Sinking Legs  

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Not a great pic, but notice how the body is flat, and the legs are not sinking.

I just recently read this article on the Swim Smooth website, entitled “Why Might Your Legs Be Sinking.” check out the site here to get their explanations, but in a nutshell, they give 5 reasons why your legs might be sinking as you swim.

1) Holding onto your breath underwater.
2) Kicking from the knee and inflexible ankles.
3) Flexing through the core.
4) Pushing down at the front of the stroke.
5) A high head position.

You can read their explanation of each on the site, but here’s my take on each.

1) Holding onto your breath underwater. This is probably a natural reaction for all new swimmers. Breathing rhythm is so important in swim technique. If you old your breath, your lungs act as big balloons, and raise your upper body out of the water. Get the rhythm.

2) Kicking from the knee and inflexible ankles. My kick is very poor. I just never developed it. But when I do kick, I really try to generate from the hips, not the knee. It may not look right, but I do try to feel it from the hips.

3) Flexing through the core. How many times have I seen this. Flat back, but legs pointed down. Core seems to be the buzz word in every single sport going these days, and for good reason. Keep that torso flat as a plank.

4) Pushing down at the front of the stroke. The proper bent arm catch is one of the toughest things to learn, and teach. But it’s simple physics. If you push your paddle (Forearm) down at the beginning of the stroke, you will push your upper body out of the water. Reach over the barrel, pull straight back, and finish the stroke.

5) A high head position. IMHO the biggest culprit, and the least understood. It’s all about buoyancy and Archimedes Principle. If you lift your head, you lose buoyancy, and the legs have to sink to compensate. Just watch people at a lane swim, trying to do laps with their heads out of the water. They look like bad water polo players. Or look at the old ladies who swim for an hour but don’t get their hair wet. PLUS There are still coaches out there teaching OLD SCHOOL. If your coach tells you “Look slightly forward, and keep the waterline just above your goggles, find a new coach.

So if you are a leg sinker, get flat, and get fast. OH and if you are a guy still wearing Baggie Surfer Shorts in the Pool, ditch them for some speedos.

Diagnosis Back Injury  

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The results of my Friday visit to the doctor are in, and always there’s good and bad news. First off, my normal black belted family physician was away, but her replacement experienced, patient, and explained everything very well, and put me at ease.

The short physical exam consisted of my lying on the gernie, and her moving my right and left legs in various positions. We nailed the pain down to one movement, raising my right leg straight up, or while standing, bending forward to touch my toes.

First The Bad

From the exam she determined the injury was in my lower back. Anytime I hear back and injury it makes me nervous. But the actual location of the injury was not my hip, as I had thought but where the tendons from my legs attach to my pelvic bone. Recovery could be up to another 2 or 3 weeks.

Now The good

It’s not bursitis as I thought, but definitely not a tear. She was very clear on that point. I showed no symptoms of a torn muscle, or connective tissue. The most likely cause of the pain was inflammation of the muscle and tendon from over exertion. The price you pay for a Personal Best and Third Place in your Age Group.

There was no need for further diagnostic imaging, which is fancy doctor talk for “You don’t need to wait for 6 months to get in for an X-Ray, or MRI.” Which was definite good news.

Her advice (Which I really liked) was to remain active and take some over the counter pain relief (Like Tylenol). The worst thing I could do was to become sedentary, as it would cause my back muscles to weaken, and possible start to spasm. In fact her exact words were to continue with any activity I was already doing, unless I felt discomfort or pain. I could run or jog, but if it hurt, I should stop.

So since running does cause some minor pain right now, I will be off for a few more days or weeks. I may try riding my mountain bike in hopes that the upright position will be less painful, but I’ll wait a few more days for that one. Really good news, I can still swim.

So my season is not over yet. I am Hopeful I can be on the mend, and back to training in time for the upcoming Turkey Tea 10k on Thanksgiving Day, October 10.

Open Water Swim Series  

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This event was organized by a couple of our organizers and coaches, and it’s turned out to be a hit. I would encourage any masters or TRI clubs out there to organize a similar series of events after regular TRI season finishes to help keep athletes motivated and sharp heading into the winter pool swimming season.

The format was simple. 2 categories, 750m and 1500m. Finishers are awarded points based on placing starting with 50 points for first in each category, so first gets 50, second 49, third 48 etc. Highest point totals after 4 events wins that category and gets a trophy.

