then three weeks now.

I woke up early on Sunday morning, got my coffee and had a good breakfast, the start was at 8h30 and it was a 20 minutes car ride or so so no stress. My friend Patrick, who was running his first half marathon ever, picked me up in the morning and we headed to the start.

Once there we walked around and chatted with some friends. I saw Genevieve who was also running her first half marathon. I think it is really cool to see people getting into the sport, and I really hope that even more of my friends will get into this wonderful life style 🙂

Twenty minutes or so before the start Patrick had to go to the porta potty, so I told him I would wait for him. But we never had the chance to meet before the start, so I headed to the starting line. At that point I still had no idea how hard I would run that half mary. But I knew it was a training run and that there was no way I would PR since I swam 2.5km and rode 75km the day before.

I was way in the back at the start which was cool, instead of starting with all the speedy I was with the people who were there to enjoy the day. When I, finally, crossed the starting line I decided to push a bit and see how the legs were feeling. For the first 4km or so I had a PR`pace, and it made me wonder “Can I really PR today?”

By the time we crossed the bridge I saw Patrick in front of me. I joined him and we chatted a bit, his pace was ok so I decided to stick with him for a while. Around the 8th km or so Patrick tried to pass behind me to reach the aid station and he kicked me or something. I almost fell and I told him that was the reason why I wouldn’t run a 1h30 half today. We had a laugh about it and kept running. At the 11th km or so Patrick told me he couldn’t keep up with me at that speed and that he would just slow down a bit.

At that point I had a decision to make, pushing hard and try to make a time not too bad even if I knew I wouldn’t beat my east or stay with him and just enjoy a really nice day. I decided to stay with him and try to push him so he would finish with a good time.

For the next 5km or so we had a slower pace by still not too bad. But at the 16th it started to be really tough for him. He told me that if I was not there he would probably just sit and relax a bit. My daughter was at the 5km aid station volunteering, so I stopped to talk with her for a couple of seconds and drink some water. When I looked at Patrick at that point I knew I would have to push him to get the last 5km at a not too bad pace.

By that time the sun was really hot, the wind was not that strong and there was no shade at all on the course. So we had to suffer our way through the last km. His longest run was 18km which was correct to make sure he would complete the run, but still he had a hard time with the last couple of km. I pushed him through them, and tried to push him so he would sprint by the end. But he had nothing left in the tank, he did a mini sprint of maybe 25 feet, and that almost made him puke. At that point I knew I pushed him at his limit 😉

I completed the half with a time of 1:51:30, which was 8 minutes slower than my PR. But I was happy to run it with Patrick for his first!

Overall I had a really good day, and an awesome training run!

Race report – Triathlon Drummondville

Since the start was at 11:25 and the triathlon was at maybe 1h30 or so drive from my place, I woke up as usual, had breakfast then packed the car and drove there.

Once there I got to packet pickup and Steve was there, guess that the decided to arrive around the same time. I got into the tent, grabbed my stuff and then went to the t-shirt table. Once again they didn’t have all the size left when I arrived, and their t-shirt where huge. I grabbed a medium and it looks like I have a large. I guess they tough that triathlon was a sport where everyone is oversize.

After that I headed into the transition zone and prepare my spot, we had a rack just for us the old people 😉 Once my spot was ready I headed out for a little run to warm up. I wanted to bike too but I got squeezed in time and figured it would be better not to be late at the start.

My friend Steve was starting 10 minutes after me and I knew he had a good chance to pass me before I finish my swim, so I tried to push as hard as I could to not make it happened.

At first I was with some people and I tried to stay with them. It worked for most of the first loop, but when we were coming back in the current I lost them and after the buoy there was no way to get back to them. So I finished my swim all by myself.

By the end of the second loop I started seeing people from the wave behind me and I was scared that Steve would pass me, I got passed by maybe 10 people from what I count see. And I knew that he was a good enough swimmer to get out of the water in the top 10.

I just tried to swim as fast as I could to get out of the water. Once I approached the exit I heard a volunteer yelling that it was slippery, and slippery it was dammit. I almost fell while getting out of the water.

