Blog de Phil

The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico Race Report

Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico was held on Sunday, March 17, 2019.  My official time was 5:20:11. I am very happy with my performance.

Hey, that's me in the right hand side. It looks like the second loop of the run, about 14k in.


2019 IRONMAN® 70.3 Puerto Rico

Phil Barnes
#787 - M45-49
TimeRace TimeDiv. PosDiv. RankDPI
Swim34:3334:33141491.8
T14:5039:231419
Bike2:39:413:19:04172194.7
T21:543:20:581629
Run1:59:135:20:11192488.1
Overall5:20:1119 / 10592.6




Prologue
Guylaine and I have both had a renewed enthusiasm for winter cycling due mainly to Zwift, and also fat biking. At Christmas, we had discussed the possibility of an early season destination race over the March break. It boiled down to either IM70.3 Puerto Rico or Florida Intimidator Challenge. Puerto Rico would be more expensive, but more exotic... plus there was the bonus of a potential World Championship spot for Guylaine (more on that later). Signing up for the race was the kick in the ass I needed to get myself out of my post-IMMT funk. I recommitted to training averaging about 11 hours a week of quality workouts. I also cleaned up my lifestyle and dropped 15 pounds in the process. Boarding the plane for Puerto Rico, I felt ready to roll. The event posed an exciting challenge: How would we do so early in the year? What would a non-wetsuit swim be like? Would indoor bike training translate to the road? How would we handle the 85°F heat on the run? 

Pre-race
Despite having a condo only 15 minutes away from the race venue, we decided to wake up early to guarantee a parking spot on site. The race started at 6:55, the alarm was set for 4:30, we ended up getting out of bed at 4:20. At 4:45 AM we were driving down the main strip of Puerto Rico, Ashford Avenue. The bars were still open, pumping music, girls in party dresses were staggering home, and there was the unmistakable smell of colitas rising up in the air. We were early enough on site to obsess over our transition setups, pump up the tires, lather up with sunscreen, and defeat any lineups for the porta-potties. Transition closed at 6AM and we started the 20 minute walk to the swim start, munching a Clif bar along the way; and, tactfully locating a pair of shoes at the swim exit for the long haul back to T1. We had time for a relaxing 200 meter warm up swim prior to the start.

The Swim (the strava)
Looking a little skinny at 153 lbs.
The swim was in a protected lagoon adjacent to the ocean. It was salt-water, and warm (78°F). Not wetsuit legal. Many had swim-skins, some had tight tri-suits. I opted for just tri-shorts and topless, which oddly was the minority.  Each age-group had its own wave start. Fortunately (more on this later), I was in the very first wave. After the national anthems, announcements and some celebratory music, we were lined up, treading water at the start buoys. The start area was wide enough, and I opted for the second row. 3-2-1- Horn, and we were off.

The start was fast, but non-violent. I immediately found the feet of a heavy kicker, and enjoyed the (legal) draft. The pace was fast, but sustainable. There were enough buoys to mark the course. My guide was swimming straight as an arrow, and hugged the buoy line perfectly, I didn't have to sight once. There was a little kerfuffle-ing at the turnaround, and I ended up losing my guide, but found another. He wasn't kicking so much, and I felt was a little slow, so I free-styled my way through the pack and found another great draft.

The swim eventually passed under a bridge, and I knew the finish line was near. I was getting anxious for the swim to be over, and at this point, the water felt a little choppier. I feel like I slowed down a bit here, and lost several placings, but eventually the swim-out-ramp was visible. About 5 of us arrived at the same time, and each politely took our turn standing up and getting pulled up and out of the water by the volunteers.

I split my watch at 34:27 for an average pace of 1:48/100m. I had hoped for a 33 minute swim, but I felt like it was still a good swim in terms of effort-to-time ratio.

