Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ironman Canada vs Challenge Penticton

So the cat is out of the bag.  Last week, only a few days before IMC, news broke that Ironman Canada as we know it in the beautiful city of Penticton would be no more.  In 2013 Penticton will reprise its roll as host to iron distance triathletes from around the world, only this time it will be under the Challenge Penticton name.

I spent the weekend in Penticton volunteering and had the opportunity to talk to triathletes and some of those "in the know" individuals who were privy to information before it hit the triathlon newstands.  The reaction around in the community was pretty mixed from both locals and visiting athletes.  On the one hand some people are happy that the reigns to Penticton's darling race won't fall into the clutches of the oft derided World Triathlon Corporation, but on the other hand it means losing the universally regarded Ironman name.

A rose by any other name...

Hoping I don't need to write this down again
Let me make myself clear on one thing, the Challange family puts on amazing races.  I have yet to race one myself, but I've rarely heard an ill word spoken about Challenge.  There are many Ironman veterans who are happy to see the series hit North American shores and are looking forward to racing southern BC's tried, tested and true Iron distance course.  The warm waters of Lake Okanagan will still be there in 2013, Richter and Yellow Lake will still be there in 2013, and most importantly the kind and inviting people of Penticton will still be cheering for athletes in 2013.  A change in the name won't take that away, to quote Shakespere, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet".

All that being said, I don't think that Challenge Penticton 2013 will be better than Ironman Canada 2012.  I think it'll be different, not better or worse, just different.  Graham Fraser has put on a top notch race for many years now and has set the bar for what an Ironman race should be.  Racing IMC last year was everything I could have possibly imagined thanks to the town, volunteers, organizers, and athletes.  I know there were some missteps last year with issues around the medals and water but I think that those challenges were presented by circumstances somewhat outside the Race Director's control.  After the fact Graham went well beyond what was called for to make things right, and that's the kind of director we all know him to be.  He deserves our thanks and respect for everything he's done for anyone, athlete or otherwise, who has become part of the Ironman Canada family.

Looking forward

Without the Kona slots, the Ironman name, and the mass start, but with additions like a relay option, I think that Challenge will have a very different feel to it.  Many first timers will no doubt be put off by the loss of the Ironman name and I don't blame them.  If I was coming into this for my first time in 2013, as soon as I heard the news I would have signed up for Ironman Coeur d'Alene or Ironman Mont Tremblant.  So Penticton will lose some age groupers on that end, but hopefully that is countered by athletes testing the waters with the relay option, which is an exciting addition to the field.

On the other side of the spectrum, the loss of Kona slots means that some of the top pros and age groupers won't be making an appearance next year in Penticton either.  Now with news that next year's yet to be located Ironman Canada will have 100 Kona qualifying slots and 5000 pro KQ points, IMC 2013 might be the place to be for some of the top athletes around.

Ironman Canada 2013

I'm eagerly awaiting the news on where Ironman Canada 2013 will be.  A 3.8km swim in Green Lake in Whistler, followed by a 180km bike ride down the Sea to Sky Highway through Vancouver to transition in the Campbell Valley Regional in White Rock, finished off with a marathon run into into Richmond, would be a fast, epic race, albeit a complete nightmare in terms of logistics.

Otherwise, the Ironman Calgary 70.3 bike route could very easily be modified to 180km with an out and back down Highway 66 up to Elbow Falls.  The run course could be similar to that of the Calgary Marathon route but starting at the south side of the Glenmore Reservoir where the current run course turns around.  In this case the race could lean on existing agreements and permitting, and the logistics would be familiar to RD's and the host city.  A bike segment into the majestic Rocky Mountains, and a run through downtown Calgary would make the route one of the most beautiful and varying routes in North America.

And of course there is Kelowna.  The city which was originally offered Ironman Canada thirty years ago may now have a second chance.  This would almost surely be a direct response to Challenge Penticton, and may cut the race at the knees.  For this reason alone I'm actually hoping southern BC doesn't play host to WTC's revival of IMC.  More races in western Canada is a good thing, and I hope that WTC realizes that the region can support three races including IMCDA without undercutting one another.

