Many times I have been asked the question, "how long should I wait to run again after an ironman?" Today, I went against my own advice, which is usually "at least two weeks so you can recover from your effort," and did the Summerland Sprint Triathlon. There were a number of reasons I elected to do this. Physically, I have felt amazingly good this week after IMC, much better than I thought I would. On the other hand, I was also feeling quite dissapointed that another summer was coming to a close. I also missed a race earlier in the year due to "injury tme," so I needed to add in a race somewhere to keep me on track for my Polar committment of six races. The allure of Summerland proved too much for me to resist. On top of that, the race itself is a wonderfull event. My daughter was racing in the Kids of Steel event in the 8,9 year old division, and the way the event is set up, the KOS racers go first allowing me to watch her compete before the adult race get's going. The course is beautiful, flat and fast, and attracts some of the fastest athletes from the region hoping to close their seasons on a high note. The top three racers today were well under one hour, and the field included Ausralian pro triathlete Charlotte Paul who won the woman's side. Here blog can be viewed here:
In the end, I am happy I decided to do this one. I wasn't sure how my legs were going to respond after IMC. While I didn't plan on being in top form after only a week of recovery, I also wanted a decent result. I made a rookie mistake right off the bat in the swim though. I was in the lead pack approaching the first buoy, and as we rounded the buoy, the sun was in my eyes. Myself, along with 5 or 6 others rounded the buoy and started heading for what I initially thought was number 2, but it didn't feel right. I was looking back as I took my breaths, and saw that while several people were following us, just as many were going in another direction. I stopped, looked up and immediately realized we had turned tooo sharp at the first buoy, and were heading for buoy number three instead f two. Luckily, I hadn't gone to far off course, but I was really annoyed with the mistake. After this though, the bike and the run went relatively well, and the legs actually felt pretty good. It is amazing how fast a sprint goes by after slugging your way through an ironman distance event, it seemed like a blink of an eye. I ended up 20th overall, and sixth in my age group. I was happy with this considering I am still in recovery mode, and also knowing who was in the field in this race, some very fast guys. Here are a few pics:
Helping my daughter keep warm before her race (we wook up to about 4 degrees this am . . .):
Getting going on the bike . . .
The final stretch . . .
Hope you all are hving a great long weekend! . . . . .Scott
Hey Duncan and Scott thanks for the recent posts..... Great to see Duncan in Kelowna. It was a good day.
Congratulations SCott on IMC! .....I didn't see you out there .......maybe I was too focused or bothered!
The Olympics ...were awesome to watch....I watched more this yr than in previous....b/c it was usually on when my kids were alsleep and I should have been! Simon is a stud......to come back 8yrs later and win a silver medal (after his gold) He's definetly a great race horse. The commentator was Barrie Shepley....SImon's first Coach ....prior to Joel and Lance (who he won Gold with in Sydney) .He probably felt the need to say something coach like....I just tuned him out and watched the racing......thinking 'it's just Barrie".
IMC ....it was a gret day in Penticton with the volunteers and the crowds....it never cease's to amaze me how that town come's together. I get inspired by the stories and the last finishers......this yr for me it was ....the Heart transplant guy from Alberta and Sister Madonna Buder...that women! 78yrs old.....I can't complain of my aches and pains! ...and finshing with my eldest daughter Analiese (5yrs old).
IMC for me was an interesting experience....a swim/ and run that I would hope not to repeat! Bike and finish yes! This year I have been marred with achilles isssues preventing me from doing the run training I would normally do for any of the races I have done. ( heck I come from a running background!) ,so, the run for me was a painful experience....but I had my heart set on doing this race again this yr.
The swim was rough this yr (last yr I found clear water from the 1st bouy, and I started in the same spot) ....so, No Scott ! I got dunked and smacked around right until the turnaroud at the boat .....when I finally got some clear water and I kept thinking.....why? Your're out here all day guys! What's the point of this? ....anyway, it certainly woke me up!
I arrived in transtion about 1min slower than last yr which fueled my fire for the bike.........I had a great ride .....IMC's ride is one of most spectacular rides in all the Ironmans around the world.......it's great scenery and this yr's bonus was having Steve King on Richter. I used Kevin Cutjars advice on how to break down IMC's bike ....use heading out to Osooyos as the "warm up" (60k)Then, the "ride" (90k)starts in Osooyoos and focus on getting over Yellow MTn strong., then the last part is downhill , so focus on your legs for the run ....it worked ....i got off the bike and felt good.