Damn! This is a long transition. We had previously measured the distance from swim out to the transition as 680m, mostly along asphalt, concrete and paving stones. It was heavily suggested at athlete briefing to leave a pair of shoes at swim out for this part of the course. I was happy that I had. I got to my spot in transition, slipped on my tri-top, helmet and shoes, and was off to start the bike course. I had a relatively easy spot to access in transition, but it was close to the swim in and run out -- the bike out/bike in being located at the opposite end. This meant a long run navigating the racks with the bike. 

5 minutes and 45 seconds later, I had made a successful transition from swim to bike and covered the 980 meters to the mount line.

The Bike (the strava)
My preferred position, but conditions
would not allow this too often. Had to
keep my head up to navigate pot-holes
and rough roads.
I was feeling very confident about this part of the course. I knew my bike fitness going in was very good. Two, 40K training rides outdoors the days prior to the race had shown me that I was capable of holding an aero position for at least an hour (on Zero aero-conditioning since August of last year). I knew the run would be the most difficult part of this event, so more than ever I was determined to stick to my power plan. Hold an normalized power of 75% of FTP for the entire ride. That translated into 180 W (approx 2.5 W/kg). To facilitate this, I had my screen set up with 3 data fields. 10second Avg Power, Total Ride Normal Power, Lap Normal Power; my auto-lap was set to 5km. The route was a double out-and-back with a 17K lead-in/lead-out, We had no reconnaissance of the route ahead of time, we were told it was mostly flat, with new asphalt. Well...

The lead in, was up and down a series of overpasses, nothing extreme, but enough pitch to bring the watts up pretty easily. There were signs of new asphalt, but they were mostly patches that were not flush to the road surface, so best avoided. Along with various potholes and ruts. It wasn't a terrible road, but you had to stay alert to ride a safe line. It was not conducive of an aggressive aero position. The double out-and-back portion was mostly flat, and slightly better road conditions, but again, you had to pay attention to ride a safe line to avoid ruts, patches and the occasional squashed iguana.  

Once on the double-out-and back, I was feeling settled in, and my watts were bang-on. Each 5K lap showed me I was around 180 to 185 watts normal power. I was feeling particularly proud of myself. I was comfortable in my position, and feeling confident that I could hold the effort for the entire 90k.

Being in the first swim wave, and being 14th out of the water meant I was at the front-end of the bike course for most of the way. I was passed three or four times and passed two or three people over the meat of the course. The road was wide-open for the first loop, but by the second loop, it was starting to get a little busy - and dicey. In particular, the aid stations, oh the carnage. I saw two people go down hard - either due to the dozens of loose bottles all over the road, or simply the congestion. One station in particular looked really bad and I decided to bypass it completely. (Happy I had brought an extra bottle of Gatorade in my back bottle cage.)

Despite the congestion on the second loop, I was moving quickly around people and still had a pleasant unobstructed ride; it was still a relief when I finished the loop, and was back alone on the 17K ride back towards transition.

I have developed a bad habit of under-fueling and under-hydrating in training rides. I was determined not to bonk or get dehydrated. I constantly sipped gatorade, going through 5 bottles for the ride, and finishing a sleeve of cliff-blocks and 2 gels. I was reassured later that I was not dehydrated (as I had to relieve myself twice during the run).

The last part of the bike ride saw a few overpasses, and then, back into town, we were treated to a slight downhill back towards transition. Crowd support was amazing along the last kilometer of the ride.

After a successful barefoot dismount, I was jogging back to transition.  Bike time: 2:37:55, 34.1 kph, 80 rpm average, 174 W average power, 181 W normal power (2.5 W/kg), 75% IF. The bike was bang on plan.

T2 was considerably shorter than T1, but I had a poor rack spot, right near the end. Being in the first wave, there were not many bikes hanging, and fortunately hardly anyone in transition to bump into. It felt like I was moving slow as I shed the helmet, and donned my socks, shoes, race-belt, hat and sunglasses; but, my final time was 1:59:14, so that seems pretty no-nonsense considering the 270 meters of distance traveled.