The beauty of that format is that everyone is in the running. Even if you finish back of the pack, if you show up to all 4 events, and the fastest swimmer in your club makes it to only 2, you have a chance to beat him (Or Her.) The other good thing is that points are based on placing, and not time, so it doesn’t matter that first place was 5 minutes faster than you, if you finished 2nd, you only lose 1 point to him (Or Her.) With me so far?

So last evening was fantastic for such an event. 22 degrees C and fairly light winds. The only drawback was the bright evening sun shining directly in our eyes on leg 2 which is what I blame my brutal course navigation on.

We had 36 swimmers, split evenly with 18 in each category. I signed up for the 1500m along with all the “GUNG HO” swimmers, including our perennial tri champion, a former Olympian, and a bunch of kids from one of the local swim clubs, all way faster than me.

So my final result? For 1500m, 23:32, not to shabby for almost 3 weeks off from anything “HARD” I am sure if I swam a straight course, I could have been under 23. Unfortunately it only netted me 38 points for a 13th out of 18 swimmers, so I need to hope that 1 thru 14 are busy next Wednesday.

Check out the full results here.

Injuries are a Pain in the Butt  

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If you search my archive, you will find very few posts on injuries. Smart training and plenty of rest and recovery has pretty much kept me away from the doc’s office.

But I now have this nagging ache on my right side, in my buttock, below the SI joint, and it just doesn’t want to go away.

Now I know what you are thinking, and yes I played 27 holes of golf on Friday and Saturday after not swinging a club in more than a year. But the truth is that I started to feel this pain about 2 weeks ago, and Sunday, the day after my golf outing is when it felt the best it felt in a week or more. That makes me think part of the issue is sitting in a chair or desk at work for 8 to 10 hours a day. I think yesterday was the worst I felt in 2 weeks.

I am off to my family physician on Friday, and hopeful she will confirm that it is minor issue, probably an inflamed bursa,
and requires some rest and anti inflammatory. She is a black belt in Tai Kwando, and seems to understand my concern when I am out of commission for a period of time.

What really grinds my gears is that I had some late season goals that included continuing on the bike, and completing some more 20K ITT’s, (Setting a PB which I already done)
and complete a couple of upcoming 5k and 10k runs. These events keep me moving and motivated until the holiday season kicks in, and with Thanksgiving and Halloween in October, then Christmas preparations and parties all of November and December, I need something to keep me off the couch and away from the buffet table.

Swim start at Octogon Pond. This is the the site for the upcoming Open Water Swim Series.

But for now I’ll be doing a lot of swimming. Speaking of which, we do have a series of open water swim competitions starting tonight. The series runs for 4 weeks, and participants have a choice of either the 750m or the 1500m, and collect points based on placings for each event. Final awards are based on accumulated points so you don’t have to win each one, just be consistent during the series. I am planning to do the 1500m series, and hope to place well. I’ll keep the blogosphere updated.

Team Building  

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The lodge in Autumn. The trees aren't turning here yet.

After a long sleep last night, (In bed by 6:30pm) I think I am finally recovered from my weekend Team building Session.

Yes, on Friday morning, 10 of us arrived bright and early at the office, loaded into cars, and then drove the 2 and a half hours to Terra Nova Resort and Golf Community. By the way, these pictures are right off the web site. Nobody in our group brought a camera. It wasn't planned that way, but it probably turned out to be a good thing.

The green on number 1. This is what awaits you as you tee off to start your day. You can't see the green from the Tee Box, so you start your round by hitting blind. I decided to use an iron and stay out of the woods. Good decision.

Terra Nova is one of 2 national parks in the province, it has all the usual amenities of a national park such as hiking, camping, fishing, etc, but it also has the nicest golf course on the island, located smack dap in the middle of two salmon rivers.

Number 18, a par 3 over the river. It's not a tuff hole, but that water messes with your mind. This picture is taken from the pro tees.

When we arrived on Friday, we played 18 holes at the Twin Rivers course. Then drinks, awards, and an awesome supper, and more drinks, before turning in and up again in the morning to play the 9 hole Eagle Creek. I am not sure where the name Eagle Creek comes from. There are plenty of bald eagles on the property, but we don’t have creeks here. We have brooks and rivers.

Number 8, another par 3 over the river. OH that water messes with your mind. This is a popular CLOSEST TO THE PIN hole because it is not long, but a lot of balls end up in the river.

