Thursday, June 28, 2012

What I Did 2 Hours After I Finished IMMT 70.3

So I cross the finish line, my sister says, "Great job! And guess what? We are going ziplinging!"
Me: "But......I just raced for 5 legs are....oh fuck it, let's go! We are just flying through the trees just sitting down, right?"
Her: "Oh! We kinda sorta need to hike up to the top of the resort, then hike up a trail, then hike up a road..."
Me: "But......I just raced for 5 legs are....oh fuck it, let's go!"

And we trudged alllllllll the way up to the ziplining place, or De Foret de Tarzan.

We check in, and the woman explains to us that there are four sections, with the third being physically intensive:
Check in lady: "Welcome! You are gonna have....wait! Did you just do the Ironman?"
Me: "Haha! Yep! What's so hard about flying through some trees?"
Check in lady: "Uuuuuhhhhh, some of this stuff is pretty physically intense!"
My sister: "You gonna be alright? I mean, you just did race 5 hours....."
Me: "Yes, I JUST DID race 5 hours legs are....oh fuck it, let's go!"

(Note to sister is a slave driver)

First, they have you do a test obstacle plus mini zip line to learn how to clip and unclip properly with the carabiners and zip line pulley.

Our guide: "Welcome! Let's get you fit with a harness......wait! Did you just do the Ironman?"
Me: "Haha! Yeah, I did"
Our Guide: "You know, some of this is pretty physically intense right?"
Me: "So I heard...."

And he shows us how to harness up, and use the tools and demonstrates the test obstacle. Then we go!

My sister is a natural (and she didn't just race for 5 hours!!!)

Me? I have no grace.....


But we had SO MUCH FUN!!!! Yes, it was challenging, yes I was nearly bonking and my muscles were screaming at me.....but IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!! Here are a smattering of pictures my sister took of our experience:

I'm on the right trying to get through a ring and around boards

60 feet up looking down!

And finally, one of the last zip lines, which I did VERY well this time:

So two hours later, sometimes dangling with literally hanging onto a cable and once hugging a tree for dear life because you are 60 feet above the ground and a gust of wind is swinging the tree back and forth!

Jeff, Mandy, Kevin - Guess what we are doing Post Ironman in August!!! As long as we all go sub 8, more like sub 7:45, we should have time to get up there and do the course before they close. Sound good? ;)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant 70.3 Race Report

This race is epic,

There, I used the "E" word.

But I can't honestly think of a better word to describe the experience of this race. The resort is top notch. The 1500 volunteers to 2100 racers is top notch. It is as if the race organization is doing EVERYTHING for you over the weekend, minus doing the physical part of the race for you.

So, what I am getting at, is that I HIGHLY recommend this race!! They have poutine for Christ's sake! I am giving this race an A+++++ for the organization and just shear confidence you have in everything they do. It is as if they have been running this race for 20 years. Nope, they have been doing this race for exactly 1 day.

This race was my 8th 70.3. I love the distance, and it sometimes loves me back. Today was no exception, other than the end of the run. But what a bike and course!! OH MY!!! I have a new "top favorite" bike course now.

The Nitty Gritties:
Total Time: 4:54:42
Overall Placing: 171/2068 (top 8.26%!!!)
Age Group Placing: 25/136 (top 18.3 %)
New PR by:  5 mins, 8 secs
Satisfaction level. EXCELLENT!

Pre race:
I stayed in the resort. If I threw a rock hard enough, I might be able to hit transition with it. So no drive to the race site = sleeping in till 5! Even with that, I was standing in transition staring at my bike thinking, "Uuuuuuuhhhhh, this is weird I have nothing to do!"

And it was cold. 47 degrees out, and it was a good 10 min walk to the swim start. So I put on my wetsuit up to my waist and wore my long sleeve shirt and hoofed it over. Even on the beach, the sand was freezing cold. The water temp was in the low 70's, so it was one of those cases where just standing in the water warmed you.

While warming up, waiting for the race to start, they play the Canadian and American national anthems, and suddenly they say, "look up!" We see this:

The "Snowbirds"
 And we saw it 3 times!!!! How can any race possible top this off?!?! Basically the race director sent a message to all other races in the northeast area: WE HAVE THE BEST RACE IN TOWN. WATCH OUT!!!