The Run (the strava)
Finishing loop 1. Feeling pretty good.
I worked to rebuild my running form this year. I have transitioned from 160 steps per minute to 180; through a more minimalist shoe and metronome training. I've tried hard to commit to long runs, since the new year, outdoors, despite poor weather. I've included some warm-up and cool-downs in my runs and a little bit of stretching. I have not had any cramping this year (unlike last year), and my plantar fasciitis has pretty much vanished. I had a great "Frozen Sole", 8K run one month prior to the race, and a really good 18km run, two weeks prior. I managed to convince myself that in the heat and with the hills, I could run a 1:50 half-marathon off the bike. 5:13/km pace. 

And so it went ... for 12 k .... but, then heat and hills finally got to me. I honestly felt really, really good for that first 12k. 

The route was a double out-and-back, into old San Juan, and around the fort. The total course had 200 meters of elevation. Each lap included a very steep hill (10% grade), a couple of gradual hills, and another steep up-and-down on a rough cobble-stoned surface. Each loop also included 2 kilometers of "The Microwave": a section of the course alongside a massive stone wall that absorbs and reflects heat. 

Being in the first wave, I was lucky enough that the microwave wasn't so hot the first time through. It was much warmer an hour later the second time through though. And it was this point in the race, after sucking back a Roctane, that I started to get the shivers. My body felt like it was going into shutdown/survival mode, but I was determined not to give up. I was much slower, and losing big chunks of time every kilometer, but I felt like I didn't give up, and honestly gave it 110% effort. My splits look, "Classic Phil", with a big fade, but it didn't feel that way during the run, and I don't think I would have run much faster had I started out slower.

Running back into town, the cheering grew louder, and Laura was there again on the side (she had previously cheered me in on the bike, and on the turn-around for loop 1 of the run). The final stretch to the finish line was unclear to me, but we had to cross a pedestrian overpass, which I thought was particularly cruel, and then run around and up a grass hill. The finish line was only visible for the last 100 meters, but you could hear it before then. I got passed in the last 30 seconds by a guy in my age group, I had no intention of sprinting, I didn't care, I could see the clock roll over to 5:20:00 and although going sub-5:20 would have been a real treat, I was very happy with my final time of 5:20:11.

Final run time: 1:59:13, 5:41/km pace. Big second-half fade, but considering heat and hills, not bad.

Awards and Roll Down

Words will never be able to do justice to the experience and elation of Roll Down. This race had 40 spots for World Championship Qualifiction, and an additional 25 spots allocated for women only, through a special initiative called Women for Tri. I had previously figured (based on the published start list) there would be 2 spots for Guylaine's category from the 40 regular spots and 3 spots under the extra Women for Tri slots. I had it in my head, that if she finished 5th, she would be in.... she ended up finishing 6th (an amazing effort and a fantastic race, but we'd have to hope for a roll-down).

Imagine, now, to my horror, when going through the 40 regular spots, they noted that one would go to her category (not the two, I had banked on). And, of course, the winner took the spot. One spot rolled from another women's category but it was allocated to a different category than Guylaine's, boo.

So now, they are handing out the extra 25 slots. And they get to Guylaine's category, and they note there will be 3 spots given out. (oh, the tension). I can't be sure, but I think number 2 took their spot, number 3 passed, and then number 4 and number 5 took their spot. That's that then. Guylaine looked at me dejected. I was furiously doing math on my fingers... "hang on, I said, I think one's going to roll...". Sure enough, there was only one competitor in the F18-24 category, and she already had her slot from the regular qualification process. They announced it was going to be allocated to F50-54. This was the VERY LAST SPOT that was going to be handed out......

... My mind went blank, I couldn't remember if Guylaine was next in line or not....

