PBS Team Nova, Marathon Challenge.  


A Hot tip just in.

Tune in to PBS at 9:30pm NST, or 8:00 EST Today Tuesday October 30 for "Marathon Challenge", a NOVA show exploring the physical and mental challenges of marathon running.

I just checked out the web site, and there are some very interesting links and articles.

I'll be watching, in fact I'll probably be taping it.

It would be cool to hear comments after it airs. Let me know what you think.

The All Day Buffet  


For me this is nothing new. One time a co-worker commented "Jim doesn't really eat, he just grazes." But if you still follow the traditional three square meals a day routine, and you are an aspiring athlete, or even an average Joe trying to get a little healthier, This article from Runners World is for you.

Check it out. http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-303-307-6405-0,00.html?cm_mmc=nutrition-_-2007_10_25-_-nutrition-_-The%20Power%20of%20Grazing

Have a glance and let me know what you think.


Ironman Florida 2006 Part 3. Getting In  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

I received an email from a reader last week who was enquiring about my experience with registering for next years race. I guess some people are actually reading my rant.

Anyway, I decided that it might be a good idea to post my reply right here so anyone else who have made up their minds to give it a go, don't get left out because the just didn't know what the procedure was.

I registered online. Registration started the morning after the race at 12:00 local race time.

I sat at my computer a little before the posted start time, and started clicking the register button on the
active.com site, until I got through. I planned to go into my office where I could use a high speed connection, but as it turned out, I couldn't get away from my house that morning, so I used the dial up at my house. I had no problem getting through. The race filled up in 2 hours.

Last year I heard it filled up in less than 45 minutes, so I wouldn't be surprised to see it fill up faster this year.

If you go to
http://www.nasports.com/news/fullstory.php?storyid=778 there is a press release from North American Sports outlining the registration procedure for all Ironman Races in North America. The general procedure goes like this.
1. Athletes registered for this years race, get first dibs on next years race. They have the option to register the day before this years race, 9:00am to 11:00am
2. General entry for next year then opens on site the day following this years race from 9:00am to 11:00am. You have to be there in person, and you can't get another person to register you.
3. Any remaining slots are then made available online through
active.com starting at 12:00 noon.
Remember these times are local race times.

I would recomend if you live within a couple of hours drive of Panama City, Go down and register in person. That wasn't an option for me, and if it's not for you, try online. Make sure you sign up with
www.active.com before hand so there are no delays, and then get ready the morning after the race at 11:55, whatever time it works out to be in your area, and find the fastest computer you can with the fastest connection you can, and start trying to get through a couple of minutes before registration is supposed to open.

If you don't get through, there are other options availble by way of charity slots etc. You could go that route as well.

Let me know how you make out. I might post this on my blog. I can't believe someone is actually reading this. Best of luck.

Ironman Florida 2006 Part 2. Where to eat in Panama City Beach  


Waking up the morning after our long travel day, we were so looking forward to a good hearty breakfast. Hoping to relive our Houston days, where there was a breakfast joint on nearly every corner. It seemed like you couldn’t drive 5 minutes without passing a Denny’s or IHOP. But that wasn’t the case in Panama City Beach. I fully expected to drive a couple of hundred feet up the road and find an old reliable chain, and after months of training and careful dieting, I didn’t feel too adventurous and really wanted to stick with something tried and true. After driving up and down Front Beach Road for about a half hour, the only recognizable sign was for the Waffle House. Tammy and I never ate there before, but we figured it would be ok. Ok for Tin Cup, and probably a lot of other folks, but it was a little too greasy for my pallet. Especially for a fine tuned ironman machine.

I did find a IHOP straight back route 98, and across the Hathaway bridge in Panama City right on 23rd street. That was our first stop the morning after the race.

Our favorite place was Appleby’s on Hutchison Boulevard. They had a pretty large menu with lots of choices to keep me clean and lean for my race. The staff were excellent, and the portions were huge. We ended up brining home enough for a second meal or snack in the evening.