Decisions Decisions

If there's ever a time or place to be as a triathlete in Western Canada, its now.  I'd originally put my plans to race the Ironman distance again on hold until at least 2014, in favour of Olympic and 70.3 distances.  After a of year of keeping my athlete life carefully balanced against my personal life, the plan was to go back down to shorter distances and build speed, seeing how far I could take myself with a year of very intense and focused training, and hopefully win myself a ticket to 70.3 worlds in Vegas.  But after spending the weekend volunteering at IMC, and with the prospect of racing an all new course, I can't help but be excited at the idea of changing the plan and going back to Ironman next year.

As always, I'd encourage others to look at their plans, and maybe put themselves out there a little in terms of where and what you see your goals for 2013 are.  This really is a great time for the sport and whether you're racing the inaugural Challenge Penticton, or reborn Ironman Canada, this may be your calling.

Closing Time

By chance I ran into the always gracious and kind Ron Zalko and his wife last Saturday in Penticton.  Ron was the visionary athlete who first brought Ironman to Penticton, and North America.  When looking for a course, he sought a location that mirrored the challenging and rewarding conditions of Kona.  He found it, and with the help of Graham Fraser for the past thirty years the finish line at Lakeshore Drive has become hallowed ground for tens of thousands of Ironman triathletes including myself.  The number of dreams that have been realized and memories that have been formed on the course of Ironman Canada thanks to these gentlemen can't be counted.

So as the reigns are passed to the Challenge family, and Penticton says a bittersweet goodbye to Ironman Canada, I think its fitting to say thank you to Graham Fraser and Ron Zalko, and the residents of Penticton for the countless cheers and memories that they've left with us.

Thank you.

(11/27/12) Edit- For an in depth comparison of the Ironman Canada and Challenge Penticton Bike Courses, check out this more recent blog post.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ironman Canada Bike Course - Updated

Its been a year since I rode the IMC bike course, but my memories of it are still pretty vivid.  I still get quite a bit of interest on my blog around the IMC bike course for obvious reasons, so I thought I'd write a little revamp of what to expect on the course in two weeks.

Note: This post was originally written a few weeks before IMC2011 after I pre-rode the course.  I've updated it to include some of my experiences from the actual race last year.  At the bottom is also the Garmin file from the ride last year.

For anyone who is doing Ironman Canada and won't have the luxury of riding the bike course before hand, I've come up with a few quick pointers based on my experience and the advice of others.
Perfect Ironman Strategy
  • If at any time during the ride you feel like you are going hard, you're going too hard.  Listening to your body during IM can be pretty tricky.  Out of the water and onto the bike you legs may not feel like they're really there yet, but give them about a half hour and they'll find you.  The trick to a solid second half of the ride, and a solid run is listening closely to your body.  That especially means your heart, your lungs, your legs. If you feel like you're going hard at all, you're going too hard.
  • Be sure to hydrate.  I usually take in about 750ml of fluid per hour and in 2011 that wasn't quite enough as the temperatures rose to about 37C down by Osoyoos.  If the temperature this year is in the 20's you should be pretty safe to stick to your usual nutrition plan, but if it gets into the 30's be sure to up your fluid intake.  By the time you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated and you could end up digging yourself a hole.
  • The ride down to Osoyoos is fast and a slight downhill, if you find yourself cruising along at 40kph and your HR is relatively low, consider taking advantage of that time to hydrate and relax. The work starts at Richter, and you can start to build there.  Also, depending on where you come out of the water, it could be a pretty crowded course while the field sorts itself out.   How some triathletes handle their bikes still boggles my mind sometimes, so when you pass someone, make sure they know you're there by yelling "Left!" or "Passing left!".  
  • Take your time up Richter, its not as bad as people make it out to be if you have a plan. Be mentally strong here and be very patient. I'm a strong climber/cyclist but I made a point of sticking to my planned 200 watts up Richter. For me this meant I was climbing at about 9-10kph. For my friend Keith, an average cyclist/triathlete who was trying to stick to 160 watts, this meant climbing at 6-7kph.  If you aren't racing with power, just climb at a pace where you can still hold a conversation with someone.  Richter is way too early to be burning matches so if people are passing you, Keep Calm and Carry On.
  • Learn to descend comfortably, it may be a little late for this less than 2 weeks out, but a couple rides with some long descents will do good to prepare you for the IMC course. Even if you just do the climbs and descents of the IMC course in the weeks before the race, you could save a couple minutes on the ride by being familiar with the long descents on the back of the Seven Sisters and Richter.
  • On the rollers after Richter you may be tempted to try and take the momentum from the last descent and power over the crest of the hill to the next descent.  Don't.  These rollers are a little too long and few many to do this without burning up your legs.  At the race last year I definitely played cat and mouse with a few Maillot a Pois Rouge wannabes.  They would climb past me on the up, and I'd pedal past them on the down.  The difference between my approach and theirs was I was shooting for steady power output up and down, where they were attacking the climb and not pedalling on the descent.  Amateur hour, I didn't see most of them past the sixth roller until the finish line.
  • The out and back kind of sucks.  Its long and hot, and like any other out and back section of a looped race, it feels like you're only doing it to ride longer, which is exactly why its there.  This will probably be your first and only glimpse of some of the people who are going to beat you handily.  Buckle down mentally and think about why you're out here, think about crossing the finish line, and about everyone who is out there volunteering, cheering, and racing with you.  
  • The only good part about the out and back is that its where you get your special needs.  If you're like me and are totally comfortable sticking to race course nutrition, consider throwing an extra tube and CO2 canister in your special needs.  If you don't use it, thats $10 down the drain, if you need it but don't bring it, that could be 10 months training down the drain. Better to be wrong on the safe side.
  • Not long after the out and back you'll approach the Yellow Lake Climb. It starts so gradually that you may not even notice you're starting to climb. Here and all over the course you should always be mindful of your power/HR/perceived exertion. There are a lot of false flats and a lot of sections where the terrain will deceive you into thinking you aren't climbing when you actually are and this is definitely one of them.  This is a tough section, but near the top of Yellow Lake you'll come into a Tour de France style tunnel of cheers and fans.  Relish that moment, if you're going to get out of the saddle at any time on that course, that's the place to do it.
  • Save your energy for the run. At the end of the day, incremental power on the bike isn't as valuable as incremental power on the run simply because you're trying to overcome far more wind resistance when you're riding at 35kph, than when you're running at 10kph. Going 5% harder for 6 hours on the bike might mean you get out of the saddle 10 minutes sooner, but with that you end up shuffling for an extra hour on the run. Its not worth it, people rarely say "I wish I'd gone out harder on the bike", but often say "I had a great ride, but things fell apart on the run".  The fact of the matter is that its all legs and its all related, so on a course like IMC, your patience on the bike will be rewarded on the run.
Anyways, I'm assuming everyone racing IMC who reads this is now probably into their taper. So stay safe, and take it easy, we're into the home stretch here friends!