The ladies in the change tent asked me "do you want your singlet and shorts? " ( I always put that stuff in just in case and never use it!) It for some reason sounded like a good idea....I thought at the time....so I quickly changed into running shorts ,not knowing I dropped my blister stuff on the way out of transition . So, I commenced the run knowing full well my achilles would give me grief almost a mental pain barrier that I had to crack to get through the race.....then the advil kicked in , except I kept having to adjust my shorts because of chafing........then around mile 8 someone ran by me and said ....." you know you're bleeding?" I said "oh"...."thanks"......looked down and saw blood streaming down both legs and shoes the colour of blood. Well that was the cracker for me....it was almost like I had prepared mentallyfor my achilles but not torn up legs! so, I spent the better part of the run going through aid stations washing my legs and getting vaseline...the chafing was getting unbearable then thank GOD it started to sprinkle , but, the damage was already done....my rt leg was raw meat......one women ran by and said"ph I got mine today too....don't worry it's not a beauty contest" ........I responded...."I wish that was the problem!". It made me laugh.......funny how you can laugh in pain....then I saw some juggler/joggler dude and laughed more....maybe I was getting a little punch drunk.....but it is interesting how the universe works. So, heading back into town,I continued with my ritual of getting to an aid station sponges! wash legs .....vaseline! I had aid station people running after me " you know you're bleeding?.....do you need anything? " They were awesome. Then finally when the pain just got so unbearable I saw my family and I was overcome with emotion........( Andreas said I couldn't finish with all 4 kids b/c somebody had just dropped a kid at the finish line , that was a goal of mine b/c last yr I finished with Matias & Analiese , not the younger set of twins)
so, Analiese said" Mummy I said I was going to finish with you!" as she ran beside me...."I looked at her and said "OK Bugsy ....lets do this" So, she ran the last kilometre with me...(.I was so proud of her) ...there was a loud roar from crowd and we crossed the line together.
I'm left with a raw/road rash leg that has kept me up 5 nts , but, I'm also left with a memory of finishing with Analiese and the look of joy on her face.......that makes it all worth it Isn't that what Iroman is about? The stories..........there are many.
I still have the desire to finish a Iroman with all 4 kids , so flame continues to burn inside.
How many of you have reached into your race kit to see what your number is? Do you take comfort in a number that looks fast (i.e. #1) or do you feel better about your race if you have a lucky number in it? Now I 'm sure we would all agree that the actual number really doesn't mean anything - but lets not forget, athletes are creatures of habit - if the number 8 was in a previous race number, and that race was a good one, we often feel good about an upcoming race if that race number has an 8 in it also. Nothing wrong with that I say - if it helps you relax and focus then it's a good thing. Some numbers just seem better than others ....... Why is that?
So, having said that how would you feel about having 911 as your number? Certainly for me, it conjuerd up all kinds of images, most of them not positive. Since I am a little on the superstitious side it took me a while to get my head around the fact that it was just a number. Don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't lose any sleep over it, as I say it just got me thinking of the wrong kind of thoughts. 911 means help, right! It is also an infamous date in the US.
During my race, I heard more than one person get a chuckle out of my race number, and to be honest with you, once the gun went off, I didn't care what my number was - I had a great race. So really a number is just a number ......... however, it can also be something we seek comfort in, or for some of us, bring up the wrong images at at time when we need to be very focused.
Unfortunately I missed the women's Olympic tri coverage - my stomach pangs won out over the race and by the time I had finished the feed, it was all over. I was bound and determined to make sure I watched the mens race, so I ate on and off al day long to keep the munchies away.
How about that Simon. In your face CBC anouncer .... I never thought Simon looked tired, shoulders tight, and on and on ..... Being a Canadian comentator, you would have thought he could have been a bit more positive. By now, everyone has seen Simon's run in Sydney, how could you not believe the dude would come back. I was screaming at the TV and for a moment, I thought he had done it again - WOW, our sport makes for some exciting finishes. Thanks Simon for another awesome performance.
The second triathlon in as many weekends was IMC. Maybe it was just me but the crowds seemed much larger than in previous years ....... Check out Lakshore after the swim start.
I manged to catch a few fellow Polar athletes, Carolyn Hubbard and Scott Jacobsen on the bike and run - Scott and Carolyn looked focused and strong, so I am not surprised to hear that he had a great result.
