Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Congrats to Tim. He is an Ironman again!

Just this past weekend Tim completed his 2nd Ironman at Coeur D'Alene. His finshing time was 16:21. I am waiting on his race report. He promises that it is long. :)

Congrats Tim!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ride to Conquer Cancer

This past weekend was the Ride to Conquer Cancer. We saw Ken. aka Lynn's Dad take part in this event. He has been training all year for this event and was up to the challenge. Day 1 was great weather and Day 2 was very wet and windy. Many cyclists struggled as they were not prepared for the weather. Ken bundled up in his No Limits gear and stayed relatively dry. At the start of Day 2 Ken's grandson told him at breakfast in the campground that he was not allowed to wimp out even though tempted. "Grandpa - you better do it" puts a lot of pressure on a guy! said Ken.

Overall 2280 cyclists were out on the weekend and a total of 8.6 million was raised. What a great way to raise awareness and funds for The Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Great job Ken! Until next year..... :)

How to quickly remove a wetsuit

How to quickly remove a wetsuit

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Marmotte Bike Race

Four months ago Pat came to me and asked if I would help train him in his preparation for the Marmotte. To be honest I had to ask what this was. The Marmotte is a legendary cyclosportive race over 174 Km and a 5000m height gain. The race starts from Bourg-D’Oisans (717m) and ends at the legendary Alpe-d’Huez. In between the race will ride over the mountain passes of Glandon (1818m), Telelgraphe (1570m), Galibier (2642m) and Lautaret (2057m).

Pat has done a great job in preparing for his trip and he leaves this week. Wish him well as he sets off on an adventure of a lifetime. I am very much looking forward to hearing about his race when he returns.

Bonne Chance Mon Ami!

Course profile


alpe d'huez



Start of race 2010

Monday, June 20, 2011

Raf's race report from Chinook Half Ironman -- grab a coffee :)

Chinook Half Ironman Race Report
So last Saturday was the Chinook Half Ironman here in Calgary. The Chinook Half is a local race put on by Mike Bock, an awesome event organizer who puts together a wicked, athlete focused event.

The course definitely more challenging than Calgary 70.3. The swim is a two loop 2km swim in a local man-made lake, followed by a 96km out and back to Kananaskis Provincial Park which is pretty much the entrance to the Rocky Mountains, and the run is a two loop course through Fish Creek Provincial Park which is relatively flat with the exception of the large descent/ascent out of the Fish Creek Valley.

Pre-Race

Pre-race was fairly routine for me. We had a pasta party put on by the event organizer the night before at the pre-race meeting. Oddly enough though, around 8:00pm I started getting some pretty acute pain on the inside of my right ankle which really started to worry me. I massaged and stretched it out through the next couple hours though.

Race morning, got up at about 5:30am. Had an Ensure, a bagel with Nutella, and a banana. Got all my stuff ready and headed down to the race start.

Setting up transition was straightforward and easy, there were huge sponsor posters and no assigned spots so I planted my spot right in front of a huge Subaru sign. Went around and said hey to everyone I knew, the team from Tri-It, and a few people I'd met from previous races. This really helps to calm the nerves and remind you that you're out there to have fun.

The Swim

Water temperatures were 16C, so pretty warm considering the time of year. I did a quick pre-race swim with some fist drills to remind my body to catch strong. Went back ashore just before the start.

The horn went off and out we went. In the first couple hundred meters I definitely let the rush get the best of me and I had to really focus myself and calm down. My stroke and sighting were suffering a bit because I was just too into the hustle. At the first buoy though I was able to settle in and get a good pace going. The rest of the swim was pretty straightforward with the exception of someone who decided they would grab my leg from behind and try to move me aside which almost pulled my timing chip off my ankle and really irritated me. When this happened I started kicking like a madman to let them know that if they want to be a jerk they'd have a grand time doing so.

I'm not sure how my first and second lap compare, but it does seem that my second lap went a bit faster.

Time: 42:42, distance 2.1km (can thank shoddy sighting for the extra 100m), HR 160bpm, 65th place. I wear my Garmin 310xt in the water, for the record.