I found that the most convenient way to stay fed was to prepare my own. I made sure to book a room with a kitchenette. Ours had a decent size fridge, a double burner stove, and a coffee pot. All I needed to stay nourished. I bought my food at Wal-mart on Front Beach Road. I also bought Shampoo, sunscreen, socks, and extra clothes due to the cool temps. The grocery section, unlike here in St. John’s was exceptionally well stocked with fresh fruit, and most everything else an Ironman athlete might need for race preparation. If you do the same, just be sure to shop early in the week as the Gatorade section tends to get cleaned out during race week.

The only deficiency was finding good coffee. If you are a caffine junkie like me, then the Maxwell house or folgers blend just don’t make the cut. You can get a hot cup at the afore mentioned Waffle House, but my preference is a good Starbucks dark roast. We finally found one, across the bridge in Panama City right on 23rd street, not far from IHOP. But we didn’t find it until the day after the race, and it was a bit out of the way to drive to every morning. The next time, I will bring my own stash, Ground from the beans I get buy Costco. Provided I can get it past Customs.

Ironman Florida 2006. Getting There  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

I have already written a race report to describe my experience in the Ironman itself, now I’d like to write about the non triathlon part of my experience.

Heading off to Florida to for the 2006 Ironman was an exciting time for me. I trained hard, and researched extensively. I solicited advice from numerous people who had completed Ironman races. I tried to be as prepared as I possibly could. However, there were a lot of situations that I encountered that I was not prepared for. If you are preparing for the 2007 race, or thinking about trying to register for 2008, I hope you find something here that might help make your experience a little better.

Also, rather than make one very large post, I plan to do several posts on specific aspects of my trip.

Getting There

In case you haven’t realized it, Florida is big. Most athletes traveling by air used either Tallahassee, or Pensacola to fly into. We flew into Orlando. We flew on Aeroplan points, and planned to return to Orlando for a couple of days after the race to turn it into a short vacation. But unless you have a similar reason for doing so, I wouldn’t recommend it.

The driving distance from Orlando to Panama City, is about 340 miles. I estimated a decent 4 hour drive, but I made the mistake of confusing miles and kilometers. 340 miles is actually about 6 hours.

Throw in a couple of potty stops as well as gas, and a food along the way. Then add the time it took us to get off the plane, get our luggage, pick up our rental car, stop for our first decent meal of the day, get lost a couple of times trying to get up onto the Florida Turnpike. Then add the time it takes to navigate around Panama City, trying to get to Panama City Beach and it was well past midnight when we rolled into the Driftwood Inn.

When you consider that our day started at 5:00am Newfoundland Standard time, then correct for the 2.5 hour time difference, and we were really up since 2:30am Panama City Time. That was almost 24 hours without sleep. Needless to say, by the time we arrived, we were tired and cranky, and my plan to make it to the Gatorade swim the next morning, was all but a dream.

Next time, I would consider paying for a flight into one of the closer airports, or if I flew into Orlando again, stay there overnight, get a good rest, and hit the road early the next morning. That would eliminate a lot of the extra travel stress.
Another thing you should make note of, a bike box will not fit into an economy size rental car. I had searched out and found the best deal I could on a rental car. But when I checked in and consulted the rental attendant, I had to quickly change to a Dodge Charger. The rate was still a decent 322.70 for a nine day rental.


Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

How about a Pina Coloda.

1/2 Cup Pineapple, Frozen
1/2 Cup Vanilla Yogurt
2 Scoops vanilla flavoured soy protein powder
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 tbsp coconut extract
1 tbsp artificial rum extract

Throw it all in a blender, and you know, blend. You may have to play with it a little. Different yogurts taste better, also you may have to add a little more milk if it turns out too thick.

Breaks down as 372 cal, 23.5g Prot, 57g Carbs, 3.0g fat,

Pre Race Jitters Part 2  


Previously, I wrote about my nerves prior to Ironman Newfoundland 70.3, 2007. While preparing for Ironman Florida 2006, I did a lot of research into race preparedness including mental preparation, and how to be in the proper state of mind before a race. The articles I read seemed to have a common theme. Identify the sources of performance limiting stress, and eliminating them, or come up with a plan to deal with them.