.... the announcer looked like he was a little puzzled, while he was looking at his list, he was buying time... my heart began to race, "he's trying to figure out how to pronounce the name"... and then sure enough:

"GUYLAINE BARNES"

The three of us jumped up and screamed, Guylaine burst into tears, it was freaking awesome.
Ironman's motto is "Anything is Possible".
People who have been say, "Always go to Roll Down".
Either of these would be fitting captions.
Epilogue
The trip to Puerto Rico was very nice. I was surprised at my own ignorance: it's far from third-world; San Juan is a bustling modern town not unlike any other big city in Canada or the US. The people are welcoming and friendly. The devastation from Hurricane Maria was not obvious to me in San Juan or the neighbouring areas we visited. The race production seemed very much locally-owned. We honestly felt like valued customers and welcomed guests of the race director, the crew, the volunteers and the community. Guylaine and I had very satisfying races. This was a very memorable and amazing experience.

Ironman Mont Tremblant Race Report

To be honest, I’m pissed off and embarrassed. And then immediately, I’m embarrassed and pissed off that I’m pissed off and embarrassed. The day didn’t go as expected at all. It was spectacularly awesome until it was spectacularly disastrous.  “Way to go”, “Awesome job”, “You nailed it” – I sincerely appreciate all the feedback from friends on Facebook. It’s exactly what I would say to anyone else. My final time was 11:54:33. it is a good ironman time.

The swim was magnificent, it was my fastest swim on the least amount of effort. The trouble probably started on the bike. And fittingly, being a big data geek, my Garmin file was corrupt and did not download, so I can’t even analyze the power… but I know I went too fast.

I started the run at 6:53 clock time. It was going great for the first 4K. I had started out a little fast but was able to reign it in. I was going to break 11 hours. Even with the inevitable “fade” I would surely meet my 11:29 A-Goal… but all of a sudden, my left hamstring seized. I could not move. For the entire first lap I was alternating walking, shuffling and jogging with seizing muscles. I spent a lot of time motionless, crippled with cramps. Left and right hamstrings, left and right quads, left and right calves. It was only by the 25K mark, as we were heading back onto the Petit Train path that I was able to keep a consistent jog. I willed myself to keep jogging and not walk. With 5K to go, I flipped my watch to race time, and I figured if I could do the last 5K in 45 minutes, I would break 12 hours. So that became plan B.

The finish was great. The last 200 meters was electrifying and unforgettable, it took away the sting of a painful marathon.

Even though I did not keep my power in check, I really enjoyed the bike ride.

Feeling pretty good here. The last 200 meters was energizing.

Finish clock is based on race start for pros. Actual finish time was 11:54:33.
Still high on the finish line adrenaline. I could only manage 2 sips of the beer :) 

The Dirty Truth
Ironman was different than the Esprit, the Canadian 226, Challenge Cedar Point and Michigan Titanium. It wasn't better, it was different. I wanted to do this race partly because I wanted to gauge my performance relative to 2000+ other people; partly because it's close and intriguing in that way; but, also to finally find out if there was anything lacking from my past iron-distance efforts. There isn't. MDot is only a brand. 140.6 is the achievement.

The Stats

Guylaine's Race
Wow, what a trooper. She suffered a major mechanical issue on the bike. Under the high load of ascending Duplessis, her rear wheel shifted in the horizontal drop-outs and began rubbing against the frame. This eventually lead to a high-speed blow out on the fastest downhill part of the course. She pulled over and replaced her tube, but the tire was actually ruptured from the rubbing friction. Fortunately, a mechanic happened to pass by when she noticed her new tube poking out through the hole. Unfortunately, having a 650c wheels, he did not have a spare wheel or replacement on his scooter. Fortunately, he had one back at the shop as was able to radio someone to get it to him. He "booted" her damaged tire with a piece of cardboard, and told her to meet him further on down the course. A short wait later, a new tire appeared and she was able to carry on. Notwithstanding the loss of momentum and the mental toll it took on her, she still powered through the bike, and threw down a remarkable 4:14 marathon for still an Ironman PB. Had she not lost over 30 minutes with the tire change, she would have dominated the race.