Transition 1: 3:33

The Bike

The bike is my strong suit so coming out of the water so far back didn't rattle me at all. The first few km I settled into my pace and stayed in low zone 2, so heart rate around 150-155, and power around 75% of my FTP.

I quickly started gaining position and was feeling good in the first few minutes but not long after I realized I wasn't feeling 100% internally. I can't really describe it but my legs felt cool and heavy, and for a little bit I was starting to get a stitch. I started to think about my ankle from the night before and was really playing headgames with myself. This lasted for the first maybe 15km of the ride. The saving grace was that at this time I was also making up huge positions.

Around 30km things started to feel better and the field had really thinned out. By this time individual riders were at least 500m apart. We were starting to get into the hills and I was having no issues keeping pace. I kept calling "left!" to make sure the guys I was passing knew I was coming since I really don't like getting over the line on some sections on that roadway.

Approaching the turnaround I counted about 20 riders coming the other way, but couldn't tell who was racing and who was just out riding but figured I was in the top 20 anyways. Reached the turnaround and some confusion with the guy controlling traffic really upset me so I just dropped the hammer and hauled ass on the way back.

I stuck to my strategy during the bike. For the first 1/3 ride in Zone 2 with HR sub 160 with power about 75% of FTP. Then the second 2/3 ride in high Zone 2-low zone 3 with HR in 160's, power at 80-85% FTP. Its a course with a couple big climbs, and a lot of rollers so the strategy on those was to not exceed 110% FTP on the short hills, and 100% FTP on the long climbs which wouldn't last more than 5 minutes anyways. Over 55km/hr I'd just tuck in and get small. Its a tricky course to get a read on power though since most of the time you're either climbing, or spinning out.

Nutrition also went according to plan, 1 hammer gel every half hour, and finish two bottles of Perpetuum, no need to stop at aid stations.

Time: 2:56:12 for 96km. 3119 ft of climbing. Ave HR 160bpm, Max HR 172bpm. Ave Cadence 92rpm. 7th fastest bike time of the day.

Transition 2: 1:07.

The Run

For the run my plan was run an even split, and try and stay under 5:00min/km. Getting off the bike of course my legs felt heavy and I really wished I'd done more bricks recently but as per usual the battle was mental. My run cadence is spot on what my bike cadence is so I usually motor along just fine. For the first lap I motored along between 4:35/km and 4:50/km. After a few km I felt great.

Todd (my coach) was chillin around the 7km mark and when I saw him I told him he was a sight for sore eyes. I'm not sure what it was but it was definitely a good boost to see a familiar face since there weren't many spectators down in the valley.

Second lap I started hurting. During the last bit of the bike I chugged down what I had left of my drink which was maybe 1/3 of the bottle. Up until now I was aware that it wasn't really processing in my stomach but it didn't start to bother me til then so I settled back the pace a bit and let it go down. Once my stomach started feeling better and I picked up the pace, I started to get a stitch under my ribs, now I was in the hurt locker.

I tried to run through the stitch, and I pictured Macca and Raelert in the last few km of Kona and I remember seeing Macca at one point push under his ribs and double forward, but he just kept running which is what I wanted to do... Then I pictured Chris Lieto who sort of shut down in the run which was a little less inspiring. I had to stop and walk at 16km for about 200m which I've never done before in a half marathon or half IM. Reflecting now I wish I hadn't walked but it was definitely hurting, and I knew I had a good few minutes on the next person behind me.

When I picked up the pace again I still had the stitches but I could run through them now that they'd eased off a little.

Going up the beast of a hill out of the valley I ended up walking once more. It was just one of those hills that if you tried to run it you'd take such small steps someone might legitimately walk past you. And I was completed gassed at this point but it was just a km to go once I reached the top.

Ran the rest in, crossed the line, and made a big smile.

Time: 1:42:45 for 21.1km. Ave HR 175 bpm. 17th fastest run split of the day.

Post-Race:

Had Shirley and a whole bunch of other friends there to welcome me as I came into the finish. I was definitely hurting after the race but most of that subsided in about half an hour.

