Two things hit me when I got down there, the number of hills (grade and length) and the heat and humidity. It was very hot and I knew it was going to be tougher then I expected. On Saturday, as I attended the pro panel and listened to them talk this was reinforced as they talked about the course. Oh well, I love a good challenge!
Race Morning – up at 4:00 am. Breakfast was different since I was on the road. Greek Yogurt with granola, berries, banana, orange juice and 1 coffee. We left the hotel at 5:15 am and hit the line up of cars about 2K out. It was slow going, but we managed to get into the park by about 6:40. I was feeling pretty anxious, more so then normal, so I was working on relaxing and calming my nerves down. Normal multiple trips to porta-pottie and the odd glance to my wife who was patiently watching me pretend to set up my transition area.
Target Time – 30 – 35 mins.
Actual Time – 34 mins 30 seconds.
Place out of water in Age Cat – 38/172
Place Overall – 258/997
1 Gel 25 minutes swim start
Total calories – 100 calories
The water had risen from 66 degrees (on the Wednesday) to 72 degrees by Sunday and it was calm. I was in the second wave of males 40 – 45, so our start time was 07:25 am. The second wave was not quite as full as the first so as we lined up on the beach, it was obvious there would be lots of room for everyone. The countdown came and into the water we went. At the start, there was the usual washer machine effect for the first 300 meters. Once we passed that point, the group started stretching out and I stayed steady trying to move forward with a consistent swim. I focussed on relaxing my shoulders and really stretching out ( using my lats ) to find that entry point where it would not act as a break . I found a happy place on this swim and the clouds started parting in my mind. The swim down the first third of the course was fine, but when we turned onto the second portion it was very hard to see. I mean almost impossible because we were swimming east into the sun and you could not see the buoys at all. I used other swimmers and kayaks to mark myself and it got me off course more then once. Once we went around the final turn and headed in, things were fine again and I could see the blue arch. My arms felt great, I was relaxed and my breathing was under control. I landed at the beach at 34:33 averaging a 1:47 / 100. This is not as fast as I can swim, but I am pretty happy with it. I was comfortable and ready for the bike and that is the point! (The swim leg is not the portion I try to race.)
There is nothing I would have done differently here, either in training or the race.
Transition 1 – 2:12 – nice little run to the bike, no big issues.
Target Time – 2hr 45 mins.
Actual Time – 2 hrs 58 mins
Place off bike in Age Cat – 37/172
Place overall – 200/997
1 gel at 0 mins, 1 at 45min, 1 at 1hr 30min, 1 at 2hr 15 min, 1 at 2hr 30 min. ( total 5 x 100 calories )
1 bottle x 710 ml of Heed ( approx. 120 calories )
2 bottles of Gatorade perform ( approx 100 calories )
2 bottles of water, primarily to cool off and flush gels down.
Total calories – 820 calories
The course is simply stunning but very hilly. I am not sure it does it justice to watch the course preview or look at the profile, but I can tell you there are no flats. Knowing I would be climbing a lot and that it was going to get very warm, I opted for my regular helmet instead of my aero helmet. As it turned out, this was the right decision for me. I was still grabbing the speed coming down the hills and not needing anything special to climb. I consistently pushed my way forward, and managed to get to a point where I had stopped passing people and was not being passed. I decided not to push too much harder, because the hills were grinding me. My quads started showing the first signs of grumbling as a result of the hills around mile 50.
Being able to dump water on my head was a real benefit and the water tables were spaced out perfectly. The volunteers were great and the bike traffic through the areas very good. The roads were open, and there was more then once I saw a car trying to get through a steady stream of us. They appeared to be very patient. No dirty looks or shaking head..just a slow acceptance of what was happening.
I hit 70K/hr on one of the down hill segments which is a new speed record for me. I really tried to use the downhill to average the climbs and I did find myself running out of gears most times.
I was very happy to be off my bike, my legs were tired but not exhausted and I think I met this portion of the race head on and as I should have.
