Monday, July 28, 2008

Pain has a face

Allow me to show it to you:

Me coming out of the water at the Thetis 1500 on Sunday.
My time - 23:55

That one bloody hurt, I can tell you that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The X Factor

Here's an article I wrote on open water swimming.
My mom thinks it's good.

Open Water Swimming - The X Factor

Any local (Victoria) triathletes interested in checking out this group, here's their website: Team X Website

Apologies to anyone who tried the links earlier. I've since fixed them!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What a perfect day for a race.

The Vancouver 1/2 Ironman

I came over early to help the boys set up the finish line but to also support three of my athletes racing.
Irvin Tang, battling a tight hip for the past many months, was finally feeling like he wanted to test it out in the sprint event.
Nick Gottfried was tackling the full 1/2 IM as was Rachel Kiers.
Friday night was a nice little VIP affair where the press was introduced to the race favorites and I showed up for that to support Rachel.
A handful of the pro women were invited to the mic to say a few words at the event.
Rachel was not invited. I was a little put off at first but after a brief consideration I was glad. Everyone loves an underdog.
I knew that many of the women at that mic had been racing both Ironmans and 70.3s recently - but Rachel was ready to race.
We had selected this as one of her A priority races this year. She was tapered and ready to rip it up. I predicted she'd go under 4:40.
The race favourite - Bree Wee, an outstanding athlete, had done a 9:37 at Ironman Japan just three weeks earlier. That's a world class effort but three weeks is a short time to recover from a world class effort. Heather Wurtele had displayed a similar effort herself on the same weekend at CDA and in the end we felt it was not in her best interest to go to the well again so soon. She regretted not being able to race but the bigger picture was Ironman Canada in August.
Cheryl Murphy was also racing and some of her recent run times made her a clear threat for the win out there. She not a strong swimmer but when you can run a 1:11 1/2 marathon you're dangerous and she's not weak on the bike either.
Last year the swim at this race was a gong show but the race organizers had learned. The course was set up clean and clear and the swim went off without a hitch.
Predictably Bree rolled out of the chuck first with a solid 25:50.
Less than 2.5 minutes later Rachel come out in 5th.
As I mentioned, Murphy is not a strong swimmer but I was impressed with her 33:47. Right then and there I thought it would be nearly impossible to keep her off the front.
But up at the front of the race there was some unfortunate business unfolding.
Rachel had quickly moved into second place and had Bree in her sites when Bree, following a motorcycle cop, went off course. Rachel, who was intimate with the course, didn't follow. By the time Bree figured out her mistake she'd lost at least three minutes - this coming from Rachel's husband who was at the offending corner. Sadly Chris Brown and Andriy Yastrebov had also make the same mistake when they'd passed the same turnaround.
Rachel continued to put time on Bree and the other girls. She came off the bike 5' up on Bree and nearly 10' on Cheryl.
Now the would come the run.
My thinking was Rachel could run close to a 1:30 but Murphy would likely run under 1:20. Bree was a bit of an unknown for me because one just can't predict what effect an IM three weeks earlier would have on her legs. Whatever that effect was going to be, I didn't think it would be good.
Maybe it was for the best, but the night before I'd agreed to run the 13 miles on a relay team so I was out on the course as the drama unfolded. Had I been standing at the finish line waiting I likely would have been bald by the time they got to the tape.

