Thursday, July 28, 2016

Race Report: Ironman 70.3 Calgary

About 1.5 years ago, on Feb 23, 2015, I woke up after having knee surgery. For whatever reason, when I woke I cried, violently, and even started screaming. The doctors had a hard time controlling me. I still am not sure why I cried so hard...but I think that it was all the pent up tears that I had held back during the struggles of the year before: being injured and not knowing what the injury was, being frustrated, watching girls I had beat win Ironmans and qualify for Kona, feeling lost and out of control. I tend to hold everything inside until I burst. So, perhaps it was the effect of the anaesthetics that made me lose all inhibition and react the way I did. Unfortunately, the struggle was far from over on that day. My prognosis was grim. The surgeon said that if I was lucky, I might be able to run again, but never over 10km.

People have asked me if I'm happy with my performance in Calgary. I will be honest, at first I was disappointed. The Miranda from 2013 would have run faster, placed better, been a podium contender. But then I think back to that day of my surgery, when I never thought I would compete in triathlon again, and I think, "yes, I am so HAPPY!" To be able to finish a half-ironman was a dream on Feb 23rd. And I came 10th and clocked a 4:35 for a competitive 70.3, with a top 5 swim performance, a bike performance comparable to pre-surgery and a run that I did with a strained peroneal muscle! So, I am really freakin' happy :)

Unfortunately, the after effects of this race have left me with a lot of aches and pains! Apparently 31 year olds don't recover as quick as 27 year olds :) I'm currently dealing with a peroneal strain, medial knee pain on my left and a possible strain in my right lateral quad and hamstring! Not sure where the season will go for here, but I will take it one race at a time!

Next up (hopefully): Bracebridge Olympic Triathlon!

Normally, I leave my thank-yous until the end of my post, but the following deserve a HUGE thank you early on in my report:

- One Capital and One Sports: One Capital Management has included me on their team of elite age group triathletes and supported me so much in the past few years. I've been able to train in California in the past and I got to visit and compete in beautiful Calgary for the first time.
- Bobby Libin: Thanks for opening your home to us and being such an amazing host and keeping the house supplied with lots of carb and good food pre-race.
- My parents for their continued love and support throughout this crazy adventure of mine. They travelled all the way to Calgary to be with me on my race, and that's just a small example of what they do for me every day.
- Adam, my coach and partner, for being designated sherpa and driving everyone everywhere this past weekend.
- All my readers for their support and for following me in my triathlon endeavours
- MultiSport Canada for getting me race ready for this event!
- Fellow athletes at the race and training partners, especially those at WattsUp!
- My other coaches: Kim and Nigel from NRG
- My sponsors: High Rock Capital Management, WattsUp Cycling, MultiSport Canada, The Urban Athlete, Fitt1st Bike Fitting

1. Pictures:















3. Interview with another participant: TROY

Coming soon!

4. TrainingPeaks/Quantitative Race information for those interested

WARMUP: 550m swim warmup with 3x40 strokes fast, then 3x20 strokes fast

SWIM: 1871m, 26:35 (~1:25/100m),

BIKE: Speed - 36.6kph, NP - 175W (3.25W/kg, 85% of FTP)**forgot to calibrate power meter, so this may not be accurate**, Avg HR - 160bpm, Avg Cadence - 85rpm

RUN: 21.1km, 1:39:10 (4:41/km), Avg HR - 174bpm, Elevation gain ??



Lastly, I'm going to close this blog with the lyrics from "Try Everything" by Shakira:

I messed up tonight | I lost another fight | I still mess up but I'll just start again | I keep falling down | I keep on hitting the ground | I always get up now to see what's next | Birds don't just fly | They fall down and get up | Nobody learns without getting it wrong

I won’t give up, no I won’t give in | Till I reach the end | And then I’ll start again | Though I’m on the lead | I wanna try everything | I wanna try even though I could fail | I won’t give up, no I won’t give in | Till I reach the end | And then I’ll start again | No I won't leave | I wanna try everything | I wanna try even though I could fail

Look how far you've come | You filled your heart with love | Baby you've done enough that cut your breath | Don't beat yourself up | Don't need to run so fast | Sometimes we come last but we did our best

I'll keep on making those new mistakes | I'll keep on making them every day | Those new mistakes

(Source: http://www.directlyrics.com/shakira-try-everything-lyrics.html)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Here we go!