Finish time: 5:21:49. 2nd in Age Group, 12th Overall! (For the record, 1st in my age group was Grant Burwash, a pro/elite triathlete who won overall).

Big Shoutouts

Special thanks to Coach Todd from No Limits Triathlon who helped bring my Half IM time down on a much more challenging course, by more than 20 minutes in less than a year.

Also Congrats to Keith Blundell, my friend and training partner, for finishing his first HIM ever and who finished strong considering he'd never ridden that far ever before.

Shayne Arseneault, who finished his first triathlon that day and to the second, had the exact same time as my first triathlon.

My friends at Tri-It for being an awesome support team for me and all Calgary triathletes.

And last but not least my wonderful girlfriend Shirley who supports, challenges, and inspires me to give nothing but my best.

Short video of Raf at The Chinook half ironman triathlon

Raf looking strong at the Chinook Half Ironman

Raf looking strong at the Chinook Half Ironman

Keith all smiles at the Chinook Half IronMan

Keith all smiles at the Chinook Half IronMan

Chinook Half Ironman

This past weekend we saw the Chinook half ironman triathlon take place. Raf and Keith were both using this race as stepping stone towards IronMan Canada. Keith basically just got back from Europe and we decided to use this race as a great training day. Raf has been training hard all year and it has paid off. He finished in a time of 5:21 and 2nd in his age group and 12th overall. Keith was all smiles when I saw him on the run and he finished in 6:44 and 11th in his age group. Great effort guys and now one step closer to Ironman. :)

Mary's Brick class ready to roll

Mary's Brick class ready to roll

Friday, June 17, 2011

No Limit Minute - Running on tired legs

No Limit Minute - Running on tired legs


Some things to think about when you are running tired:
Cadence - keep your leg turnover high
Arm rhythm - keep in time with your legs.
Overall keep your body relaxed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Karen's Wasa Olympic Race Report

Karen’s Wasa Olympic Race report:

Swim:
Did a few minutes in the water beforehand to get water down my zipper and do a goggle check. I started at the very very back on purpose because I was pretty nervous and didn't want to get clobbered from behind. It was a clockwise rectangle, and I kept accidentally veering to the left (outside the pack), and needed to keep pushing myself to the right...I suspect there might have been a bit of a current, but not sure. After the first 5 min or so, was able to quit freaking out and calm down and just swim. It felt tedious and long but I kept going. Time: 35:39, not much different than my pool swim time trial, which was a bit faster than I suspected. In age group: 18/26.

Bike:
I was so happy and relieved to be on the bike, that I just wanted to giver and have fun. It was on the bike where I began to realize that the level of competition is different in Olympic than in local sprints (and lots of drafting marshals). Usually on the bike in a little sprint race I can pass a few people, but on this race even though I was going all out, there were a lot of us that were about the same speed and not as much passing as I thought. At the bottom of a hill I shifted down to the small chainring and the chain fell off, but I remembered from in our spin class when someone lost a chain and you just said to shift and keep pedalling so that's what I did, and YAY! The derailleur brought it right back on! Bike felt strong and I was happy with how I felt. I sort of cruised/fast spin during the last couple of km instead of pushing super hard because I wanted to get my legs ready for the run. Time: 1:27:31, 13/26 in age group.

Run:
It was pretty hot out by the time the run started (the women's Olympic started at 9:10, after the men's Olympic and sprint). I just started going and figured out fairly quickly that I wasn't going to be able to maintain a pace of 6 min km (or even 6:15), so I just made sure I was always under 7 min km, and I walked every second water station (there were 8), and got the kids to toss water on me at the others. Yes, I could have probably kept running through all the water stations, but it was a good motivator to know I can walk a few paces in a few km. And probably because of that I can say I had a fun run. It was still hard, but I just talked to lots of people and tried to enjoy myself (as much as it's possible to enjoy oneself on a run!) The last 2 km were tough because they were right near the finish line - hard to not stick in an extra walk break. Time: 1:06:35, age group: 21/26. When I compare this to my own runs and experiences, I think it's pretty good.

