Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tri Talk Tuesday: Support Crew

It's Tuesday so it's time for another edition of Tri Talk Tuesday.  I'm linking up with 2 of the 3 tri ladies today (Courtney & Cynthia) as The Cupcake Triathlete (Miranda) is off to Lake Placid to cheer folks that are doing Ironman Lake Placid.   Which ties in perfectly with this week's topic:  Race Support crew.


I've been racing so long it's no surprise that over the years my support crew has changed.  My original group of "Tri-Friends" and training partners have had kids so it's not easy for them to get to races anymore.  Family has gotten older and a little less willing to drive crazy distances to cheer me on.  That and I race so darn much these days, well, it's hard to keep up.  That being said, we've had friends and family come out for our big events or races that might be close to home.  When I did my first Ironman in 2006, my entire family and G's entire family made the trip out to Lake Placid to cheer us on.  Not only that, several of our friends also made the drive to cheer us on.  It really was one of the best days of my life, other than my wedding day.  Last year our families came out to Belwood to cheer G and I on at a sprint race because it was close to my parent's home and we all went over for a BBQ after.  My folks got to see me on the podium so they were pretty proud.

The entire Kennedy / Rodrigues Fam Jam at Lake Placid 2006

Most of the Original Tri Gang, 2007
 These days my support comes in slightly different forms.  I have a new group of "Tri friends" (most of which are younger than me, ha ha) that I often race with and we're always cheering each other on either in person or virtually.  There's also the amazing folks in my run group, many of which are also triathletes.  My original "Tri friends" are still really supportive in that they always either call or send me text messages wishing me luck or congratulating me.  Back in 2006 when I did my first Ironman, Facebook and Twitter were in their infancy and I wasn't on either of them.  Instagram didn't even exist.  Now that we are in the age of Social Media, I've found that I am getting support from people all over the world.  The interwebz has made this world a much smaller place and has allowed us to connect with people we may have never have had the opportunity to connect with if things like Instagram and twitter didn't exist. Some of the messages I've gotten from people I've never met have really touched my heart. 

Jordan & Heather, part of the new Tri Gang
The triathletes from my run group. 
I'm also a part of an amazing team of athletes at Real Deal Racing.  The guys that run the show as well as my teammates are always so supportive.  As Mike likes to say, Team work makes the dream work.  So. Freaking. True.

And of course, there is G.  I cannot even being to tell you how lucky I am to have a partner that shares the same passion I do.  He is at almost every single running race I do and he's always at every tri because he's usually racing.  Yup, I count my blessings every. single. day.   Do I miss him when he's not there?  Of course.  Those are the days that I just have to dig a little deeper to get to the finish line and I'm ok with that. 

G and I on our cycling vacation in Lake Placid last year.  Yes, we're wearing matching caps from our favourite race series.


Who do you owe a big THANK YOU to for their support?







Thursday, July 17, 2014

Breaking it Down

So on Monday I got the all clear from Peter, my chiro.  By all clear, I mean that I don't need to go back to see him again unless things start to flare up again.  He said my hip is a lot better and my IT bands were in really good shape.  I can thank my massage therapist for that.  He KILLED me last Thursday.  But it was exactly what I needed.

So with all of this good stuff, you'd think that my knees would have stopped hurting right?

They haven't.  I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating this is.  I went for a run on Tuesday night with my run club and the first 2-3 minutes of my run was pretty darn uncomfortable.  Once I got going, I was much better.  I don't have any knee pain going up or down stairs anymore so that's a plus.  I'm usually ok on the bike depending on the intensity of the ride.  It's the run that's the bigger issue and it just seems to be those first few steps when I'm running.  I'm beginning to think I'm doing something weird with my feet / legs because I'm anticipating the pain. 

I'm managing things with ice and lots of foam rolling and stretching.  I even took an Aleve last night, which I never do.  Anti-inflammatories do not sit well with me.  I find they knock me sideways and upset my stomach a bit so I try not to take them.  Obviously I can't continue doing this for the rest of my athletic career so steps need to be taken.

There are clearly issues happening when I run, and potentially when I'm lifting as well as riding.  My chiro says it's weak glutes and he's given me exercises to do.  That could very well be the case.  It could also be that my glutes aren't firing at all.  So, on Monday I'm heading to Pivot to see Babs Aiyede for a gait analysis.   I have to bring a few pairs of shoes (not my entire collection, haha) and wear snug fitting clothing.  No he's not a perv.  He has to be able to see what my upper body, hips AND legs are doing when I'm running.   So we're going to break down my running gait and see what's going on.  From this, I think he should be able to determine if in fact, I have a lazy ass.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue doing what I love to do: swim, bike, run.















Monday, July 14, 2014

What Next?

Now that #Mingsanity is over, so many people have asked me "what's next".  That's a good question.  Normally I have a solid racing schedule right through until late fall.  This year, I only have two more races officially on my schedule (meaning I've registered for them):  Bala Falls and Toronto Island.  I normally run a fall half and had wanted to do that this year but given the fact that my knees and hip are still bothering me, I don't think it's wise for me to register for anything until I have everything sorted out.   My run club is organizing a trip to Niagara Falls to do the Niagara Falls International Marathon / Half Marathon and I'd LOVE to do that but until I can run without pain, I don't want to commit to anything.

G thinks I'm going to actually have to take some time off.  Not just a week or two.  He's thinking anywhere between 3-6 weeks.   I hate to admit it, but I think he might be right.  I'm not ready to do that just yet so I'm going to continue with A.R.T, doing my PT exercises, getting back into the gym to rebuild my strength and doing my best to get to yoga on a semi regular basis.   That should help me manage the pain for the next two months.   If it's still lingering at the end of my triathlon season, then I will take some time off. 

The other thing I'm going to do is get a gait analysis done.  There are obviously some weird things happening when I'm running so I'd like to find out what's wrong and how to fix it. 

All of that being said, it's hard for me to sit still so of course, I was back at it this past week.  Albeit at a much lower volume.  I got back into the gym as well which I have missed SO MUCH.  I can't believe how much strength I've lost.  I know it will come back quickly once I get back into things.  

This is how my week panned out.