Edit: For a more in depth look at at the Ironman Canada and Challenge Penticton Bike Courses check out this post.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Getting Ready for Ironman Canada- Part I

With Ironman Canada just a few weeks away I a lot of you are starting to wind down your training and enter the taper period.  If this is your first Ironman, this will probably be the time for an anxious sort of calm.  After months of long rides, recovery runs, technique swims, more long rides, and maybe even a rest day somewhere in there, you're finally in the home stretch.

Here in Part I of my Ironman Canada Prep series of blogs I'll give you a few things to do and to keep in mind over the next few weeks as you get into your taper.


Tranquilo is the Spanish word for calm, or relax.  If you listen in on the peleton in a pro tour you might hear it between teammates or from a coach when its time to ease the tempo a little bit and save your energy for later.  That's probably the best word to describe what you should be doing between now and August 26.  Right about now you've done about all the work you can do before Ironman so now its time to grip the bars a little looser and change your focus from physical preparation to mental preparation.

In the days leading up to the race you're invariably going to start building up the nervous energy and anxiety that hopefully gives you an edge on the big day.  The problem is that in those final days leading up to the race you get so caught up in the complicated logistics of triathlon that you may not have time to focus in on what you need to do on the day of.

The best way to prepare for a day as big as Ironman is to have done the race a hundred times in your head, and now is the time to start doing that.  Imagine yourself moving calmly and smoothly through transition oblivious to the panic of the hundreds of athletes around you, or climbing Richter with the steady cool professionalism of a mountain climber scaling a vertical wall, or hitting kilometer thirty of the run knowing that your heart and mind is going to have to get you across the line when your legs say they can't.  Last but not least visualize the feeling of crossing the finish line as the sun slowly approaches the horizon in Penticton and thousands of people reel you in with their cheers.

Play though every moment of the race in your mind, even moments that you hope to avoid like getting a flat tire.  Changing a tire is a routine, boring sort of affair that we've all done many times before, if you get one on race day its just a few minutes out of a day that'll last over 12 hours for the vast majority of finishers.  Play through every good and bad scenario in your head and you'll have the confidence necessary to execute a perfect race on the day of.

