triathlon and family can mix

Posts tagged “race

All Zeros, and I Aient Talking About Shoes



Swim – 0:00:00 – 0m
Bike – 0:00:00 – 0km
Run – 0:00:00 – 0km

Total – 0:00:00 – 0km

I know post race weeks are supposed to be about ‘active recovery’ but hagin’ in San Francisco with my family after the race was just to awesome to break up with a run.

That’s right, I swam across the San Francisco bay and lived to tell about it.

Actually, it wasn’t all that difficult. As much as the cold water temperature, potential wildlife, and strong currents are hyped up, it was an enjoyable swim. I even took the chance to turn on my back and take 30 seconds to admire the situation I was in.

Wow, enough about the race. That is what race reports are for.

Speaking of holding on, I reckon I owe you all a couple of overdue posts including Airdrie Sprint Race Report and Drivers v Cyclists. Can’t wait? Neither can I.

So after a full week off, I am ready to get back at it. My performance in Alcatraz gave me the confidence that the CTS Half Ironman plan will get me where I want to go come July 27 at Ironman 70.3 Calgary.

Top Posts
Ironman Tattoo
Swim Etiquette
Recap – Week 50

It is no secret that I dig New Balance shoes, specifically the Minimus Road Zero; they feel like little rocket ships on my feet. After 1490km I have literally run the soles off leaving me with nothing but a search for a new pair.

New Balance changed the design, naming it the Road 10V2. I tired them on and wasn’t overly impressed, though they didn’t have the width I was looking for.

That’s right ladies, big feet…….

I felt I couldn’t cheat on the model that has taken me so far over just shy of 1500km, so I ordered the V2. I just got my first run in this morning, but I will hold on to judgment until I have some more significant km’s under them.

Oh, another post to add to the list.

Question: Do you take full week (or days) off after a race?


Cops and Joggers

Second year in a row I have ran this race, this year I convinced my brother to run with me.

Great choice.

Ah yes, the start line selfie.  Losers hey?

Ah yes, the start line selfie. Losers hey?

Race morning was a touch chilly; it was 0 degrees when we parked. I was carrying a GU Salted Caramel gel, and with the yeti on the package, seemed fitting. Our goal was simple, start together finish together (hopefully under 2 hours).

We started off pretty fast at 4:30/km. Keeping in mind the first 3k is pretty much downhill, I slowed our pace to hopefully save our legs for the return leg. We found out later that our attempts were futile.

I ran through the fist aid station at 5k, my brother opting for a glass of water. Well by 8k he had a stitch in his side and nothing helped; breathing on alternate sides, slowing down, and eventually walking. The next aid station provided a chance to stop, grab some energy, and keep chugging along.

We ran down into the Weaselhead, I opened up and cruised down the hill slowing down at the bottom to let my brother catch up. Onward to the bottom of the biggest test. I went to grab my gel looking for some energy for the climb, only to find that my hands were numb and I couldn’t grab the gel from my pocket. My brother gave me his, saying that he wouldn’t need it. Awesome, thanks dude.

I hammered up the hill, clapped for the bagpipe band at the top, and stopped at the aid station to wait for my brother. Not much to report in the last 5k, except for anyone who maps a half marathon course with an uphill finish sucks.

Coming around the last bend, I stopped and let my brother go ahead. He worked so hard in the last 4k that crossing the finish line first seemed pretty rude. Our official time was 1:52:52. Needless to say we were stoked, not only meeting our goal, pretty much smashing it.

yyc police half 2014

I love this race, it is always well organized and the route is probably the best in Calgary. Sure, I can run the reservoir any time, but there is something special about running it with a couple hundred others. Bring my brother along, and man, what a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

I was also able to rest my nutrition plan along the Ironman 70.3 Calgary run course. I understand that running a half marathon differs greatly from running an Ironman 70.3 half marathon, but I reckon any testing is better than wingin’ it.

So there you go; a PR for my brother, half marathon under me for 2014, and triathlon season right around the corner.

It Is Lonely at the Back

I throw my hands in the air in surrender.