I really need to improve my swim, this is usually what kills my race. I can make up some time on the bike and run but the swim always put me so much in the back of the pack that it is hard to have a good time overall.

Once I reached my bike I put my helmet on and started feeling dizzy a little bit. I took a couple of seconds to let it pass, then I headed out of the transition zone. A transition without a wetsuit is always so fast, but there is no way I gain much than when I swim with a wetsuit.

I jumped on the bike with one thing on my mind, get back some time on the faster swimmer. At first I got pass by a coupe of guy from the wave after me and I tried to stay with them. It worked for a while but they were fast and at some point I lost them. I was not drafting of them, but trying to stay in range.

I tried to cheer on everyone from the club as I was seeing them on the course, and besides that I just push hard and tried to keep a good average.

When I got off the bike I was disappointed with my bike split, I had no idea what was my avg or exact time since I didn’t want to check but I felt like I had not much power during that leg.

I need to rethink my training, I feel like I do not have power on the bike this year and I can’t say why.

Transition 2 went as smoothly as the first one, I loved my Zoot Ultra Race, as easy as it gets to put them on.

I tried to get into that 10km with a sub 45 min time in mind. I wish I could have push to get it but sadly I didn’t have enough juice left in the tank to get it.

This course is mostly flat so it is an easy one to get a good run, which I did but not as fast as I expected. The only problem with it is that it is a 4 loop course, and every time you have to turn 180 degrees you lose some speed.

Not much to say about the run itself, it went as smoothly as it could with what I had left in the tank. I cheered on my friend from the club as much as I could, thanks the volunteer on my last lap and finished the race with a nice last split … guess I still had some juice finally because I pushed the pace for that last split 😉

Here are my results from last year sprint on the same course.
Swim – 20:15
T1 – 1:31
Bike – 33:02
T2 – 1:34
Run – 23:21

And here are my results from this year Oly, same course but twice as long. 2 loop of the swim course, 4 of the bike course and 4 of the run course.
Swim – 36:39
T1 – 1:38
Bike – 1:06:15
T2 – 1:36
Run – 45:38

I finished with a time of 2:31:52
Overall – 65/104
Age group (40-44) – 13/18

My time was 5 min or so slower than my best Oly, but this one was not wetsuit legal which cost me probably that 5 minutes. Overall a good race for me, but I really need to find a way to get faster in the water.

First Half Ironman – In the books!

It is done! Yesterday I completed my first half Ironman ever. Atually it was not a real half Ironman, the distance were off a bit. The swim was 2.3km, the bike 90km and the run 21km. But it was close enough to the real thing for me to consider that my first HIM is done 🙂

Since this was my first Half Ironman I tried to give me all the chances so we slept at the hotel the night before. My start was at 7h10 and it is almost a three hours drive from my place. I woke up around 5am, got ready and tried to eat a bit but the nerves were killing me at that point and the food didn’t want to get in much. Anyway I forced an oatmeal and a yogurt down and figured it would be ok for now. After that we packed the car and went to the site.

I grabbed a gel before the swim start, trying to get some more calories in.

At the beginning I knew that the swim portion was not where I could gain time so I just went in there with one thing on my mind. I wanted to swim the best that I could without pushing too hard and burn too much energy for the rest of the day. I knew it would be a long day and that I had to keep as much as energy as I could.

The start was a beach start, I let the fast swimmer outrun me at the beginning and jump behind them. The swim course was not really intuitive, we had two loop to do but it was two different loop. Something like a 800 meters loop and a 1500 meters loop.

Heading out the winds was mostly head wind and we had a lot of big waves on the lake. At some point I couldn’t see the buoys because the waves were too high. I guess that all those waves didn’t help my already awesome form in the water 😉

Anyway, I tried to find some feet but no luck in there, everyone was either too fast or too slow for me. Mostly too fast though!

After maybe 1800 meters or so I heard someone yell while I was swimming. I stopped and saw that women next to me. I asked her if she was alright and she told me that she had a cramp. There was no kayak close by so I stayed with her a little bit waiting for her cramp to pass. When she told me that sh was ok I restarted swimming and completed my swim.

We got out of the water together and she thanked me to stop by her in the water. I told her that I was happy that she was ok and then proceeded to the transition zone. I saw my wife and my daughter and smiled to them while running out of the water.