My first half ironman in about 2 years is just 10 days away! So, I thought it a good idea to post a little update...

I'm not the same pro triathlete as I was 3 years ago when I was at my peak fitness. Since 2013, I have been battling injuries, recovering from surgery, going back to school full time, working more, struggling through the stress of significant life changes and trying to be the best stepmum I can be. This is markedly different from being the (mostly) care free triathlete I was. Back then I got to head south in the winters to train and my biggest worry was how to best recover for the next training session or whether my Garmin was working :) As a result, I know my fitness is not as good as it was - but I think it's still good enough to compete at the Pro level. I get to put that to the test on July 24th in Calgary and I'm looking forward to it!

So - what has my training been like in 2016? Well, I've been lucky enough to get some local races in! I placed second female in both Multisport Woodstock Sprint and Multisport Welland Long Course. We are so incredibly lucky to have the Multisport Canada series in Ontario. They put on the best organized races and ensure that everyone, from the beginner to the elite athlete has a great day. Since Welland, I stepped it up to 20 hours of training/week. Whether that was a good idea remains to be seen. It's always tough to find a balance between overdoing it and under doing it.

My swimming endurance has definitely improved (I'm swimming 5-6 days per week instead of 2-3). I get in 1 OWS with NRG on Wednesdays where I try to stay on the feet of speedy Brandon and Nigel. In the pool, I was even able to do 10x100@1:25 pace time again!

My cycling seems to have gone up a notch based on my last training session, where I held a NP of 183W over 55km (within a 105km ride) on the hottest day of the year - and split a PB for 40K of 1:03! This has largely been due to consistency. I built a strong base with regular training over the winter at WattsUp, without overdoing it. All the short, high intensity work on the trainer helped to develop my top end power. Now that school and exams are over (3 weeks ago), I have been able to get in some longer outdoor rides and develop better endurance. I'm hopeful this will allow me to put together a pretty strong 90k in Calgary!

My running, however, has taken a small step back. I have had some lower leg issues recently, possibly stemming from a stuck talus and fibula, that then caused all my lower leg muscles to tighten up. As a result, my running hasn't been very consistent. I did run a 4:20/km for 15km in a descending run on Monday - but have paid for it! I've been unable to run since. So let's hope all is well for Calgary.

So that's where life is at! Thank you for following along.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Race Report: Welland Long Course

What a day in Welland! I had forgotten how hard long course racing is, how important nutrition is and how much more time there is for things to actually go wrong. Nonetheless, I am very happy with my performance in Welland. It's been a long road back from injury and it feels like I'm inching closer and closer to my goals.

1. Pictures:

Pre-Race:












Run: Wow! This was hot. I knew that I would have to be extra focused on this run. I stayed cool with sponges, water on my head, ice down my top...everything to stay cool. I definitely got a boost at every aid station and would slowly fade until the next one. I made up about 3 minutes to Angela on the run, but it wasn't quite enough. Still good for 2nd!



Finally, the finish!






2. Highlights:

- The first 1300 to 1500m of the swim! (See learning points).
- All the people on the course cheering my name! The NRG guys I've been training with were super supportive, as well as some of the athletes I knew from WattsUp, and the volunteers! Every time I heard my name I got a little boost of energy.
- The venue and course itself. What a beautiful place to host a race. Accessible, clean, showers on site, swim and run were spectator friendly and the bike course was on relatively smooth roads with little traffic...this makes me VERY excited for Barrelman and Welland is definitely a race I would like to repeat.
Learning points:
- I need to take in more nutrition. 320 calories on the bike and 150 calories on the run was too little for the 1700 calories I burned during those to segments of the race. I thought I would be able to tolerate more on the run, and I was wrong. So...during Calgary 70.3 I am going to aim for 650 to 750 on the bike (eLoad and JUJUBES!) so I can afford to consume a bit less on the run.
- I need to swim more than 3km in a workout. I was in a draft pack of about 4 guys. Unfortunately, my lack of swim fitness showed when I was dropped in the last 500 to 700m of the race. So, I likely need one longer swim of 4-5km once per week, with a 2km race pace set on another day.