Bonus Photos

All ready to leave, bright an early on Friday morning. Rolled into Tremblant around 10:30 AM

Got our race kits and a quick photo

Another photo at the Big M-Dot.

The expo was pretty good. These Ventum bikes are not as fugly in real life.

Guylaine rocking a pair of $300 Roka shades

In the actual Ironman merch tent

We're there

Professional press conference on Friday (unfortunately, it was raining)

At the pre-event dinner on Friday night. Over 2500 people in a big tent. Pretty loud. 

Friday night entertainment, the band was really good.

Ditto

Fireworks on Friday night

Killing time on Saturday

Found Wallowitz. He was also in Grand Rapids last year for Michigan Titanium.

Our big purchase at the official MDOT merch tent. LOL. 

All race bags packed and ready to go.

Guylaine's bike dropped off on Saturday afternoon.

My bike dropped off on Saturday afternoon.

Dropping off all the drop off bags.

Our hotel from the chair lift than ran right over our hotel.

From the chairlift

2200 bikes racked and ready to roll. Lots of $$$ here
The best laid plans

Off to set up at 5:15, lots of people already hanging around, the town was bustling.

1000s of people waiting to get body marked. Went by really fast. 
Heading towards the 4 corners after finishing Duplessis.
Thanks Rob and Val, it was great to see you and receive your support.

Starting the run, looking not too bad

Still in good spirits at this point
Hey that's me.


My rear tire had zero air in it when I picked it up from transition after the race. Hmmm?
Obviously not as bad as Guylaine though.

The finish line is pretty cool. I will say that.
We went back and watched for a bit, but we didn't go to watch the last finishers.
We didn't want to see the heartbreak of someone come in after the cut off.

:-(





Iron History + IMMT Prediction + Keys to success



EventYearSwimT1BikeT2RunTotalNotes
Montreal Esprit20121:13:303:145:16:475:194:18:3810:57:28Super fit, started run too fast
Montreal Esprit20131:12:453:095:17:085:184:17:2710:55:47Less fit, still started run too fast
The Canadian20141:10:575:125:47:033:294:39:5811:45:58Long swim+bike, hot run, started run way  too fast
Challenge Cedar Point20151:08:317:565:35:112:234:10:0211:04:05Perfect race, faded on run. Long T1.
Michigan Titanium20171:08:561:415:43:56--06:54:34Aquabike only. Would not have been able to run IM marathon at this bike pace though
Ironman Mont Tremblant20181:08:003:006:00:003:004:15:0011:29:00"A" race scenario.

Training has been pretty similar year over year. The 20 weeks prior to 2-week taper for the past few events has been:

YearSwim TotalBike TotalRun Total
20141094,232765
20151254,258645
20171644,47085
20181204,531763

The biking this year has included better tempo, and more 140k+ rides. The running has also included more 20k+ runs than usual.

Keys to victory:

Taper --> don't go full glutton. easy on the drinking and snacking. respect the taper schedule.
Swim --> slot in with the 1:05ish group, find some feet and take as much free ride as possible.
T1 --> lube up ankles and wrists well for easy wetsuit strip, don't dilly-dally.
Bike --> respect the power, race your own race, don't get caught up leapfrogging, don't draft.
T2 --> keep calm, full change into running gear
Run --> easy on the first hills, stay conservative, 5:40 pace, don't walk the aid stations, don't give up, stay close to positive energy people.