I can’t explain why I was that slow. I am not usually a fast swimming but I never swam slower than 2:30 during training for the same kind of distance so it is hard for me to explain why I was that slow today.

I knew from the start that the bike course was not perfect for me, a lot of hills which is not really my strength on the bike. But whatever I chose this race to be my first HIM and I had to deal with the course.

My plan on the bike was to keep the HR at 140 AVG, and I did exactly that. I wanted to get a bike split faster than 30km/h but I knew that if I pushed too hard then I would pay for it on the run. So I kept my HR at 140 and tried to push as much as could with that.

At the 30th km I saw the race leader, that meant he had 30km on me at that point. This is a lot mid race if you know what I mean :p I wanted to get back to my friend Jacques on the bike so we could run together but I never made it back to him. He was 10 minutes faster than me on the swim and we basically had the same ride so it was a no go for that goal.

I had an avg of 29.2km/h at the turn around which didn’t quite make me happy, I was too slow. So I tried to push it on the way back. At first it went ok but around km 60 or so I was mostly alone with no one to pass and I got into an easier pace for a while. when I got to the 70th km it was the turn around of the Oly and there was a ton of bikes around me on the road which gave me some strength in the legs. I had people that I could try to pass again.

At one point Steve passed me, we talked a little bit and I told him it was tough. He then went away trying to complete his Oly as fast as possible. This guy is damn fast so I was not unhappy when I saw he just left me there like I was sitting on the side of the road 😉

The rest of the ride was ok, legs were tired but I knew it was about to end, well for that part.

When I saw the transition line I saw my wife and my daughter on the side of the road cheering on me and taking picture. I got out of my shoes and got ready to jump off the bike and run into transition. I then realized that maybe the legs wouldn’t be too happy about it so I got a little bit slower than usual to make sure.

1900 feet of climbing sure are not easy 😉

I can’t say if it was my run training, my bike training or both but my run didn’t go as planned.

I was hoping to run a 1h50 or sub half mary but the legs didn’t feel the
same way.

I got out of the transition zone and I had some good speed so I pushed a bit, after 1km I got a cramp in both quad which stuck with me for maybe 500 meters. That made me realize that running too fast was not a good idea at that point.

I can’t say if this was because I didn’t drink enough on the bike but those cramps were not welcome at the start of the run for sure.

My run was mostly at the speed I wanted it for the first 5km or so, but after that it started to fade slowly. The first two loop were not too bad, at the start of the third one though it started to be harder and harder.

At least on the third loop the cloud were back and it gave us a nice shade, because up to there I was getting hot. I ran the third loop, with some walking break at the aid station but nothing too long.

Then the fourth loop came, I knew it was my last and that I should push through it to get some time back. But at that point it was really tough on the body.

For the first time since the beginning I walked the hill on the last loop. I didn’t had much left and even if I didn’t want to I did it.

Then I was in the final stretch, a little bit over 1km to go to cross the finish line. I then had another cramp in my left quad, at that point there was no way I could run on it though, so I stooped and figured I needed to stretch it. Grabbed my feet and started the movement to stretch the quad. It seems that this really PISSED my hamstring because it decided to cramps too.

I that point I was there standing on that stop sign, trying to find a way to get ride of both cramps. I started massaging my leg and hoped that I had some massaging talents. After a little while the cramps left me alone, and I restarted running, if we can call that running at that point. I was mostly running with my right leg and jumping on the left one because the cramps were still hurting.

I did that for 200-300 meters maybe then it seems like it was better because I was able to run to the finish line. I crossed the line with a huge smile, well I think I was smiling 😉

Half Ironman done

Finish time 6:11:41
Swim 1:05:26
Transition 1 2:20
Bike 3:00:32
Transition 2 1:45
Run 2:01:26

Descente Royale – 10k race

This course is a really easy one, everyone always told me how easy it was to PR on it. I never really thought that it would be that easy though. Don’t get me wrong, I pushed hard and at the end I was out of everything. But still, I don’t think that I can hold that kind of pace on a normal course. 