Placid might need the Blue Angels.....just saying...

The Swim: 32:04
This is my fourth tri of the year, and I usually only do 4 a year, and the fact that it is only the end of June shows that I have done three of them this month alone, so I have gotten pretty used to the swim start, and it showed today. 32 mins?!?!?

My sister and I
The thing about this lake is this: It is shallow, warm, and super duper crystal clear. It is SO easy to draft off people in this race, which is exactly what I did till about halfway through the swim when my leader faded and I took off. I apologize to the wave ahead of me! I didn't mean to trounce some of you!

Courtesy of Tremblant
The course is cool. You can't see the swim finish, because its on the other side of this peninsula, which you swim around. It was well marked, and the only time the sun is in your eyes is if you are breathing to your right on the outstretch and when you swim the cross stretch. But still, wasn't bad at all!

This was a new 1.2 mile swim PR by about 90+ seconds. I was off to a good start! And I didn't even realize it at the time.

T1: 4:13
Unfortunately it is a loooooooooong run from the swim exit to transition, hence the long T1 time. Maybe as long as Placid? Felt more like NYC Olympic. It woke my legs up! I got my suit peeled, then carried it as I ran. As I was starting my run, I saw my sister, asked her what my time was or what time it was, she didn't know, but another spectator yelled out "7:41!" and I started at 7:10, so I figured I put up a low 30's.

They have VERY soft carpet for the bulk of this transition run, thank god!

In transition itself, I made sure to be calm and relaxed and it worked. Everything went on flawlessly, and I didn't even lose my balance. I redeemed myself after the last race!

The Bike: 2:28:59
Like that time? Can you explain how I did it? In May I did 2:39 at MonticelloMan. 10 mins faster on a hillier course in 6 weeks? YES PLEASE!!!

Other than biking the Lac Superior out and back, and driving the rest of the course (minus into town) on Saturday, it was a new to me course. I felt like I killed this course, and then some!!!!

I also hit the lap button every chance I could get for recon, not only for myself for August, but also for you guys! Aren't I nice. This is how I broke the course up, and it went by quickly.

Bike Elevation: 2664 feet
Bike Out > Start of 117 (Monte Ryan) - 6.11 miles, 16:20, 22. 5mph avg, 241 watts avg
With a 272 elevation gain to 315 foot loss, this was a net downhill, and great way to start out the bike. There are still some ups that will slow you down, but you can cruise this first section quickly and with ease. The turn to get onto 117 was funny: We rode through the parking lot of McDonald's and a Tim Horton's! What an aid station that could have been!!

Out section of 117 - 12.04 miles, 31:31, 22.9 mph avg, 235 watts avg
As soon as you get onto 117, you start climbing, and slowly. Its one of many of those long slow gradual climbs where you get consistent and hold it. Nothing too bad, just a bit of a grind. After two or three of these LARGE rollers, you bomb down "The Hill", as I call it. Hit 40mph on the way down just coasting. Wished I had a standard crank to power a bit more and not spin out as fast, but whatever, I took the break in peddling.

Then you hit the flats of 117!. There was NO wind and I got consistent and held it.

Back section of 117 - 12.10 miles. 32:28, 22/4 mph avg, 235 watts avg
I was convinced that I was going to have a headwind after turning. Nope! ZERO wind that day, which is strange because it is SO wide open out there! Prolly just good luck for the day?

Now this section in the half is ok to burn up, but in August? TAKE THIS WHOLE ROUTE 117 SECTION EASY!!! I can already see it now. People will be FLYING on this out and back, hammering back up "The Hill" (I big ringed it for this race, but will be small ringing it in August) not realizing they are mortally wounding themselves. By the time they hit this hill on lap #2, its gonna be a death march with another 50K of biking to go, not to mention a marathon to run.

"The Hill" I think is the biggest tactical hill of the entire course. This hill will either ruin your day, or just sorta slow you down. Take your pick! I say be be conservative on this hill on both loops. I think this hill is way harder than the stair steppers on the Lac Superior out and back because with those, there are breaks in between. This is literally 1.5 miles, while not long, of a gradual grind that is at "that right annoying" pitch.