3. Interview with another participant: MURRAY



Q. Name, Age, One word to describe yourself?
A. Murray Cass. Age 61 (although my triathlon age is 62 apparently). I think the word would be stubborn. I'm sure my "friends" would choose a less printable word.

Q. How long have you been doing triathlons?
A. My first triathlon was in 2006. I did a kayak/bike/run because I could barely swim. Triathlon was my wife's idea. I had no interest. Triathlon seemed like a dumb thing to do. I just did as I was told.

Q. What was one highlight of today's event?
A. Well it was my first age group win. That was big, but more importantly I executed my race plan really well - a rarity for me. I am still a weak swimmer so I just tried to get through the swim. My cycling these days has not been up to par for some unknown reason. I actually have been training. So my plan was to just have a decent bike to set up a solid run. The forecast was for a hot day so I figured being small I would have an edge on the bigger guys in my age group. I left T2 about 10 minutes down and ended up winning by over 6 minutes. You might think that in the M60-64 age group competition would be easy. In triathlon competition is never easy.

Q. What did you eat for breakfast?
A. McDonald's hotcakes, hash browns and tea. I also had a bowl of fruit. My preference would have been bacon, eggs and toast, something I've been training with lately but it's hard to eat when you're not at home.

Q. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in a triathlon?
A. It must have been last year when I crossed the finish line at Ironman Copenhagen. Michelle Vesterby the top female shook my hand and asked whether I was ok. I thought i was fine so I casually said "yup." A couple seconds later I threw up. Just missed her.

Q. What did you think about on the bike today?
A. Great question. I was focusing over and over again and how bloody lucky I am to be able to compete in such a fun event. I've had a rough year with friends' and relatives' illnesses and I am just incredibly grateful for being able to swim, bike and run. All my complaints are so trivial.

Q. What is one thing you are proud of about yourself, either in triathlon or in the rest of life?
A. I do not have an athletic background. To me athletes are those other guys, the guys who lapped me - with a smile - on the track in gym class many years ago. I feel uncomfortable when anyone calls me an athlete. So I am quite proud that I can actually participate in triathlon. Having gotten through three brain tumour surgeries between 1982 and 2002 and being seriously injured while cycling when hit from behind by a drunk driver doing 100 km/hour back in 1976 makes it even more special. I consider myself extremely fortunate. A nice thing about triathlon is that, although the details of my history are unique, the theme is fairly common: people, often overcoming adversity, to extend themselves and accomplish what they never thought was possible. That makes for an interesting group.

Q. What/when is your next event?
A. I am registered to do Ironman Maastricht in the Netherlands. It's in five weeks so this was my last prep event.

Q. What do you like best about the MultiSport Canada race series?
A. The races are very well organized. John Salt is responsive and cares about the participants. (See. I can't use the word athletes.) Personally I like being greeted by John at the finish line. The new Welland Rose City course is one of the best I've raced on. Again, my wife's idea.

4. Course Information

5. TrainingPeaks/Quantitative Race information for those interested



WARMUP: 10 minute bike, practicing getting my feet in and out of shoes while they were in the pedals, 550m swim warmup with 3x40 strokes fast

SWIM: 2093m, 28:51 (~1:23/100m), ~ 39 strokes/min

BIKE: Speed - 36.8kph, NP - 186W (3.4W/kg, 90% of FTP), Avg Power - 183W, Avg HR - 167bpm *including stop*, Avg Cadence - 85rpm

RUN: 15km, 1:08:27 (4:34/km), Avg HR - 172bpm, Elevation gain 192m

Thank-you:

- My parents for their love and support throughout this crazy adventure of mine. Papa has always encouraged me to make a career about what I am most passionate about. That happens to be triathlon, and I couldn't do what I do without my parents.
- All my readers for their support and for following me in my triathlon endeavours
- MultiSport Canada and all the volunteers
- Fellow athletes at the race and training partners, especially those at WattsUp!
- My coaches: Adam and Kim and Nigel from NRG
- My sponsors: High Rock Capital Management, WattsUp Cycling, MultiSport Canada, The Urban Athlete, Fitt1st Bike Fitting


Next up: Ironman Calgary 70.3!

