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Ironman 70.3 Muskoka - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Muskoka, Ontario
World Triathlon Corporation
12C / 54F
Total Time = 5h 15m 17s
Overall Rank = 83/825
Age Group = 50-54
Age Group Rank = 1/51
Pre-race routine:

I went into this race not expecting much.

I was satisfied with my season, had some great PBs and was struggling with my Achilles. They have been very tight, probably the result of a decent run month in August.

I questioned doing this race since an Achilles rupture is not something you want, but the race was paid for and my son was volunteering so why not start, see how it goes and make the call as the day progressed.

My son was with me and was a volunteer the day before and race day. I worked a good portion of the day before with him. While being on one’s feet all day is probably not ideal, it actually did me good.
Event warmup:

Race morning my Achilles was not as stiff as usual.

Normally I cannot go down stairs or walk normally for a few hours. I walked for 2 hours before the race and this loosened it up. Again not traditional pre-race routine.

One thing I like about this race is they rack bikes by AG. So you meet the guys from your AG the day before or during morning setup. So you know some of the faces you are racing and you can see how many bikes are there in T1 and not there in T2.

  • 34m 19s
  • 1931 meters
  • 01m 47s / 100 meters

I was in the very last swim wave.

The nice thing about this race is they start the waves every 6 minutes so you do not run into as many people. This is great.

I was wearing clear goggles on a very sunny morning with the sun in our face for the first 500m. Mistake, bring clear and tinted goggles to adjust to conditions. I could not see anything. While lining up on the start line I did see a mountain in line with the first turn so I used that since I couldn’t see any bouays. If you do Muskoka, use the mountain to sight.

At 500m we did a right 90 deg, about 200m another right 90 deg then it’s a long straight swim about 700m. Really nice. No traffic ahead, good sighting, most enjoyable portion of a swim in my life. Then there’s a 90 deg right turn and 500m to go

One of the race officials told me that on the last 500m if you stick to your left it is very shallow. Sure enough we saw the pros dolphin diving in that section. So I decided to stay right in the deeper water. But I went waaaay to right. If you do this race, go right, but not too much.

I also had my watch that was supposed to beep at 36 minutes. But I screwed up setting it and it beeped at 30 minutes. So I thought it was 36 with 400m to go and thought “crap, this is going to be a 41min swim, great”. I get out, look at my watch, 34 min. Very pleasantly surprised.

They had wetsuit strippers. My luck, I got two older ladies, that probably weight 100lbs combined. They pulled as hard as they could but it wasn’t coming off at the ankles. I helped a little.

What would you do differently?:

Wear tinted googles if there is a lot of sun.

I can do better on the swim but I need to train more at it. My swim has very slightly deteriorated over the last 2 years because I put less time into it. I probably have 2 minutes to gain here.
Transition 1
  • 04m 4s

You then run up a huge hill. This was probably the hardest part of the entire race. I was relaxed coming out of the water but gased on this hill. I came out of the water with a HR of 156 and hit 164 at the top of the hill. Garmin says 20m of climbing over 500m which is a 4% grade for 500m.

Got to the bike, most bikes seemed there so I knew I was doing well relative to my AG. Splits show that 3 guys were way ahead and one guy with 15 seconds of me who I saw in T1. I recognized him from yesterday and he is so tall easy to spot.

What would you do differently?:

Not much, everyone had to go up that same hill. I think I did it just hard enough but people should be prepared for it
  • 2h 55m 51s
  • 94 kms
  • 32.07 km/hr

Off we went on the bike, shoes on pedals, it all worked well.

First 20min felt ok, but I was a little over my power target at 230w and below my target speed at 29km/h. I figured it was going to be a long ride. But things settled in. But you feel like there is a lot of climbing in that first 20km.

The roads for the first little while are a bit rough but then you get on a nice stretch of good asphalt and can bring your average speed up .

Then back to average roads and then there were 3 sections of about 2km each of the worst roads I have ever ridden. Think of a gravel/ciment mixture. Everything was shaking. Thank god it was aonly 3 short sections.

A bit of climbing in the last 20km so keep some juice for that.

