Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sylvan Lake Half IronMan

Sylvan Lake Half IronMan was held this past weekend.  The weather was perfect.  We had Brian using this race as another training day in preparation for IronMan Canada.  The previous week Brian took part in the Calgary No Limits IMC training camp and showed that he was good to go.  On race day Brian was pleased with his day.  With all of his lake swimming he was ready for a strong swim but was a bit surprised by the long run to T1.  (Here is a tip:  if the run to T1 is going to be very long, take the time to fully remove the wetsuit and then carry the wetsuit instead of wearing it.) 
If anyone is planning on doing this race next year note that the bike is not flat. :)  Brian has been doing lots of training in the hills so he was ready.  The run course had to be modified to 4 loops due to construction but this proved to be great for the spectators.  Brian stuck to his race strategy of not walking and finished the day in a solid 5:47.

Other notable finishes include James who took part in the Calgary training camp finished in 5:07, Kendall finished in 5:44 and Ken who finished in 5:56.

Great day to race! 

This week is the Calgary 70.3!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chestermere Triathlon Race Report by Bill

Woke up to a beautiful morning no wind, high of 27 and about 15 degrees at race start.  Had the usual pre-race jitters, even for the sprints, which are all my worn knee can handle without acting up.  Hey whatever works. 

The horn went off and the swim went great a bit congested and a few weeds but I like both, as you know I wasn’t born in a pool.  

Out  of the water and on to the bike which was a 12k square loop which we did twice (so 8 90 degree corners) which was perfect for my road bike which might not be the fastest on the straights, compared to all those tri bikes,  but it is sure fast through corners.

There were 90 competitors in the sprint and when I came in to transition there weren’t many bikes there so I thought that was a good sign.

Out on to the run course, which like the rest of the race was beautiful and so well supported by the community. 

When I came in from the run Trevor announced that I was the third place racer, which was pretty cool, especially as Dorothy was there.  It was a proud moment.  Todd all the brick work through the winter and our swims really paid off.  I felt very comfortable, in an anaerobic way.

Todd, thanks so much for all your help and support.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Karen at the Tour for Kids 2011

Karen at the Tour for Kids 2011

Tour for Kids - Karen's Tour Report - Grab a coffee

On July 15-17, 2011, I participated in the Tour for Kids supporting the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta.  This was my second year riding for this awesome cause - the minute I rode through the finish line last year, I knew I had to do it again!  My goals for the Tour for Kids: 1. Raise lots of $ and awareness for KCCFA, 2. Ride strong, 3. Have fun, 4. Don't forget about the kids.

Goal #1: With Bill (my fiance) and a couple of friends, our team of four more than achieved our $1000 per person fundraising goal.  This is my fourth year of raising money for a charity, and it gets harder to keep asking the same people so we had to be pretty creative about our fundraisers, but after lots of hard work, it all worked out.

Goal #2: The Tour for Kids is pretty much a "roadie" event.  Right in the Ride Guidelines it says to bring a road bike, lose the aerobars, and prepare to ride in peloton.  Last year Bill and I mostly meandered along on our own stopping to take pictures and overeating at all the rest stops (and there are lots! - with awesome food).  So this year with the goal of riding strong, that strategy was not going to work.   There are multiple distance choices each day (you can decide each morning depending on how you feel): Day 1 was 100 km or 170 km; Day 2 was 107, 156 or 214 km, and Day 3 was 93 or 120 km.  Each distance has "Fast", "Faster" and "Fastest" pace groups (the "fastest" guys are the hardcores who can maintain an average of 35-40 kph despite the hilly and mountainous terrain, "faster" is probably 28-32 kph, and "fast" is for slower riders.  Needless to say, last year with our average of around 20 kph, that is where we fit). I figured that because I hadn't done much riding two days back-to-back, I hadn't ever done more than about 120 km at a time, and because I had had a sore back and a tweaked knee that kept me from doing much of anything the whole previous week, I would choose the shortest distance and probably ride with the slowest group.  
Day 1: The four of us started out with the "fast" (slowest) group, but within 10 minutes caught up to the stragglers falling off the back of the intermediate group. After our first rest stop we knew we wanted to ride faster than the slow group, so we took off with the "faster" intermediate group, which quickly split into 3 packs.  We ended up riding with two of the intermediate packs the rest of the day, and had a fabulous ride: 101 km in 3:22 which felt super strong and fast for me. 
Day 2: Took off with the faster group of the slow riders and mostly took it easy.  We did lots of "double social peleton" riding and got to know other riders, many of them who were affiliated with KCCFA either as childhood cancer survivors, or as parents and relatives.  Nice relaxing day: 110 km in 4:40.
Day 3: Took off with the slow group, but three of us (Bill, Bruce and I) broke away on a climb, rode strong and effective as a team, and quickly overtook the slower intermediate speed riders, and then (so thrilling!!) even overtook the fast intermediate speed riders!  But not for too long...we pulled them up a hill and then we got assimilated into their group for a while.  After lunch the four of us rode the last 40+ km as a team together, and pulled into the finish happy and pumped.  It was by far the most challenging day in terms of super steep hills so it took 4:19 for 97 km (but I would have loved to see the split before lunch - we were hammering!)