Sea Lions Masters Mini Meet Results (2017 vs 2018)

EventSwimmer20182017
Difference
50 BreastPhil0:45.310:44.62
0:00.69
Slower
100 FreePhil1:16.281:14.52
0:01.76
Slower
50 BackPhil0:43.910:43.50
0:00.41
Slower
100 IMPhil1:34.221:36.31
0:02.09
Faster
200 FreePhil2:54.473:03.84
0:09.37
Faster
50 FreePhil0:35.910:36.53
0:00.62
Faster
50 FlyPhil0:42.75
50 KickPhil1:14.91

Not a big warm up, not too much time between events. Good competition in the heats to keep me motivated. Lost goggles on dive for 50 breast; paused for some reason on the dive for 100 free; 200 free felt good - probably went out too fast. Overall pretty happy with results. (except 50 kick, I can't kick ::blushing emoji::)

I feel so dirty...



Frozen Sole 1718-01

"The agony"
The Frozen Sole is a local running race series. The third Sunday of every month from October to March. It's a 5 mile rectangular loop (8K). It's low-key. People run for all different reasons. I've used it for a an easy group run, and I've used for a full-out speed test. My best time was 35:32 on March 20, 2016.

I've slowly been getting back into running, after nearly a one year injury-forced hiatus. I was looking forward to this Sunday's Frozen Sole with bitter-sweet anticipation. It would signal a return to "FAST", but with that comes DISCOMFORT. 8K is short enough that it still hurts to go hard.

I wasn't sure how "fast" fast would be, but I have come to the realization that I do need at least 10 minutes to warm up properly. Having dilly-dallied in the morning, arriving 5 minutes before start time meant that the warm-up would be the first 10 minutes of the race.

We set off at 9:03. The first K was fairly easy at 5:26; then I upped it a bit to 4:57. We made the first corner to Highway 2, and I upped the pace to "uncomfortable". Which turned out to be 4:26. I held it more or less for another km, but then on the next turn up Paragon Road, I was dropping off to 4:46 and 4:48. I made the 3rd turn, and I was just running on fumes. I wanted it to be over with so badly. I channeled my inner Lionel, and pushed hard up the hill for Km 7 at 4:40; and then held it as long as I could on the last downhill km. Final "official" time was 38:10. Far from a PB. But tied for "personal worst" on a full-out race effort from January 2014.

STILL, happy to be running again, and happy to be experiencing that self-imposed discomfort running hard brings.


CMC Fall Du

Meh. Not great. Probably shouldn't have run 3:40 for the first km, but I couldn't find any power on the bike. The last run felt okay, but apparently wasn't stellar.

Run 1: 7:48 T1: 0:29 Bike: 25:34 T2: 0:43 Run 2: 19:55; Total: 54:29

vs.. previous attempts.

Canadian 113 Race Report 2017

Doing my best Lionel Sanders impression

The stats and splits:
Swim (1900m) out of the water - 33:30  (1:44 / 100m)
Swim Time plus run up to T1 - 35:04
Transition 1 - 3:36
Bike (93.3 K) - 2:45:20 (33.9 km/hr)
Transition 2 - 3:14
Run (21.1K) - 1:52:14 (5:19 /km)
Final Time - 5:19:27.1 (5th OA, 4th Male, 1st M45-49)

Absolutely mind-blown that my power was so consistent.
I was 99% aero for the entire ride between the 180 degree turnarounds.

Okay, well despite the obvious "Phil Barnes Classic Pace Fade", if you had
told me I could average 5:19 for a half-marathon, I would have laughed in your face.

Comparison of 2013 vs 2017 results and YTD training totals

Thoughts on this race 4 days after the fact...



Immediately after this race, I could not walk. It took a good 3 days for my legs to begin to recover. It was worse than an Ironman, and worse than a marathon in terms of recovery. Walking up and down stairs was a chore. Bending over or squatting was impossible. My two big toes are still swollen, blistered, bloody, incredibly sensitive and I will lose the toenails for sure.  That's what running a half-marathon will do after not much running in nearly a year with 128 total kms year to date, and only two 5 km runs the entire month preceding the event. Despite the soreness, I take great satisfaction in the accomplishment. The experience was rewarding. I hadn't had time to even think about expectations going in to this race. Whatever they might have been, they would have been exceeded. Certainly, no ragrets.