Number 8 again from the green. It looks just as bad looking backwards.

Anyway, Saturday we had the entire 9 hole course to ourselves, so golf etiquette went out the window, and we played one huge group of 6 (2 decided to just ride along, and 2 never made it)

Not all the carts at the resort are like this one. All that's missing are the spinners on the rims.

And that’s about all I can say about the weekend. What happens at Terra Nova, Stays at Terra Nova. If you ever visit Newfoundland, this has to be a stop.

Timberman, Best Of Luck  

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I am off for a summer retreat for my workplace. Yes, they are forcing me to drive to the country, stay overnight at a fancy hotel, play golf, and drink beer, all in the name of TEAM BUILDING. The nerve.

So today is a very very short post. I just wanted to wish all the competitors good luck at Timberman this weekend. I have a few tri buddies going down from here. So if you are a regular Flatoutbuddy blog reader, or you are travelling there from Newfoundland, have a good race, and I hope to hear from you soon.

It’s bound to be a great race, and I wish I were going, but instead I’ll be staying overnight at a fancy hotel, playing golf, and drinking beer, all in the name of TEAM BUILDING.

Blog Milestone 50 Followers  

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This is a huge bloggie milestone. As of last night I had reached 50 followers on my blog, and it’s an honest 50, as I spent a couple of hours a few weeks ago going through and deleting some blogs that are no longer inactive.

By this morning, I had reached. So a huge shout out to everyone who has joined, or even just checked out my blog even once. Big Thanks to Kovas, at Midwest Multisport Life and his pretty extensive blog roll, where I found a fresh crop of new and interesting blogs to check out, and interact with.

Please check out my latest followers.

Forward Foot Strides Your Running Resource...Product Reviews, Give-Aways, Race Reports and More By Katherine, a fellow Canadian from Ontario.

Pedistrian Runner by Christi. She’s my number 50. She’s a runner from Colorado, setting her sights on some long distance triathlons.

Tales of an Iron Housewife is by Alex from North Carolina.

Run With Jill. Another runner turned triathlete. She jumped in with both feet, and just completed the Lake Stevens 70.3 with a very good time. Jill is a fitness professional, trainer, and coach. A very valuable resource.

Molly is a Sleeper Baker who now lives in Central New York. I am not sure what that is exactly, so why not ask her yourself?

Diana tries A Tri started when Diana decided to take on her first triathlon. She has accomplished that goal, and is moving on to bigger, better, and faster things. Her blog is brand new, but writing style is similar to a former bloggie friend of mine who just recently retired from blogging. Definitely give her a read.

Tri Diesel is Big Daddy’s blog. Daddy has been leaving comments on my blog for a long time, but he only joined me as a follower recently. Thanks Dude.

Run Tall Walk Tall is by Johann. I have followers from allover the world now including South Africa which is where Johann lives.

I Tri because I Can is a cool name for a cool blog by Ryan from Kansas City

Never underestimate the power of a running woman. Inspiration, one step at a time
is by Wendy, a runner from Minnesota.

Second Chances by Mel, another Canadian from Toronto. Her story is worth reading.

Happy Reading

20 k ITT August 17  

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Yesterday I did what was only my 5th 20k ITT of the summer. Originally I planned to do more, but there was a clash with my sons soccer. He enjoys me coming to watch, and I enjoy watching, so I have missed a good number of my time trials.

Yesterday however, opportunity knocked. He had a birthday party, skipped soccer so I decided to do the ITT.


Since the St. John’s Triathlon, where I placed third in my age group, (Never tire of writing about that) I have been taking some R and R. I have only had my butt in the saddle twice, once on Saturday, and the second, a test ride, down the end of my street to check out some changes I made to my bike. So I was not expecting a super result at the ITT. In fact, I had convinced myself to ride easy, and try not to bonk.

It was an awesome evening. Sunny and warm, but not hot. But most importantly, the wind was light. Very light. Ideal for a time trial.

I think I was fifth in the start list. I forgot to reset my computer so I had no gauge of my time, but I was riding strong, and picked off 3 riders on the way out. I didn’t get passed until almost the half way mark, and then by another rider just after that. I passed my 4th rider, and then with about 2 km remaining one of the riders that passed me flatted, then with about 1km remaining I re-passed the other guy. This meant I was passed by nobody during the ride. Well technically it does.