Swim – 0:00:00 – 0km
Bike – 1:01:20 – 36.8km
Run – 1:02:35 – 12.5km

Total – 2:03:55

Travelling for business is starting to really suck. I spent 5 days on a drilling rig in the middle of nowhere this week. Pretty sure you could tell something was up by the training volume, hey? I don’t like spending time away from my family; partly because when I get home my daughter has taken my spot in the bed, the furniture is never in the same spot as when I left, and the dog has gone pretty much bonkers. More than all of that, I miss the girls.

Being woken up in the morning with a body slam on Saturday or eating breakfast on the couch watching cartoons is all I want to do these days. Being a grown up isn’t all it’s advertised.

I was able to get back to training Friday evening on my bike, opting to take it somewhat easy as I was planning to head outside for the first time on Sunday afternoon. Yeah, the weekend in Calgary was that warm. Alas it was not in destiny and I opted to hang with the girls instead.

I have always joked around with my fellow swim club members that a swim lane is like a peloton; everyone needs to take their turn at the front. This morning I took my turn at the front, and like a rider who made a failed attempt at a break away, I was slowly caught and spit out the back with nothing but regret to keep me company.

When Michael Gustafson tweeted “taking a day off from the pool, you might as well retire” I didn’t really believe it. Well, now I do.

Top Posts
Recap – Week 50
Ironman Tattoo
Whole 30 – Day 26

I missed the St Patrick’s Day 10k road race this past Sunday, and judging by the number of race recaps on WordPress, I am the only one in North America who did. Everyone has that race, the one you always want to run, but something short of a miracle will keep you from lining up at the start line. This seems to be mine.

Not that I really want to run a 10k race these days. It seems silly to me to pay a race entry fee, typically $30-$50, drive half away across town, line up with a bunch of runners (sorry runners, I prefer triathletes), and drive home all sweaty when I could hammer a quick 10k from the house and be done is less than an hour.

Question: Have you taken a significant time away from training? Did you see a drop in fitness?

‘Round the Bunny Ear and Through the Hole

For a simple piece of technology, I sure screw it up a lot.


Walking to the office this morning, I had to stop and tie my shoe. Let me tell you, it gets annoying after a while. I raced 6 times last year, 2 of those races required shoelace maintenance. Sure it only takes 10-15 seconds to stop, tie, and restart but when I cross the finish line at 45:10 aiming for a sub 45:00…..time to figure this thing out.

I got chatting with a buddy of mine who is the Western Canadian Rep for a major shoe brand; he mentioned that in his experience New Balance shoe laces don’t like to stay tied. Something about the material, or shape, or both I can’t remember. This was a point in our run that I was bent over tying my left shoe lace.

Irony at its finest.

Over the past couple of months I have noticed the frequency of united laces is getting higher. Not sure what I am doing that is different than before and I have changed out any of my equipment. My running shoes are my trusty New Balance Minimus Road Zeros and my dress shoes haven’t been replaced in about 6 months.

Just looked at them, maybe they need to replaced sooner than I thought.

Of course there are products out there that help with the sort of issue; I have a couple at the house. I just can’t seem to get them right and end up with a pain in my foot half way through a 10k run. My daughter, 7, has just learnt to tie her shoes. Right now it is all about shoes with laces; if they have Velcro, back in the closet with them. Sure there was some frustration, it comes with the territory, but she has mastered it.

Maybe I need to take some pointers from her.

On the topic of foot/lace related issues, I had to change the lacing pattern on my shoes to eliminate a pressure spot on the top of my foot. It has helped drastically and since I changed the pattern, no more issues.

Question: Have you had problems like this? Any suggestions?

Ironman 70.3 Calgary

Hometown race baby.


I registered yesterday morning. I was on the fence even though I wanted to pull the trigger on another Ironman 70.3 race in 2014. Why is that?

Why do we want to do something so bad, then when time comes to put up or shut up, we do nothing?

Anyways, hanging in the training pool between our 100m and 400m time trials (more on that in a future post) I chatted with a fellow triathlete that swims with me in lane 3. He asked if I had registered knowing that I participated a couple of years ago. He also mentioned that they expect it to sell out by the weekend. Crap, no more hesitation.