Say Thanks

You've been preparing for this day for months.  You've sacrificed time from your family, your friends, and yourself.  Now that you've got more time on your hands and the tempo of your workouts is easing up a little bit, show your thanks to your support team by inviting them out for a coffee, or maybe even a recovery bike ride or short run.  Tell them what has given you the drive to come so far towards reaching this goal.  Share your fears and hopes with them and bring them into the sport that you've given so much to, and hopefully will soon give you something in return.

Its also important to look at how far you've come and be thankful and grateful for what you've done.  In less than three weeks you'll be racing through the course and you'll no doubt have some tough moments.  On the Ironman marathon, in the baking heat of Southern BC, and after covering 183.8km on the swim and bike, you're going to hit some very tough moments.  Every step you take on the run becomes a decision to keep moving forward and you'll need a special level of grit to have the will to push the pace a little and give it your everything.  You have to be thankful and grateful to the you that got you there on those long training rides, the you that was in the pool at 5:00am before work, the you finished your workouts exhausted and empty when you knew the only satisfaction would be months away.  When you're thankful to that person, you'll realize owe it to yourself to grit your teeth and push a little harder and dig a little deeper to get across that line to hear that you are an Ironman.

Give a little

You may not realize it, but if you've come this far, you've become a source of inspiration to those around you.  I know that sounds a little far from modest, but its true.  People look at the sacrifices and long days that athletes give with a little bit of wonder and that's why its important that you recognize that you now have an opportunity to share what you've done with others.  When you tell someone about what you're training for and they say "I could never do that", tell them that they can.  By sharing you love of sport and encouraging others to push themselves and step a little beyond their comfort zone, you can give so much more than you could possible imagine.

With that I'll leave you with some words that inspired me before my first Ironman.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson

On a personal note, its been a whirlwind few weeks for me and in less than three weeks I've found myself waking up in four different time zones,  in five different cities, and through seven different airports.  Going from a weekend of rest and relaxation in BC, to London and Spain for the Olympics and triathlon world champs, to a long weekend of partying in Las Vegas has certainly left my head spinning but has made it a summer to remember, and I've still got so much more to do!

Thank you everyone for all the well wishes in Spain!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Venga! Venga! Venga!

Racing at the ITU Long Course World Championships last weekend in Vitoria Gasteiz was one of the most amazing experiences of my triathlon career.  For many triathletes the ITU Long Course Worlds are probably seen as a consolation race for the real triathlon dream of Kona, but I have to say, racing for your country offers a little something special that you're not going to find elsewhere.  Travelling through London to Europe during the Olympics probably added a little something extra, but it was a truly amazing experience I'd encourage others to pursue.

So here's my race report.  Its going to be long, so maybe grab a coffee before you sit down.


Arriving at the airport I actually wore my Team Canada jacket, which I knew would draw some curious stares and smiles with my giant bike box (I packed my bike in a BikeND case that was kindly lent to me by Rose Serpico of Tri It Multisport).  Checking in for a flight to London, in Team Canada kit, with uniquely large luggage, two days before the start of the Olympics somehow gives people the impression that you're an Olympian. Go figure!

But the flight over to Spain was good, we stopped in London for a few hours to take in the pre-Olympic atmosphere, and then went on to Bilbao and our final destination Vitoria Gasteiz.

We didn't arrive at the hotel until late at night but I still managed to find the energy to put my bike together late that night.  Sadly though I was so bagged that I slept right through the team ride out to the lake for the swim course familiarization.

All of team Canada stayed together in a team hotel, which was pretty cool.  One thing that you miss a little bit in triathlon is the comraderie of actually being on a team.  But seeing all the other Canadians there provided a welcoming and warm feeling.

The Friday before the race we went down and had our own opening ceremonies in the city's main plaza.  We saw plenty of other athletes from the 34 other countries represented at the long course worlds.  Much of the field was from a few well represented nations, including; Spain, USA, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Denmark, and a few others.  After the opening ceremonies we went back to the hotel and watched our fellow countryman and fellow triathlete Simon Whitfield carry the Canadian flag into the Olympics.

The Saturday was race check in, a day when time is divided between the complicated logistics of a point to point race, and the urgency of doing as little as possible.  So when you aren't standing in line with your bicycle or having numbers drawn on you, you're sitting and eating.