Welland Interview: Murray Cass

In advance of my Welland Race Report, I wanted to post my athlete interview.

Featured participant: MURRAY



Q. Name, Age, One word to describe yourself?
A. Murray Cass. Age 61 (although my triathlon age is 62 apparently). I think the word would be stubborn. I'm sure my "friends" would choose a less printable word.

Q. How long have you been doing triathlons?
A. My first triathlon was in 2006. I did a kayak/bike/run because I could barely swim. Triathlon was my wife's idea. I had no interest. Triathlon seemed like a dumb thing to do. I just did as I was told.

Q. What was one highlight of today's event?
A. Well it was my first age group win. That was big, but more importantly I executed my race plan really well - a rarity for me. I am still a weak swimmer so I just tried to get through the swim. My cycling these days has not been up to par for some unknown reason. I actually have been training. So my plan was to just have a decent bike to set up a solid run. The forecast was for a hot day so I figured being small I would have an edge on the bigger guys in my age group. I left T2 about 10 minutes down and ended up winning by over 6 minutes. You might think that in the M60-64 age group competition would be easy. In triathlon competition is never easy.

Q. What did you eat for breakfast?
A. McDonald's hotcakes, hash browns and tea. I also had a bowl of fruit. My preference would have been bacon, eggs and toast, something I've been training with lately but it's hard to eat when you're not at home.

Q. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in a triathlon?
A. It must have been last year when I crossed the finish line at Ironman Copenhagen. Michelle Vesterby the top female shook my hand and asked whether I was ok. I thought i was fine so I casually said "yup." A couple seconds later I threw up. Just missed her.

Q. What did you think about on the bike today?
A. Great question. I was focusing over and over again and how bloody lucky I am to be able to compete in such a fun event. I've had a rough year with friends' and relatives' illnesses and I am just incredibly grateful for being able to swim, bike and run. All my complaints are so trivial.

Q. What is one thing you are proud of about yourself, either in triathlon or in the rest of life?
A. I do not have an athletic background. To me athletes are those other guys, the guys who lapped me - with a smile - on the track in gym class many years ago. I feel uncomfortable when anyone calls me an athlete. So I am quite proud that I can actually participate in triathlon. Having gotten through three brain tumour surgeries between 1982 and 2002 and being seriously injured while cycling when hit from behind by a drunk driver doing 100 km/hour back in 1976 makes it even more special. I consider myself extremely fortunate. A nice thing about triathlon is that, although the details of my history are unique, the theme is fairly common: people, often overcoming adversity, to extend themselves and accomplish what they never thought was possible. That makes for an interesting group.

Q. What/when is your next event?
A. I am registered to do Ironman Maastricht in the Netherlands. It's in five weeks so this was my last prep event.

Q. What do you like best about the MultiSport Canada race series?
A. The races are very well organized. John Salt is responsive and cares about the participants. (See. I can't use the word athletes.) Personally I like being greeted by John at the finish line. The new Welland Rose City course is one of the best I've raced on. Again, my wife's idea.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Race Report: Woodstock Sprint Triathlon

I decided to begin my 2016 triathlon season at the MultiSport Canada Sprint race in Woodstock! And it was such a great day - the rain stayed away and the sun was as bright as ever, highlighting the energy of this awesome event. For my race reports this year I will be changing it up a bit. It will be broken up into 5 sections:

1. Pictures
2. My top 3 to 5 highlights of the day (and learning points if there were any!)
3. Interview with another participant (I will be finding one other participant to feature in my blog for each event I am part of)
4. Course map with all relevant information for interested participants
5. TrainingPeaks/Quantitative Race information for those interested
(& Other notes, thank-you)
Look for this format after all my races, and if you would like to be my featured participant, find me on race day!!!