Monday: 2000m swim
Tuesday:  1 hour strength training + PT work, 6.9km run
Wednesday:  2000m swim
Thursday:  1 hour strength training & PT work
Friday:  OFF
Saturday:  1500m open water swim, 63.44km bike.
Sunday:  12 km run

Total time: 7h 52 minutes.  Hmmm...guess that's still kind of a lot.  I didn't feel like it though.  This week, I'll get back on the bike during the week as well since I've got a race coming up in a couple of weeks.  I'm also going to rejoin my run group on Tuesdays.  We'll see how my body responds to that. 

Saturday was too nice a day to NOT be out enjoying it.  Sunday morning was gross but then the rain stopped and I jumped at the chance to get out in the sun.  It was hot and humid but I ran slowly to keep my heart rate down and actually enjoyed myself.   I'm looking forward to getting out again next Sunday!

How was your week of workouts?





Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thinking Out Loud: Random European Observations

I was planning on writing a post about some of my favourite things from our trip but I figured that might get a little long and boring (my race reports are bad enough, I'm sure).   There were also many things in European culture that I found to be interesting in comparison to Canadian culture....again could be another looong post.  So I decided to lump it all together in a Thinking Out Loud post.  Two birds, one perfectly aimed stone.  

It's been ages since I've linked up with Amanda so I'm looking forward to joining in the fun again!



I'm going to start with my favourites.





1.  Dinner & wine in Luxembourg.  I had one of the best meals of my life at Le Sud in Luxembourg.  This was a pleasant surprise as we didn't have high expectations for the food there.  We also had a fantastic bottle of Cabernet Blanc, which neither of us had had before.  So good.  The meal was amazing and I wished I snapped some pics but I didn't want to be "that girl" sitting in a fancy restaurant taking pictures of her food.  But I did manage to snap a rather lame shot of the room.  It's crooked because I took it on the sly.



2.  Coffee in italy.  D'uh.  The Italians know their stuff.  They do coffee right.  I didn't have ONE bad cup while I was there.  So. Darn.  Good. 


3.  Beer in France.  Say WHAT?  Yes, you read that right my friends.  I had two of the best beers I've had in a LONG time in France.  THAT was certainly something I didn't expect. 

Grimbergen Cuvee Blanche

Pelforth Radler

Observations:

4.   Once we arrived in Italy, it became very apparent that speed limits, lanes and parking spots were all just "suggestions".  People pretty much did whatever they wanted to do on the road.  It was a little scary at times but for the most part, people get out of the way and let the crazies go by. 

5.  That brings me to my next point.  Other than the Italians on the highway, people know how to drive in Europe. NOBODY sits in the passing lane doing the speed limit.  They all drive in the middle or right lane and use the left lane for passing ONLY.  Once they've passed you, they move over.  It's amazing how well traffic actually flows when you drive like that. 

6.  Speed limits:  130 kph for the most part.  110 kph if it's raining.  And people don't drive like idiots.  Canada needs to get with the program.  Stretches of the autobahn have NO speed limit.  You can go as fast as you're comfortable with.  I think that helped cut our driving time down a fair bit.  G took our rockin' Renault Scenic minivan up to almost 170kph.  Some guy in a VW GTI blew by us, probably going about 220.  The last time we were in Europe on the autobahn we were in a Golf and G got it up to 200 kph, with me freaking out in the passenger seat. 

That says 167 kph. 
 7.  Cycling is ingrained in the culture.  It's an acceptable a mode of transportation that is encouraged with plenty of bike lanes and beautiful roads.  It's a beloved past time.  It's a way of life.  People embrace the bike.  From kids to old ladies, it doesn't matter.  We saw a woman who had to be about 70 out on her bike with a basket it on it, heading off to the grocery store. 

8.  Speaking of cycling, let me just talk about the roads for a minute.  OMG.  Not a pothole to be found anywhere.  I can only attribute that to the fact that they probably don't get the same dramatic difference it temperatures that we do here.  Nor do they get as much snow.  The roads in Luxembourg were hands down the nicest roads I've ridden on.  France wasn't too bad either.  I could have done without the tar seal strips on the descent from the top of Alp d'Huez though. 

9.  I've also come to the conclusion that the Europeans know what it means to socialize.  They are always outside in groups.  Even when we were in Paris in December, people were sitting on patios drinking and talking.  And when I say socialize, I mean actually sitting down and having a conversation.  I hardly saw anyone on their smartphones.  I also noticed that there were a lot of families that would go out together.  Whether it be for dinner or after dinner.  Instead of sitting around inside, watching TV, they'd go out for a walk to get some gelato or an evening coffee or drink and sit they'd sit around and talk.  I think that's why their TV channels suck.  Nobody's watching because they're all outside being social.   Imagine that!  Although I think I'd probably be doing the same if there was no such thing as windchill and 4 feet of snow. 

10.  A little confession:  when we got back, it took me a couple of days to stop reaching to either the top of the toilet or the wall to flush it, ha ha. 

Your turn!  Tell me something random!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tri Talk Tuesday: Food, Glorious FOOD!

Now that things are somewhat back to normal, I can get back to blogging a little more regularly, yay!  That also means that I'm back to eating the way I normally do....which ironically is the topic of todays Tri Talk Tuesday.  I'm linking up with Courtney at the Tri Girl Chronicles, Miranda at The Cupcake Triathlete and Cynthia at You Signed up For What? to talk about one of my favourite things:  FOOD.


 While we were away in Europe, I tried to eat as normally as possible during the week leading up to the race.  That mean no real crappy food (i.e fried or refined or sugary).  We were staying in an apartment so we had the option to make our own meals.  We usually made breakfast and lunch and then ate out for dinner which was a nice compromise.  I indulged a wee bit here and there with the occasional dessert and I definitely didn't shy away from alcohol, although I didn't have any the day before the race.  The two weeks after the race all bets were off.  I ate more pizza, croissants and gelato than I care to admit...but I enjoyed every bit of it. 

I don't follow any really strict dietary rules, other than "don't eat crap".  I try to make a point of eating whole foods, nothing prepackaged.   I find the less crap I eat, the better I feel and perform.  Go figure.  That being said, I do enjoy a really good burger or pizza on occasion.  And of course a frosty beverage to wash it all down because, really, it's all about balance.  And I have a bit of a chocolate problem...

If you follow me on instagram, you'll see that I often post food pics.  I love to eat.   I also happen to love healthy food and I really enjoy cooking.  I like variety in my diet.  I can't eat the same thing day in and day out.  I am a big fan of salads but they need to have protein in them.  So you'll usually see a can of tuna or a chicken breast or if I'm in a vegan kind of mood, some tempeh mixed in.  


