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The Great White North Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Stony Plain, Alberta
The Great White North Triathlon
18C / 64F
Total Time = 5h 34m 30s
Overall Rank = 280/646
Age Group = M50-59
Age Group Rank = 22/72
Pre-race routine:

A bit late to bed and up at 4:50. Cereal w/milk and a banana for breakfast as we listened to the rain outside. I remembered to apply sunscreen and bodyglide. The rain stopped by the time we got there, about 6:00 for a good parking spot. Leanne stayed in the van for a bit while I headed down to T1 by the lake to set up.

I had forgotten the mixed bottle of perpetuem in the motel room fridge. I decided I would be OK with the Power Bar, cut in half, and two gels in the bento box, and filled the empty holder on the bike with the water bottle intended to rinse my feet after the swim. I was wearing a light jacket and sweat pants but the weather seemed to be clearing so I packed them into my run bag and gave it to the volunteers to be taken to T2 in town.

There was a huge puddle in the middle of the bike rack area. This year however, my bike rack number was in a good spot on dry pavement. They decided to split and shift the racks that went through the puddle. They were also working on draining the flooded areas. It sounds like the new owners of the resort have big plans, including support for this event, so T1 may see some improvements.

I re-visited the porta-johns a few times before I was happy. Leanne came down in time to help me zip up the wetsuit, and none to soon as they announced the timing mats were ready for people to enter the start area. I had only seen a few people I knew from Lethbridge around T1 but found more of them on the beach. Again, I forgot to have a gel befor the start.

There were over 700 individuals registered but the Results Canada website clocked only 579 out of the swim, and 46 relay teams. Edited to add: The race website lists 646 times including: teams and individuals, as well as 6 DQs and 25 DNFs. They listed a lot of drafting penalties handed out too.
Event warmup:

I had missed the warmup swimming from around the sides of the fenced start area. From inside, I barely got in up to my knees before they were calling for us to come back to the beach, so I layed down to get some water in the suit, then windmilled my arms a bit on the beach. So much for the warm up. :)
  • 36m 44s
  • 2000 meters
  • 01m 50s / 100 meters

I started roughly in the middle and, sure enough, it was quite crowded for the first 400m leg. I was taking a few kicks and blows but able to veer away from most of that. I pulled up a few times to let the determined swimmers crowding in from both sides get at each other while I went around them. I just tried to settle into a comfortable rythym and get through it. After the first turn, I started picking up and following well paced feet. I didn't seem to be able to stay behind anyone for more than a couple hundred meters, if that, but was usually able to cruise for a bit and find another pair. There were usually enough people around me that I didn't have to sight a lot, and still stayed reasonably close to the course. The time is a few minutes better than last year.
What would you do differently?:

Start more to the outside.
Transition 1
  • 03m

Estimated time since the transitions were included in the bike split. T1 seemed remarkably smooth and methodical; I was not really hurrying. I discovered I had also forgotten to bring a towel, but the rain-washed grass and pavement left my feet clean enough to just brush off.

The volunteers make sure your stuff gets into your numbered swim bag and they transport it to your spot at T2 before the end of the race. I was quick enough out of the swim that no one else was changing nearby so a volunteer got in beside me and had finished packing my bag before I left. He was very careful not to get in my way though and we worked well together.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. Maybe hurry a bit more but that might not be quicker. Bring a towel and all the bottles, though it didn't hurt me this time.
  • 2h 43m 13s
  • 90 kms
  • 33.08 km/hr

One nice thing about a little faster swim is getting passed by some pretty awesome looking bikes, and some of them were flying. I tried not to get too carried away, so I just let them go. It started raining as I got to town and came down pretty good for 15 or 20 minutes before tapering off again. There was a bit of a breeze sometimes but not much considering the storms. I usually just eat what I carry but since I forgot a mixed bottle I took a couple half bananas from the aid stations during the ride in addition to my power bar and two gels. Erin from Lethbridge was still outbound a little after the turn around and she called out that Janice, also from Lethbridge, was just ahead.

There was a quite a bit of bike traffic around me sometimes and I worried about draft penalties. I was usually pushing pretty good, passing lots and getting passed, so when a crowd would overtake me I just eased up a bit and let the group go ahead. Just after I dropped out of the back of one such pack, a draft marshal motorcycle passed me and pulled one of them over. It's too bad that one guy had to get singled out of the group but ... Whew!

