Tag Archives: half ironman

Peterborough Half Iron Race Report

11 Jul

I’ve had a few days to reflect on the Peterborough Half Iron while my muscles ached and my motivation was thin. Three days later I can say my muscles are feeling better and I am not as fatigued as earlier in the week. I had a great day, despite the overcast and rain. But in hindsight I’m glad for the rain and cloud coverage because it was still hot and humid.

DSC01158All packed and ready to go! My whole race needs fit in one bag (except for bike and wetsuit, of course).

I have to admit that I was not very nervous leading up to the day of the race. In fact, I was actually excited. I knew that all I had to do was get over the swim and then I’d be, basically, home free. I knew I could bike 90km and I certainly knew I could run 21km.

Race day came early on Sunday. Mark and I arrived at the race site around 6:30 and set up our transition zone. Once all set up, I squirmed into my wetsuit and went for a quick warm up swim. Mark’s parents and god parents made the trip to Peterborough to cheer us on. So after a quick hello, we waited on the beach for our start.


I was concerned about the swim but it went very well. The swim consisted of two 1km loops with a short run on the beach between loops. The water was warm and a little murky. There was a bit of seaweed near the shore but that did not stop me! The start was a mass start, but racers were grouped by estimated finish times with different coloured swim caps. I was in the last group – the navy blues. When I came out of the water the final time and my watch was at 38min, I looked around for other navy blue caps but I was the only one. I couldn’t believe it! My day was starting out great. After a short run into transition, I stripped the wetsuit off, tried to dry my feet and got ready for the bike.
Total swim time (incl. run to transition): 40:56


The bike course was fairly tough. There were almost continuous rolling hills with one big hill one the way out. On the way back, that hill was not as bad, but a little longer. I had tried to stick to my nutrition plan but it was tough to have a long enough flat stretch to eat. I ate bites of my sandwich every once and a while and about an hour later I ate a Clif Bar. Shortly before getting off the bike, I ate a gel for one last boost of energy. I was feeling pretty good all through out the bike. Although I was cursing the hills and couldn’t wait to hit the turn around, my average speed was 28km/hr. I think that’s a pretty fair speed for a headwind for most of the ride with quite a bit of hills.
Total bike time: 3hr:04mins


By this point, I just couldn’t wait to be finished. My plan was to run to every aid station and give myself a walking break when I reached one. I stayed pretty true to that plan but there was a bit of walking between aid stations too. The run course, much like the bike course, was hilly. I began drinking Pepsi at 5k which did help me to continue mentally. This was what I found the biggest hurdle. My legs were not so much ready to give up as much as my mind was willing to go no further. I found the Pepsi gave me a big enough caffeine jolt to run about half way up a hill which allowed me to walk up the rest. Once at the top, I would run down and carry that momentum through to half way up the next hill. This was my plan and it seemed to be working quite well. The last 2km were the easiest. We were off the country roads and into town. Things seemed to be moving faster and more efficiently. I ran into Beavermead Park and spectators were saying “This is the last 100metres!” I was so elated, I couldn’t wait to cross that finish line. The final turn I spotted the finish line and the time. Mark, his parents, god parents and the crowd cheered me through the chute and I know I had the biggest smile. But I also had the biggest burst of emotion. I hobbled to get my medal and to have my timing chip removed and I couldn’t contain the tears. I know, what a sap!
Total run time: 2hr:09mins

Total race time: 6:00:51

DSC01175Sitting down to pack up my T-zone. Getting back up was tough.

I had a great day out on the race course. It was tough, but not insurmountable. I do see myself completing an other half Iron distance in the future but I don’t think it will be for an other few years. For this race in particular, I don’t think I would change anything to my training. Although I will approach training a little differently for my next half Iron.


Two week countdown and a new toy

24 Jun

I know I’ve been MIA in the last few weeks. Summer holidays are in full swing so that means extra shifts need to be picked up at work. That translates to completing my training at different times. No worries though, the training hours are being put in.