Going down a false flat for 10k is great ;) 

Last Friday, I had a chat with a friend from work who is a speedy. I told him that his 43:12 time would fall this Sunday. So today’s secret plan was to beat Alex’s time. I honestly was not sure that I would be able to do it though. I analysed my 10k that I ran in May and decided that I didn’t push hard enough, so today’s plan was to push as hard as I could push. 

As soon as the race started I went almost all out, I was actually way too fast the first 500 meters and I slowed on purpose to not go too fast and run out of legs by the end. 

The first 4 splits were fast, 4:09, 4:10, 4:09, 4:06. Then the 5th was like 4:21. I got scared at that point because I thought that my legs decided to stayed at the 4km mark. 

The first 5k was still damn fast, actually faster than my faster 5k ever. At that point I knew that I only had to run 4:20 splits or so to beat Alex. So I tried my best to stay on that pace. 4:20, 4:19, 4:20, 4:17 and 4:03 to toped it off :) Second 5k was a bit slower, but I was just trying to find the energy to keep pushing that kind of pace at that point. 

At the speed at which I ran that first 5k I was not really sure what would happen on the rest of the race. 

For once when I actually saw the finish line I had nothing left in the tank, I tried as hard as I could to sprint the finish line, but my body told me to go f… myself ;)

Finish time : 42:43
Age group : 34/176
Overall : 142/1015

Triathlon Esprit – Race Report

Yesterday was my A race of the year, the race for which I have been training for the last 6 months. I decided to do that race in February to raise money for Leucan, and I decided that it would be for my first Olympic triathlon.

We left Friday afternoon, drove to Montreal to get there in time to pick up my race bag. After that we went for diner, had some pasta and some veal with a cheese cake for dessert 😉 then it was off to the hotel for a good night of sleep before the big day.

I woke up around 5h45, my race was not starting before 11h30 so I was in no rush to get to the site. We got ready and left the hotel around 7am, stopped by a coffee shop and I grab two bagels and a coffee. After that we headed to the race site, since it was still early we had a good parking spot. I watched the HIM and IM racers for a while, then the start of the Duathlon, and the first wave of the Oly. I was in the third waves, so with an hour or so before my start I went for a warm up run of about 10 minutes. I probably ran around 2km, my legs felt fresh and I was pretty happy with that. There was no way to warm up on the bike sadly, so after my run I got into my wetsuit and headed to the start line.

At that point I ran into one of my wife’s friend who was there since her BF was doing the Oly too. I knew his secret plan was to beat me since I out ran him in another triathlon earlier this year. He asked me what I was aiming for and I told him between 2h30 and 2h45. I didn’t want to tell him about my secret sub 2h30 plan 😉

After that I headed into the water and swam a 100 meters to get used to the water, which was really clear and nice to swim into. I talked with some other guys from the tri club and then got into my bubble trying to get ready for my race.

I hadn’t swam in the last week, last time was last Saturday. I was not too sure how 6 days without swimming would, but I was about to find out.

And then the horn blew and off we went, it was really like a washing machine, we were about 100, maybe more trying to squeeze into a place where we could not all go at the same time. I was feeling really good and my swim was good, at least that’s what I was feeling. I got into a good rhythm and started drafting from someone who was swimming exactly at the pace I needed to go. I had no idea how long a 1500 meters would feel like into a race since this was my first, but I just swam at a speed where I felt good. After what seems to be really not long I swam by the turn around for the sprint, at that point I realized that I was swimming at a good pace because it felt like I just started swimming. Then before not too long I swam by the Oly turn around buoy, I was still drafting from those feet and I was pretty happy about my swim at that point.

Starting around the sprint buoy I could feel that my wetsuit was chafing on my neck, I wanted to stop and try to fix it but I didn’t want to lose any time and I didn’t want to lose those feet to draft from either. So I just HTFU and kept going. My plan for the day was to race it under 2h30 and I knew that to succeed with my dream goal I had to swim under 30 minutes so no way I could stop and lose time.

Me and the feet in front of me played mouse and cat on the last 600 meters, I was swimming faster and he would draft off me for a while, then he would pass me and I would draft off him. We passed a some people on the swim, which is unusual for me and it made me happy.