I am often asked if I would ever try my hand at the Ironman distance - my response is always the same "nope". I tip my hat to each and every finsher, I even get teary eyed when I see friends finish or hear of athletes who have overcome significant adversity to be in the race. It's just not for me, I'll stick to appreciating those that take on the challenge of the Ironman event.
It was great to be there as the last person crossed the line before the midnight cutoff - a powerfully moving experience for me each and every year. And so ends tow weekends of triathlon. I'm now back home and switching my focus to a few running events (yet to be determined) before the end of another season.
You know how the saying goes, better late than never. I was not able to access the polar site while on vacation so am now only getting to an update.
I left Vancouver early Saturday Aug 16 bound for the Okanagan. I had decided to race the National Championships in Kelowna and then hang out in the area until IMC. Mixed in with all of this was the Olympic Triathlon ..... More on that in a few mins.
I arrived in Kelowna on what seemed like one of the hottest days ever - picked up my race kit and then just relaxed at the hotel for a few hours. At 4:00pm I went for my usual pre race run which left me dripping, apparently it had got even hotter ..... As usual, the run seemed sluggish but knowing that I usually feel this way made me realize i was ready. I woke early on Sunday morning and forced down my usual pre race breakfast (this never seems to get any easier - I always feel like a fish that's been in the hot sun all day) and headed over to transition. I organized my piece of turf (gotta love numbered racks), visualized myself in transition a few times and then went for a pre race swim. As per Scott's previous message, this was a no wetsuit swim. On a side note, in almost 15 years of doing triathlons, this is the only the second time I have raced without a wetsuit. I noticed more than a few individuals were concerned that it was no wetsuit ...... do they train in a pool with their wetsuit?
Race started and I immediately knew it was going to be a tough swim - I may not be the best at swimming in a straight line but I sure was better than the clown that constantly kept swimming into me. Even when I got out for the first lap, he couldn't run straight. Needless to say I had a few elbows and fists come my way throughout the swim - nothing major, but enough to make one think twice about swimming in a pack. I had a mediocre swim and an OK transition.
I headed out onto the bike and found my rythm quite early on. I had and excellent ride and felt strong heading into transition for the run. By this time, it was warming up - I headed out onto the run. It seemed to take me forever to get my running legs, although the time splits suggested otherwise. By the time I got onto the second lap, I was feeling more like a runner (at least a runner in a triathlon). I ended up finishing 21st overall and 5 in my AG against some tough competition. I also qualified to representa Canada at the World Championships on the Gold Coast next year.
Every ironman event has a "side story." Some are serious, some are comical. We have all heard about the inspirational story of Jon "Blazeman" Blais, who despite a diagnosis of ALS, completed the Ironman Hawaii race in 2005. Or Sarah Reinerten, the first above the knee amputee to complete an ironman. Every year at the world championship in Hawaii, there are inspirational stories about ordinary people beating huge obstacles and reaching their goals.
Penticton has also had it's share of good stories. This year, there are several to choose from. The first is the joggler. I thought this one was kind of silly. The "Joggler's"goal was to run the marathon portion of the race while juggling three balls. I saw him heading out to OK falls while I was on the way in, joggling away. I didn't quite get the point of it, but it did provide a bit of a chuckle for me.
Then there is the story of Michael Hennessey, who is trying to raise awareness for trisomy 13 and 18, a genetic disorder similiar to Down's Syndrome. He is attempting to break the world record for the number of ironman distance triathlons in a single year. The record currently sits at 14, Ironman Canada was his 11th in the last four months. You can go to http://www.ironmanforkids.com/ to read more about his story.
I thought it might be a good fit though, to pass on the story of Dwight Kroening of Sherwood Park Alberta, to the Polar Heartrate team. Dwight Kroening is a 49 year old man, who had a heart transplant at the age of 27. This weekend he became the first heart transplant patient to complete an ironman event. I stayed around the finish chute after my race, and saw many people, each with their own story, come across the line. It's one of my favorite parts of ironman, watching people come in at 15, 16 and 17 hours with the look of utter exhaustion, and complete joy on their faces. So it was pretty cool, and pretty inspirational to see Dwight Kroening come in, powered by his donated heart, at 15:33:26. The crowd, outside in the pouring rain went wild, it was quite a moment. You can read a little more of Dwight Kroening's story here: http://www.bclocalnews.com/okanagan_similkameen/pentictonwesternnews/sports/27295249.html
Now that I can walk again . . . .here are a few comments on IMC 08 . . . .
First, I have to say that my mind cleverly blocked out any of the painful aspects of doing an ironman, just to trick me into doing it again. But I am very glad I did it again - there is nothing like the feeling of crossing that finish line!