From a race perspective, I did everything right. I attacked when it made sense and backed it down when I knew I needed to. From a training perspective, I would definitely train hills…more and longer. Rollers are not counted! You need long and grade for this course and in my area that means Gatineau or Moira NY.
Transition 2 – 1 min 18 secs. No issues
Target time – 1:25 – 1:30
Actual Time – 1 hr 43 mins
Place off run in Age Cat – 27/172
Place overall – 138/997
1 Gel at 15 mins, 1 gel 40 mins, 1 gel at 1hr 20 ( Total 300 calories )
Cups of Gatorade x 4 – ( approx. 50 calories – 200 calories )
Total Calories – 500 calories
Run – My favourite part. I went out fast because the start of the run was consistently down hill. Without knowing the rest of the course exactly, I gambled and wanted to use this early. I felt fine, loose and limber and was running about a 3:40 – 4:00 pace. Then the climb started, I tried holding but it got too tough. I was resetting my form and trying to keep focussed but some of areas had me up above a 6 min pace. I was still passing people, so I knew I was on track from a position, but time was slipping. UGH!!! The longest hill had us climb for about 4.5 miles. This is where I lost my plan.
By the time I got to the top, I was pretty much running on grace. It was 30 degrees and I was pouring ice down my shirt and shorts at each stop. I tried to use the down hill to get some speed, but my legs were not turning quick enough as they were heavy and full of lead. This is the moment when you go deep inside and pull yourself out of the shithole you dug. It’s not fun, but it’s manageable and it will pass. My target time was not going to happen, and I accepted that, but I could stop leaking time for the balance of the race. I stabilized myself and as Macca says “Embraced the Suck”.
At the bottom, to be cruel, they threw another 1.5 mile climb at us. “Oh well!”. At this point it made no difference. My heart rate was still good, but I was tapped.
I have spent a lot of time focussing on core strength and flexibility with Jen Kellar at Podium Sports. The work was very noticeable, because although physically drained, I was able to hold form. So – all those planks and lunges that I grumbled about…well…they worked! ( special note to Jen – “Yes..you were right!”)
From a race perspective I did everything I could. It’s a great course, but very challenging. From a training perspective, it’s the same as the bike. I would train more hills that are longer with more grade. I also need to learn how to use the downhill more. This means, Gatineau!
Target – 5 hours
Actual Time – 5 hrs 19 mins
Final – 138/997 overall – Top 13.8%.
You know what? I missed huge on this one, but I know I ran a good race. It was not what I trained for, and that was my fault for not doing the necessary research. It was so much fun and simply beautiful . There was nothing more I could have done this time. The training I did, got me exactly where it should have for this race.
But to be clear, I am going after this one again. It won a battle, but it’s not going to win the war. Next spring you will find me in Gatineau doing bricks over and over because that is the best place to train for this race.
Would I recommend this race ? – Yes!
Is it an ideal Setting ? – Without a doubt!
Is Rev3 as good as an Ironman – Yes!
Estimated calories consumed – 1320, light, but enough for a Half Iron and it works for me.
These are the challenges keep us coming back for more. This will be the last Half Iron I do this summer, as my focus now switches to the ITU World Duathlon Championships in August.
I do want to thank a few folks as always.
My wife and kids for putting up with the training and the pre race mood swings!
My Family – Linda, David, Cori-lynn, Matthew and Jesse for coming to support me
My Coach Neil Rosenthal of Solefit . New destinations!
My Swim Coach – Mary Anne Carlisle of the Brockville Masters. – Simply put – she rocks!
My Strength Trainer – Jenn Kellar. Simply put – she rocks!
My friends Greg and Jenn at Sport X . They keep my bike running and my gear supplied.
My Team and friends at Good Guys Tri. “There is no such thing as individual success”
My former coach and friend Richard Cadman of TriCoach. Covered a lot of ground together!
My Multisport club – Cornwall Multisport. A great group of people!