Goal #3: well, you pull into camp each night and there's free massages, beer, awesome food and hospitality, music and festivities.  Hard not to have fun!

Goal #4: on the second night we stayed at Camp Kindle, the KCCFA camp for kids living with (and beyond) cancer.  It was absolutely inspirational to see what these kids and families live through, and it was wonderful to see in person the camp that we helped build through our ride.  Kids with cancer have it really rough - not just because they are sick.  It's hard to be a kid when you have a disease like that.  Many of them miss tons of time from school and end up being older than other kids in their grade, some of them walk funny, some talk funny, some are bald, and other kids who don't understand (and just see the differences) can be really cruel.  Camp Kindle is a place where these kids (and their siblings) can go where it doesn't matter that they have no hair, IVs, prosthetic limbs, or any of the other challenges that come with (and after) cancer.  There is this super awesome ropes course, horseback riding, climbing, campfires, and companionship with other kids who are just like them.  It was amazing...and needless to say there were lots of kleenexes being passed around.

I have to thank Todd for all the coaching and encouragement over the last 7 months - that's what kept me strong and healthy this weekend, as well as the Saturday morning brick class that encouraged me to start training for this event way back in January.  I also can't speak highly enough of the KCCFA and Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation; once again it was a wonderful event - well organized with truly tangible benefits. 

How about a No Limits team for 2012??  Something to think about...
(PS: if anyone is looking for more information about the ride, or is interested in donating, check out
Thanks again!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chestermere Triathlon

On what was possibly the nicest Sunday of the year Bill took part in the Chestermere Sprint distance race.  He had a very fine day and finished the day 1st in his age group and 3rd overall.  Also in the sprint race we saw Barb racing.  She has been doing some great brick training this year in order to become a stronger athlete.  The training paid off and she made a PB today.  Yey.

Congrats guys, what a great day to race!

Heart of the Rockies Triathlon (Invermere)

We had a very busy weekend.  Sunday was the Heart of the Rockies Triathlon.  The race was on one of the best weekends of the year.  Amazing weather.

Louise did very well.  After missing the triathlon season last year due to a skiing injury / surgery Louise was keen to see how her leg would do.  Well it did fine.  Louise came in 1st in her Age group and was 3 minutes faster than 2 years ago (same course).  Amazing Louise!

Janine was taking part in the sprint event and also won her age group.  Nice work Janine.  She is now totally hooked on triathlons and already looking forward to getting faster for next year.

Lesley Ann was taking part in her 1st ever Olympic distance race and did very well to finish in 3:38.

Great job Ladies!!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How to dry wet shoes (running or cycling)

How to dry wet shoes (running or cycling)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Turner Valley Kids of Steel triathlon 2011


Turner Valley Kids of Steel

On Canada day we watched the Turner Valley Sprint Triathlon and Kids of Steel race.  It was a spectacular day to race.  Karen was out racing the sprint today and she had a great race.  She improved in the swim, bike and run for a total of 7 minutes quicker over last year.  Great Job Karen!!  Karen is riding in the Tour for Kids this weekend and is all set for some long days in the saddle. :)

We also saw George and Johnny take part in the Kids of Steel.  They have not done a KOS for a while and they had a blast.  Check out the video above to see them in action.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Karen having a great PB day at the Turner Valley Sprint Triathlon

Karen en route to PB today

Karen finishing strong at the Turner Valley sprint Triathlon

Karen finishing strong at the Turner Valley sprint Triathlon

Great White North Triathlon

Last weekend was the ever popular Great White North Triathlon. In the past we have seen super hot and super cold days. On race day we saw pretty good race conditions. Favorable winds in the beginning and the rain seem to threaten but never really happened. Small crew from No Limits were racing today and I was lucky to be around to cheer everyone. Check out the video below and you can see that Kevin was happy to be racing again. He looked strong on the bike and run and finished in a very decent time of 4:45. Mike was also on the course today racing as himself and he was very happy with his day and finish at 5:51. Monica was using this race as a training day for IMC and the day started well with a good swim but soon on the bike she flatted. the repair van was quick to help but shortly after Monica flatted again and her day was done. Pulling out of a race is hard to do and that is why seeing Monica compete in the Sinister 7 relay this past weekend was so great. Monica felt strong throughout the 33 Km run and is really looking forward to IMC. :)

It was great to be on the course cheering so many familiar faces. We were able to cheer Ian's wife Kendall who was running very strong and set a PB on the day. Other familiar faces were Ken, Jason, Doug, Nola, Aundrea, Marianne, Cheryl and others.