When we finally reached the end of the swim I looked at my watch and I saw 31:30 or so. At that point I knew I would have to be faster that I wanted on the bike to get those two minutes back in the bank.

At the swim exit we had to go over the run course, climbing stairs when getting out of a 1.5km swim ain’t that easy, believe me!

Then it was into the transition zone, we had a long run to do. When I finally reached my bike I removed the wetsuit as fast I as I could, grabbed my helmet and my bike and off I went. Jumped on the bike when I crossed the mounting line, thanks to the coach who made me practice the flying mount 🙂

The bike course is a 4,4km loop that we had to do 9 times, it is on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit. The pavement is perfect, and I mean really perfect. Not a single bump, crack or anything on it. I started to ride hard, as hard as I could. I knew that I had to go under 1h10 including transition to be able to reach my secret goal of sub 2h30. First lap I was around 7:30, I did some math and realized that it was all possible at that point. I kept pushing and the second lap was faster than the first.

At some point I saw a crash, and another one. Imagine 500 person or so on a 4.4km circuit at some point. Add to that 50 from the IM and some of the Sprint people who started to ride with us at some point. The circuit was crowded, and I mean really crowded.

The bike part went really good overall and I was really happy when I check on my watch and saw that I was going into T2 with a 1:04:xx split.

Went into the transition zone, raked my bike removed my helmet, put on my running shoes and grab my running belt and off I went. Really good transition in my opinion.

Now I only, yeah only, had to run a sub 50 minutes 10km to do it. I decided to run without my Garmin for this race, just go by feeling. I started running and after a kilometer or so I saw some guys from the elite, who started 20 minutes after me, passing me like I was sitting on a bench waiting for the bus. Damn those guys are fast.

For the first 3 or 4km I was running with a guy, but at some point I think that my pace dropped a little bit and I lost him. I kept running and pushing as much as I could. I remember looking at my watch at the 5km mark to see I was around 22 minutes. I kept doing maths in my head to make sure I would be under 2h30.

At that point I kept pushing hard, trying to make sure my pace was not going down too much. With less than two kilometers to go I passed that guy who wanted to beat me. He started in the wave after me so he was 20 minutes after me. I had less than 2km to go and he had almost 6km. I knew he couldn’t run that distance in 20 minutes and at that point I knew I would beat him. Made me happy 🙂 I then proceed to run by him with a really good pace and I never saw him again before the finish line.

I finished with a time of 2:26:37 for my first olympic, I am really happy about it. And I beat my wife’s friend by 3:08 😉

Swim 1.5km – 32:11 (2:09/100 meters)
45/62 AG 334/456 OA

T1 – 2:08

Bike 40km – 1:05:01 (36.9 km/h – 22.94 mph)
13/62 AG 92/456 OA

T2 – 1:31

Run 10km – 45:26 (4:32/km – 7:17/mile)
13/62 AG 123/456 OA

Finish in 2:26:37 🙂
19/62 AG 138/456 OA

Tri’ing for the kids – Next week!

As most of you know, since 2009 was my first year as a triathlete and as an athlete too, not that I consider myself an athlete yet but it’s coming 😉 I decided to race my first Olympic triathlon for the kids of Leucan. Leucan is an organisation here in Quebec that raise money to help families with kids who have cancer.

Leucan is an association that grew out of the link between parents of cancer-stricken children and healthcare professionals. Since its foundation in 1978, its mission has been to enhance the well-being, healing and recovery of children with cancer and ensure support for their families. In the last 15 years, Leucan, which receives no government grants, has witnessed impressive growth and diversification of its services to families. Leucan plays a key role in pediatric oncology, working jointly with collaborators in the field, while using a comprehensive approach to care.

As soon as the diagnosis is made, Leucan provides various services to cancer-stricken children and their families across Quebec. These services are adapted to suit their needs all along the different possible stages of the illness. Leucan is present in all walks of family life whether it be at the hospital, at home, at school, in social life or in the public eye, by means of financial assistance, welcome, emotional assistance and support services, information, hosting and support in playrooms, massage therapy at the hospital and in the region, socio-recreational activities, support groups, school life and end-of-life and bereavement follow-up services.

