Archive | August 2013

Run or Dye

Today I took part in a fun event called Run or Dye. It was one of those runs that you do not even think about wearing the Garmin as this was all about fun and celebrating the joy of running. A few years ago, I would not even consider taking part in such an event, not because I was over weight and could not run but do to the fact this would have been outside of my comfort zone.

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Starting Out Nice and Clean

Even though this run started at 9:00am, there was a party atmosphere in the air. The music was blasting and people danced while they waited the start of the race. It was a wave start so that there would not be a large number of runners going through the dye stations. The DJs kept the crowd of runners engaged as they awaited their start by throwing out prizes and encouraging people to dance.

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The race attracted people of all ages and fitness levels. It certainly was a family event with a large amount of children running as well as in strollers. It was a delight to see the kids throwing dye at their parents and everyone laughing.

The race was held at a local horse racing track which to our delight did not have any nasty horse manure odor, especially on such a warm day. The race course wound its way around part of the race track and on a few trails. At about every kilometre or so, there were people waiting to throw coloured corn starch dye at you. Now in some of the stations, the amount of dye that got on you was limited due to wind. Well, I wanted to get my money’s worth so I scoped up some dye and tossed on myself which seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Yellow Station

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Orange Station (yes I like orange)

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Purple Station

Once through all the dye stations and crossing the finish line, it was time to join the party at the stage. We were all given a packet of dye to use durning the party at times announced by the DJs. This was also a great time for picture taking. Though most people wore white t-shirts and shorts, there were some people that really got into the day. There were ballerinas, bears, masked people but the most unique were a few ladies wearing their old wedding dresses.

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Not all runs/races need to be serious or about breaking a personal best time. It is races like this that allow you feel like a kid again, truly enjoy the freedom that is running or celebrating new found fitness. I encourage everyone to find races like this, to find that inner child that is looking to come out.

Until next time…..

A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him. ~Pablo Neruda

I Am A Triathlete

It is official, I am now a triathlete after completing the Cornwall Sprint Triathlon. A Sprint Triathlon consists of a 750m swim, followed by a 20k bike ride and finishes up with a 5k run. In the realm of triathlon, try-Tri is the shortest distance followed by sprint, then Olympic, then half Ironman and the grand daddy of all the triathlons is IRONMAN.

This being my very first triathlon, I traveled the short distance to Cornwall the day before as I was nervous and I wanted to learn more about the course, transition and the race as a whole. I am glad I did as it put my mind at ease.

Sunday Morning

I was somewhat surprised at how well I slept given the unknown that was ahead of me. I woke up at 5:45am and went for a short swim in the hotel pool to warm up a little. After the swim, it was time for something to eat and I decided to take advantage of the free breakfast buffet at the hotel. Breakfast consisted of a waffle, some scrambled eggs and 3 sausage links, in hind sight, the sausage links were probably not the best choice. I ate at 6:30am so I knew that I would need to eat again prior to the start of the race which was at 9:45am so I made sure to have a Clif bar at the ready.

Once I was fuelled up, it was back to the room to pack up and sort out the items that I would need for the day. Taking the advice of the race director, I kept the items I needed in transition to the bare minimum. In my transition bag I packed, cycle shoes, running shoes, bike helmet, race belt, swim goggles, hydration bottle with two Nuun tablets and two packs of honey stingers.

All packed up and ready to go to the athlete parking area. This proved to be somewhat of a challenge as the police had started blocking off the roads earlier than expected. After a little zigging-zagging and a tight squeeze between some pylons, I made it to the parking lot by 7:15. Upon arriving, I noticed a number of familiar faces. Knowing some people at the race had a calming effect on me.

Registration and Set Up

From the parking lot to the transition area was a very short walk. I racked my bike and laid out my items next to my bike. Being my first race, I was not really sure what the best set up would be so I walked around a little to see how everyone else was set up. After seeing what the majority of people were doing, I set up the same way.

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With set up completed, it was off to registrar and to get my timing chip. Registration was quick and seamless. All that left to do now was wait for my race starting horn. While I waited, I went to watch the start of the Olympic distance race that a number of my friends were doing. It was very exciting to watch the start of that race as it got me excited to start my own race.

It’s Go Time, the Swim

At 9:40am, I made my way into the water to await the starting horn for the swim. As I looked around at all the athletes in the water I could not help but notice that I was one of the very few not wearing a wet suit. The reason I was not wearing a wet suit is that I decided to wait until I get closer to my goal weight before purchasing this piece of Tri gear.

Going into this race, I knew that my swim was not going to be the strongest of the three disciplines given my lack of open water swimming. As the horn went, I held back until the stronger swimmers got out in front of me, one so as not to interfere with their race and two, so I would not get run over by these strong swimmers. I started out doing free style swimming but I just could not get my breathing and swim stroke to come together. After sucking in half of the water in the St. Lawrence, I decided the best course of action was to swim the rest of the race doing the breast stroke. Needless to say, my swim time was not the fastest but it got the job done.

A 110 people entered the water for the swim and I was number 108 out of the water. On the up side, I swam the whole distance without stopping. Coming out of the water my legs felt strong so I did not have any trouble running up the incline to the bike transition. As I passed a few of the volunteers, all I could say was “get me to the bike”. The one advantage of not having a wet suit was that I did not have to stop and take it off.

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

If there one area of the race I knew I would be strong in, it was on the bike. The transition from the swim to the bike went very well and I was on the bike course in no time. In a very short time I was passing many people on the bike and I was feeling fantastic. The bike course was a two loop 10k on city streets,that was mostly flat but did have a few technical sections. Through a majority of the course I was able to maintain a very steady and consistent pace.