That night I definitely had trouble getting to sleep, a combination of nerves and jet lag kept me up until about 1:00am.  It reminded me of last year when I met Ironman Canada's founder Ron Zalko, who told me you never sleep the night before the big race, this was really the first time I had really dealt with the phenomena.

Race Day

We took a shuttle from the hotel at 6:50am.  It was a cool morning with the faintest traces of precipitation in the air mixing with the quiet collective tension of athletes mentally calibrating themselves for the day ahead.

We arrived at T1 half an hour later and hundreds of athletes from around the world seemed to all become a familiar mosaic of talent and athletic professionalism.  Athletes from each of the 34 countries seemed to settle into the same routines that you'd see at your local community triathlon.  You could certainly sense that everyone here meant business, and as an athlete it was a pretty special feeling to be counted among the global talent.

As I readied my swim gear I noticed my swim cap colour was different than those around me.  Rather than red I had an orange swim cap.  I notified one of the officials about this and after about twenty minutes they assured me it would be fine.  Of course when I went to the start area this wasn't the case and I was prohibited from entering the beach.  After a few minutes of arguing with the clock ticking down to the start, they realized that they were in error and rushed me to the beach.  As I put the swim cap on and ran to shore, the horn went off and my wave started.  I was already playing catch up and the race had barely begun.

The Swim

I'm not a great swimmer.  In fact I'm a pretty mediocre swimmer, and in contrast to that field I was actually a pretty bad swimmer.  In the rush to shore I hadn't set my goggles properly so when I put my face in the water they instantly filled up with water.  In frustration I stood up to empty them out only to watch about 60 guys in my age group put more distance on me.

I tried to mentally reset myself but I'd become a bit frustrated.  The buoys were blue and probably about 500m apart which made sighting very difficult.  I felt a bit spoiled by the bright orange buoys every 300m we get at races like Ironman Canada.  The mental game was just getting the best of me.

I eventually reached the first buoy at 1500m out and looked at my watch to see how bad the damage was.  I was at little over 30minutes which was actually pretty good for me.  That definitely helped ease my tension.  I carried on the swim and gradually wave after wave would catch me until I was simply swimming with all the other back of the pack swimmers that in any other race would be just average.

Sighting was a major issue through the race.  Every once in a while you'd notice the field actually swimming an arc to the next buoy since they'd sight for something that wasn't quite lined up with the buoy.  This definitely added distance and my suspicion that the swim course was a bit long was confirmed a couple days ago on slowtwitch when some other people said the course was over the stated for 4km.

In the end I swam what seemed to be a dismal 1hr40min swim.  A full 13 minutes longer than what I swam at Ironman Canada last year which was only 200m shorter.  But upon further examination I actually swam about 4600m putting me at a swim pace of 2:08/100m.  Not half bad, but still the combination of bad sighting and a long course made my swim the length of a feature film.

The Bike

The bike is my specialty.  I pride myself on being the stronger cyclist in most races but on this day I knew that in a field that had earned their way to be here the same way I did, I'd probably simply be on par with the rest of the field.  But I hit the course knowing that there's no way the bike could be as mediocre as the swim. About 45 minutes later I was really questioning that belief.

Things were going fairly smoothly until I realized I actually had my race number on backwards.  I figured I'd keep riding like this until someone told me to pull over.  For about half an hour I made my way up the field until one of the course refs on a motor bike told me to pull over and turn the number around.  I complied and watch about a dozen riders I'd passed make their way by.

I kept rolling along and about half an hour after that I rode over a piece of tape with a rock attached.  I affixed itself to my rear wheel and despite my best efforts to get rid of it with my hand, then my foot in a dangerous cycling maneuver I had to pull over again and remove it.  In total the number and the tape probably only cost me a minute, but the frustration simply mounted.

Soon after though I was able to hit the reset button.  I enjoyed the rolling foothills of northern Spain which weren't unlike the foothills of Southern Alberta.  The Pyrenees are fairly close to the area of the bike course so while the ride wasn't through the mountains, it was never really flat.

As you'd roll through each town there would be many spectators and fans cheering you along making you feel like a rider in Spain's prized grand tour, the Vuelta de España.  Having people cheer you on in a foreign country on as "Canadiense" was pretty special.