I try to do some food prep on Sundays but it was difficult when I was training for my 70.3.  I was usually pretty wiped out by Sunday afternoon so I wouldn't do much.  Now that I'm back home and won't be dealing with that crazy training volume, I should be able to prep a bit more.  A few of my staples are usually turkey burgers, lamb meatballs, quinoa and a big veggie frittata.  



A typical day of eats usually looks like this:

Breakfast - either a piece of fritatta, or a chia pudding (peanut butter / chocolate is my fave).  Pancakes on weekends! 


Post workout I usually have a smoothie with protein powder and some whole grain toast or an english muffin with some kind of nut butter or avocado spread on it + an americano with cream and sugar.  On days where I've done a really intense workout, I will usually have steel cut oats & fruit along with my smoothie.

Lunch will usually be a protein and a huge pile of veggies or salad.  Sometimes a bit of carbs, like sweet potatoes or black beans.  I find if I have too many carbs at lunch, I feel sluggish and lethargic by mid afternoon so I tend to shy away from them.

Mid afternoon I usually have a snack.  Sometimes its greek yogurt and fruit, or a chia pudding or some nuts and veggies.  In a pinch, I'll have a Lara Bar (love them!)

Dinner will usually be protein & veggies.  If I've done an intense workout, I may have a big bowl of pasta or a homemade pizza. I'm also a big fan of breakfast for dinner so sometimes I have pancakes.

And of course there's usually dessert.  Sometimes its a couple of squares of dark chocolate.  Other times its fruit or a mug cake.  Or, my favourite, chocolate cherry "Ice cream"

When I'm busy and we're shooting, my normal eats go right out the window.  I usually over indulge in all the less than ideal things no matter how hard I try to be "good".  And I generally pay for it by the end of the day.  I always end up dragging my butt and feeling like a sack of hammers.  But that's ok, I usually bounce back fairly quickly. 

I've learned over the years that what you put in to your body has a direct result on what you can get out of your body.  I didn't always eat this way.  I changed my diet almost 4 years ago and lost over 20lbs, most of which I've kept off.  I can honestly say that eating the way I do has helped me perform better.  It's gotten me lighter, it's kept me healthier (I don't often get sick whereas I used to get at least 2 colds every winter) and it's given me an appreciation for what REAL, good for you food tastes like.  
What are your go to healthy meals?

What's your favourite indulgence?  I have a few:  burgers, french fries, pizza, ice cream.   



Monday, July 7, 2014

The Climb: Alp d'Huez

I can't believe that our little adventure is over.  It seems like ages ago already.   Back to reality.  I will probably do a post later on in the week recapping some of the highlights of the trip as well as some pointers when traveling to destination races. 

When we were planning our trip, our main goal was to get to Italy as I'd never been there before.  Having to go to Luxembourg first meant that we were either flying into Paris or Frankfurt and driving from there.  Cost and flight availability had us going in and out of Paris, which wasn't a bad thing.  We figured that if we had to drive back into Paris that we might as well explore a bit more of France after spending time in Italy.  I honestly could have stayed in Italy longer it was so beautiful.  But had we done that, we would have missed out on the stunning scenery of the French Riviera and the French alps.  Once we realized that our route back to Paris would take us close to the French alps we decided that we should spend a couple of days there and tackle one of the Tour Climbs.  Thankfully it was closer to the end of our trip so I would be recovered from the race.  We decided on doing Alp d'Huez.  It wasn't a long climb but it was definitely challenging. 21 switchbacks in roughly 14km and over 1000m of climbing.  There was no way I was going to do it on my tri bike so we rented these sweet Pinarello Dogma's.  Full carbon and super light. 

We had looked at trying to stay in Alp d'Huez or Le Bourg D'Oisans but every single place was booked.  We had no idea what was happening but we assumed it was some kind of cycling race.  So we ended up in Grenoble, which was about a 50 minute drive away.  When we left Nice to head to Grenoble, G figured that we should go and scope out the bike store in Bourg D'Oisans first and then make our way to Grenoble.  We had roughly a 5 hour drive from Nice to Bourg, most of it on the highway.  French highways are the bomb by the way,there are rest stops, restaurants and gas stations every 15-20km so you don't need to worry about emergency pit stops.  And the scenery was pretty darn nice too given it was a major highway. It's not every day that you drive by old ruins and huge churches as you zoom along the highway.

As we got into the mountains, we knew we were heading into cycling territory as the roads were becoming populated with cyclists.  There were tons of people on the road. We even saw vans with bike racks in them.  We figured they were tour groups of some sort.  The closer we got to Bourg, the more cyclists we saw.  There was even a bike lane painted on the two lane highway.  We were in cycling Nirvana. 

We rolled into Bourg and stopped at a little restaurant to grab a bite to eat.  They even had a "cyclist's menu".  There were tons of people whizzing through town on bikes, along with guys in spandex with shaved legs sitting eating bowls of pasta and drinking espresso.  Go was so excited he could barely contain himself.  We finished our meal and went into the bike shop.  OMG it was JAMMED.  We spent a fair bit of time looking at clothes.  There were a few really nice pieces of kit that I liked but just couldn't justify the $$ on.  I had spent a fair bit of money in Italy and a ton of money at the race expo so I felt the need to restrain myself.  Plus I didn't really NEED anything.  I'm so bloody practical, haha. 

We chatted with the sales woman, confirmed our rental and dropped off our pedals.  I had been concerned about gearing but G checked the bikes out and told me I didn't have to worry about a thing.  The bike had a triple crank set on it, which meant that I'd be able to spin my legs up the mountain without killing myself too much.  Sweet, give me all the granny gears!  We made arrangements to be back for 9:00 am the next day and then headed on to Grenoble. 

The next day we packed up our gear and drove in to Bourg.  We totally lucked out with the forecast,it was supposed to to be sunny and really hot. The day before had been overcast and cool.  We got to the bike shop and the mechanic pulled the bikes out for us and had us take them for a spin.  Mine seemed to be ok but I couldn't really tell.  It was weird to be riding a road bike again, I'm so used to riding my tri bike.  The mechanic said we should go and do a loop of the town to get a warm up in because the climb was only about 1km away.  So we took a spin along this little path around the outskirts of Bourg.  During the ride I realized that my saddle wasn't in the right position. I felt like it was too far back and it wasn't comfortable. So we made o ur way back to the bike shop and and them move my saddle frown a bit.  I got on and started riding.  Much better.  Now I really had a feel for the bike.
Not pictured - the TRIPLE crank set

We followed the stream of cyclists out of town to a roundabout and took the first exit which turned out to be incorrect but a quick u turn rectified that and soon we were heading towards the alp.  There was a line painted across the road that signified where the climb started. It was also where they had the timing chip start timing your climb.  When you rent bikes from this shop, they give you a chip to time your climb.  Apparently this is something they do for all the major Tour climbs.  You get a little chip that you put in your jersey and it starts when you cross the line at the base of the climb and then stops when you cross the line at the top of the climb. The bike shop will then print out a copy of your time when you're back.