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Bonnie did not disappoint as she handled the course well and for the first time in a long time, I did not have any issues with the gears. My plan was to ride on the drops for most of the ride but I ended up riding on the hoods. I am not sure why I did not stick to my plan but this race was more about a learning experience than anything else. Upon reviewing the race results, though I came out of the water next to last, I had one hell of a ride, doing better than almost half of the field so I was super pleased.

Run Fat Boy Run

Ok, not so fat any more but I needed a title for this section so why not use a movie title. I wish that I could say that the transition from the bike to the run went as well as the swim to bike transition but I cannot. One would think that with all the time I had to set up my transition area that I would have untied my shoe laces. Early on in my running training, I was given a piece of advice to always double knot my laces so they would not come undone. That piece of advice bit me in the ass as one of the knots was so tight I had a hard time getting it undone. Lesson learned the hard way yet again.

Once my shoes were on, it was time to get the legs moving again. Due to my stress fractures, I was only able to get in a few short runs since the end of May so I was not expecting a great run. The first kilometre seemed to take forever to complete and my legs just did not seem to want to move. I got into a grove and I was able to run the full 5k without out a walk break. I will admit that I did not give the run my best effort. Subconsciously I believe that I was scared to re-injure my foot again so I did not push it.

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After passing the 4k mark of the run route, I picked up the pace a little to finish strong. As I got closer to the finish line, I could hear people clapping and cheering as people entered the finishing chute. With a little extra pep in my step, I ran into the finishing chute and heard my friends calling out my name and cheering me on. What an amazing feeling!!

Oh What a Feeling

Once across the finish line, it was all that I could do to hold back my emotions. I felt proud, happy and euphoric. When I look back, the only Tri that I have ever finished in the past was a third helping of Christmas dinner. It has taken me a long time to admit to myself that I have come a long way over the last two and a half years and to start to feeling good about what I have accomplished so far. I will confess, that on the drive home, I did shed a few tears but they were tears of joy.

I so look forward to competing in my next triathlon and of course, improving. To do that I will definitely be working on the swim and thankfully I signed up for a masters swim program. Also, I will have a training plan for Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant that will be more structured than my hap hazard training methods leading up to the Cornwall Triathlon.

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The good:

Great race organization
The amazing volunteers, they truly do make a race
The locals that came out to cheer everyone on
The great race weather
Lots of food at the finish
Cheering on and being cheered on by friends
Seeing others succeed in finishing their first triathlon
Post race get together with friends

The bad:

No finisher medal (though I can understand why, but would have been nice for my first)
Not for me but my friends, a poorly marked section on the run route

The ugly:

My swim
My sun tan/burn lines

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Until next time…..Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds. Orison Swett Marden

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‘Twas the Night Before My First Tri

Even though Cornwall is only an hour and twenty minutes from Ottawa, I decided to get a hotel room and come down the evening before to attend the pre-race briefing. Had I not, I am sure it would have been a sleepless night for me as I would have been unfamiliar with the course and what to do.

Though I am a morning person, leaving Ottawa at 5:00 am would not have been enjoyable. I have a problem eating that early so being here allows me to relax and have a meal at a normal time.

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After the pre-race briefing, I had to make a pit stop for my usual night before race snack. The salt will do me good for the race and a beer always seems to relax me so I can get a good night sleep.

I will have a full race report later tomorrow.

Until next time….Everyone should try a threesome, swim, bike and run!!

Things Happen for a Reason

Had my training schedule gone as planned, I would be in the final weeks of training for Ironman 70.3 Miami, but as we all know, those plans went in the garbage can at the end of May. I am a big believer in that things happen for a reason and it always seems to be for the better. When I first started running at the Running Room, I put it out there that my goal was to complete the IRONMAN race in Kona. I have never been shy about telling people about my goal and it is because of this action that I have made some new friends and now training buddies.

This group of people, mostly made up of people from the Running Room, have also seem to have caught the triathlon bug. This coming weekend, I will take part in my very first triathlon, the Cornwall Triathlon. I did not think it was possible that I would compete in a triathlon this year, but with the encouragement and a little peer pressure, I signed up for a sprint distance triathlon. The goal of this race will be to just finish and that is it. There will be no set goal time as this will be entirely a learning experience. Going to this triathlon with this group of people will be fun and I am sure entertaining.

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When I started drafting my goals and plans for 2014, I put the 70.3 Miami back on the list mainly because the course is so flat. Over the weekend after having an enjoyable evening out with a number of my new friends and hearing them talk about IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant for 2014, I started to think about joining them for this event. I had my doubts as the Mont-Tremblant course is very challenging and I was concerned that I would not be ready for a June race. Then yesterday, the registration for IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant opened up and one after another of these people started posting on Facebook that they had signed up. As more and more of them posted about signing up, the more I thought about signing up for the race.

Then one of the group posted that myself and a few others should sign up as well. The seed was now planted again and with a little friendly peer pressure I began to think very seriously about joining the group. I took a few minutes to do some soul-searching as well as review the race course maps. Upon looking at the maps, I realized that the course was not as bad as I had envisioned. So, I broke out the credit card and signed up for my very first 70.3 IRONMAN.

I am excited, a little nervous and looking forward to the next ten months or so of training. It is sure to be an exciting journey with ups and downs but I predict there will be a lot more ups than downs. So let the madness begin!!

Until next time….“If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just finish the race; its up to you.” Dave Scott IRONMAN Champion

Monday Morning Motivation #13

I am pretty sure this was my motivation when I started.