In 2008, while training for Clearwater, I clocked a late season PB in this event of 35:47 on a slightly shortened course. You can guess where this is going. Yesterday, after almost 9 days off from riding, I completed the time trial in 34:52. That’s a new Personal Best by 55 seconds.

So maybe the key is to sit on your but and not do any training. Well I don’t really believe that, but what a motivator for fall training.

It should also be noted that there were at least 2 other PB’s as well as a new course record of about 26:30. Now that was an awesome night.

Thanks to Jason, Ron, BethAnne, and Christy for volunteering. There were 22 riders that registered, 20 finishers. Lots of help makes it much easier with those numbers.

Rate of Perceived Exertion  

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Sorry, no eye candy today. I’ll have to do another bike excursion this weekend, and try and get some more photos to intrigue everyone. Hopefully the wild animals and creatures of the deep will cooperate. Instead, I’ll drabble on about boring technical training stuff.

A couple of days ago, I posted about heart rate monitors, power meters, and Perceived Rate of Exertion (PRE). I decided to do a little digging to answer a few questions about PRE.

First a definition.

In my own words, PRE is how hard you think you are working. You can probably do a Google search, and find a couple of thousand definitions, but this is how I would describe it. It’s simple and gets the point across.

Now the scales.

The rating is based on rankings of effort, and again there are several scales you can use to rank your effort. The most popular is the Borg scale which ranges from 6 for no activity to 20 for all out effort.

Why 6 to 20? It’s based on one tenth of the average Heart Rate (HR) for healthy individuals. A 6 roughly correlates to a resting HR of 60, a 20 to a maximum HR of 200. Of course everyone is different, and these Heart Rates are only a guide. I have taken my resting HR as low as 49.

There is a modified Borg scale that uses a scale of 1 to 10. A little simpler for sure, but if you are reading articles from Joe Friel, or another coach who is referencing the Borg 6 to 20 scale, you need to know what it means.

I have also seen 1 to 20 scales, but in my opinion, there is no need to break it down this fine. After all, what is the difference in a PRE of 10 and 11 on a scale of 1 to 20?

Why is it important?

I think there are 2 main reasons.
1. It is a way to gauge your intensity without having to go out and buy more equipment. Triathlon can be expensive enough with essentials like bikes and running shoes. A quality Heart Rate Monitors can cost up to a hundred dollars. Fancy GPS models can be in the hundreds. Power meters for your bike will be in the thousands. All nice to have, but you shouldn’t have to mortgage your house to enjoy this sport.

2. When used properly, PRE compensates for your current fatigue level. Take a tempo run at the end of a hard 3 week block of training. You are pretty tired, your legs are cooked, your pace is sluggish, yet your heart rate is through the roof. Conversely, you may be coming off a recovery week; your tempo run is fast, and fluid. You feel like you are working hard, but your Heart Rate is 5 beats lower than it should be. PRE accounts for that.

So even if you are a slave to your gadgets, you would be wise to note your PRE in your training log for all your key workouts. Even an experienced coach like Joe Friel, utilizes monitoring equipment in tandem with Rates of Perceived Exertion. Try it, bookmark this post, and drop back often.

Saturday Ride and Whale Show  

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Middle Cove Beach from the lookout.

With no major upcoming events, I was able to go for a leisurely spin this weekend. One of the more popular cycling routes is Marine Drive, through Middle Cove, and Outer Cove, from which you can double back, or continue on to Pouch Cove, or travel overland to Portugal Cove. A lot of cyclist simply refer to this route as The Coves (Fitting I know).

Before I go on, I have to confess, these photos are not mine. I didn’t bring a camera with me, so I surfed google to come up with some stock photos that I could use in my post.

Middle Cove Beach is only about 10 km from my house, and I can ride a hilly scenic route, on low traffic roads, and be at the beach in about 20 minutes at riding at a slow pace.

The beach on an overcast day.

On Saturday, I rode out to the lookout above the cove overlooking the beach where a large group of people were gathered, watching a small pod of whales below, putting off quite a show. Just as I come up onto the lookout and rolled to a stop, one of the whales breached. I have only seen this in person a couple of times, and it was quite a treat to say the least.

The view from the lookout across Middle Cove, to the opposite side of Torbay

After watching them for about 10 minutes, I turned head back out onto the road, and ride back to my house, and just as I turned my head to check for traffic, and pull out onto the road, one breached again. All I managed to see this time was salt spray.

The whales I watched were probably humpbacks feeding on capelin.