Overrall I hit my normalized power target but I did it with a 1.08 VI which is high. I am “heavy” so I had to put good power up the hills. I had to brake a few times on downhills due to bike traffic.

One of the disadvantages of being in the last wave is you do more passing which isn’t always easy. Many of the people you pass have less bike skill and experience so you get quite a bit of blocking and poor reflexes. You call “on your left” and they look back at you and swerve right into you. Oh well…

I don’t know about others but I struggle with my power at about 50km and it comes back at around 70km. I now know this is always the case so I ignore it at 50km. I also know back pain will apear at 60km and go away.

For those who will do this in the future, the course gets progressively faster, the fastest being between 50 and 60km then progressively slower again

Total calories was
2 bottles of Diluted IM perform = 48oz liquids = 48g carbs + 1/3 power bar
48g carbs + 13g = 61g = 244 calories for the entire bike. A little low, but it worked. I am T2 diabetic, this is a limiter for me. But I never felt like I lacked energy.

I came to the end of the bike feeling pretty good but had no idea where I stood relative to my AG. I didn’t see anybody I knew and nobody my AG passed me.

What would you do differently?:

Next time I will try and negative split my power.

My HR avg was a little lower than expected. I suspect I may have left a few watts on the table but 5watts is not going to make a huge difference.

I don't know if I could have got my VI lower. I did work the downhills, but when you start spinning there is not much you can do. I would be curious to know what other's VI was.

I guess a little weight loss can't hurt.

Transition 2
  • 02m 5s

I get to the rack and there is one bike there. Wow, cool, this means I am in 2nd place for my AG. Hopefully the Achilles would be ok.

I know I was a little dazed coming off the bike. I don't think I realized I was having such a good race.

I didn't know where to go for run out, which is my bad.

  • 1h 38m 22s
  • 21.08 kms
  • 04m 40s  min/km

Then as I am leaving for the run, my son who is volunteering shouts at me, smiling, waving his yellow volunteer flag. Then I had this 2 minutes of thinking : what do I do ?

I thought I had a good shot at a podium thinking there was one guy ahead of me. I thought it would be nice for my son to see me podium since this was the first time he saw me race.

I thought chasing the guy that I thought was ahead of me could cause me to blow up, which I usually do or I could hurt the achilles.

Normally my quads, hams....are sore and tight. They felt 100% normal. I actually felt fresh. But I could feel my heals and achilles were really really tight. Not sore, just really tight.

So I decided to pace it easy, test the achilles, see if it was improving and if someone from my AG caught me I would decide what to do then.

All summer, I really wanted to pace this run properly. In the past I would go out at sub 4:30/km and die, having to sometimes walk 30 sec or so. I asked Bryan about this, he gave me what he believed to be reasonable pacing as well as training ratios (bike/run). I followed them to the letter. I wanted to run an average of 4:45 per km so was hoping to start at 4:40ish and fade to 4:50ish.

I also spent a lot of time working hills this summer. Learning to slow down on the up and speed up on the down. I use to over do it up and use the down to recover. This is wrong

So off I went, and was going really easy because a) I always overdo the first km b) I wanted to test the Achilles. First 2km was at 4:40 even, 146BPM. Perfect. I just tried to keep this. Sure enough pace stayed even and HR stayed low.

KM 7 to 10.5 is uphill. So my pace was a little slower here (4:53/km).

Got to the top of the hill, and down we came. I looked at my watch to figure out how far ahead I was of anyone I could recognize from my AG. I saw the really tall guy from T1 that came out of the swim with me. I counted 3 minutes, so x2, so I had a good 6 minutes on him. At this point the Achilles was very stable, still tight but not getting worst and this was the best I ever felt after 10km on the run.

I had a down hill so decided to pick up the pace. I started dropping the pace, 4:37, 4:34 then got into some nasty short hils 4;44, 4:42, 4:34.. At this point I was looking for the guy ahead of me. We should all have to run with same color run caps :-)

The last kilometer has a huge uphill. I could see people up ahead and thought maybe the first in my AG was in that pack so I gunned it. With the climb, and the time in the chute I did a 4:15 for the last km. That hurt.
My normalized gradient pace, that takes in account grade gives a 4:01/km.