I knew the climb was going to be long.  People told me that the first 3-4km was the hardest part.  The grade is steeper here so you're struggling to get into a rhythm.  They weren't kidding.  As soon as the road started to go up my heart rate spiked.  I immediately got into my granny gears and started spinning my legs.  I wanted to take it easy because I knew it was going to be a long way up.  The road was much wider than I had anticipated.  Most of the mountain roads we had been on were insanely narrow.  This was a pleasant surprise. There was plenty of room to pass other cyclists and cars still had a good amount of room to get by.  I tried to keep my breath in check and just focus on the road in front of me.  I didn't want to look up because I knew I had a long way to go and seeing how far would have messed with my head.  So I looked at the road in front of me.  I'd glance up every so often to look out over the guard rail and check the view. 

G was in front of me but seemed to be struggling a bit so I passed him.  I looked down at the speedometer on my bike.  I was chugging along at 10kph.  Sometimes it dropped down to 9, and at one point it got as low as 8 kph.  Those first few kms were a slog, no doubt about it.  What makes the climb difficult from a mental perspective is the fact that all the switchbacks are numbered, starting at 21 and counting down until you cross the top.  And it's not like the switchbacks are close together either.  Fun fact:  each switchback is named after a winner from this stage.  I think at this point each turn has two names on it, although I'm pretty sure Lance Armstrong's has been removed.  I didn't think to check as I was too busy grinding my way up the mountain. 

Once I got through the first few turns, it started to feel a bit easier.  I started seeing 11 kph on and off on my speedometer.  Sometimes I'd get as high as 14 kph in the turns.  Woohoo!  I never got out of my granny gear either, no matter how fast my legs were spinning.  My legs were feeling ok and I wanted to keep it that way.  I chugged along.  I got to a turn, looked around and didn't see G anywhere so I figured I'd better stop.  There were some turns that had a wide shoulder and somewhat flat shoulder that you could pull over and stop on so the next one I came to, I did just that.  I was probably about 1/4 of the way up and I was hot and sweaty.  I made a point to drink something.  I looked back and saw G grinding his way up.  As he got closer, I got back on my bike and started moving.  But not before I snapped this.  It's foggy because I didn't even think to clean my camera lens off.  I didn't realize just how sweaty I was.


G caught up to me and I hopped back on the bike and started grinding away again.  I was loving the granny gears and the bike itself was amazingly nimble and light.  I actually caught and passed two guys.  They caught and passed me when I stopped again a few turns later.  Then I caught them again.  It was like playing leap frog.  I kept pushing on.  I realized once again that G was nowhere to be found so the next opportunity I had to stop, I did so.  It was at turn number 11.  We were just half way up.  Good God.  I thought about turning around right then and there.  I sat there, caught my breath and waited for G.  I didn't feel like I was breathing hard when I was riding but every time I stopped I was gasping for air.  I figured it was probably the altitude.   G caught up to me and we took a breather here for a while.  I had a GU and drank some more fluids.  My legs were just starting to feel a bit tired so I figured I needed a little something.  I'm not sure how long we sat here for, probably a couple of minutes.  G was in a bad position on the bike, he felt like he didn't have any power, thus his slow ascent.  Normally he's way ahead of me on hills, he's a really strong climber.   We hopped back on our bikes and motored on. 

The next few turns went by in a bit of a haze.  I was clearly only focused on the road in front of me because the next time I looked up at anything, I saw I was at turn number 6.  WOOHOO, only 5 left to go!  This definitely spurred me on.  I kept on rolling.  I came to a wide turn and there were a couple of older guys sitting there chilling out and a younger dude who was just getting back on his bike.  I chugged past him.  A few seconds later, he blew by me like I was standing still.  Amazing.

I started to look around a bit more.  I passed a nice little village.  I noticed that there were multiple bus stops on the way up but nothing on the way down.  I came across a photographer at turn 5 but he didn't get me because I was behind another guy.  I passed that dude and then at turn 3, there was another photographer who got me and then tried to hand me the card with the website info to order pics.  I laughed and said I wasn't taking my hand off the bars so he laughed and shoved the card in the back pocket of my jersey.  I was soooo close to the top, I couldn't wait to get off my bike.  The last little bit kicks up again in grade, ever so slightly.  Especially closer to the top.  The last little climb into the village seemed so much tougher.  I pushed it up that last bit and rolled into town.  I kept going until I saw the checkered line painted on the ground.  I figured that had to be where the timing chip stopped recording your time.  I crossed it and rolled the bike to a stop.  My legs were shaking a bit as I got off.  I leaned the bike up against a post and waited for G.  The town was FULL of cyclists all sitting on patios either eating or drinking coffee.


G finally rolled in and we made our way over to a patio for a coffee.  It was hot and sunny out and I easily could have spent the afternoon sitting there people watching.  We had our coffee and then checked out a few of the stores - all filled to the brim with cycling gear.  G bought an Alp d'Huez jersey.  We had seen people taking pics in front of an Alp d'Huez sign so we went and did that of course.


 Then it was time to head back down the mountain.  This is what I was dreading.  I asked G to stay with me.  He started moving and I followed suit, immediately grabbing the brakes and pumping them to keep me from going too fast.  I slowly made my way around the first corner and then stopped, my heart in my chest.  I was petrified.  I told G I didn't think I could do it so we sat there for a bit.  I got back on the bike, rolled around the next couple of turns and pulled into a little park.  I had a bit of a meltdown here and G was clearly frustrated with me.  So, I made the effort to go a little further but with all the cars and speedy cyclists whizzing by me, it was just too much for me to take.  I am not a good descender.  I don't mind going fast in a straight line downhill but add in turns and it makes me very uncomfortable.  This is something I clearly need to work on.  So I made it to this small little village that had a nice little viewing area that overlooked the descent.  I was nervous about being left there but I figured G was a good descender so he should be fine.  He headed down the mountain and I sat there and watched people whizz by.  It was a beautiful sunny day so I sat in the grass and soaked up the sun.  Roughly half an hour later, G rolled up in our rockin' Renault Scenic minivan and rescued me.