Earlier that morning, I made a trip to Signal Hill with my kids where we watched a small pod of what looked like Orcas or Killer whales travelling north. There was a report of a pod of about 15 hunting down and then feasting on a small minke whale about 50km south of St. John’s.

I am so lucky to live in a place like this. I do complain about the weather, but to be truthful, we don’t have to worry about the heat, and the scenery is breathtaking.

And that was what I did on my weekend.

Heart Rate Monitor, Power Meter, Use em or Lose em  

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I’ve written about Road before. Yesterday, Thursday, when I received the latest newsletter, there was a very interesting piece by Coach Fred. His article was a reply to a question from a reader. The question was

I'm a lower category racer looking to improve. I use a heart monitor and have been considering a power meter, but they're still expensive. I guess the price won't be coming down, so should I suck it up and spend the big bucks, figuring that it's a good training investment that'll help me improve faster?

You can go here and read the full reply for yourself (Once this issue is replaced online, you’ll likely find it here), but the coach’s quick and dirty answer was that PE (Perceived Exertion) was the most important indicator of effort. Power and Heart Rate are important, but once an athlete has gained the experience to listen to their body, nothing trumps PE.

That’s when I realized that for the first time in about 6 years, I trained the entire year without the aid of a heart rate monitor. I don’t own a power meter, and the watch for my HR monitor died in the pool shortly after I had the battery replaced last winter. I meant to have it fixed or replaced, but never got around to it.

So did the lack of gadgets aid in my excellent showing at the St. John’s Tri, or could I have expected even better results if I had more electronic input into my exertion during my tempo runs and interval sessions.

I think it’s a double edged sword. Relying on technogadgets could very well go one of two ways. You could reap the benefits of precise electronic input, or you could become a slave to them and interfere with breakthroughs.

I am starting to lean towards not replacing my HR monitor, and just using PE to gauge my sessions. I think I may be experienced enough to effectively use this method, and let my body tell me how I am doing.

This season, in the weeks leading up to Carbonear, and St. John’s, I did several intense brick sessions, and considered them breakthroughs because of the splits on the run legs. If I had been using a HR monitor, I may have held back because my HR might have been slightly higher than my program called for; or I may have tried to push the pace because my HR was a little low, and bonked before the end.

Afterall, first place goes to the fastest athlete, not the one who races at the correct heart rate, or cycles at the highest power.

Favorite Rides, Corner Brook to Deer Lake  

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Trans Canada Highway passing by Shellbird Island on the Humber River.

Early in July, we took our vacation, smack dab in the middle of my training season. 10 days of Rest and Relaxation, along with home cooking and too many home made cookies can wreak havoc with the best laid training plans. But with a little planning and perseverance, I managed to get in one of the best training sessions of the summer.

I dragged along my road bike, and made arrangements with my family to allow me 1 full morning to ride from my folk’s house in Corner Brook, to the Town of Deer Lake and back, 52 km one way up the Trans Canada Highway, through the beautiful Humber Valley. The actual distance is probably quite a bit more than that as I am sure it’s about 10km through town, then along Riverside Drive before you hit the TCH.

The Man in the Mountain. Legend has it the man is guarding buried treasure on Shelbird Island below.

A Closeup of the old man. It takes a little immagination to see him, but he is there. Pictures don't do it justice.

The route hugs the banks of the mighty Humber River, one of the best salmon angling rivers in the world, through the town of Steadybrook adjacent to Marble Mountain ski resort.

Marble Mountain Ski Resort. One of the best ski areas in Eastern Canada.

Leaving there and then on through Little Rapids until you get to the town of Pasadena Newfoundland, along the shores of Deer Lake. This was the bike course for the now defunct Ironman Newfoundland 70.3.

Pasadena Beach. Home of the Ironman Newfoundland 70.3. A shame that the race is gone, but the beach is still there.

The route to Pasadena is as flat as you’ll find in Newfoundland, but once you pass through and enter into Pynn's Brook, you it the hills which continue to roll for the next 20km or so until you reach the town of Deer Lake. Once there it’s time to turn around and head back.

Aerial View of the Deer Lake Power House for the Pulp and Paper Mill in Corner Brook.

I like to veer off the main highway at Steadybrook, Little Rapids, and Pasadena, opting for the quieter and more scenic old TCH which winds through each of these towns. It’s quieter and keeps you off the main highway.