Mark threw me an awesome birthday full of surprises with friends and family. We went horseback riding and enjoyed an awesome meal that was a complete surprise. Both our parents made it down from Timmins which was totally awesome!

DSC01153But back to the Half Ironman! We are now two weeks out and I can’t believe it’s already here. It seems as though I still have months of preparing ahead but I’m all ready. I’m going to start to taper soon where I will maintain fitness but not put in hard workouts.

The main thing constantly on my mind is the swim. I try to practice the open water swim as often as I can. I’ve gone a few times and, once I get into a groove, it’s really not so bad. But then there’s the sea weed that totally grosses and creeps me out. I swim through it as fast as I can but eventually it just becomes too much. I really hope the lake in Peterborough is clear of sea weed. Or perhaps the number of people swimming through the sea weed will clear it for me.

But enough about the swim. What I’m really excited about is to get on my new bike. That’s right! I spent a small fortune on my own brand new Giant Defy Composite 2. GiantThe quality of the photo isn’t that great. We’re low on space in the den now with 3 bikes. We’ll have to figure out a solution to fit them all comfortably. I have yet to take her out on a spin but Wednesday is looking to be the day I go on one last long ride.

Sunday’s run was terribly hot. The humidity was really high at 93%. I went through almost all of my four water bottles on a 17km run. There was almost no shaded areas and I had to walk a few times. Although it was a tough run, I know it was a great training experience. The Peterborough Half run is a course with almost no shade in similar temperatures. It’s good to now how my body will react and how to stay moving. If it’s a stinkin’ hot day, I am so having ice cream when I cross that fiinish line!

Fueling Race Day

5 Jun

After yesterday’s 90km bike ride, I’ve realized a few things.

1) Eating and cycling is not as easy as it sounds. Trying to breathe while eating bread and peanut butter is not ideal.
2) I am going to need more food than I thought which means I need to find a way to carry it all.
3) What should I eat and how often?

I spoke to Mark about my dilemma and he told me that he eats every hour. Ok, that’s doable but that only solves one part of my 3 problems. I started doing some research this morning because I do not want nutrition to be an issue on race day. When getting off the bike, being hungry with a 21km run ahead would not be pretty.

I don’t think fueling before the race will be a problem. I’ve been eating the same thing for a few years now and it’s never let me know: bagel with peanut butter and jam. I try not to drink too much water though. The days leading up to the race I try to be extra conscious about hydration. I know that during the race I will be keeping hydrated so it’s not necessary to drink a lot of water before the starting gun. I try to stick to no more than 400ml of waters. But that’s what works for me.

The bigger issue here will be fueling on the bike. I think this will be the plan: eat a Clif Bar first thing once I am settled and comfortable on the bike. After each hour subsequently I will eat a piece of bread with peanut butter and nutella. However, as I approach the end of the bike portion, I am going to take one gel.

For the run, I am going to take a few gels with me. I’m pretty sure there will be some on course so I don’t want to carry too much. Unfortunately the race website is not too great at listing everything that will be at the aid stations. I’m hoping there will be bananas and Coke. I seem to think I read that somewhere. Regardless, I fired the race director an email because these are things I need to know!

Four Weeks until Race Day

4 Jun

As I approach the final four weeks of training for the Half Ironman in Peterborough, there is rarely a time when I am not either training or thinking about the race. My days either begin or end with some kind of training – swimming, running or cycling. Although I am enjoying pushing myself I have to admit I will be happy when I cross that finish line. I’m four weeks out and I’ve already started race dreams. I don’t think I was having race dreams this far out from the marathon!

I cycled 90km today and I have to admit that I had a great ride with a smoking time! It was a tough ride filled with hills. They were rolling hills but steeper than your average rolling hills. If I would have known that I would not have mapped my route on such roads. But that’s what you get when you live beside the Escarpment.


To get a better look at the route, you may need to click on the image. In hindsight, while looking at the elevation map, it doesn’t seem so bad. But after 50k and another 40 to go – those hills seemed like mountains.

