Jason loved to write. During the summers when he was home from university or on vacation, my kitchen table was strewn with his training journal and other pages containing his long and short term goals and his dreams for the future.
While he was preparing for his first Ironman he created reports on his competitions, along with photos, and emailed them to everyone. I always looked forward to reading his wonderful commentaries. Unfortunately, these are the only two that have survived. Read on and share in his journey towards his very first Ironman.
*Red Deer 1/2 Marathon Report - May 18, 2003 (4th place)
Ok, it was cold as you can tell...I don't do well in the cold by the way...:) - unless it's on snow! I decided to whip out every piece of clothing I could run in for this race, including my work gloves! I also refuse to wear those butt-showing runners shorts!
This race was a training race, intended to be one of those tough runs where you train really hard going into it and essentially don't take any rest and just tough it out.
I was pretty fatigued, which was perfect. I hung with the 2nd and 3rd place finishers till the 10km mark, then dropped it down a small notch, wanting to get a hard workout in rather than risk over-doing it. I raced last weekend in BC having done well placing 2nd, and pushed to the limit (at BCduathlon champs), and had cycled 385 KM this week, ran 30 miles, and swam 7,000m (ya, only 2 workouts...gotta fix that swim) since BC, I took the day before the race off...so no point in risking injury. Don't get me wrong though, it still hurt!
The weather was super windy, and 2 celsius, the windchill was probably -7 or so.
The course was easy for the first 5km (which we ran in 16:58 relaxed), then it got deceivingly hard...not long hills, but tons of little up and downs, it ripped away at your legs and didn't allow you to put it on cruise very much. It felt like you were always slowing then speeding up, which really hurts.
I was hoping to run around 1:15 for this race, but went a few minutes slower and finished in 1:17.02 officially.
The course is apparently about 2 minutes slower for most runners my speed range compared to a typical course, the fellow that finished behind me said he normally runs 1:15's and he went 1:19 on this day. The winner was a couple minutes off where he runs as well (he's a sub 31 min 10km runner...awesome pure runner!) He smoked in 1:10.56. He was hoping to run about a 1:08 on this day...good thing he can't ride a bike! :) The other two guys ahead of me were 1:15 mid, and 1:16.12
I did run much harder than I would have in training, so this was an excellent choice for a race to attend. I am glad it was as difficult as it was, although it's always nice to run a faster time on paper.
My next race is the Calgary 1/2 Ironman on June 15th. There is $5000 prize money, so there will be some really fast guys there looking for a grocery cheque (think the winner gets $1,000). I am using this race to gauge my weaknesses and strengthes (well, the swim is obviously weak) in my bike and run ( hopefully I have some strong points!!!). The bike course is usually fairly windy, and the swim is super congested (4 laps). It's 2km swim, 90k bike, 21 k run.
Kevin Cutjar(sub 9 hour Ironman) I know will be there, along with a few (atleast 1 anyhow) top 20 World Cup finishers at the Olympic Distance that I am aware of. I am focused on times rather than head to head, but am anxious to see how I fare up against the likes of Kevin (he was 11th at Wildflower 1/2 Ironman this year, and just ran a 1:12 1/2 marathon the same day I did, but on a faster course in Penticton), he's a great swimmer and cyclist as well.
That's all for now...spending my sunday tomorrow swimming at 8am, then joining a group for a 180km ride (about 6 hours).
Till next time...
*Great White North Triathlon Report - July 6th, 2003
2km swim, 90km bike, 21km run
This was the first 'A' race of my new quest to get to Ironman, and the weeks of tapering leading up to it were very restless...it's hard to really put it into perspective for someone who hasn't actually gone through the process for themselves. However, the words "I feel fat and slow" were mentioned a lot, along with the sentiment that I can't wait for this race to be over with so I can just start training again! Ya, that makes no sense to me either when I read it, but that's how it feels.
The summer up here in Alberta has been a doozy so far, folks...most days are in the teens, while the skies have kept the coldest desert in the world plenty green.
Race morning last year was near 30 degrees and sunny, with no wind. On this race morning it was 9 degrees, super windy, and raining. Luckily for me, while I was buying a box of power gels at MEC the other day, the thought of a possible cold weather race was on my mind...I DESPISE the cold...I was looking for leg warmers when I came across a canoeing jersey... 0.5mm neoprene..hmmm, $100 bucks...vs. freezing...money well spent as it turns out. I even figured a way to wriggle out of it on the run without losing any time! (it would be too hot for the run)
The swim went ok, it was 2 laps of a 1km course. The first lap went well, 17:20, I was on pace for under 35 minutes and felt I could speed up a little on the second.
I swam a little crooked on the second lap, and really lost my rhythm for a while, but still managed to swim to a decent time for myself (36:35). I ran into the transition to quickly notice that it was still raining...and it was still windy, and darn, it was cold. I was leaving the decision of the neoprene jersey to the last second, the neoprene was most certainly in!
I heard my name announced by Steve King, the voice of Ironman Canada. He was mentioning the BC duathlon champs where Kyle (training partner when I can keep up to him) and I were 1-2 earlier this year (he was announcing there as well), for some strange reason, I find inspiration in that man's voice while racing...this weather won't be a factor I thought as I was putting on my cycling gear.