A couple of things I learned:
1. The field in Olympic races is much more competitive because there are fewer beginners, and I should quit comparing myself to everyone else.
2. I need to be very very careful about letting pre-race nerves interfere with my ability to stay calm and be ready on race day.
3. I felt like this race was long enough for me...maybe I'm fooling myself about someday thinking I'd like to do a 1/2 IM?? (I think you can do this Karen)
4. Regardless of what I did yesterday, I feel just fine today.

Should I have gone harder? I could have....I realize that now, but it most definitely didn't feel like it at the time. And that's all I got. Well under 4 hours and better than expected. :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wasa Olympic Triathlon Race Report by Coach Mary

No Limits was well represented this past weekend at the Wasa Lake Triathlon. We ended up having ideal racing conditions with overcast skies, just a little wind and 10 degrees at the start.
There were a few changes to the course this year which made it even more enjoyable. This is the 4th year I have raced Wasa but the first time the swim course has been a single 1500m loop. I enjoyed this larger loop and found it easier to get into a groove. A more significant change, however, was on the bike course. Wasa is known for its fast and flat bike course. It is still fast, but not very flat! This came as a surprise to all of us about a week before the race. The 40k out and back now heads towards Fort Steele, on some newly paved road, and undulates over 5 rollers. With all these uphill and downhill stretches there are lots of opportunities to pass and get passed. The turnaround is at 22.5k and although you still have the 5 rollers on the way back, there is a net elevation loss and a few opportunities to really fly. It was fun!
One final change involved the drafting zone on the bike. Tri BC as well as Triathlon Canada has changed the length of the drafting zone from 7 meters to 10. This is 33 feet! They also allow 20 seconds (instead of 15) to pass. There were a few warnings issued by the officials on motor bikes but they were pretty passive about enforcing on the hills.
Dean: 2:15 and took 7th in his age group
Brian: 2:34 and was very pleased with his swim
Lynn and Mary both finished in 2:41 and went 1 and 2 in their age group for the swim. This was Lynn's debut race. She had a great day despite a little bit of panic during the first few minutes of the swim.
John: 2:43
Chris: 2:50
Karen: 3:09
Julie: 3:12 This was Julie's first Olympic distance race. A very strong swimmer, Julie did not anticipate needing the support of a kayak during the race. But, she fought through the panic that had set in after warming up, persevered, and continued on for a strong bike and run. She also learned a bit about wetsuit repair as she sewed and sealed a 3 inch tear in her wetsuit the night before she raced.
Martha: 3:47. This was Martha's 2nd Olympic race and she bettered her time by over 15 minutes. Great job Martha!
It was great to have the support of so many No Limits teammates out on the Wasa course this year. Perhaps next year we should enter the Tri-club challenge!

Wasa Pre race photo with Brian, Mary and John

Wasa Pre race photo with Brian, Mary and John

Wasa Finish line photo

Wasa Finish line photo (Lynn, Julie and Mary)

Martha and the No Limits Ladies running to the finish at Wasa Olympic

Martha and the No Limits Ladies running to the finish at Wasa Olympic

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Janine's Vulcan (sprint) Triathlon Race Report

I loved it! It occurred to me after that the training was much more difficult than the race (maybe I didn't push hard enough) In spite of practicing on and off the bike I was still nervous about the transitions before. My 11 year old swim start was 10:15 and mine was at 11:00 so I didn't have much of a warm up unless you count jumping up and down and cheering. Swim was fine, bike it was sooo cold and the head wind on the way back was brutal. I was able to stay aero almost the whole ride. During training I struggled at bit with the aero position. I felt a bit sick when I first started to run but then I realized in the rush to get to Vulcan and get organized that I hadn't eaten anything for 5 hours maybe a small snack at 9:30 would have helped? When I put my running shoes on I realized I couldn't feel my feet (yes it was that cold). I completed the run and still didn't have much feeling in my feet. Swim time 13:01, bike 37:13, run 24:45 overall place was 158/510 age group 17/86 females. I made my goal of being in the top 50% but I always look for where I could have done better. I am happy and ready to train hard for the next month for the Heart of the Rockies sprint. Thanks Coach for preparing me so well!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