We made our way down the mountain and went back to the bike shop to return our bikes and timing chips.  The sales woman we had dealt with the day before downloaded the info from the chips and then says to me, Oh wow, you beat Gary?  I smiled and said Yup, and that was with 3 stops.  The chip time keeps going, even if you stop.  It took me 1 hour and 16 minutes to get up and it took G 1 hour and 20 minutes but to be fair, he stopped to adjust his saddle towards the end of the climb.  Even if I didn't make it down the mountain, it was still a pretty amazing experience.  It really goes to show you how incredible these tour guys are - they RACE up these mountains.  It's one thing to see it on TV but seeing it in real life....WOW.

Of course, I wore my Garmin.  I didn't use my Vectors so I don't have power data for the climb but, I've got everything else.  The route map is what kills me.  Look at the zig zags.





 It was an incredible experience, one that I'd love to do again once I get a bit more comfortable with descending, ha ha.


Friday, July 4, 2014

IM Luxembourg Post Race Ramblings

Anyone that's trained for any sort of endurance event knows the amount of dedication it takes to get to the start line. On race day it's all you...but getting to that point usually requires the support of small army and they all deserve a huge thank you! Its going to sound like an Oscar acceptance speech I'm sure but I feel like sometimes you can't say Thank You enough. So let's get down to it...

Firstly, I'd like to thank my coach, Ming, for pushing me and making me understand what hard work on the bike actually feels like. I have improved in leaps and bounds, not only on the bike but in my running off the bike. I didn't think that was even possible.

Next up, Mike Mandel and the rest of my Real Deal teammates. Mike has been instrumental in helping me get my head in the game. His support and words of wisdom helped calm me down and put me in the right mindset for my first race of the year. Teammates Barbie-Anne Hope, Graeme Rivers and Leanna Lee have also consistently been a source of virtual support as well. As Mike likes to say "Team work makes the dream work" and I couldn't agree more. We wouldn't be able to be a great team without great sponsors as well so a big thank you to all of them!

I know very few endurance athletes who can get through a training cycle without any sort of aches and pains. Scratch that, I don't know any. A key part of an athletes success also lies in the hands of their therapists. I've had so many little issues that could have turned into major issues if I didn't have a great team of therapists in my corner. My ART guy, Peter Lejkowski from Pivot has helped work on my knee and hip issues. Dr. Sarah Mickeler has helped get the knots out with her Graston work and my friend and RMT David Lamy has kept my legs and shoulders in excellent working order.

I also want to thank my friends who kept me company on my training rides when G got sidelined with this injury. David B, Heather and Jordan and David L, you guys all rock. A big thanks to David L for riding the Tour de Grand with me and suffering through a 13km run in the rain with me afterwards. One of the toughest yet most fun days I had this training cycle.

Of course all the folks I work with deserve a huge shout out as well. They always offer me so much encouragement and support. Most of them think I'm a bit nuts but they understand it makes me happy so I've always got their support.

And then there's G. What can I say....? After his crash, I didn't want to go ahead with the race but G wouldn't let me entertain any thoughts of not doing it. He knew that it was just my fears getting the better of me. I know how hard it's been for him to be the spectator these last three races, when he should have been out there with me. He's been a constant source of support and encouragement and he's talked me off the ledge more times than I care to admit. I'm sad that we didn't get to race together but I know that we'll plan another trip like this at some point down the road. G is hoping to do a 70.3 later on this year so I will happily play Sherpa and race photographer.

I've thought a lot about the race in the last week. While I wouldn't change any part of how it all played out, I know there is room for improvement. Now that I seem to have my swim issues somewhat figured out, I should be able to situate myself near the front and swim at the pace I know I'm capable of. I think if I wasn't such a head case in Luxembourg, I probably could have swam about 32 minutes. But, I wanted to put myself in a comfortable position so I stayed at the back. I think that was totally the right call for me. As for the bike, I really only spent 7 weeks seriously working on my cycling. Yes, I rode during my Boston training but it was just to build up endurance. I didn't do any of the really hard work until after Boston. The next time I decide to do a 70.3, there won't be a spring marathon involved, haha. I think if I spend more time doing hard work on the bike, I can only get better. The women that finished in front of me all rode sub 2:50 on the bike. The woman that won my AG rode a 2:35. That's an average of over 34kph. Insane. The crazy part? I beat her out of the water, haha. My position after the swim was the highest it was all day. I came out of the water 8th in my AG, dropped to 12th on the bike and then gained back two spots on the run. I'm beyond thrilled with my race results and even more excited about the potential for improvement.

I mentioned that one of my other goals at the beginning of the year was to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships. Both G and I would have gotten spots here. There ended up being two spots in my AG and they rolled down to 12th position and then they got put up for grabs to anyone in my AG. I opted not to take one because I am far too beat up to continue training at the level that I was.  I need to sort out all my lingering hip and knee issues.  The same roll down happened with G's AG. We were sitting with a bunch of guys from Belgium, 2 of which placed in their respective AG's and the one guy I was speaking with said it wasn't worth it to cross the ocean because it's only a 70.3! It's all about Ironman for those guys. So, we know moving forward that when the World Championships are back on Canadian soil, we may have to go back to Europe to get a spot, which, given how awesome this trip has been, wouldn't be a bad thing!
On that note, I'll leave you with some of my favourite snaps from the last couple of weeks.