To recap my previous article, a series of events leading up to race week prevented me from being 100% mentally prepared. These included.
1. Shortened training season due to weather, and injury.
2. Work related stress.
3. Lack of sleep associated with hot weather during race week.
4. Failing to reach my target race weight.
5. Logistical challenges.
6. Unexpected bike maintenance issue.

Of course eliminating all these events is not really practical. Checking equipment to be sure it is in good working order is easy, but quitting my job, and moving to Florida to enhance my training program is just not going to happen.

What can’t be eliminated must be dealt with. So as promised, here is my five step plan for getting my mentally prepared for next years Ironman Newfoundland 70.3.

1. Make sure my gear is 100 percent ready. My plan is to bring my bike in to my local shop for a total makeover during the winter. Strip down, clean, and grease every joint, replace the cables, brake pads, and bar tape, and give the drive train a good inspection. If required, I’ll probably start replacing and upgrading my components. I also plan to go over my wetsuit and repair the zipper, and any finger nail cuts.

2.Stay within 5 lbs of my target body weight. Doing this accomplishes several things. First, it changes the focus of your nutritional plan to fueling your training sessions instead of losing weight. Second is it makes your splits during your training sessions more realistic. Third it helps prevent injuries, especially during run training. Fourth, it makes you feel more confident when you finally line up for the race start.

3. Strive to stay injury free. Some injuries like breaking a pinky toe are just not preventable. However, working on overall and core strength as well as flexibility will go a long way to ensure that when the roads are dry and ready for riding and running, I won’t be sidelined by a nagging injury. That means I can follow a well planned training program, instead of trying to fit 20 weeks of training into 6 weeks. That will mean showing up on race day prepared.

4. Take care of the logistical details of race week. That might mean taking a couple of fans with me to try and get breeze flowing through the bedroom at night. Also getting organized, gathering contact information for people I now are participating, and maybe even plan a few group training sessions during race week.

5. Maintain a positive attitude. Some situations just can’t be eliminated. But there are ways to deal with them positively so that they don’t affect your frame of mind during race week. There are excellent resources to help with this. A couple of my favorite books on the matter are The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. The secret teaches that positive things happen when you maintain a positive outlook. Dale Carnegie lists examples of people who turned their lives around in the face of adversity, and eliminated worry. I am also thinking about reading Lances book, Its Not About The Bike You may not be able to change the outcome of things, but you can change your mental outlook. There is certainly more to be gained from having a positive outlook than being pissed off.

I am sure that most everyone can relate to my examples. If you are training for a big event, and find yourself becoming overwhelmed by outside influences that are adding to an already stressful preparation, maybe this article will help get you to the start line a little more mentally prepared. Here is hoping that lining up at the start of next year’s race, I will be primed and ready to execute my race plan.

Race Report Ironman Newfoundland 70.3  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , , ,

The week leading up to the race was a pretty warm one in Corner Brook. A couple of days saw temperatures creep up into the low 30’s.

By race morning, these temperatures had cooled to mid 20s. Good news for anyone worried about dehydration, but the downside was that the cool temps were the result of a cold front moving in, and with it came the wind.

Deer Lake had been pretty calm during the early mornings the week before the race, but on race morning, there was a good breeze blowing fairly decent swells up the lake. Because of the layout of the swim course, these would be directly at us once we made the turn to come home.

Once the horn sounded, the race was on. The water at Pasadena Beach is pretty shallow close to shore, and it was a long wade until the water was deep enough to swim. I had hoped to find a good swimmer to draft off of, but it turned out to be more of an effort than it was worth. I spent a lot of energy leapfrogging from person to person before I finally decided to settle in and follow someone who was almost exactly the same speed as I was.

As expected, when we made the turn to come home, the waves were directly in our face. It took a lot of concentration to keep breathing effectively, and not swallow any water, but At least it wasn’t salt. From time to time I could catch sight of the snack shack on the beach. From the last buoy out, it was only a little bump on the horizon, but it was a good enough target. As long as I could see it when I popped up my head, I knew I was on course.