----WOODSTOCK RACE REPORT----

1. Pictures:





























2. Highlights:

- Running my way to just 18s behind the leader, after being down 90s after the bike
- Seeing my sister, Sara, finish 3rd in her age group and run her fastest pace ever! (We've worked so so hard on getting her run faster than and it's nice to see her hard work paying off)


- Getting to swim and stand on the podium with Lionel Sanders - I don't really get star-struck, but I find it amazing how determined and disciplined he is



Learning points:
- Practice transitions in training! I lost 30-50s because I couldn't get my wetsuit off, had difficulties with my helmet and couldn't get my foot in my shoe at the start of the bike. That time cost me a win.
- Don't let negative thoughts in when you race. If you start to think negatively at all, stop those thoughts and think positively.

3. Interview with another participant:

Q. Name (first name only is fine), Age (or age group), One word to describe yourself?
A. Heather Crisp - I'm 62. I'd describe myself as "enthusiastic".

Q. How long have you been doing triathlons?
A. 12 years

Q. What was one highlight of today's event?
A. It sounds silly, but I had the fastest bib pickup ever. Thank you Multisport Canada!

Q. What did you eat for breakfast?
Two huge mugs of coffee and a hot cross bun with peanut butter and apricot jam.

Q. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in a triathlon?
A. I was congratulating myself on a fast T1 and wheeling my bike to the mount line when a woman beside me said "I'd have trouble riding 40k in a wetsuit". Geeze!

Q. What did you think about on the bike today?
A. I went sideways at one point - it was challenging to keep upright.

Q. What is one of your top achievements, either in triathlon or in the rest of life?
A. In my first race, I won my age group and Lisa Bentley gave me my medal. That was special.

Q. When is your next event?
A. Welland long course on June 26th. It's my first race longer than Olympic distance and I'm excited about that.

4. Course Information







5. TrainingPeaks/Quantitative Race information for those interested



WARMUP: 12km bike on the course, with 6x10s HARD, the rest was easy, 2km run with some strides, 650m swim warmup with 3x40 strokes fast

SWIM: 836m, 10:32:47 (1:20/100m), ~ 38 strokes/min

BIKE: *forgot to hit lap, so this data is for the last 7km of the bike* Speed - 36kph, NP - 193W (3.6W/kg, 94% of FTP), Avg Power - 178W, Avg HR - 176bpm, Avg Cadence - 90rpm (yes, I think I was tired!)

RUN: 5km, 20:09 (4:01/km), Avg HR - 182bpm, Elevation gain 53m

Thank-you:

- All my readers for their support and for following me in my triathlon endeavours
- MultiSport Canada and all the volunteers
- Fellow athletes at the race and training partners, especially those at WattsUp!
- My coaches: Adam and Kim (and Nigel for letting my tag along on his Wednesday rides the past 2 weeks)
- My sponsors: High Rock Capital Management, WattsUp Cycling, MultiSport Canada, The Urban Athlete, Fitt1st Bike Fitting


Next up: Welland Long Course on June 26th! Join me - let's get the number of female participants at these races near to the males!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Event Recap: Spin the Lakes

I decided to kick-off my 2016 season with a Spin the Lakes 96K - the same course as the Muskoka Ironman 70.3 with an additional two kms. This was the first time I had actually participated in a bike only event and I had a ton of fun. Since this is my first event, I decided I would launch the new format of my race reports!

1. My top 3 to 5 highlights of the day
2. Interview with another participant (I will be finding one other participant to feature in my blog for each event I am part of)
3. Course map with all relevant information for interested participants
4. Elevation profile and quantitative information for those interested
5. Other notes, thank-you and such

Look for this format after all my races, and if you would like to be my featured participant, find me on race day!!!

----SPIN THE LAKES RACE REPORT----

1. My Highlights:
- Riding in a group environment with other cyclists AND triathletes together (the environment was right for both!)
- For the Muskoka 70.3 section: hitting a NP of 3.25W/kg and a time of 2:52 on a super hot & humid day (higher power/faster time than in Muskoka 70.3 2012)
- Getting to stay at Chez Lamy with Lois, Linda, Gary, Phaedra, Adam, David L and David B!



2. Interview with another participant:

Q. Name, Age, One word to describe yourself?
A. Linda - age - 53 - one word ... oh my there are so many BUT I guess the word that seems to best describe me both professionally and personally would be DISCIPLINED

Q. How long have you been doing triathlons?
A. I did my first Sprint in 2009 joining some of the ladies in my neighbor HOWEVER it was 2013 the year I turned 50 that I decided to do something that would totally push me outside of my comfort zone - completing the Muskoka Ironman 70.3

Q. What was one highlight of today's event?
A. The Muskoka course has always been a scary one for me - it's a beast. BUT on Saturday I rode consistent and confident - that was the highlight.