Great job to all the athletes!

Great White North Triathlon (short video)

GWN tri video

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Tim's IronMan Coeur D'Alene Race Report

The weather on the days before the race were somewhat ominous - very windy and cold. I swam a couple of times in the lake but it was both cold and rough, so I didn't spend a lot of time because I didn't want to get intimidated by something I had no control over ... but the water was very intimidating, and I was very apprehensive. I was a little ambivalent as to what I hoped for: a rough day would give me a competitive advantage over less strong swimmers, but I would exit more tired, whereas a calm day would level the playing field but leave me with more energy for the bike & swim. The day of the race was calm and sunny - if it can be sunny at 5:30 in the morning. While the race itself was well organized, it was poorly designed as the swim start was from a beach that was maybe 10 meters wide - and which had to accommodate about 2,500 swimmers. The race organizers were calling the swimmers back from their "warm-up" swims while I and many hundreds of others were still lined up on the pathway trying to find a way onto the beach.

The pros had started at 6:25, and it was a two lap course where you needed to exit the water after the first lap, run through an arch with a timing mat and then back into the water for the second lap. The pros would swim the course in fifty-plus minutes, so they were well on their second lap when the gun went off. There was the usual melee of pushing and shoving, kicking and generally flailing around trying to find some clear water. It was bloody cold - I'm told the water temperature was around 50F - or about 10C. I saw a lot of folks being pulled away as the cold got to them. But I found my rhythm early and some clear water, and found that I was quite a lot faster than those around me so started to weave my way through the mass of bodies. It was an anti-clockwise rectangle and I almost missed the first turn, then there was another quick left and straight to the end of the first lap. As I got out of the water I heard the announcer say "thirty two minutes" which was amazingly fast for me. At that moment I had dreams of completing the swim in under 60 minutes which would be very distinctive. Well, "he who the gods wish to destroy, they first make complacent" and I was halfway into the second outbound leg when I got cramp in both calves. I kept my cool, focused on the catch and pull, and tried to relax my legs to make the cramp go away. However, I hadn't realized that the cramp had made me take an abrupt 90 degree right turn, so by the time I got relaxed and could check on my surroundings, I was about 200 meters off course. Cussing I turned around and swam back to the pack which I had overtaken on the first lap. So rather than swim a sub-60, I swam a 1:28. I was very disappointed largely because I was capable of much more on the day.

I got into my cycling gear and set out on the bike leg. The course was as hilly as any I'd ever seen, but I was keeping up a good speed without exerting myself. I've learned that it's a long day and there's no need to push it. I would have been happy with a 6:30 bike, which means an average speed of just under 30 kph. On the outbound part of the first lap I was averaging about 34 kph and feeling strong. But at the second big hill I felt my right achilles spasm and that was effectively the end of the day for me. I shifted the emphasis onto my left leg because the right ankle hurt, so by the second lap not only was my left hip a bit wonky but my back was hurting too. At the turnaround on the second lap I went through the cones and got the marshals to hold my bike while I got on the ground to do some "cobra stretches" in an attempt to get my vertebral discs back into place ... the next thing is there's an ambulance alongside with the EMTs asking "Do you need medical assistance, sir?" I explained about my back and they looked somewhat sceptical but I got back on the bike to hit more hills. So the less said about the ride the better.

At T2 I briefly considered abandoning the race but I had about eight hours to power-walk the 42 km run ... so I thought "screw it" and set off to walk it. I tried to run every so often but ankle, hips and back were so off kilter that I knew I was doing more harm than good, so just kept marching the two-loop course just focusing on keeping my core tight and not hunching over, which is what my body wanted to do. As I couldn't run uphill (achilles) or downhill (back) I simply ran the flats - of which there were few !! Gethyn met me on the first lap and we had time for a quick smooch before I got back to marching. I kept a track of the time as I went through the mile-markers. To begin with I thought I could be across the line before 11 pm, then as I slowed, my ETA gradually got later. I could feel my socks ruckling and the blisters building on my right foot, but knew that a) I couldn't bend down to straighten them, and b) if I sat down to do the job I would never get up again, so I just left them. On the final 6 mile leg home I felt the blisters burst and my right foot just got soggier from then on. Finally I could hear the noise of the finish chute and I knew that I would make it to the line. As I got closer, so the number of spectators gradually increased and everyone was being very encouraging. As I limped to the line I was met by Julie Dibbens who came out to push me to the end, and I tried to explain that my right foot was just too mushy to run. The noise and the shouting was amazing - and I could hear the announcer calling my name so I started to run the final hundred meters, and the crazy noise just got crazier. I made it down the chute, high fiving and slapping hands as I went. Thank god for the catchers.