On the day I rode, it started out overcast but warm. I could see rain in the distance rolling in over the blomidon mountains, but I thought I would be ok if I rode through the humber valley. But once I left Pasadena, the rain hit. By the time I got to Pynn’s Brook I was soaked, but since I was almost to Deer Lake, and already wet I decided to continue on.

On the way back, it really poured. I pulled back into Pasadena and called my wife. I was going to get her to drive up and get me, but I could see the sky brightening up so decided to eat a cliff bar, and continue on. Then as if toying with me, at Staedybrook on the way back, it poured again. This was now a character building ride.

Topping it off was the ride back through Corner Brook. My parents live at one of the highest places in the city, and I had to ride there. Once home, I got cleaned up, and relaxed as I waited for another home cooked meal.

Now that was a ride and a half.

6 Races I’d Love to Do  

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So now that I have a little time on my hands, (Honey Doo List Notwithstanding) my mind has been wandering, and I have been thinking about what’s up next.

This year, I focused on our local race. My plan was to make it my A race for the year, give it a good shot, see if I can set some new PR’s and maybe collect some hardware. As you can see, it was pretty much a success.

So now I’ve been wondering, if I had a ton of money, and time to train, what races would I like to do. I seem to change my mind frequently, but I decided to pick three Ironman and three 70.3 races that I would like to do. These are not fantasy races, these are seriously on my radar.

70.3 Races

1. Vineman. Think about it. A triathlon set in California Wine country. What could be better than that. With a mid July schedule date, the timing is right for a solid spring training schedule.

2. Austin. When I lived in Houston, I made a couple of trips to the Capital, and always loved it. Word is that There is some awesome cycling in the hill country, and with an mid October date, the heat could be fading, and I could get a solid summer of training.

3. St. Croix. My wife and I visited the Virgin Islands on our honeymoon, and I would love to go back. Even before I started triathlons, I heard of this race, and The Beast. I always thought it would be a great race to do. The big drawback is the early May race date. It would mean a lot of indoor training over the winter, and not much time on the roads in the early spring. BUT it would be so worth it.

Ironman Races

1. Ironman Canada. Still one of the most popular races on the circuit. I have a lot of friends that have made several trips to Penticton, and have always raved about the quality of the experience. The drawback, getting in is tough. People fly out the year before, just to line up and get a slot.

2. Ironman Arizona. I have a friend who did this race several years ago, and another 2 friends going this year. The timing is perfect for getting in a summer of good quality training, similar to Florida, but without the ocean swim.

3. Ironman France. Yes a visit to Nice. This is the only non North American race on my list. I do plan to visit Europe some day, but I’d need about a month to finish my race travel, and then stay and check out some of the Tour. This may have to wait until post retirement, but I can always dream.

So now that I have shared mine, how about yours? Top 3 in each category, and if you make a blog post telling why, say so in your comment so everyone can check it out.

St. John’s Triathlon Race Report  

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We now have a series of races in Newfoundland, running throughout the summer. Most are sprint distance, with the only Olympic distances being St. John’s, and Corner Brook. But just because we don’t have long distance events doesn’t mean our races are less challenging.

Just for comparison, you can check out the results here

The Swim

I have done several large races including Ironman Florida with over 2000 athletes, as well as 7 other St. John’s triathlons. I have never had issues at the start of a swim, but for whatever reason, this year I got beat senseless at the swim start.

There was more body contact then the Team Canada intra squad game Friday. I was kicked, punched, swam over, and swam under. But it must have woke me up because my 17:18 was as good a swim split as I have ever done. The only downside was having to stop and duck into the bushes on the run-up from the beach. But at least I knew I was well hydrated.

The Bike

The original forecast was for light winds, getting up to 20k in the afternoon, but by race morning it was 20k gusting to 40. That would make for a windy ride.

The bike course is hilly, with the exception of two fairly flat sections, a couple of km each, most of the time you are either going up, or down.

Unlike other years, I was not getting picked off on the first lap. In fact, I caught several riders, and settled in with a group that played cat and mouse with each other for most of the 2 loops. We eventually caught the sprint distance riders which made for a busy ride, but it kept us all motivated.

Our little group finishing lap 1.

I didn’t know if I was going to bonk at any minute, but I felt good, so I decided to go with it. On Lap 1 I clocked somewhere around 41:30. After lap 2 I was 81:30 meaning a negative split. And a solid ride for 46km.