The guy I was chasing was not there :-). The one bike that was racked when I got to T2 was a guy who didn't finish the swim. On the bike I passed the 3 guys that were ahead of me after T1 but didn't realize it. So I spent 1/2 the run protecting my 2nd spot and achilles and half the run chasing a guy who didn't exist

I didn't use the aid stations at all. I did have a race belt with 20oz of fluid 20oz of carbs so took 2 oz every 2km
20oz = 20g carbs = 80 calories
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. This was well executed. I probably could have started picking up the pace earlier, but in hindsight it was just right.

I finished this event fresher than any other race I have ever done. I was more gased on my Oly 2 weeks ago.
Post race
Warm down:

I looked for my son. Found him giving out water at one of the stations so did that with him for a while

We went to the awards ceremony, I got a trophy and a spot at Vegas.

Total calories for race = 244+80 = 324 calories or about 60 calories/hour.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I am a very very conservative racer. I am always afraid to run out of gas. So I hold back.

Next year I will be more aggressive on the bike once I've established a proper FTP.

Event comments:

This is a tough race but an incredibly well organized race.
The scenery is beautiful and there is a very laid back sense to it.

I have to send out a special thanks and appreciation to Fred's mentor group. These are a bunch of knowledgeable and friendly people that are extremely supportive and provide tons of great racing and training info.

There are several times during the race I thought of things Fred, Bryan and others have shared.

Also, there are 3 or 4 lines of information I got from Bryan Dunn that directed my run pacing and training. This made my race. All through the very limited communication channel he has to share his wealth of knowledge

Last updated: 2012-09-05 12:00 AM
00:34:19 | 1931 meters | 01m 47s / 100meters
Age Group: 4/51
Overall: 0/825
Performance: Good
Suit: Orca wetsuit
Course: Large rectangle. 500m out, 90egree right, about 200m, 90 degree right, about 700m, 90 deg right about 500m Point to point
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 18C / 64F Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:04
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
02:55:51 | 94 kms | 32.07 km/hr
Age Group: 3/51
Overall: 0/825
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Single loop around a lake. Very hilly
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:05
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:38:22 | 21.08 kms | 04m 40s  min/km
Age Group: 1/51
Overall: 0/825
Performance: Good
I ended up right at the border of Z1/Z2. First 2/3 well in Z1 then slowly upping
Course: Lots of rolling hills. Nice climb between km 7 and 10.5 then back down for 3.5km then rolling hills with some short nasty grades and a tough hill at the end
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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

2012-09-10 1:45 PM

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Subject: Ironman 70.3 Muskoka

2012-09-10 4:06 PM
in reply to: #4403916

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Muskoka

Congrats on the AG win! Awesome result - you make such a tough race sound easy!!

2012-09-10 6:48 PM
in reply to: #4403916

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Muskoka
Awesome job Marc. 
2012-09-11 11:29 AM
in reply to: #4403916

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Muskoka
Fantastic race Marc - overall race seems executed to perfection, and that 1:38 run impressed me the most.  Wish I could say I felt fresh after that course!  Congrats on going back to Vegas.
2012-09-11 11:52 AM
in reply to: #4403916

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Muskoka
Great race and report, even if it took a while to read trying to convert kilometers to miles.  Congrats!
2012-09-11 12:30 PM
in reply to: #4405698

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Muskoka

GoFaster - 2012-09-11 11:29 AM ..Wish I could say I felt fresh ...

I said "fresher" not fresh :-). I went swimming today. There is some left over fatigue in this old body.

But I am already starting to plan my season for next year

Thanks everyone !!

2012-09-11 8:36 PM
in reply to: #4403916

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Muskoka

Very well done Marc!!!

Does that mean you're going to the worlds next year?

2012-09-12 4:32 AM
in reply to: #4406781

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Muskoka
etccallhome82 - 2012-09-11 8:36 PM

Does that mean you're going to the worlds next year?


Yep. Got my Vegas spot, hotel is booked :-)

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