I got into the office and pulled the trigger. Not sure what the wife is gonna say….

The raced has changed; the swim and bike courses were amended in 2013 as the floods rendered the swim course unsafe on race day and I guess the race directors liked the revised course. They have revised it again this year to follow the 2013 race course with a different swim venue. I am not complaining, swimming in a man made lake will be a lot warmer than swimming in Ghost Dam (water temp was 14 degrees Celsius in 2012).

The bike course follows a couple of popular training routes so it should be easy to head out in May and June to get a good feel on the road ; the one of many benefits of a hometown race. It is a tad short at 87.5km, but I reckon that makes up for it being long by 4km in 2012. In my opinion, it is easier than the old course albeit more technical with a potential, good potential, for some decent head wind on the first 35km.

You scared of wind? I’m not.

The run course remains unchanged, and that is a good thing. North/South Glenmore park is great run with some decent up and downhill sections. This is what attracts most competitors; the challenge of the run course.

I actually feel a little nostalgic that without any planning, I participated in the last race on the old course. It was a great ride with some awesome scenery and speed. I am even going to miss that big climb out of the river valley in Cochrane. Really, did I just say that?

So here is to Ironman 70.3 Calgary 2014 edition. I am looking forward to it.

Question: Do you hesitate to register for a race? Why?

There Are No Walls in Open Water

My name is Steve, and I flip/tumble turn, whatever you want to call it.


Do you have to do a flip turn as a triathlete? I am a pretty decent swimmer. Not to brag or anything, I just really enjoy being in the lane and hammering a good 1 hour workout.

It is no secret that a flip turn is the fastest way to change direction, if it wasn’t, I am sure Phelps wouldn’t be doing it. I have read stats that state it can take 0:02/length off your split time. Depending on your pool length (most are 25m) that can add up. Like I have said before, free speed, I’ll take it.

With all of my reading, I have also come across many opinions that as a triathlete you should be doing flip turns, because in a race there are no walls for you to take an extra breath. Most people feel that you need to simulate as close as possible to an open water swim in the pool, this means no extra breath. As I swam my 800m pull set at lunch today, I starting thinking about flip turns and if they are beneficial to a triathlete in the pool.

At least I think it was 800m. I may have lost count. Sorry.

To execute my turn, here are my steps;

Take a breath at the T, about 2 strokes from the wall
Turn (insert meaningless instructions here)
Take 1 to 2 strokes before I breath the other way. This takes 2 body lengths past the flags.

The whole process takes about to the count of 6, counting to match my arm turnover. So that means with every turn, 25m in my pool, I am pausing for a count of 6 to turn.

I am a bilateral breather; meaning that I breath on odd strokes. 3-5-7, you get the idea. It is important for any open water swimmer to breath bilaterally, but that is not the topic of this post. So I breath every 3 strokes (sometimes 5 if I am feeling good) then pause to turn at a count of 6, then return to breathing every 3 strokes.

Now imagine, pretty easy for a triathlete, that you are swimming toward the first buoy with 200 of your closest friends. You are humming right along, breathing every 3 strokes, sighting well. After about 4 breaths, you decide to hold your breath for a cycle, breathing on the 6th, then return to breathing every 3. No problem right?

Yeah, seems pretty crazy hey?

Long story short; you can’t simulate open water swimming in a pool. We try certain drills like closing our eyes, sighting the coach, or distance swims but it isn’t the same. I don’t think that you need to be able to flip turn as a triathlete. You swim workout will yield the same results without ’em.

So if you can flip/tumble turn, good for you. It looks cool and impresses the newbies to the club.

If you can’t, no worries mate. You are still rockin’ it in the pool with everyone else, probably at a time that most of the city hasn’t thought of waking up yet.

Question: Do you flip turn? Was it easy to learn?

By the way, if you want to learn how to flip turn, check out this video. It is the best I have found to date.

Escape from Alcatraz

I would rather win this lottery than the other kind.


This race is on my bucket list. The chance to swim across ‘the Bay’ had me hooked from the first time I stumbled over an advertisement in Triathlete magazine. Long story short, I am in.

June 1, 2014 here I come.