Out onto the bike, the first few km's there was a tailwind, then at 3km, you turn across the wind. 10km into the ride I was averaging 41.2km/h, and thought to myself that eveything was on par for a sub 2:20 ride, which was my goal. As quickly as things appeared to be going the right way, they unfolded. The wind picked up and was a header at the second turn, the rain kept falling, and I couldn't feel my feet.
At around 35km, I hit a bump on a bridge and launched my Juice Plus Complete (a balanced nutrition shake) that I use instead of powerbars for food off the rear holders on the bike...I contemplated stopping to pick it up, but instead ate a few powergels and would pick it up on the way back if it was still there.(it was and I did)
On the way back (the course is not an out and back really, the race has two different transition areas), the wind was also a header, and it picked up. I kept looking at my average speed and thinking that I had to step it up a notch, and now! I was still passing people easily though, and the leaders at the turn around looked a little slow as well...so I kept things where they were.
The Spill At 70km things were coming back together on the bike, speed was up, and I wouldn't be too far off my goal time on a tough day. Just moments later, thinking I could use as much fuel as possible for the run, I went to grab a banana from a volunteer who mistakingly swung the banana towards me, and held it right in her palm - instead of holding the bottom or top of it and swinging the banana in the direction I was travelling....the 'grab', was almost like a 'high 5' at 40+km/h.
The result was a jolt that nearly pulled me off my seat, while my lone arm on the handlebars pulled on the one side, shot me across the highway, I reacted and pushed the bar the other way to avoid going into the oncoming lane, however, the wheel turned to 90 degrees and immediately launched me over the bars and away onto the pavement...I was impressed at how easily I went into the 'limp and roll' maneuvre! I kinda laid there for a moment once I stopped sliding, then slowly checked over my body. I went and picked up the bike, expecting my wheel to be gimped, these carbon wheels are strong! It is a little off, and to be honest, I haven't had the guts to take a look at the bike since the race in fear that I can't afford the repair...maybe tomorrow will be the day. The volunteer was extremely distraught, the crash probably looked more spectactular than it was serious.
I made sure the brakes didn't rub, opened them up wide, and the tire was still glued on, THANK GOD IT WAS WET PAVEMENT is all I kept thinking. I lost maybe 3 minutes, I am not sure. I managed to regroup and finished the bike, not sure if I would be able to run or not, my hip was pretty sore.
Onto the run... Well, the hip hurts, but it doesn't seem to affect my stride, just a bruising pain, and my shorts aren't showing too much skin either....let's go!
My legs felt surprisingly strong during the first 10km on the run (38 min and it was easy), the last 3km things started to get hard( I was slowing by 20 secs /km compared to my earlier pace), I stopped eating and drinking at 14km, something I need to work on. I just don't feel like it, which is a mistake, and the last 3km I felt it, that wall hit me hard.
I crossed the line at 4:31.15, way off my goal of a low 4:20. I was 11 minutes off my bike goal...yikes. Tough conditions for the bike today, and everyone had slow splits for the bike, so as it goes for any race, the clock is not the complete tale, hey,there was even some excitement on the ride as well!
Run time 1:23.41 for 21km exact. I was happy with the run today. It was a good run I thought.
swim 36;25 - 265th - yep still need a ton of work here, but improving all the time.
bike 2:31.00 - 16th
run 1:23.41 - 10th
overall - 17th.
Race winners:1) Tom Evans (7th Ironman NZ 2003, 7th Wildflower 1/2 Iron 2003) , 2) Garret Macfayden (winner Ironman Canada 2002), 3)Gerrit Heusinkveld 4) Kevin Cutjar
In the end, I managed to qualify for an Ironman Canada Spot (barely), and took it (someone was looking over me up there!). I am surprisingly not even sore today except for my neck and hip. I am excited to get back to training, especially for Ironman...it's awesome to watch, and now I'm GOING TO BE IN IT!!!!
Congrats to two other Kronos teammates who took on the GWN as well, Trev Williams (training partner and friend, he's a very inspiring non-nerdy engineer doing his PhD) who had just two weeks recovery from an 8th place overall at the New Balance 1/2 Ironman in Victoria, Trev was 19th, (he kept me going on the run till the end, he can hang tough!), and John Fisera who was 525th. 660 athletes started the race.
I am very excited to be taking on my first Ironman, and am using the experience to learn the race at this distance. My goal is conservative at 9:55, but I think it's better to learn the race first, then start to give it once you know what to expect and how to eat during the race. I've also never run a marathon at race pace...I'll need all your subconscious energy directed my way on Aug 24th!!!!
Next race is the Canadian Duathlon Champs in Calgary July 20th, this race will be a hard training day this year, and I like this race because you get to draft on the bike, and you ride through the streets of Calgary that are closed to traffic...it's awesome!!! They are still looking for volunteers, go to www.multisportscanada.com to find out more, you get a lot of cool free stuff and entered into draws if you help out...
Thanks to all the supporters I have out there who are helping me out to get to this point of toe-ing the line at Ironman on my way to one day being top 10!!
For anyone thinking of Ironman...it's $550 just for the entry fee, add the hotel stay, food, and travel to get there. It's all worth it though, I encourage anyone who hasn't taken one in as a spectator, DO IT...it's a unique and incredible experience.
Next report....when something worth writing about happens!!
I hope you are all well and doing great - Jason