The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

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.

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.

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.

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.