I saw Rachel twice out there. The second time she was 3k from the finish. She was running well and gave me one of her trademark smiles. I was feeling a bit delirious from my own efforts out there but it seemed to me I didn't take too many steps past her when Murphy came along like a thoroughbred and not much farther behind her was a fast moving Bree Wee. I was okay with this. The podium was safe. After she was pretty much ignored at the press conference this was satisfying - but more than that, it was clear she was having a good race and our plan had worked.
I considered pulling out of the race so I could watch the show but when you're on a relay you have responsibilities, besides there were only two other teams in our division so I was assured of winning a really nice New Balance hat.
So there I was out running the last five k when who should come over the rise but Ms Kiers, come back to fill me in.
"What happened?!" I yelled. She smiled and said "She caught me at the finish line. I thought she must have been talking about Bree.
"What place!?!?" I yelled.
"Second." she said.
Oh man, I was primed! She'd held Murphy off till the final steps. Obviously I would have liked to see her win but there is no shame in being run down by Cheryl Murphy.
In the end she was second by five seconds. I'm sure Rachel would like to have the 24 seconds back she lost to Cheryl in transition but she can sleep well tonight knowing she is on track to becoming one hell of a triathlete. I was proud of her out there today. She ran one damn tough race.
In other news, Irvin had a successful return to racing. The injury that has been plaguing him seems to be on its way out and Nick pulled of a respectful 4:55 - that with a 4' drafting ding. I guess on the four loop bike course things got a bit crowded out there in spots.
Funny thing was, even with the 4' penalty, Nick came in lucky 13th - but would have been 13th anyway. And he still pulled off a 2nd in his age group. The kid's got a future!

IMC next!

Bree and Rachel after the race -
with some stalker guy and a Japanese
chef standing behind them.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Hope it's your best year yet!
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Thursday, July 10, 2008

cool videos

My friend Ian Dewar posted a couple fun videos on his blog.
One on July 3rd and one on June 29. Check 'em out.

So I've decided to try and hold on to the IMC dream - mostly because the same Ian mocked me into it!
It's going to be tough - maybe impossible, but each day I'm going to do what I can.
I'll have to change my goals but that's okay. The Ironman experience is a special one and, as Ian says - I'll just get to enjoy it a little longer.

This weekend is the Vancouver 1/2 Ironman. I've got a few athletes in there so I'm going over to yell from the sidelines.
One of these weekends I'm going to stay home!

Can he do it?

Monday, July 7, 2008

El Race de Lago Stevens

The race is one day removed.
It was a fun day and a good one for racing.
So I'd forgotten they had a bike in the middle of these things and had all but stopped riding mine for the last few months. Once I realized the biggest portion of the event would be spent on my ride I decided I'd best come up with a plan to minimize the damage.
Here was my plan:
Swim strong.
Ride like a fat kid early for school - very conservatively.
Use whatever I had left to run.
It was a simple plan.