Last year I decided to participate in their Shaved Head Challenge and I shaved my hair to raise money for them. this year I will be racing in an Olympic triathlon. I have been training for a long while for this triathlon, and I have been racing in 7 sprints triathlon over the last four months to get as ready as I can be for next week end. My goal is to finish with a time under 2h45, I would love to hit 2h30 but for that I will need an awesome swim and I know I am far from being an awesome swimmer 😉

Since the distance will twice as long as most of my races I had during the last four months I will have to make some adjustments to make sure don’t go out too fast, on the bike especially since it is usually where I can get some position after getting out of the water late. My plan is to try to swim in 30 minutes, bike under 1h10 and run under 50 minutes. With two good transition and those times I would hit my dream goal of 2h30, if I am slower at any of the distances then I will have to say good bye to this dream goal … for this time.

For now everything looks good though, my run and bike fitness are pretty good and the swim should be wetsuit legal which will helps me to have a faster swim. With nine days to go there’s nothing much I can do to get better. I will have some long ride in the next three days and a long run on Sunday, 27.5km (17 miles), in preparation for NYC. Also on Saturday morning I have another brick practice with the club including some interval sessions which is always fun.

Then on Monday I will go into taper to get as ready as I can be for Saturday’s race. As of now I know that there’s nothing more I can do except trying to get as ready as possible for the race. Maybe I should stop caffeine and alcohol for three-four days before the race to give myself every possible chance … I will see how I feel, I am such a coffee addict 😉

You can visit my web site if you want more information about this

Triathlon de Quebec – Race report

I woke up early and had breakfast with a cup of coffee, after that I headed to the race site to help finish the setup for the competition. Since it was my club’s triathlon I was volunteering yesterday, this morning and this afternoon.

As far as warm up goes I went for a ride, but there was a lot of water in the street and I changed my mind, rode maybe 2km just to make sure everything was working as intended. After that I went for a quick 1km run, my legs felt fresh. I guess that almost no running for the last 6 days really helped.

As usual my swim is what killed my race, I was faster with the wetsuit but still lost a lot of times there versus everyone else. At first I tried to get into a nice groove and give what I had in me. After 250 meters or so someone passed me and I jumped behind him and drafted from there until the end of the swim. One or two times I almost lost him but I knew that if I wanted to have an ok swim I had to stay with him so I pushed a little bit harder.

I dropped my cap and goggle while running into the transition zone, I had to come back to get them which cost me some precious times. Then I ran as fast as I could to my transition spot. Looked around and saw those two guys sitting on the ground. I removed my wetsuit, grabbed my stuff and went, they were still sitting on the ground 😉

I knew I was in the back after my swim and that I had to mash the pedals as much as I could to get some time back. At the start it took me probably 3-4 km before my legs felt good, I always have a hard time to warm up on race and it cost me times at the beginning of the bike section. After that I pushed as hard as I possibly could. One girl from the club fell on the ride, looks like she is ok finally!

No one pass me on the bike, which probably means that I should swim faster I guess :p

As far as transition two goes I went in, got my shoes, went off!

I hadn’t run much in the last 5-6 days besides my brick practice on Wednesday night. I had some pain in my legs and wanted to give them a break before going hard on the last marathon training part and I decided to do it the week before this triathlon to give them some kind of tapper.

So going into the run I had in mind to run it hard, as hard as my body would let me run it. When I got out of the transition zone there was some people from the club there with me and I know that they do run some nice split usually, but I didn’t want to stay around and chat so I just start running hard from the start. I passed them and never saw them again. Actually no one ever passed me on the run again. I am really happy with my time today, 4:11/km is really good and probably my best split in a triathlon.

Every time I saw someone on the path in front of me I just ran hard to get back to him/her and then I was looking for another person to pass. On the last stretch I did a sprint and pass a guy, this was a good decision since he was in my age group. If I didn’t do that sprint I would have lost one place in my AG and OA 😉

Since this race was organised by my triathlon club I had volunteer to help before and after. That made the entire experience way different. Sadly the triathlon and the marathon were both on the same day today and a lot of people had to choose one or the other.

I hope it will get fix for next year.