So I can already forsee GIANT draft packs in August on 117. There just won't be enough time and elevation to break everyone up. Because I was at the front of the pack on the bike, we were stretched thin and it was never an issue. When the masses were going in the opposite direction, there was a LOT of congestion. I am sure nobody was blatantly drafting, its just that through shear physics, people are going to bunch up, especially for all swimmers in the 1:05-1:15 range. Nothing can be done about it. Just watch out for the race officials!

Out and back of Mont Tremblant Village- 4.62 miles, 12:12, 22.8 mph avg, 235 watts avg
I never previewed this section, and just figured it was flat. Nope! It is uphill through town! With a tiny climb that will you get out of the saddle by the turn. Fortunately you zoom back downhill through town. It was an alright section. It had the worst pavement of the entire course, and there was some fan support, but nothing like at the resort.

Monte Ryan back to Resort - 5.66 miles, 15:58, 21.3 mph avg, 231 watts avg
Overall net uphill, but there are still some downhill sections. Funny that I averaged lower watts going UP this section than down it. Guess I was pushing it a bit hard on way out. Oops! I was exited! Haha!

Out section to Lac Superior - 6.88 miles, 21:26, 19.3 mph avg, 241 watts avg
Looking at my speed, this was by far the slowest portion of the course, and on paper the hilliest. I agree with that, but the hills aren't bad! You get LOTS of breaks between each little up. Nothing is too long, but that one section is just steep enough to warrant small ringing it. I am glad I did. And! I am glad I biked this section. There are still some fast downs on this section too, and by far the most fun of the entire course

Back to transition - 7.02 miles, 18:49, 22.4 mph avg, 213 watts avg
Obviously the lowest wattage section because of the net downhill. You can stay in aero the entire time on the downhills. There aren't any twisty turns that will send you flying. I actually passed two pros on this section! But I think they were having a bad day because they weren't really working it, so I don't really count it as "Yeah, I burned some pros, I am awesome."....haha! Hope they were able to finish and rest up.

Then you come into transition. PLENTY of space to get out of your shoes on the bike and do a flying dismount.

This is now my favorite bike course! Flat, no wind (hopefully this will be the case in August), scenic, and did I say FAST? This course is WAY easier than Lake Placid! It actually reminds me of Timberman in a lot of ways. Climbing plus the fast and flat out and back section. Even the lake swim was similar to Timberman.

I basically have a new FTP in the range of 274 - 290 watts. Helllooooooo!!!!

(Click here for Garmin Bike file)

T2: 1:47
Just a normal T2. Nothing special happened other than entering it in 12th place in my age group! YEAH!!!

I don't need ground to run.

View from most of my competition. Ha! Until that run....

The Run: 1:47:39
Weeelllll, there always needs to be one bad part of a race, and this leg was it. In fact, I was doing pretty well until the halfway point when things started to deteriorate, and deteriorate, until the very end where I just wanted to stop. Here are my splits so you can see why:
Mile 1: 7:31
Mile 2: 7:53
Mile 3: 7:41
Mile 4: 7:41
Mile 5: 7:48
Mile 6: 7:55
Mile 7: 7:47
Mile 8: 8:11 (things died here)
Mile 9: 8:27
Mile 10: 8:26
Mile 11: 8:43
Mile 12: 9:03
Mile 13: 9:47 (ouch!!!!)

And HR graph to also see why:
You can see where I was falling off....
I finished the swim in 26th, finished the bike in 12th, finished the run in 25th. Haha!

Sooooooo, this is a classic case of not eating enough. I should have taken a Gu at the start of the run, and every 45 mins. I only took two small swigs of my leftover EFS on the run, and that was at 45 mins and with 2K left to go. NOT enough. I was drinking liquids, just no food. It wasn't a "couldn't stomach it" issue, it was a "I feel fine issue" and then WHAM! Game over. Damage was already done. Ooops!!

So for the run itself, the course is a gigantic out and back, with one mini out and back along the way:

I would say you can break it up into 4 parts: Transition to the gravel path. The gravel path out. The gravel path back. Back to Transition.