The day started out overcast, cool and calm. Perfect conditions.
The water temp was measured the day before at 71.5. That's a 1/2 degree high for the pros and they weren't allowed wetsuits. I would like to go on record as saying that was a bad call that showed poor form on the officials part.
The day was cool and those guys sport a minimal amount of body fat. Had the sun been beaming down that would have been another thing but...
Norm Thibault would have rowed out to the middle of the lake and dropped that thermometer to the deepest part of the lake so those boys could use their wetsuits.
Discretion is the better part of human valor but after sitting through that torture session of a race meeting with the head referee I'm not surprised it wasn't displayed.
So the pros set off and then the rest of us in wave after wave.
My wave had only 64 guys. Heaven!!
I positioned myself well and let the gun release me.
About five strokes in something attacked my right eye.
I'd deliberately let a little water in my goggles to keep them clear but clearly I'd let something else in there along with the water. My eye was burning and swelling.
I paused for a sec to shake the water out and carried on.
The swim course is laid out as well as any I've ever done. There's an underwater cable you can follow the entire way. With that you seldom need to sight and can focus on swimming. I managed to catch a few good drafts and I knew I was in the front pack of my group. A few fast cats had taken off but there were about ten of us working well together.
I got out of the water to find my watch hadn't started and would be disappointed to learn later that my time was 32:34. I honestly thought I was on for my first sub 30. I'm glad I didn't see the time as it would have taken some of the wind out of my sails.
Later I would learn that pretty well everyone said their swim times were off by a few minutes.
So on my bike I get. I know I'm in the top 10 of my age group. Cool.
My eye was stinging like a bitch but the adrenalin was surging so I didn't pay it much mind.
As the ride went on I kept myself in "control" (that means slow).
It felt like about 50 people in my age group passed me in the next few hours but that's how it goes when you don't train on the bike.
Of note on the bike - I had to stop twice to pee. I don't usually have a problem peeing on the bike but today I did. Not sure why. At least I was hydrated.
Another fun thing to happen was this:
So I'm riding along - probably 2/3 the way through and I was thinking to myself that I'd not seen such a "fair" race in a great long time. I just wasn't seeing any drafting. There was some bunching here and there but clearly people were making efforts to keep their distances and it seemed to be working. And it wasn't because of a big marshal presence. I'd seen one Goldwing the entire ride. So JUST as I'm thinking this a girl goes by me. She's in the 25-29 AG. About 7 inches off her back wheel was another woman also in the 25-29 group. She was clearly cheating - deliberately. It was an unbelievably sad sight.
Right then a Goldwing silently glided past me, watched the couple ahead for a moment or two, rode up beside the offender and flashed the red card. I'm not one to celebrate someone else's misfortune but my heart sure gladdened to see that woman get nailed. She looked absolutely stunned. Once she was unhitched from her ride I went by her in a hurry and didn't see her again.
As conservative as I rode that ride (3 hours plus) my left hip flexor started to cramp a bit with about 3 miles to go. I guess I timed things quite well.
I went through a leisurely transition and started out on the run. I once again decided to go without socks. I had no problems at Wildflower and this was a cleaner course so I wasn't worried. Bad move. I was moving along at about a 9' mile pace and feeling just fine - except for the blister that was forming on my instep - and worse than that, my right eye was flaring up and really getting painful. I did my best to ignore both and I held my 9' miles.

Just a little one.

Then with 2 miles to go the wheels fell off. It's amazing how long 2 miles is when you're done.
I hobbled through those miles and crossed the finish line with a smile - and one eye swollen shut.

Me after Gettysburg

Heather Wurtele was waiting for me a the finish line - she was super fan out there!
She got me to the med tent where they flushed the eye and wrapped me up. I looked like a civil war vet. I kept that thing on my head for about 5 minutes then tore it off. I had to keep my eye closed for the next 6 hours and slowly the pain started to subside. Not very fun but all in all the day was a good one. I think I finished around 5:45 which was about as well as I could have done with my current fitness. That's all you can ask for.


Trevor Wurtele had a pretty good race. The day didn't start well for him. Not surprisingly he got chilled in the water and it took a long time to warm up on the bike but he finished in the money and was reasonably happy.
As always, I'm keen to train and race but I don't think it's going to be possible this summer.
Stay tuned.

The next day

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lake Stevens

Well, I'm sitting in a hotel room getting ready to race in the morning.
Race - I use the term loosely. I've been working a whole lot more than training.
I've never gone into a race with absolutely nothing on it.
I'm not saying I'm not going to pin it out there but I can not place any realistic expectations on the day other than to finish.
I'm with Heather and Trevor Wurtele. Heather's here as a fan.
Trev is looking and feeling good. I've got high hopes he'll uncork a big one out there tomorrow.
We're told the pros will not be allowed wetsuits. That's not great for Trev but it's not great for a lot of athletes.
Sat through the most boorish race meeting in 24 years of racing. Nothing new was learned.
I can think of no other sport where they make you spend an hour of your life sitting through a speech on the rules of the sport - EVERY TIME YOU RACE!!
I timed it, the guy spent 2'49" explaining that we would be penalized for littering.
I could have imparted the same info in less than 10".
Oh well, the hour is gone. I'll not get it back and I'll not cry again for it.
The skies were quite black today but it was warm.
The weather should be just fine.
As always, I'm keen to race but it's going to be a real experiment out there.