I tried not to push as hard as last year on the bike. I felt better at T2 this year but still might be pacing the ride a bit fast. The training must be working though as my time was about 10 minutes faster this year.
Transition 2
  • 02m

The volunteers direct you to your rack spot and they had a moment of mis-communication before they got me headed down the right row. I don't know if there was a lot of drafting going on but, while I was changing, a volunteer mentioned that 'another pod of cyclists' were coming in. :/

T2 was similar to T1; smooth and methodical but not rushed.
  • 2h 09m 35s
  • 21 kms
  • 06m 10s  min/km

I started off feeling good and for the first half of the run I used the garmin to aim for about a 5:40/km pace. I knew that might be too fast but if I could keep it up it would give a sub 2 hour run. A little way back from the far turn around the 2 hour run idea was abandoned and I just tried to maintain a steady run. I was walking to drink at the aid stations and running everything else, though I stretched a few extra meters into a couple aid stations. Besides the aid stations, I was determined to run the whole way, although it was a pretty pathetic shuffle for the last couple of kilometers. During the run the lead male went by to a sub 4 hour finish. I also saw several other guys from Lethbridge.

With the side trip on the run there are three places to see the others racing close to you. I really wasn't trying to catch Janice but I saw her a few minutes ahead of me at the first turn around near the start of the run. I missed her at the half way turn but again Erin called out that she was just ahead. On the final out and back Janice was just coming out of the turn around loop as I was getting there, a lead of barely more than a hundred meters but it included a slight hill and another aid station. At that point however, I wasn't worried about anything other than finishing without walking. Janice is a swimmer and came out of the water about 5 minutes ahead of me. I gained about a minute and a half on both the bike and run but got even closer at least once. It seems Erin was quite entertained watching us close the gap throughout the race.

I was shuffling in towards the finish line, looking at the banner stretched across, and I was thinking that this was the first time I had finished a race early enough that they were still holding up a banner. All of a sudden a lady came up beside me and started to pull ahead. Without thinking, I came up on my toes, started pumping my knees and elbows, and sprinted for the line, gaining three seconds on her before the end. As the race director put the finishers medal over my head he said that sprint looked like it hurt. It turns out that lady took second place in the female side of my age group.
What would you do differently?:

My pacing on the both the bike and the start of the run was probably a little ambitious.
Post race
Warm down:

Not much cool down. I saw Leanne just past the finish area and joined her, grabbing some pretzels, fruit, and a drink. I was very happy, thrilled even, with my finishing time but also very weary, stiff, and uncomfortable. We walked around a little, talking to people and watching the finishers while I had more pretzels and drinks. There was another intense rainstorm later, before the last runners got in.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not enough biking this spring and inconsistent training in general lately.

Still, it was a huge PB for me so I'm happy.

Event comments:

A well organized race, in spite of the separate transition areas. Good pre and post race meals too. Steve King was announcing at the start and finish.

Last updated: 2008-02-17 12:00 AM
00:36:44 | 2000 meters | 01m 50s / 100meters
Age Group: 9/72
Overall: 172/646
Performance: Average
Course: 2 laps of a triangle, clockwise. 400m out, 200m across, and 400m back. It's a sandy beach dropping off by about 30 or 40 feet out, and clear, comfortably warm water.
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:00
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:43:13 | 90 kms | 33.08 km/hr
Age Group: 17/72
Overall: 235/646
Performance: Good
HR av. 145, max 180
Wind: Little
Course: Starts with a short leg, from the lake and T1, into town. Then the rest is an out and back with some easy rolling hills and a deep river valley crossing just before the turn around, finishing at T2 in the town of Stony Plain.
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:00
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:09:35 | 21 kms | 06m 10s  min/km
Age Group: 40/72
Overall: 413/646
Performance: Average
HR av. 170, max 181
Course: A fairly level, out and back course with a short out and back side leg that's repeated a couple of kilometers from both the start and finish. The route is all within the town with much of it running through park trails or on walking pathways, mostly paved but a few concrete sidewalks.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2008-07-08 10:34 PM

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Lethbridge, Alberta
Bronze member
Subject: The Great White North Triathlon
My best half IM time so far, by about 32 minutes. :) :) :) :) :)

Edited by Micawber 2008-07-08 10:36 PM

2008-07-08 11:21 PM
in reply to: #1516215

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Subject: RE: The Great White North Triathlon
Congrats on a great race! You look like you're in good form for IMC.

It was a nice day, even with the little bits of rain.

Enjoy the rest of your training!
2008-07-09 7:08 PM
in reply to: #1516215

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Subject: RE: The Great White North Triathlon

Wow! 32 mins off your best time? You smoked it, Dwayne!! I especially liked the part about the banner.. never seen one of those myself.


2008-07-10 10:50 AM
in reply to: #1516215

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Extreme Veteran
Lethbridge, AB
Subject: RE: The Great White North Triathlon
Great job Dwayne!  You have made huge improvements this year.  Janice is pretty speedy, so good job almost catching her!
2008-07-11 3:08 PM
in reply to: #1516215

Lethbridge, Alberta
Subject: RE: The Great White North Triathlon
It was great meeting you and Leanne.
Congrats again on the incredible PB! You're going to do great at IMC.
Kathy and I have just decided that we'll go to Penticton to watch the race this year so know that we'll be cheering you on.
Good training.

P.S. I don't know about you, but I have never been so sore as I am this week.

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