I wrote a longer race report on my facebook page, but will keep the abbreviated version here. Despite some reservations about this race this year, I was pleasantly surprised in the end. A nagging knee injury impacted my training, as did some coaching committments throughout the summer. I think that while I was forced to train less than I would have liked, I ended up training smarter. I entered this race thinking that I would be a lot slower than last time, and ended up about 20 minutes faster. Although there were some rough patches, particularly on the later stages of the bike, and early to mid part of the run, things went generally as planned. My old nemisis "GI Distress," came calling on the run, as it often does in long races for me, but switching over to chicken soup and cola really helped. After a rough start on the marathon, I felt really good from 25 km onwards. The weather was, well, all over the place. Cold in the am, hot by the time I got to Yellow Lake, a very strong head wind to start the marathon and to finish it all off, showers to bring me home. Spectators and volunteers in Penticton as always were absolutely incredible. A nice twist to cap it all off - the "catcher" to greet me at the finish line turned out to be a very nice Team Polar Athlete from Alberta who was volunteering at the race.
Now, it's time for a little "recovery," and then a couple of more running races this fall.
Hi Everyone - hope the summer is going well for you all!
A couple of notes and pics from the Apple Triathlon the past weekend. Polar did have a few athletes there - myself, Carolyn and a fellow from Alberta. So there was a fair amount of red and black moving around the course.
For myself - this was a little tune up for IMC this coming weekend. Normally I do the olympic distance for this race, but with IMC coming up, I wanted a shorter, but higher intensity workout that I could recover quickly from. So, while I wasn't at all concerned about the result of this race, and wasn't going "all out," still managed 2nd in my age group, 34th overall. This is also the first time I have ever seen this race go with a "no wet-suit" swim due to the temperature. It was interesting watching all of the panic in the transition area before the race . . . .
As an aside - I was also coaching and being evaluated at the youth camp prior to the apple, and finished off my certification for the NCCP Triathlon Competition coaching card - so I was happy about that . . . .
Have a great remainder of the summer everyone, and good luck to Carolyn and I think Mike for IMC this weekend! We should get together for a group Polar picture if you have time - I'm staying at the Best Western, and can be reached at 250-718-8584.
Seeing the efforts made by so many Olympic athletes is something that I find inspiring. Here's an anecdote written about Ryan Cochrane who won the bronze medal in the 1500m swim. He led the race at various times - it was a very impressive performance.
The 19-year-old from Victoria who, in the final two laps of the 30-length torture test that is the 1,500 metres, was running on fumes
trying to stay ahead of Russian Yuriy Prilukov, found enough gas to get to the wall in third place, just behind one of the legends of
Australian swimming, Grant Hackett.
That was some Olympic debut, and more than anyone expected, even considering his coach Randy Bennett's story about the day he first knew the kid was going to be good. Cochrane was a 13-year-old and acting like one at training one day, Bennett said: "Give me 8,000 metres." That's 160 lengths.
A while later, he checked back and said, "Had enough?"
Cochrane kept swimming, and when he was done, he dragged himself out of pool, flipped his coach the finger and wordlessly hit the showers.
"He's stubborn," said Bennett. "That's what makes him great."
I must admit that I thought his race was over heading up the final hill into the stadium .. but then he bridged the gap to the lead group of three and when he made the move with about 600m to go .. WOW
Congrats to Frodeno .. what a superb race he ran .. and as much as Simon can thank Paul Jenkins for keeping the bike a controlled effort, he can thank the big German for helping catch the lead group during the run
I was disappointed to see Gomez in fourth as I do think he's one of the best triathletes in the world .. How about the British kid, Brownlee ..
Thanks Simon for making triathlon one of the best sports to watch!
This triathlon coach has received a lot of coverage in the last month or so. For the latest on his approach to coaching, check out slowtwitch.com
He's got more than a few interesting points I think:
on swimming: I see no value in taking a technically challenged swimmer and practicing bad habits over and over so they get tired and worse. We don’t count meters, we count good strokes. And sometimes in a 2,500-meter session, there are more good strokes than 6 kilometers of bad habits.
on time trials: I am not interested in making athletes feel better, but to improve race times. Training is the only for that. I don’t take a stopwatch to most workouts, so there doesn’t need to be a lot of specific times. You can interview every athlete: there’s no time trials for swim, bike or run in the program at all. And that is magic bullet. It’s an aerobic sport, and we train that way.