Monday, June 30, 2014

Mingsanity, The Final Chapter: IM Luxembourg 70.3 - The Run

I wrote most of this post in my head in the days following the race it's just taken me some time to get it down on virtual paper. Vacationing and blogging don't really mix well. Unless of course you're sitting on a beach in the French Riviera.....
I figured that once I got out onto the run,I was home free. This was going to be the easy part because I can run off the bike no problem. Boy oh boy was I ever wrong. Towards the end of the bike my stomach was feeling a little funny. Nothing major, just a little off. As soon as I got my shoes on, I bolted out of T2 like a bat out of hell. You had to run around the back of transition and then down a road that took you to the main road / bike path where you'd run three loops and then up a small side street into a courtyard where the finish line was. As soon as I came around the back of transition, I saw G standing at the top of that side street. I was so happy to see him. I smiled and waved. I didn't feel like I was running that fast but when I glanced down at my watch I saw 4:15's. I knew that wasn't going to be sustainable. My heart rate was also through the roof. I tried to slow down a bit to bring it down. No go. I hit that first km in 4:19. Oh boy.
I had hoped that by starting the race at 1:00pm that by the time I got out on the run,it wouldn't be so hot. Totally not the case. It was scorching. It was almost 5:00 pm and it felt like it was noon. There wasn't much shade on the run course either. There were some trees towards the back end but I figured I'd probably be running in the sun for the entire first loop as well as most of the second loop. I hoped they had a sponge station.
I cooked along for the first couple of km but by km three my stomach started to really bother me. It was cramping a bit and it just felt gross. I had grabbed 3 gels and brought then with me and I knew I should probably take one but it was the last thing I wanted. I hit the first aid station and took 2 cups of water, one to drink and one to dump down my chest. Then I saw the kids with the sponges and the hose. Oh yeah!!! I ran through the spray of the hose and grabbed two sponges. One I squeezed over my head and the other I shoved down the back of my tri top. That felt so much better. I felt like my energy was flagging a bit but I pushed on, despite the unsettled feeling in my stomach. I was passing a lot of guys and the occasional woman which kept me motivated to keep pushing. Running back towards transition was nicer as you actually had some shade but it was ever so slightly up hill, which was a bit of an energy suck. Once you closer to transition to what the race organizers called "The Iron Mile" the crowds got bigger and the noise level increased substantially. This part of the course was basically outdoor bars so pretty much all the spectators were drinking and cheering people on. At some points they were lining the road like in the Tour de France, it was crazy. It gave me the energy boost I needed to go and collect my first wristband. Because the run course was three loops, they gave you a different colour bracelet at the end of each loop so it was easy for race officials to see where you were at.
I got my first wristband and headed out onto the second loop. I was really starting to feel rough. The thought of having to get through this loop and one more was incredibly unappealing. I just wanted to walk. I thought about walking almost constantly for the next couple of km. I told myself I would walk through the aid station when I got there and that's exactly what I did. As soon as I rolled into the aid station I grabbed a water. I was dying. I felt totally gassed. I needed something but I really couldn't face a gel. Then I saw it. It was like a beacon calling to me. Rows and rows of it. Cups of flat Coke. I grabbed one and gulped it down. OMG. It was like food from the Gods. It was exactly what I needed. A few minutes later I was flying along the run course. I picked off a girl with the same coloured wristband as me. Yes!! Before I knew it I was at the turnaround. My game plan was now going to revolve around fueling with Coke. It didn't upset my stomach and it gave me the energy I clearly needed. Nothing like caffeine and sugar to give you the kick in your pants that you need!!
I got to the next aid station and had another cup of water and a Coke. I ran through the spray and grabbed another two sponges. I was soaking wet but at least I felt cool. The sun was still pretty strong on some parts of the run course. I shouldn't have been surprised given that it didn't really get dark until about 10:30 pm! I went through waves of feeling great and then feeling crappy. The sugar high would wear off and I'd start to suffer. I wished the aid stations were a little closer together. I went through the second loop in a bit of a haze. All I could think about was how much I wanted to stop. I was tired and I was starting to feel sore. Mentally I was checking out. I had to get my head back in the game or else I was going to start walking. I started to focus on people in front of me, trying to figure out who I could catch. I'd pick a person and will myself forward. I told myself the only time I'd allow myself to stop was at the aid station. There were only two on the course so that meant I could stop twice. That was going to have to be enough. Much like my Ironman marathons, my mantra became just make it to the next aid station. I got to the second aid station and came to a full stop. I grabbed a cup of water and two cups of coke. I walked over to the table with the oranges and had a slice. I walked over to the kids with the hose and had them spray me. I grabbed another sponge and tossed my old one. Then I went to the curb to stretch my hamstrings an ship which were both starting to hurt. I could have parked myself on the curb and taken a nice little break. I think I was probably here for at least a minute if not longer. Then a girl that I had passed earlier ran by as I was stretching and that was motivation for me to get my ass in gear and go.
As I ran towards the wristband check to get my third and final wristband, I started to pick up speed. I don't know if it was the crowd, or the thought that I only had another 7km to go. Less than 35 minutes at my current pace. I could suffer through 35 minutes. I had caught the girl that passed me and I was reeling in another that also had the same amount of wristbands that I had. I didn't feel like I was moving quickly but I guess I was. I was actually passing some guys. Which wasn't difficult given that 85% of the participants were men! It still made me feel good to actually pass people, especially on my last loop. I was coming up on the first aid station and stopped and walked through it, grabbing a coke, water and a sponge on my way through. I glanced at my Garmin. I had no idea what the time of day was, I could only guess. I had estimated that I'd finish around 6:15-6:30 depending on how my day went. I tried to scroll through my Garmin to see if it would give me an overall time but in my current state, anything more than scrolling through the screens was going to require more effort than I was capable of physically and mentally so I put it back to the original screen and kept going.
The timing on the run course seemed to be off as did the distance. I didn't realize that until the second loop. It could have been because I was running loops but the closer I got to finishing, the more obvious it became. My Garmin hit 19km and I was telling myself that I only had 2km left. Less than 10 minutes at my current pace. The next thing I knew, I was running through the IronMile and I could see the turn off to the finishing chute. I ran past the wristband crew and flashed my wrists and they pointed me to the finishing chute. I almost started crying right then and there. I was hurting so much. I made the turn down the side street and then took the turn into the finishing chute like a woman possessed. I was crying and laughing all at the same time. The closer I got to the finish line, the bigger my grin got. I saw G within meters of finishing and he caught my absolute favourite race picture ever. Even the official race pics aren't this good!
I didn't even have the where-with-all to look at the clock as I passed under the finish line. I didn't really care, I was just happy to be done. I hobbled over to a volunteer and he congratulated me and handed me my medal and I got a bottle of water and went off in search of G. I found him quickly and he was grinning from ear to ear. I ran over to him and hugged him, breaking into tears in the process. That was so hard.... Then G asked me if I saw my finishing time. I said no and then he told me: You finished in 5:09:57. You were 10th in your age group.
Holy crap. And he told me I ran a 1:35 half. I can remember when running a regular 1:35 half was a dream for me, never mind running it after a 90km bike ride and a 2km swim!
My goal at the beginning of all this was to break 5:30. Then when I started doing the math, I figured 5:15 would be possible. If I had a REALLY good day then maybe I might even break 5:00 hours. But if I came in between 5:00-5:15 I'd be a happy camper. And a happy camper I was. When I started this journey, I was excited by the possibilities. I wanted to be able to race a half well. I can honestly say I gave it my all. In the days that followed the race, I thought about what I'd do differently, if anything, and you know what? I wouldn't change a thing.
There is a small army of people to thank and I have several post race thoughts that have been running through my head so there will be another post later on this week. Perhaps from the French Alps....
I hope everyone back home is enjoying their Canada Day long weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mingsanity, The Final Chapter: IM Luxembourg 70.3 - The Bike