The Run

T2 was quick. Less than a minute. The run started on a trail through the park with a slight hill to start you off before you descend to the beach and through the trees. Since you are in the woods, you can see no-one else. But once out on Bennetts Road, I could see several runners ahead of me, and I set my sights on picking them off.

By the turn around at lap 1, I was cruising pretty good. I was hurting, but trying to maintain form. After the race, people commented how strong I looked on the run, and we all know how important looks are. Throughout run, I was passed by only a handful of other athletes including the race leader, the second place female.

Getting close to the finish I knew I would not break 50 minutes, but I was certainly in the low 50s. Across the line then a glance back at the clock, and I seen 2:36:40 – 41 – 42 – 43. I knew I was close to a PB, but I was not sure if I was there or not. 20 seconds later, one of my age group rivals came in. He must have had me in his sights the whole way home.

This is me just before the finish chute.

Ian, 20 seconds behind. He must have had me in his sights the whole way back. Thank goodness the run was only 10k.

Peter, 32 seconds behind. He smoked me on the bike, but I caught him on lap 1 of the run and held him off.

After The Race

It took about 45 minutes for my stomach to settle down wnough to eat anything. I went for a quick dip back in Healy’s pond, with my kids, then collected my bike and gear from transition and headed home.

Being a Sunny Sunday in St. John’s, there was just too much to do so my afternoon was spent with the kids touring Signal Hill, and taking in the Buskers Festival, while trying to figure out what to do now that tri season is done.

St. John's TRI 2010. Not a Bad Days Work  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

After 9 years of competing in triathlon, I finally won my first medal. Placing 3rd in my agegroup That’s a hard fought for piece of hardware. I didn’t want to take it off last night, and I would have worn it to bed, but my wife was scared I might choke myself. In addition, my 2:36:38 was a PB by 19 seconds.

Going into Sunday’s race I had several goals in mind.
1. Finish
2. Better last years time of 2:45
3. Set a Personal Best (Previous PB was 2:36:57)
4. Break 2:30

I achieved 1 and 2, as for 3, I really didn’t know until I finally got the official results, and checked them against 2005, and realized actually did it.

Age group placing is a crap shoot. You don’t really know who else is in your age group and some years, your best ever effort, don’t even get a look in. In fact in 2005, my personal best time only got me 5th out of 6 in my age group. But this year, I knew the closer to 2:30, the better my chances. As it turned out, 2:36:38 was good enough, but not by much, in fact only by 20 seconds.

By the numbers
2:36:38 overall time, a Personal Best by 19 seconds over my time in 2005.
9:25 faster than last year.
23rd out of 111 competitors in the individual full event.
3rd out of 13 competitors in the 40 to 44 year old age group.

My 17:18 swim split was quite good. My posted bike split of 1:27:15 included the runup from the beach, approx 350m, with a short pit stop in the trees, and transition to the bike so my actual time was closer to 1:22, quite good for the windy conditions on the highway. Similarly, my posted run time of 52:06 included T2, which was quick, but I think I was closer to 51:30.

So today, my sore muscles still hurt, but it’s a different kind of hurt. And I will surely enjoy a little relaxing this week.

The Final Countdown  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

Just 2 sleeps. Like always, I can’t believe race day is almost here. I have had lots of inspiration this week.

First of all, Regatta Day was Wednesday. A municipal holiday centered around a boat race. The oldest Sporting event in North America, going back 192 years. I used to row, and I still get fired up on Regatta Day.

Then Regatta Day morning there was the Kids of Steel. 3 years ago we had about 80 kids. Last year, 148 or so. This year, over 200. Can you imagine 200 kids ages 5 to 15 swimming biking and riding. If that don’t fire you up nothing will.

Then there’s my new shwag. I finally got my new Planet X 50 wheels setup. They are feather light, and look really cool. Kinda like mag wheels on a Ford Pinto. Only thing is there was a squeak coming from the front tire. It sounds like the tire is pulling away from the rim at the valve so Ron, is going to re glue them for me.

So rest today, one more short session tomorrow. Then it’s GO TIME! Stay tuned for the results.

I’m a Top 50 Informative and Inspiring Blogs for Triathletes  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

Out of the blue, yesterday I received an email from Jeanne Peterson who apparently runs a blog and web site called Physical Therapy Assistants Schools, which helps you find physical therapy assistant programs and compare physical therapy assistant school options.