As bad as the waves were, time flew, and before I knew it, the water was shallow enough to touch bottom on the pull through of my stroke. I was now in the never never land of the swim. Too shallow to swim effectively, but too deep to really wade or walk. I kept stroking as long as I could, then I did a few dolphin dives, and then ran the last couple hundred metres to shore then up the beach.

Transition 1

As I crossed the timing mat, and headed towards the transition tent, I checked my watch. I had clocked a 37 minute swim split. Not what I hoped for, but probably ok given the conditions. Once I entered the transition zone, the peelers were ready to strip my wetsuit off. Once free of the neoprene, I picked my bag off the rack and entered the tent.

There was no sense of urgency from anyone in the tent. I took my time, and made sure I had everything. Put on my good cycling shorts, applied a little cream to the tender regions, put on socks, and my cycling shoes, put on my helmet and fastened it, packed all my swim stuff into the bag, and then out the tent to my bike. I spent about 5 minutes in T1.

It was not far to the mounting line. There were still a few really nice bikes racked, so that made me feel pretty good. I mounted my bike and started out on the ride.


The bike out was on a small paved lane. Then there was a very steep embankment to get up to the main highway. Everything felt good and loose. I had made sure before the race started that I was in the right gear, and that my computer was working. Once I hit the Trans Canada Highway, and settled in, I was spinning at about 90 RPM. I was hoping to keep it to 90 to 100. The wind was still blowing, and for the trip to Corner Brook, it would be in our face.

I played cat and mouse with a few other riders. I passed and was passed, but nothing like Florida where there was a steady stream of really expensive tri blowing by me. After about 15 minutes, I sipped some water. After about 30 my stomach felt fine so I started to drink some Gatorade.

My ride was going pretty ok. I was chasing a couple of other riders, keeping my cadence high, and my heart rate moderate. I planned to keep it at about zone 3 to 4, around 150, 155 for me. This was a lot higher than at ironman. My average speed was decent. I was trying to stay at around 27 to 30 km/h knowing the hill at he turn around would take a big bite out of my split.

Riding through the humber valley was beautiful. The divided highway was relatively new, and the pavement was in good shape. We had the entire inside lane to ourselves. The speed for traffic in the outside was reduced to 50 km/h, and 18 RCMP officers were patrolling the route.

I was riding comfortably in my aero bars, sticking with my nutrition plan, and zeroing in on a 3 hour bike split. My first time up the 4km hill to the turnaround was not too bad. I stayed seated and kept spinning most of the way up. I was passed by a couple of riders, but I wasn’t concerned. I am not built like a climber, and for this race, I had not quite hit my target race weight so I was carrying a little extra cargo. Once I reached the top, I deliberately stopped to pour water into my super mixed Gatorade, and move it into my front bottle cage.

I made the turn at the top of the hill, and started to descend. Now gravity was on my side, and I hit over 70kmh on the way down. Near the bottom, I had my sites on a fellow rider, and good friend from Torbay, Flora Seymore. By the time I reached Shellbird Island, I passed her. Flora always has a smile on and I felt bad going by her, but I was feeling good on the flats leading up the Quarry Pool, so I just kept riding hard. When I got to Marble Mountain, and closed in on Georges, I could see my support team. Mom, Dad, and my coach/son Benjamin.

I posed for a picture, and rode on past Steadybrook and towards the second turnaround my average speed was faster now with a tailwind, and I was close to my 3 hour split. Before the turn Flora passed me, but I kept her in my sights. As we neared the aid station, on the second loop, I saw her try to pick up a couple of gels, but dropped them. I made a stop, and took a couple and stuffed into my Jersey pocket and a couple extra for Flo.

I rode hard to catch up to her. Maybe too hard. When I finally caught up to her, I offered her the gels, but she told me she was ok, and that the ones she dropped were only spares.