The Bike:

Having ridden the first bit of the course as well as the first climb and having driven the rest made me feel a bit more comfortable about what I had gotten myself into. Yes there were a couple of good climbs but nothing horrible. The first 38km of the race was pretty much pancake flat but man oh man was it ever windy. I wanted to be conservative along here and resist the urge to hammer it. It was so tempting, the road was so nice. The wind made it difficult to keep up a really good speed - at some points I was comfortably doing 35 kph and staying within my goal wattage but when that wind came up, I was knocked back down to about 31 kph. Still not too bad. I knew I'd be able to bank some time on the way back as the wind would be at my back heading towards the climb in Greiveldange. I flew along the river, in my aero bars, making sure I drank regularly. I stuck to my fueling plan of one GU roctane every half an hour. It was quite hot on the bike course, even with the wind. I was glad I opted to down a couple of salt tablets before the swim start. As soon as I started riding, I started smiling and I don't think that smile ever really left my face for the entire ride. There were all sorts of people in the little towns that we rode through, all of them cheering or waving cowbells. The turn around in Grevenmacher was quite technical with lots of twists and turns but once we got back out onto the main road, it was smooth sailing. The wind was actually at my back almost all the way to the climb. The climb into Greiveldange was a long grinder, probably just over 1km and I spun my legs up it. I caught one woman on the way up.

But like everything that goes up, it must come down and the descent into the next little town was a bit harrowing, especially since there was a sharp turn on cobblestones at the bottom of it. I suck at descending most days so my brakes got a good workout here. I didn't think we'd start climbing right away again but we did. Another long grinder of a climb. This one was longer than the other climb and somehow we were riding into the wind. Awesome. I was coming up to the half way mark and figured I'd see some kind of timing mat. Nope. So I glanced down at my watch and saw 1:27 and change. Not bad. I had hoped to be a bit faster but the two climbs really slowed me down. I knew there wasn't much more in the way of long climbs so I hoped to be able to pick up some speed in the second half of the course.

I got to the top of that second grinder and expected a downhill but that didn't really happen. We were heading into farm country. We went through another little town so there we're some more slight twists and turns. Then it was back into farmland. This was where we got some awesome little sections of rollers and false flats. We then rolled into another small town that I remember driving through; Moutfort. I knew after this town we'd have some good sections of country road before we hit Syren and another little climb. I figured we'd ride along country roads but no, there was a Marshall directing us to get onto this random path. Ok then. I rode through this tree lined path and then came out to a field. It was super fast through here so I hammered along. I was singing the chorus to Rush's "The Enemy Within" OUT LOUD as I rode along:

I'm not giving in to security under pressure, I'm not giving up on the promise of adventure, I'm not giving up on implausible dreams, experience to extremes....experience to extremes.

To You, is it movement or is it action? Is it contact or just reaction, and you....revolution or just resistance, yeah you! It takes a little more persistence to get up and go the distance...

I was singing out loud and grinning like an idiot, I was having so much fun. I had conquered the swim and was feeling really good on the bike. The scenery was beautiful and it was a glorious day, I couldn't really ask for anything else.

The bike path ended in Syren and we made our way through here quite quickly. It was basically ride into the town and climb the nasty little hill there and get back out onto country roads again. I was riding with two other women through here, one if whom I passed on the climb. Yes! It wasn't easy to pass folks here, there were a LOT of very strong female riders. I pushed up the climb and rounded the bend to come out onto another country road when all of a sudden I heard my name. What the..!? I look over to see G sitting there with his road bike and his iPhone out trying to get a picture of me. I was already smiling but seeing him made me smile more and I yelled "see,I'm smiling" as I passed him. His response was classic G: yes, I see, now ride faster!

Gotta love him. He even got a few pics. Looks like someone could probably get a little more aero...

Once we left Syren, we got back onto a smaller road that went through farmers fields. This road was absolutely spectacular. It was mostly flat with a few small rollers and then some really good long descents. I flew along here, it was awesome. There were some pretty decent crosswinds that popped up every so often which kept me on my toes. I still felt pretty strong and I think my fuelling plan was working perfectly. From Syren we went through Filsdorf, still flying along. I couldn't get over how awesome the roads were that we were riding on. From the course descriptions that I had read, I knew that there wasn't going to be another climb until we were leaving Mondorf-Les-Bains so I had a bit of time to enjoy all this free speed. The crazy part was that there were guys passing me like I was standing still. Amazing.

I passed the Casino and the aid station in Mondorf-Les-Bains and knew that I had just over 20km left. I told myself 40 minutes max. I couldn't believe I was almost finished the bike course. We wound our way through the town and then I remembered we were coming to that steep descent with the hard right turn. I started to slow down. Sure enough, as I turned the corner the road started to drop. Oh boy. I rode the brakes and went over to the right. More guys were whizzing by me and taking that turn at almost full speed. I went squeaking around the bend, riding my brakes. As soon as we made that turn, the roads changed. At that point I knew we were in France. I remember one of the race reports had said that the quality of the roads wasn't that great in France...he wasn't kidding. It was chip seal. Ugh. Luckily we weren't on here for too long. The course went along country roads again and then made its way into the tiny town of Contz-Les-Bains. There was a decent sized group of spectators hanging out at a cafe, all ready to make some noise for the riders coming through. They had cowbells and were cheering for every rider that went by. I came rolling in and waved my arms in the air. That drew a huge cheer from the crowd and had me grinning from ear to ear one again. We came down a road and started to snake our way along the river. I was getting closer. Before I knew it we were in Schengen. I had less than 15km left. I was starting to feel a little mentally fatigued. I was almost ready to be off my bike.