No Limits Hawaii Training Camp

No Limits Hawaii Training Camp

Looking back on the camp I can say that it was a huge success. This is what we did. We started off most days with a swim in the Pacific Ocean at Hapuna Beach. This is one of the best beaches in Hawaii and once we started swimming we could see why. Warm water that was so clear you could see to the bottom even when you are 20 or more feet deep. Having this visibility made it great to see where you are going and also to view in awe at the coral and fish below. The turtles were very rare to see but Ian was able to sight one just before the start of the race and it made his day.
If you have never biked on the big island before you will be in for a treat when you come for a visit. On our 1st day we were greeted by the strong Kona winds on the way up to Hawi (turnaround of IronMan Hawaii). I cautioned everyone about the winds but until you experience them first hand it is hard to explain. Although Calgarians do know thing or two about wind.
We quickly learned that in order to stay on our bikes we had to lean our bikes into the gusting wind. The fun part was that you never knew exactly when they would hit. We did learn to watch the trees and other riders in the distance to see when the wind would hit them. Fortunately for us we did not have anyone blown off the road and at the end of the camp we all became well adept at riding in the wind. Epic was a word that was tossed around a bit after each ride. Over the course of the week we were treated to some amazing views of Haleakala on Maui, the blue Pacific ocean, Mauna Kea (dormant volcano), black lava fields and Pololu and Waipio lookouts. One aspect of the rides that I really enjoyed was that you never knew what was coming up around the corner and often times we were rewarded with another…”Wow look at that…”
The house that we stayed at was absolutely gorgeous. Something out of a dream home magazine. We would eat breakfast, lunch and dinner all outside and we were constantly being entertained by the local inhabitants. Geckos, toads, poi fish and a variety of birds. At the end of some of our rides we needed to ride back to the house and of course the house is situated up a very steep hill. What a great way to end the ride with a lung buster climb.
Now since the house area was so hilly we had to drive to complete our run workouts. We found a great quiet road down by the beach and it was a perfect addition for a Swim / Run brick. We learned how to deal with heat and hydration issues on this great stretch of road.
We had lots of changes in the weather that made the workouts just a bit more challenging. One day the winds really stirred up the ocean and this allowed us to practice our rough water swim technique. At the end of this swim some commented that they did not need any more salt today. This was a really great opportunity to practice and build swim confidence.

Race Day:
We did not know what to expect but we were ready for whatever. We trained hard in the wind, surf and heat. What would the day bring? Well as it turns out the winds were not that bad, the surf was up but no swells and the sun was out typical Hawaii style. This was perfect. The swim was rougher than we expected as we have been practicing our swims with 10 swimmers now we had 1600. The bike felt great as we built strong legs and minds from the previous day’s hard work. The run was hot, yes, but we were ready for it as we always ran in the heat.

Here is how everyone did at the Hawaii 70.3 Ironman:

Coach Todd 4:45
Ian 5:00
Chris 5:17
Doug 5:34
Stephanie 5:36
Tanya 6:13
Dave 7:18

This was an amazing week of training that ended with a world class race. I am already counting the days until next year’s camp.

Mahalo and Happy Training!!
Todd

No Limits Hawaii Training Camp 2011

No Limits Hawaii Training Camp 2011

Welcome to Hawaii from Coach Todd

Welcome to Hawaii from Coach Todd

The Beach

The Beach

Waipio Lookout group photo

Waipio Lookout group photo

Waipio Ian and Todd

Waipio Ian and Todd

Waipio Lookout Phoenix and Steph

Waipio Lookout Phoenix and Steph

Pololu Lookout Group Photo

Pololu Lookout Group Photo

Our Gorgeous Kona House

Our Gorgeous Kona House

Lava Rock Group Photo

Lava Rock Group Photo

Hawaii 70.3 Ironman Logo Photo Op

Hawaii 70.3 Ironman Logo Photo Op

The Beach

No Limits Hawaii Training Camp 2011