I sped past her, and kept on towards the climb for the second time. The second time up the hill was a lot tougher. I was now paying for the few extra pounds I was carrying, as well as for working too hard to catch Flora. When I made the turn and started the descent, I still went fast, but I slowed a little to give my legs a rest. I still had to get to Pasadena.

Once I neared the entrance to Humber Valley Resort, I knew I would be close to 3 hours, but I would have to ride extra hard to break it. Instead, I kept my gears a little lower, and my cadence high. With a half marathon of running coming up, I didn’t want to start already toasted. When I passed off my bike to the volunteer in transition, I was at 3:06.

Transition 2
After a quick change into dry socks, and my sneakers, I was on my way for the half marathon. Out of transition, my legs felt pretty good. I headed out the highway, and onto the first aid station.


My plan was to stop at the aid stations, and let my heart rate settle as I took in some food. For my first stop I just watered down some Gatorade and sipped it. I really didn’t feel like gels or bars.

Part of the run was on a dirt road which was a little uncomfortable, but there was a decent hard section in the middle of each lane which made it a little easier on the feet.

At the turnaround, I was a little under 30 minutes. That meant if I could hold pace, with two loops, I could break 2 hours. That would be tough as I knew it would be very difficult not to fade in the second half.

When I went through the transition area to finish my first loop, I was still under 1 hour, but my pace was slowing. Unless I had a sudden burst of energy, I would be hard pressed to break 2 hours. Still I trudged on.

Not long after the start of the second loop, the rain started. When I reached the first aid table, I stopped, and tightened my laces. I was starting to feel my toes a little, and didn’t want a repeat of Ironman Florida. Some more Gatorade, and then I was on my way again.

At the turnaround, I was now over 1:30. I would have to run the last quarter faster than the first three to break 2 hours. Given how I was starting to feel, that would be unlikely.

The rain tapered off, but then started harder again. Running in wet sneakers didn’t help my speed, although the rain was cool and refreshing. My focus was now on maintaining form, and not stopping. The last 2k was very hard. It took all my concentration to keep from walking.

When I made the turn off the highway, down the off ramp, and then through the trail part of the run, and then veered off to the finish chute, I had a sudden burst of energy. I raised my arms in the air as I neared the finish line, which turned out to make for some decent pictures. It was a huge relief to be done.

Post Race

I collected my shirt, and my medal, and then made my way to the finishers’ tent. They so much really good food there. I started with a power bar recovery drink, and then I tried to eat a slice of pizza. It looked sooo good, but it went down soooo bad. Probably not a good idea after such a long race effort.

It took me about an hour to finish it. By then I was ready to collect my bike and head home. The first Ironman Newfoundland 70.3 was in the books.

Breakfast Recipe. Multigrain Blueberry Pancakes  


These are great for breakfast, and also as a recovery meal after a long hard ride or run. They are really quick and easy.

1/4 cup Instant Pancake Mix
1 pk plain Instant oatmeal
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 scoops whey protein powder
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Mix the oatmeal with some hot water and let it sit a couple of minutes to get it softened up. Add in the remaining dry ingredients, and mix with water until the batter becomes the correct consistancy, easy to pour, but not too runny. Mix in blueberries. Pour into a heated pan sprayed with cooking spray, the same stuff you use to get into your wetsuit. Cook on low to medium heat.

Divided up into 4 pancakes, the nutritional breakdown is 118 cal, 6.25 g Protein, 21.5 g Carbs, 1.2 g fat.

The key is to cook them slow. Because you are adding to the instant pancake mix, they need longer to cook through. If the pan is too hot, they will burn on the outside but will be runny inside.

If fresh berries are not available, frozen work as well, but thaw them first or the batter won't cook.

You can use different protein powders to modify the nutritional mix.

The nutritional breakdown doesn't include the topping. If you pour a half bottle of maple syrop over them, it kinda ruins the effort of trying to eat healthy. If you are a sauce junkie like me, try mixing two tablespoons of light syrop with two tablespoons of vanilla yogurt. The yogurt adds a little more flavour, and prevents the syrop from running off the cakes, or soaking in.

Giv em a try. They are sooooo yummy.