The long boring play-by-play

Guylaine and I have both been feeling fit since MiTi, so we decided to capitalize and do a half-ironman at the Somersault Canadian in Ottawa.

We set the alarm for 4 AM, to be on the road for 4:37, to arrive at 6 with plenty of time to check-in, set up and be at the water with plenty of time before 7 AM start.  That all worked out, except I spent too much time dilly-dallying and was sprinting down to the water at 6:53 and only finished getting my wetsuit on at 6:59. Oh, and the air temperature was 7 degrees.

The Swim (1900 meters)
Similar to Michigan, the water was warm, and hence a "picturesque" mist hovered over the water. It was not as thick as Michigan, but sighting was still difficult. Quickly the race spread out. It appeared the first swimmer was extremely fast, and soon enough, him and the lead kayak was out of sight. I was relying on Rob - the second swimmer to guide me with his splashes, but soon enough he was out of sight and I was just hoping the other kayaks would correct me if I went horribly off-course. The swim was a loop - left to right, the sun compounded navigation issues on the trip back to the beach, but I eventually made it. I swam hard, but didn't over do it. I was happy with the effort.

"33:30" said Christine as I exited the water. Not bad, I shrugged. Probably the course was a tad long.

T1
I hate the transitions at this race. The start of T1 includes a 400 m across a beach, up a (gravel infested) bike path through the stadium to your rack. The second half includes a 350 m run across the stadium, through a dirt path over rocks and roots to the mount line. It's a pain, but we knew this going in. The middle of T1 is where the actual action happens. Normally I thrive in transitions. In and Out - no messing around. This time I had prepared myself to take it slowly and more methodically, as it was 7 degrees and I was soaking wet, a little extra prep time was needed before hitting the bike. 1) I put socks on (normally I ride sockless). 2) I put plastic baggies over my socks before putting on my shoes to block the wind (shoes were not on the bike for this race). 3) I put a sport-wool long-sleeve jersey over my tri-top to help keep some body heat. 4) I had brought full-finger bike gloves, but in the last second decided not to wear them.

The Bike (90K, 9 x 10K loops)


Marginal aero-penalty with the long-sleeve jersey, but I was never cold, and never too hot.

Oh boy, it was cold (at first). The top of my thighs felt like they were on fire. You know when you're freezing cold and take a hot shower - exactly that feeling. It went away after 2 laps.  This bike course use to have 15K loops - they shortened it to 10K loops a few years ago - you just end up doing more of them. I don't mind loops at all. There's the possibility the course could get congested, but with only 550 total athletes spread over the day, I did not find this to be the case. In fact, I was only really in close proximity to one other athlete all day, the eventual woman's winner. I started ahead of her, and somewhere along the second loop she passed me, and then I caught up and passed her on a hill... we would go back and forth maybe 4 or 5 times over the ride. Any other riders I encountered seemed to be going slow enough that the pass was made, and then that was it. Overall, I think I was passed by 2 other people in the 113 - but not sure if they were in the Tri, Du, Relay or Aquabike.

My power plan was to keep 190W... so much for that. My average was 204W (NP 211, and Max 20 min 211W). The good news - was the ride was almost perfectly paced. I split each lap and averaged 202, 205, 201, 206, 203, 201, 205, 205 and 210. My average speed was 34.1 kph for 93.3K. In my mind, I was worried that I was overcooking the bike (Again) at the expense of the run - I rationalized with myself that I could blame a bad run on the fact that I haven't done any running all year.

T2
Again, this was uncharacteristically slow and methodical for me. I had intentionally left my shoes untied so that I could get a good fit around my ankles when I tied them up. And then the comedy starts.... where's the run out?? Although this was my 32nd triathlon, 4th time at the Canadian (2nd 113 here), but also my 6th time at the Terry Fox / Mooney's Bay venue, I had neglected to check where the run out was. Apparently the 3 volunteers I asked in my frantic mania didn't know either - one was going to send me to the bike out... I found it, eventually.

