Ironman 70.3 Texas 2016

With my website update done I am happy to start putting out more blog posts and race reports.  The revamping of my website did get delayed and took longer than I hoped, but onwards and upwards! Here we are after Ironman 70.3 Texas and I’d like to share some of my thoughts on the race.

First off though, after a serious event like this I am always flooded with feelings of gratitude for all the people who help me stay on my career path as an athlete.  My wife is my biggest supporter, thank you Mari.  Without the help of my Mom (babysitter extraordinaire) I don’t know how I would find the time to get all my workouts completed.  The support crew I have in Purica, NOVA Probiotics, Skechers Performance footwear, Synergy Health Centre, Lifestyle Markets and Frontrunners is much appreciated.  Since starting with my new coach Lance Watson (head coach of LifeSport Coaching) at the beginning of 2016 I have seen improvements across the board in my physical fitness, and of equal importance Lance has guided me to becoming a stronger athlete mentally.  I have learned a great deal from his wisdom which he has accumulated over decades of being immersed in the sport of triathlon coaching every type of athlete from Olympians to Ironman Champions – his coaching and guidance is proving invaluable to me.

I prefer to bring my own food when travelling: broccoli, sweet potatoes, bison sausage, squash/rice, Elevate-Me bar

I prefer to bring my own food when travelling: broccoli, sweet potatoes, bison sausage, squash/rice, Elevate-Me bar

While in Galveston, Texas I was lucky enough to get to stay with one of the best long course triathletes in the game right now – Brent McMahon.  Both being from Victoria, BC we know each other a bit and we hooked up for some run training in February.  He was very generous with his time and sharing his knowledge, I learned a lot from him in the days leading up to the race.  One thing I noted was how calm he was all the time – no additional stress was allowed into his world.  Over the years I have learned to be more calm (stemming mostly from being very well organized) but watching Brent taught me how to do this even better.  I felt bad that he didn’t have the day he hoped for, as we all know that when Brent goes to a race he is there to be at the front, which is where he was until some events forced him out of the race.  Needless to say though – watch out for him this year!

Let’s bring it up to the day before the race.  I felt good in all three of my workouts, this was uplifting and gave me a nice confidence boost.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner were the norm, made up mostly of gluten free bread with almond butter, sweet potatoes / yams, chicken, bit of broccoli, Elevate-Me bar, ½ a Powerbar, banana, mango….. but not massive portions at any time as I don’t think I have the fastest metabolism genetically.  I do aim to consume more in the first half of the day and certainly not go to bed feeling stuffed.

Large Pro field = lots of people at the Pro meeting.

Large Pro field = lots of people at the Pro meeting.

Overall I am satisfied with my finish time of 3:58:13, it was a solid field of guys racing so this placed me in 18th position overall – not the result I went there for but all in all it was a decent first race of the season.  For complete results click HERE

Race morning I woke at 4:00am which was 3 hours prior to the race start.  I did a light 12 minute jog then had breakfast (more boring GF bread, sweet potatoes, chicken and some tea).  At about 5:40am Brent and I got on our bikes and rode to the race site which was about 2 miles from where we were staying.  Side note: Galveston is a great race venue – the race is well organized, the area is easy to navigate and has everything an athlete (and their family) would need.  Plus it is quite beautiful to boot!  I extended my ride a bit in order to bring my core temp up a bit more.  I rode for 10-12 minutes.

Out on the bike course day before the race. Flat & windy.

Out on the bike course day before the race. Flat & windy.

Racked the bike, laid out my run gear, etc. put on my wetsuit and headed to the pier.  We were allowed in the water about 6:52am (8 minutes prior to the race start) so I got in asap and continued my warm up.  I am a person who needs a long warm up and including my jog and ride I got ~30 minutes of light exercise in before the race started – this amount of time left me feeling ready to go.

And I did go well in the swim, coming out in 24:15 which was less than a minutes behind the fish at the front.  I am happy with how my swim continues to progress and my goal over the next couple years is to start to make that front pack.

I zipped through T1 and hit the bike course with a few guys around me.  I quickly settled in and got into my goal race wattage.  Before the long and flat out and back portion of the bike there is a bit of winding through some residential roads and this is where I benefited from some of Brent’s advice.  He told me that lots of guys will ease up through this section (for no real reason) and I should keep the throttle on, so I did and it paid off in both directions as I closed the gap to someone on the way out and passed someone on the way back in.  Once out on the flat section it was time to remember all the sessions I had been doing on my trainer – just get down in the bars and watch the watts.  I keyed off of the guys around me and for the first half of the bike I pretty much stuck to my goal power numbers, riding most of it solo.  Race winner Lionel Sanders stormed past me about 15 miles in.  At the turn around things had bunched up a bit and I rode most of the way back with a couple guys, including Chris McDonald.  I knew Chris would be a good person to pace off as he is a very experienced racer (7-time Ironman winner).  I came into T2 with a bike time of 2:08:55.

Back to transition and on went the Skechers GOrun 4 running shoes.  Out on the course I went through about 2km at goal pace (~3:35/km), the GOrun 4 shoes felt great as I rolled along.  Then came an innocent hairpin turn…… and as I went around it the entire inside of my left quad and adductor seized up into a cramp, as did my right hamstring (to a lesser extent).  I was forced to stop, I popped a couple salt pills and tried to stretch a bit, I began to hobble then walk and after about 500m I got going at a respectable pace again.  From there on I was never firing at my full running capacity.   By this point in the race the temperature had risen quite a bit and it was hot out on the course which made it difficult for me to get back on top of my electrolyte balance / sodium blood plasma levels.  As I tell my 5-year old son “do your best and you will be happy with the outcome” and I did just that, albeit a sub-par run split of 1:22:21.

Having a Kombucha after the race - tried a local brand. Flavour: Asian Pear.

Having a Kombucha after the race – tried a local brand. Flavour: Asian Pear.

Over the past 2 years I haven’t raced much and it felt great to cross that finish line, even though I was further back in the field then I felt capable of finishing.  I learned a great deal both in the race and in the days leading up to it.  One thing I gained was confidence in myself that I can now swim and ride close to the front of the race.  I know my running fitness is there as I have been running well since January at the Island Race Series events (side not: I was able to run well enough at four of those events to be crowned the Vancouver Island Race Series champion).  Needless to say, my motivation is very high at present but I am enjoying this recovery week.

My next key race is the Ironman 70.3 Victoria on June 12th.  Before that I will continue to test my running fitness at the TC10K and perhaps the BMO ½ Marathon in Vancouver.  The Shawnigan Lake Triathlon (Olympic) is at the end of May and I look forward to having a blast at that local event as well.  Ironman Canada in Whistler on July 24th is the A-Race for this part of the season and at this point I feel I am on track for a personal best race there.

Thanks for reading.  My next post will be a short recap covering the Vancouver Island Race Series running events that I competed in from January to the end of March.


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