Q. What did you eat for breakfast?
A. Protein shake and a bowl of cereal

Q. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in a triathlon?
A. Confidence is not something that I have a great deal of when it comes to sports. At the Muskoka 70.3 I was TOTALLY intimidated by the tri bikes, race wheels, slick helmets and full body tri suits - to the point that I did not even want to start the event (no joke - I was ready to bail before even starting I was so nervous). BUT I started, did the swim and got on my bike (one of the very few bikes left in transition). On the bike course when I turned onto North Portage and started to climb one of the very steep hills - I looked to my left and saw a guy riding a very expensive tri bike, wearing a race helmet, walking up the hill ... I checked his calve and noticed he was 34 years old - suddenly I heard Celine Dion (who I am not really a fan of) singing - " I am alive" - god knows where Celine came from BUT let me say it made me laugh and certainly gave me the confidence to go on and finish that event with a big smile on my face.

Q. What is one of your top achievements, either in triathlon or in the rest of life?
A. Two really cool kids!

Q. When is your next event?
A. Mont-Tremblant 70.3 June 26 (GULP)

3. Course Map/Elevation


4. Quantitative Information & Race Day Notes

Distance: 96km
Time: 2:58:52
Speed: 32.3kph
Elevation Gain: 807m
Average power: 156W - including 0s
NP: 176W (3.25W/kg) - including 0s
VI: 1.13
Heart Rate: 159bpm
Cadence: 76rpm
Nutrition on race day: 3-4L of fluid, 90g eLoad Berry flavour, 3 Zone Caps, 2 jujubes each 15km => ~ 1 to 1.3L/hour, 200 calories/hour (~4g/kg)
Notes: Power dropped off from 180W to 176W NP after the turn onto Brunel Rd. Probably lost a bit of motivation and, having not done many rides longer than 2 hours, fatigue likely set in.


5. Thank-you:

- All my readers for their support and for following me in my triathlon endeavours
- The volunteers and race organizers
- Adam, for writing all those workouts that made me super strong inside to prep me for my longest ride of the year so far
- My sponsors: High Rock Capital Management, WattsUp Cycling, MultiSport Canada, The Urban Athlete, Fitt1st Bike Fitting


Next up: Woodstock Sprint on June 11th!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Milk for Recovery!

It's a typical Wednesday morning, I've just done a hard workout (the first race of the MSC series is just a few weeks away!). I know I don't have much time to help get the kids ready for school, shower, get myself ready to get to work/school and get in some healthy food. I know that for a workout longer than an hour it is important to follow it with a snack within 30 minutes and a big meal within 2-4 hours. This will maximize my body's ability to recover and get stronger from a workout.

When you train hard, you break down muscle and you actually get weaker. However, that training is a stimulus to rebuild yourself stronger than before. You can only do that if you have the right building blocks: carbs, protein, vitamins, water, etc. But there's rarely the time to make a big meal post-workout sometimes. But how long does it take to drink a nice tall cold glass of MILK? Likely, less than one minute! And within that tasty drink are a ton of nutrients that can help you recover from a workout. Let's have a look at the nutrition label for 250 mL (1 cup) of chocolate milk:



As you can see it has:
1) Protein - This breaks down into amino acids, the building blocks of muscle.
2) Carbohydrates - This breaks down into sugar, which the body uses to build muscle and to make glycogen, the fuel for subsequent workouts.
3) Fats - Fats are actually stored in muscle to fuel you for longer rides. The more fat you can store in muscle the better for endurance. Fats have many other important functions in your body.
4) Vitamins - Vitamin D and Calcium are essential for bone health. And the other vitamins are important for the biochemical reactions in your body - like building muscle!

In addition to this, it tastes good and is so refreshing! So, for a super quick nutrient boost post-workout, MILK is my choice!!!

(Miranda Tomenson, MSc. is a profession triathlete, triathlon coach at WattsUp Cycling and has a degree in biochemistry and physiology.)