So ... I made it through the finish process, met Gethyn, by-passed the medical tent and the food. I got into some warm clothes and thankfully one of the guests at the B&B had already collected my bike and bags and they were back in our room. So we stumbled home where a bunch of guests were waiting up for me. I had some pizza and a beer ... then a brief massage and clawed my way up the stairs to bed.

And thus the day endeth. It was both exhilarating and disappointing, I was proud to have pushed through but also somewhat ashamed of not being race-ready for a gruelling day.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Lynn's Vancouver Sprint Triathlon (Race Report)

Race was held Sunday, July 3rd in beautiful Vancouver BC, part of the Subaru triathlon series. Originally I had signed up for the half iron, but due to a sore wrist and tight IT bands I switched my distance to the only other option, the Sprint. It was a unique Sprint with a 500m swim in the ocean (Locarno Beach), 26 km bike ride from the beach up into UBC and back, a 5km run through the Jericho beach trails, up onto 4th Ave, back in through some trees and finally along Jericho once again to the finish at Locarno Beach. Beautiful location for the race course!

The half iron swimmers were out of the water for the most part by the time I got to the race location and was ready to jump in and do a short warm up. The tide was in so the water was high and it didn't take long to be out deep. I did a longer warm up then for my previous Wasa tri - I wanted to be warm in my wetsuit and be over the shortness of breath shock from the cold water. At 17C the water wasn't too bad. I did some drills and then 40 strokes fast, 20 easy, 30 fast, 15 easy and so on until I just laid in the water at the end of warm up and looked at the beautiful blue sky. I was ready!

Walking over to the beach start was a bit intimidating. The guys and gals were mixed at first until the race announcer said men first, then 5 min later the ladies. Phew. i wasn't looking forward to a beach run start with men and women! I watched the guys take off, then chose a spot 2nd row from the front and to the far right where I thought I could get away from the crowd and just swim along the side until I hit the back part of the course. There is quite a current in that part of the water, pulling you towards the left . I found the current, waves and the aggressive swimming at the front to be a challenge. By the time I reached the 1st buoy I was disoriented and felt very dizzy. I stuck close to the buoy and asked for help. This was frustrating for me as I had struggled in the water at Wasa as well, swimming is supposed to be my strength not my weakness, and I had prepared much better for the swim with my longer warm up, yet still I was struggling and felt I couldn't relax to swim. Another racer actually held onto to me and helped me get my bearings so I could swim again. Probably 60 seconds, but that person was the only reason I stayed in the race. I was ready to say forget it and climb into the boat with the lifeguard, but she just kept telling me I could do this and eventually I believed her and was ok to keep going. So scary, 2nd time to have issues in the open water. I kept wondering for the rest of the race if maybe I am just not cut out to do this and who would do the swim in relays for me in the future :). However, I moved onto the bike...after a slow transition where I was sure my feelings of dizziness had passed and I could ride safely.

The ride was awesome! It was so inspiring to be on the race course with the half iron participants. I loved hearing the leaders come by me with their amazing bikes and wheels that have that neat whirring sound. This was a first for me so I tried to watch their form as they passed and felt in awe of their speed. I did my fastest ride yet and felt amazing. Maybe this race wasn't a lost cause after all!

Transition to run I thought I was being so prepared to stop and drink from my HEED water bottle, didn't want to stop at aid stations for water which I had done at Wasa. Well my husband caught my lengthy transition on film and it is funny now to look back. I am not sure why I thought I could be so leisurely! Oh well, I am still learning all this triathlon business...overall the run was fantastic. The course ran through many special spots for me, including where my wedding reception was held, so many wonderful memories. I enjoyed every minute of that course and ran with a smile on my face which was my goal. My daughter ran along side me near the end of the race and cheered so loudly. Those are the special moments of triathlon for me. I had a strong finish and was happy with my overall time of 1:28 and thrilled that I placed in the top 10 (8th) of my age group. I met my goals on my ride and the run. I certainly have some work to do in the open water around comfort with conditions and finding a strategy that will work for me. Transitions are something I will get quicker with too. All in all I am happy with the race and the season so far. There is so much to learn in this sport of triathlon. Working with Todd as a coach and the support of my amazing No Limits friends has been a very positive experience. I'm not sure I'll do any more races this summer, but I do know I'll keep at it and find a way to be involved in the sport that works for me.

Lynn swimming in the Ocean

Lynn looking strong on the bike

Lynn enjoying her home turf run