From transition out to the gravel path is 5K. Simple. But! Its mostly uphill. Those ups are at that stubborn pitch that.just.hurts. But your legs are fresh(er) and its not so terrible, just stick with it.

The gravel path section is physically the easiest, but mentally the hardest. It is flat, but half unshaded, half shaded, but DEAD QUIET. Other than other runners (nobody is talking) there is nothing out there and the path is straight as an arrow. I liken it to "The Labyrinth" at the beginning when she is traveling through the brick sided alley where there is no end in sight and the catepillar asks her in for Tea, but otherwise gives her a way out. Unfortunately there is NO way out, other than to keep running.

Run Elevation. 933 feet
Once off the gravel path, I was ready to be done. I was falling apart rapidly at this point and not moving fast downhills because my legs were so shot from not eating enough. I was really disappointed in myself for making this critical mistake. I even had two Gu's on me which would have TOTALLY helped me along. I just wasn't comprehending the situation! GAAAHHHH!!!! Oh well, glad it happened here rather than in August (as long as I don't make the mistake again!)

Genine saw me somewhere near the finish. I was in such Zombie mode that I couldn't believe she spotted me!

(Click here for Garmin Run file)

The Finish: 4:54:42
You run through the bottom half of the resort through a gated alley. It was sooooo cool! Spectators going nuts cheering you on! Unfortunately I was so dead and wanting to die that I just couldn't smile. I was at zero energy and still facing. Good thing it is all downhill!!!

After crossing the finish (and wanting to retire from the sport) the medical dude grabbed right onto me and was like, "Are you alright?" because I was walking funny. I responded with, "I am just REALLY hungry, and I need to eat some poutine." He said, "Eh, you are fine. Go eat!"

I was soooooo hungry! My sister was right there (she snapped all of the AWESOME pictures above!) and we went straight to Smokie's and got the traditional and soda. My first soda in a loooooong time too.

OMG Poutine is the literally the BEST post race food ever. Loaded with salt, more salt, fat, carbs, and cheese curds and gravy all smothered together. I felt like a brand new person after finishing!!

After eating, I sat down for a bit, then headed back to the finish to see in Matt and his wife, Genine. Both had a great day as well!!! The first words out of Genine's mouth where: "Matt, we ARE coming back for this race next year!"


That night we all celebrated over amazing sushi, beer, and ice cream. Perfect post race!

OMG Our legs were SO sore!!!
Final thoughts:
I have now shaved an hour off of my 70.3 time in just under three years. I like improvements like this! I love the distance, as I have done this distance the most out of any other distance in the sport. I will continue with more and more 70.3's in the future for sure, and even have thoughts about repeating this race again. That bike course is SO awesome that it is addicting. Not to mention the post race poutine ;)

For those of you racing in August, I hope this aids you in your final 8 weeks of training. And for those of you considering doing the 70.3 or 140.6, you can't go wrong doing this race! Beautiful venue in a small village with every kind of restaurant with shopping non tri-related things to do.

Shoot me any quesitons you have via a comment or email.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mont Tremblant 70.3, Day 2

What a day! I basically went non stop (in a sort of kinda easy way) from start to end. Mostly wear myself out so I could go to bed and actually sleep. Funny what happens when you don't seriously workout for three days after and already easy week. YOU GET FULL QUICKER! And you don't get as tired.

Woke up @ 7, met up with Matt and Genine and we did a quick dip in Lake Tremblant. I had convinced myself that the lake was gonna be an ice bath. Hey! Its Canada. Everyone lives in igloos, right? Boy was I wrong (Canadians do NOT live in Igloos)......the lake was WARM, SHALLOW, and CLEAR! Like, super clear that you can see everything below you, and THAT FREAKS ME OUT!!!

Swim Start

Swim Exit
2nd half of the swim

 I was drafting off of Matt for a bit, and he was about three feet in front of me, and I could see his feet SO CLEAR. I don't like to see ANYTHING in front of me in a swim, other than cloudy feet and a swim finish.