The Run (21.1K, 4 x 5.275K loops)
Okay, let me come clean. I don't know if I'm using this as an excuse but since the start of the year, I have only run 128 K. My biggest run for 2017 was 6K. The month leading up to this race, I have run twice for a total of 10K. I may be an idiot for thinking I could pull this run off  - but for some reason, I was determined to do a real triathlon this year. The MiTi Aquabike left me craving a little something.

The run went extremely well... for the first 10K. The sun was out by now, and I was comfortable running in my tri-top. I knew there was no way I could run 1:45 - that is my half-iron PB run from St. Andrews a few years ago. But, for some reason, as the kms chirped off on my Garmin all sub-5 minutes for the first 2 loops, I thought "well maybe, you never know". And then it all came crashing down. My toes felt like they were on fire, I was certain my big toe nails had fallen off - my calfs were cramping, I was getting the "overheating-chills"... 5:13...5:23, 5:33, 5:47 ... oh man, keep going. DO NOT WALK.

I wasn't sure where I stood in the standings. I figured I might have been 5th at one point - but again, with all the different events, Duathlon and Relays, I couldn't tell who was in what. The women's winner passed me in the first 100m and didn't look back (she ran a 1:38 and finished 2nd overall). 2 guys passed me on the return leg of the last lap. There was no way for me to latch on - I did check their calves on their way by and was assured they weren't in my age-group. Little did I know that up until that point, I was actually in second place overall for the men.

It felt great to be running again. The course is pretty boring, and frankly it is a tad depressing and uninspiring, as many of the other participants in other events were walking or really suffering by the time I was on the course. But - the volunteers were great - I really find if you make an effort to get interactive with them, the energy that gets returned is magnified. I took water at every station - half-the cup in the mouth, the other half over the head. My old buddy Ian and his daughter were at the far-end turnaround, with Zone-3. Wearing my Cornwall Triathlon top got lots of positive vibe from people, "Let's go Cornwall!" All these little things add up and are appreciated.

The finish


Legit smile of content

The finish line for this race is at the end of the straightaway on the Terry Fox athletic centre track. The track is soft, and fun to run on. There are 4 loops on the run, each loop ends with a 180 turn just adjacent to the finish line. On your final trip into the stadium, you take the left lane (instead of the right), and bee-line it to the finish. I could see the time on the clock, it had just rolled 5:19:XX when I entered the track, I knew I could finish within a minute and a sub 5:20 felt just fine with me. I did the old shoulder check to make sure I wasn't going to be pipped at the line, and just trotted in the final 80 meters.

The nice thing about this event was the finish-line photos are sponsored by the local tri team, and also Todd Morin of the Investor's Group, the announcer was calling back 113 finishers for a pose with the banner at the line. Hence the "hamming it up shot" ala Lionel Sanders at the top of this page.

Final Thoughts
I have to admit, this race exceeded my expectations. The production was typical Somersault, but that's not a bad thing. It was safe, adequately staffed, adequately organized, sufficient aid stations, almost accurate distances and there were bonuses: official splits for laps, finish line bbq, finish massage, bike-course bottles, free photos, post-race shower. The weather was interesting with the cool morning and warm afternoon, but it was manageable.

Nutrition
Morning - 2 bowls of cereal
On-the-road - 1 coffee
Pre-Swim - 1/2 Cliff Bar
Bike - 1.25 bottles of water, 1 bottle of Skratch (hand up), 2 Gu Roctaine, 1 sleeve of Clif Blocks, 1 Cliff Shot [Gels/Blocks were on laps 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9]
Run - 2 gels (1 @ 10K, 1 @ 16K). Mouthful of water at each station (~12 or so).

...And Guylaine?
Yet another Overall Podium. 3rd woman overall. 2nd age group. Not too shabby for having raced an ironman 2 weeks earlier.