I’m slowly getting everything ready for race day. I rented a wetsuit from a local tri shop. I would have liked to buy my own but renting a wetsuit for $40 instead of purchasing one for $200 makes way more financial sense.

I’m also prepping myself mentally because the course for both the bike and the run are out and back courses. I think the course will be toughest on the run. So what I’ve started doing is going on long runs that are out and backs. Sunday, after work, I ran 6km down one road and ran back the same way. This particular route did not seem long because of the hills and the farm animals in the fields. I swear some of the cows and horses were looking at me thinking “What is this crazy human running from?” If only I had an answer.

A successful batch of hummus

18 Mar

I have struggled for months to make the perfect batch of hummus.¬† It’s either come out too dry, tasting too much of tahini or too garlicky. But in an attempt to curb all those problems I thought: “What if I added a bit of yogurt?” My goodness! The heavens themselves parted with that revelation! The result was the perfect mixture of flavours and consistency for veggie dunking and falafel spread.


Now that I have discovered the secret to perfect hummus, I will impart it onto to you: 1/4 cup of plain yogurt. That’s all!

I have now refocused my training to Half-Ironman training. Mark and I are doing the Peterborough Half-Tri in July. That does not give me much time to get my butt into shape so I need to focus on discipline. That wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the weather co-operated. It is now mid-March and we are still under winter storm warnings in the GTA. Although it is not heavy snow fall, it’s slush, ice pellets and freezing rain. Not really the kind of weather in which you want to spend much time. Regardless, I am in the midst of creating a training schedule that I will post here for anyone who is curious.

Most of my training for at least another month or so will be indoors in the pool or the bike trainer. Saturday afternoon I came home from work to my living room looking like this:

DSC00955If that’s not a big hint, I don’t know what is! Mark cycled for 3hrs whereas I did 1.5hrs. It was my second ride over an hour and I made an effort to stay in high gears than the previous ride. To stay motivated we watched a Tour of California stage with some high tempo music. I find that kind of audio and visual distracting very beneficial. I find my mind just turns off and I spin. But I need to be careful that might cadence does not drop in those instances.

I tried something new for dinner. I made a spaghetti squash casserole with roasted tomatoes, white kidney beans and garlic. It was delish!


To roast the toppings, marinate grape tomatoes, garlic and white kidney beans in 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and parsley for a few minutes. Then roast in the oven for 30 minutes. When both the mixture and spaghetti squash are done, toss them together and add a bit of Parmesan cheese. A great low-carb Sunday dinner.

Winter running and race schedule

24 Jan

I’ve finally made a plan for the next six weeks for the half marathon. The plan includes lots of running but also a mix of swimming, biking, and strength training. I need to gain a base aerobic capacity when I start training 100% for the half ironman.

Despite a cold snap, I have not dropped a run all week. Except for this morning. In earnest, I tried to get out there. Heck, I even ran around the block but it was just too much. I had my foot warmers, 4 layers of tops, 2 layers of pants, hat, mitts and a scarf but the wind was just too cold on my face. I should have warn a balaclava!


Love these foot warmers! They work so well!

Anyway, I’m not letting that get me down. I did a little living room workout instead. I’m also glad to report that I feel like a runner again. I’m no longer struggling with/against myself when I run. My body is letting me run and I no longer feel stiff. That was a beautiful realization last night!

Mark and I sincerely miss Ottawa but, damn, living in the GTA is convenient! Everything is so close. It’s allowing me to participate in so many races this winter and spring!

March 3: Chilly Half Marathon

April 14: Georgetown 5k
April 21: Yonge St. 10k

May 18: Early Bird Triathlon (ok, this one is in Ottawa but Mark and I are doing this race again because we had so much fun last year and we’re using it as a vacation too!)

June 1: Moon in June 10k (a race at night – cool!)

July 7: Peterborough half – tri (half ironman, but not Ironman brand)

So that is one half of the year’s races. After¬† a busy few months, we’ll see how I feel about summer/fall races. I’ll be preparing for another marathon so I might just take it easy and concentrate of training.