Then I hopped onto the bike for 45 mins. I did the out and back stretch up towards Lac Superior, also known as the "hilly section" of the course. I kept riding, looking at my time out there, knowing it was only like 6 miles thinking, "Where the hell is this wall of a hill that is 12%?!?!"

It never came. I went up two stairclimbers, but they were a joke. That elevation profile that showed off the 12% pitch totally got everyone scared for NO reason! Maybe there is a 12% pitch for like 10 feet? I got so confused, but mostly liberated when I got to the turn and was like, "That was nothing! And my legs will be totally revved when I do hit these.:

Its really not that bad!!!
So just toodling around, I did the out and back in 43 mins, 24 out, 19 back. We will see what I do race wise tomorrow. Gonna hit the lap button on each leg and GPS it.

Bike Turn

Then we hopped into my car and drove the entire course, minus the out and back through the village of Mont Tremblant. Even though the hills aren't as steep, Monte Ryan has a few good ups, but I think the BIGGEST ups and downs are on the 117 section. After Monte Ryan you start to climb and hills are not steep, but a long gradual pitch that will slow you down and make you grind it out. Then you bomb down onto some flats for a good portion.

That 1.5 mile climb near the halfway mark. (This does not include the out and back of town)
But! You gotta turn around and head back up that big bomb of a hill. I think going back up this on the return is where people will burn a match, especially in the 140.6 in August. Its gonna hurt a lot more the 2nd time!

So I would compare this bike course to Timberman. Maybe a bit more climbing, but somewhat similar. Lots of opportunities to get consistent and stay consistent. Its funny how the course is split between riding between trees on windy roads and short but steep climbs to being out in this wide open vast space with long gradual climbs. Quite a contrast!

I didn't preview any of the run. It will be a blind effort. I figure I have blindly ran enough courses that what's another 13.1?

Here is a smattering of today's photos. Enjoy!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mont Tremblant 70.3, Day #1

Drove up to Mont Tremblant today. It took a full 8 hours and change from outside of NYC. I could have done it in 7 (boy does this bring out the triathlete in me....) if I hadn't gotten stuck in Montreal traffic for over an hour. (Apparently there is NO easy way to get through Montreal and traffic is just the name of the game no matter what day/time of day. Sigh...)

Before crossing the border. I forgot to sign my passport. They still let me through.
 SO! I arrived and WOW! I have only explored the inner core of the resort but so far I AM IMPRESSED!!! Got checked in, made sure to get covered parking (which is gauranteed parking.....apparently come Sunday parking is gonna be as rare as a rainbow shitting unicorn). Got checked in, made my obligatory $200+ donation to the Ironman Store, wandered a tad, then met Matt and his wife, Genine for dinner. They arrived a day sooner so they toured me around after dinner the top part of the resort.

We couldn't stop remarking at the number of Ironman signs plastered all over the ENTIRE resort. They are REALLY embracing this race in the resort. There are SO MANY shops and restaurants in this little resort town. Any kind of food fare you want, they have it.

As for my hotel? It is literally a stone's throw away from the finish line and transition. NO portopotties for this guy race morning!!!

Still taking in Quebec. I knew that French was the language, but to find an English sign is also rare. Fortunately everyone speaks English and I know just enough French to ask "how much" something is and where I can find a toilet. Oh! I also know how to order a beer on tap, which is VERY important.

Not gonna go into too much detail. I feel like I am in Europe, minus the jetlag and aweful plane ride. I will just splatter you with random photos of the resort town instead. Enjoy!

Kevin Neumann's REQUIRED post race food joint. He badly is wanting the "street meat"

The stage

Finish line. You have to run UP a ramp?


This is looking up that hill. We don't run up or down it, thank god!!!

Just shows how European this resort looks

The bottom of the resort town

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Just got this email like 2 secs ago. While this was not a goal this season nor can I go (mostly because it is sold out but MOSTLY because it is the day before IMMT 140.6), it just feels GOOD to have finally done something like this in Triathlon, especially after 5 years of hard work, and especially after moving up to a much more competitive age group.

My coach said me to before Griskus, "Jon, I don't want you to just go for a PR. You are racing now. I want you to RACE THIS!!!"

And I did my best, and this is my reward: An email. But a great email!