She did a list of 50 Informative and Inspiring Blogs for Triathletes. And I made the list!!!!

I have no idea how she happened upon my blog, or how she decided to include mine. And I don’t know if she just listed the first 50 she came across, or if she reviewed hundreds, maybe thousands of blogs, and settled on what she considered the top 50, but that’s what I’ll tell everyone.

The list is broken down into 3 categories with 9 general tri blogs, 27 blogs by male athletes, and 13 by female athletes. I also don’t know if there is any order to this, but given that Joel Friel is at the bottom, probably not.

There are a lot of new blogs here that I haven’t come across before, so I will be bookmarking this site, and checking them out. And looking forward to finding some new blogger buddies out there.

Check it out!

The Taper  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

Tapering for any race seems as much a mystery as the origins of the universe. I am sure if you ask 100 coaches and athletes, you will get 100 different opinions on how to prepare for a race in the last week or weeks leading up to your race.

I have one friend who does nothing the week before. Literally. The bike stays in the garage, runners in the closet, and his only swims are with his kids. For Ironman, my taper started a couple of weeks out, and my run taper started before my bike taper and my swim taper was last. My taper for both my 70.3 races featured short workouts with brief efforts.

This week, I am taking a slightly different approach, still tapering back on volume, but I am keeping a couple of longer workouts, with complete rest days in between. I plan to keep some hard swims, and my key midweek brick session, similar to the days leading up to Carbonear.

My last really hard workout was a sprint session on the race course on Sunday. I am still a little sore from that session, but that’s ok. I rested and slept a lot yesterday. I am sure after a swim and bike ride today, I’ll be 100%.

So here is my week. Any input appreciated. Comments or criticisms. I’m a big boy and I can take it.


am Swim main set 10 x 100 with 25 m at race pace
pm 40 min Ride- 10 min EZ, 20 min Tempo 10 minute EZ.

am Swim Main set as 4 x 250 moderate with 1 hard
pm Brick- half and half. 45 minute Bike to include 10 min Tempo, Run to include tempo loop at moderate pace with 10 minute effort at race pace.

am Swim Open water if possible.
pm EZ Ride with 6 to 8 30 second pickups.


Swim 500m open water, ride 30 minutes EZ with pickups. Run 15 minutes EZ with Pickups.

Last Key Workouts  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

The past weekend, 7 days out from my “A” Race for the season, I completed my last two key workouts. A loop of the swim course, at race pace on Saturday, and a sprint distance workout on the race course on Sunday. The conditions were ideal. 20 degrees C, overcast, and not a breath of wind. The parking lot at Sunshine Park had no less than a dozen cars at any one time, all athletes preparing for next weekend. Some swimming, others riding the course, while still a few more could be found running along Bennett’s Road.

After finishing my workout, I had a sense of anticipation about next Sundays race. Maybe even more so than some of the destination races I have done in the last couple of years. The funny thing is that this year, I have been asked on countless occasions what I was training for, and my reply was often met with looks of surprise when I explain that my big event for this year was our local Olympic distance race.

It seems these days, all the rage is the long distance event. Magazine articles, blogs, online coaching services are all focused on the half Ironman or Ironman distance race. Even locally, we have no fewer than a dozen or more athletes travelling to destination races like Ironman Florida, Ironman Arizona, Ironman Canada, Timberman, Muskoga and so on. Just last week, we had a group sign up for next years Ironam U.S.A. in Lake Placid. It’s only about five years ago where we would have at most 3 or 4 local athletes travelling to Penticton for Ironman Canada.

Despite the popularity of the long events, it’s important not to discount the short and mid distance races that make up the bulk of events around North America. The sprint distance is still the main choice of first timers dipping their toe in to see how it feels. And the Olympic Distance race is, well, the distance raced in the Olympics. These distances bring with them their own challenges when you consider the intensity at which they are contested, and the penalty you pay for minor mistakes.

Next weekend is going to be a tough event, mainly because the ambitious goals I have set. Many of them are dependant on the conditions, so at the end of the day, the true test is my effort. If I cross the finish line knowing I left it all on the course, it’s a success, and that’s the best I can hope for.

So the remainder of this week will be about doing just enough to be sharp, not overdo it. Eat just enough to be fuelled on race day, but carrying extra baggage. And rest. It’s is the only thing I can’t do too much of during taper week. Unless of course you ask my beloved.

So here’s to a solid effort come Sunday.