I knew going into the race that I probably wouldn't have the same legs I have back home.  I'd arrived in Spain only three nights, two days, before the race.  A long flight, lots of walking, coupled with the jet lag were sure to have an effect on my performance.  Knowing this I paced myself by heart rate and perceived exhertion (RPE) rather than power or watts.  In a 120km bike ride followed by a 30km run I knew that going out too hard would cost me later so I definitely backed off a bit more than I maybe would have had I been on home turf.  I simply listened carefully to my body and replenished my calories with a steady stream of gels and fluids (less one bottle of gatorade that I dropped while trying to refill my aero drink at about 95km).

After 120km we entered Vitoria-Gasteiz to the thunderous cheers of thousands of spectators and dozens of police officers and traffic controllers keeping an open road for us.  People held up in traffic because of the road closures we'd caused were cheering out their window pushing us along to the city centre.  The energy that had depleted over the past three and a half hours was starting to come back up and seeing all those people on the streets I knew I was in for something special on the run.

The Run

Hitting the run I had the freshest legs I'd ever had getting off of the bike.  That was a welcome feeling considering how carefully managed my bike ride had been.  Maybe it was the steady pacing, or maybe it was the thousands of people yelling "Lopez, Canadiense!" but I felt strong and ready to run my 30km and cross the line proudly representing my country.  I could sense that some Spaniards were puzzled by my Spanish name and Canadian jersey which I think got me some extra cheers along the way.

I can't express in words how much energy the crows were creating on that 7.5km loop.  If you've ever watched the Tour de France and seen the electric and unbridled enthusiasm of the crowds as the stage nears the top of a mountain peak reaching into sky you'd have some sense of the amazing ability for Europeans to transfer their energy to an athlete.  Children would be looking for high fives, strangers would be yelling your name, volunteers would be taking care of you.  Every step you took you'd hear Spaniards yelling "VENGA! VENGA! VENGA!" meaning "Come on! Come on! Come on!" This was mixed with the occasional yell "¡Animo!", which while it sounds like "Animal" which might loosely apply as a cheer, it actually means something along the lines of "Head up!", "Cheer up", or "Have heart".

Only on the backside of the run course would you have a quiet moment to yourself to dig a little deeper and push a little harder on your own and maybe reflect on how far you'd come.

Each time I'd get through the backside and near the start/finish area I'd be warmly greeted by my wonderful fiancee Shirley who had a different sign each loop to welcome me back to the crowds.  At Ironman Canada last year when I hit a rough mental patch on the run I wanted nothing but to shut everyone out.  Today I just wanted to reflect back all the positive energy I was receiving, and seeing her there definitely helped.

I kept a steady pace and only walked the aid stations, which was exactly my plan.  With them spaced about 3 or 4km apart I knew I could take measured breaks at them and still put down a good pace.  Having a bit of a chip on my shoulder from my last race, Chinook Half Ironman, where I blew up on the run, I knew it would take a bit more confidence and belief in my ability to stay in a strong mental space.

I'm not sure what other athletes think about in the final laps of a race.  Sometimes I think about my pace and a bunch of other technical physiological details, sometimes I think about my friends and family and the people who help me along the way.  Today I thought about my family, all the well wishes I was sent on Facebook and Twitter, the card from my awesome friends and the team at Lululemon, all the  triathletes at Tri It Multisport and No Limits, my buddies Jon, Dave, and Shayne all racing Calgary 70.3 on the other side of the globe at that moment, of course my sister who has provided me with so much support and positive energy and who I sadly didn't have time to visit while I was in Spain, and last but not least my amazing fiancee Shirley who has been my biggest fan and a pillar of strength for me and who has inspired me so many times to pursue sport with passion and dedication.

I finished the run in 2hr40min.  Keeping a pace of roughly 5:20/km for 30km.  A result I can be proud of and that got me across the line at around the 8hr mark.  I believe you can always be faster and stronger, and this race was no exception.  Its been a busy year and I've kept things balanced and while I've been focused on training, I know that there's still plenty of untapped potential for me to go after next year.  But on that day I know I gave it my all and executed a good race.

Done for the Season

It was an honour to represent Canada and race with the maple leaf on my uniform.  I'm now looking forward to cheering on our athletes in London and taking a couple months off from training.  I may do some run races in the fall, and you'll be able to catch me on the highways enjoying my road bike, and on the tennis court rediscovering a sport I've been looking forward to playing all season.  I'll keep the blog posts coming, and with IMC around the corner I'll post some pointers on that in the coming weeks.