I had ridden this part of the course a few days earlier with G so I knew exactly what to expect. Completely pancake flat. And into the wind once again. Awesome. I hit the 80km mark,glanced at my watch and did the math. I started to push the pace. There was no way I was going to make my 2:50 time goal but there was a good chance I'd come in sub 2:55. I was riding just above my prescribed watts for the last 10km. That probably wasn't the smartest thing but I just wanted to be done. I passed a few more ladies along here. Woohoo! My Garmin clicked over to 90km. Still no turn off. What? A few seconds later I saw it. Yessss.

Bike time: 2:53 and change for 90.1km

T2:

This went a little more smoothly than T1 did. My spot was right by the bike exit so as soon as I got in, I racked Scotty and started running. It probably would have been smart of me to take my cycling shoes off but I wasn't thinking. I found my red transition bag right away and ran into the tent. I grabbed my running shoes and socks and then dumped my helmet and shoes in the bag. I slathered my feet with Lush's Ultra Balm, pulled on my socks and shoes and headed out for my favourite part of any triathlon....the run.

Stay tuned for the final leg....we're heading out for dinner.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mingsanity, The Final Chapter: IM 70.3 Luxembourg - Preamble and The Swim

I don't even know where to begin. Those of you that have been reading along for a while know that I was on the fence about whether or not I was actually going to do this race after G had his crash. I didn't want to race without him out there. I know how hard it's been for him to sit on the sidelines and watch. At one point part of me would have been quite happy to sit there with him and spectate. In fact right up to race day I was on the fence, more so from fear than anything else. My mind really is my worst enemy sometimes. But, I went through the motions and tried my best to reframe my thoughts to a more positive mindset. Thanks to some great tips from my pro star friend Linnea, I went into the race feeling somewhat relaxed and even, dare I say it, a bit excited. I was going to be racing in Europe once again, in the only race on the Ironman circuit that goes through three different countries. I couldn't pass up on the opportunity. And I wanted to see what I'd be capable of after my 6 months of training.

When I heard that this race started at 1:00 pm, I was a little put off but in retrospect, the late start was fabulous. It meant that you got to sleep in a bit and not have to wake up to an alarm at some ungodly hour of the morning. It also meant that you didn't have to force yourself to get to bed early and then lie there watching the clock until you fell into a restless sleep. I went to bed at midnight (crazy talk right there!) and woke up just after 8 am. Transition opened at 11:30 so I had plenty of time to eat breakfast, have a coffee, relax and get down to the race site. It was all very civilized, which also helped keep me fairly calm. We made it down to Remich in about 25 minutes and G dropped me off at transition and went to find parking. I had checked my bike and transition bags the day before so I didn't have the usual huge pile of stuff with me.


I found my bike, filled up my aero bottle and checked my tires and brakes. Everything was a-ok. I went and double checked my racked transition bags and then made my way out of transition to the "chill out garden" (I kid you not). I met G at the exit of transition and he accompanied me into the Chill Out garden. He had picked up his race package so he had a wristband and could go wherever I went. I was SO thankful for that. Having him there really helped to keep me calm. The Chill Out Garden was located at an outdoor swimming pool so that's where we did our warm up. It was strange swimming in a pool in a wetsuit but it gave me the opportunity to get a really good warm up in. I knew once I got down to the water, I wouldn't have time for a good warm up so I used my time wisely at the pool and practiced my breathing technique. Breathe was the word of the day for me. I get so nervous that I forget to do just that sometimes.

Before I knew it, they were calling the pink caps down to the water. It was almost GO time. G and I walked towards the river chatting away. We started talking to another woman who was from Canada but now lived in the UK - small world! I got my customary good luck kiss and as I walked away G said "I don't want to see any stink face today, only smiles." That made me laugh out loud and I promised I would do my best to smile all day. I wandered off to join the ladies as we made our way down the ramp into the Moselle River.

The Swim

This was clearly the part I was most apprehensive about. But once I got down to the River, I was actually a bit excited. The river was probably only about 400m max across, it was so narrow. You could swim close to shore for the first half of the loop, which was amazing because the shoreline was filled with spectators. I positioned myself at the back of the pack towards the shoreline and waited for the horn to go off. There was a countdown and all the women started cheering. I remember just treading water and grinning like an idiot. Nerves be damned. The next thing I knew, it was go time. I hit start on my Garmin and sat there for a few seconds then I started going. The pack was moving at a pretty good pace but I still caught some feet fairly quickly. I made my way closer to the shore and was completely gob smacked by the sheer amount of spectators. It was awesome! I could hear music and cheering. I found a good spot and got into a groove. I made sure I exhaled into the water as soon as I put my face in. I didn't sight at all for the first while as I didn't really have to, I just followe the crowd. I got a little tangled up with some ladies and could feel the panic rise and I just focused in my breathing. I finally noticed a buoy so I remembered what Linnea told me and I started counting my strokes until the next buoy. That became my game. 101 strokes, 87 strokes, 110 strokes...I felt pretty good in that first stretch and before I knew it, we had hit the turnaround. The way back was apparently into the current but I didn't notice any difference in my effort. If anything I felt like I was swimming better. I had moved away from the crowd and was a bit wide. I am pretty sure I was swimming in the German part of the river haha. I corrected that and moved closer to the pack. I didn't have anyone around me so I made sure to sight every so often. The big yellow buoy was getting closer by the minute and I was still feeling really good. I found a pair of feet to draft off of for a bit as my shoulders were starting to tire just a little. The next thing I knew we were turning around the final buoy and heading back to the exit ramp. I got a bit tangled up with a few girls and that landed me a swift kick in the jaw. Which made me take in a huge gulp of water. There was a bit of panic but I recovered quickly and focused on getting towards that swim exit. There were volunteers pulling folks out of the water so the minute I stepped onto the ramp, I had someone pulling me up. I thanked him and started running. I glanced down at my watch and grinned. Then I heard G yell my name, which made me smile even more. I waved and ran into transition.

Swim time: 34:23 - I had hoped for around 35 minutes so to come in faster than that, even with my slower start = super awesome!

T1:

This was a bit of a gong show as you had to fuss with getting stuff out of your bag out and putting your wetsuit in. I think my first transition was just over 3.5 minutes. And that was even with the visor on my aero helmet popping out. Annoying!! I grabbed Scotty and we were off on our 90km adventure.

To be continued......I'm heading out for some gelato.