Tuesday, 14 October 2014

2014 IMWC Race Report - A Very Special Day

So first off I should apologize for taking a few extra days to actually sit and right my blog. I was mentally, physically, and emotionally drained following the race on Saturday. I needed to spend some time with my family and enjoy Cdn Thanksgiving Hawaiin style with my amazing support crew.

So now I'll get on with the race report...

My goal(s) going in were:
1. If everything went perfectly 9:15 (1:05/5:00/3:00)
2. If the conditions dictated then just beat my time from 2012 (9:35)
3. If I was having a rough day then just go sub 10hrs
4. And if all hell broke loose then the goal would be to just finish

I woke up on Saturday morning just before 0400hrs and had my usual breakfast of a coffee, a bagel with jam, a couple eggs, and a glass of orange juice. I had been struggling with a bit of a stomach bug in the last two weeks leading up to Kona and race morning was no exception. I didn't want to use that as an excuse as I suspected it might just be a case of being extremely nervous given my blow-up from last year.

After breakfast was down-range I finished up with my race nutrition bottles and then headed downtown with my dad. I was thankful to have dad with me as it meant Claudia and the kids could sleep in a little more. Body marking and weigh-in were relatively quick and as always the volunteers were positive and uplifting. After I was through I set up my bike and dopped off my frozen gel flask for my run bag. I found a nice quiet place and then just relaxed.

The Male Amateur Swim Start (photo credit FinisherPix)

The swim start was a little different this year given that the male and female amateurs had separate starts. The male amateurs started at 0650hrs while the female amateurs started at 0700hrs. I started about 4 or 5 rows back and about half way to the right of the large TYR marker. My goal going in was to just try and have a steady swim and try and grab a good pair of feet. I was optimistic that I could swim ~1:05. When the cannon went off for my start I was surprised at how quickly the field opened up and there was virtually no contact (this was the cleanest start I have ever experienced). I settled into a steady effort though I didn't get much of a draft on the way out. At the turn around I found a set of feet and was able to stay glued to them for pretty much the last 1500m of the race.

I was honestly a little disapointed when I came out of the water and saw 1:10 on my watch. (Actual time was 1:10:31). Following the race I checked my 910xt and it had measured the distance as 4265m. So given the extra 300m+ I was right where I had expected. At this point I realized that unless we had a fast day on the bike Goal #1 was probably not realistic today.

Through transition and onto the bike. It was quite congested initially and I was definately not feeling great. My stomach felt upset and I suspected it was from a little salt water ingestion during the swim. I struggled initially to hit my target power numbers so I told myself to just relax and settle in for the first hour. I went to water at the first aid station and slowly my stomach started coming around, though I felt terrible. I was making great progress on the bike, but shortly before Mauna Lani I was reminded of how quickly the winds change. We were getting pounded by the wind and it only got worse as we climbed towards Hawi. By the time I got to Hawi my stomach had settled and I felt like I could start riding a little harder. The descent from Hawi was crazy fast as I enjoyed a tail wind. However that tail wind was short lived. Shortly after Hapuna Beach the wind flipped and I was once again riding back to Kailua-Kona with a headwind.

With the exception of about 1hr of riding (the descent from Hawi up to just past Hapuna Beach) I felt terrible. However what kept me pushing was the realization that I could still probably bike sub 5:10. This was significant for me as this is what I had biked in 2012. (I biked 4:50 in 2013). It also meant that a Kona PB might still be in the works. Bike time 5:07:14 | Power (avg) = 194W | NP = 200W | VI 1.03. Power meter is a Quarq ELSA.

Biking on the Queen K (photo credit FinisherPix)
Of the three years I have raced Kona, this was by far the hardest bike conditions. I struggled throughout the bike with overheating.

Transition was slower than I would have liked, but I realized taking time to apply sunscreen and use the washroom were both important. Out on the run I immediately felt very good. I tried to just run easy and avoid pushing the pace. My thought process was to run the first half in 1:30 (4:16/km) and then to reassess. I held myself back on Ali'i drive and focused on cooling my body at each aid station with ice and water and consuming coke, perform, and water. I went through the first half of the run in just over 1:30 so knew I was right on pace. Despite some cloud cover, although still hot, I felt like I was overheating and the only relief from the heat was the ice and water that awaited at each aid station. The energy lab was a completely different beast. The run in was fine, but I knew I was hitting my limits. Everything was starting to tighten up. Just before the turn around I saw Reilly Smith and shortly thereafter Brad Williams (retired USAF) - both were heading back out of the energy lab. I finally caught up to Brad and was just about to settle in to run with Brad when he said something along the lines, "Congrats - the military championship is yours" we shook hands and then he said, "go get it." (I was a wreck at that point so this entire conversation may have completely transpired in my head)

Running through the Energy Lab (photo credit FinisherPix)
I mustered a little extra energy and set my mind to pulling Reilly back in...another few hundred meters up the road I caught and passed Reilly. I wasn't sure what I was going to do for the rest of the run...I was really struggling to hold it together. Despite wanting to walk I mustered everything I had to just hold it together for the remainder of the run up the Queen K. I made sure to stop at each aid station and get the required ice and water to keep my body cool. Of course the final kick up the hill before Palani was a real killer...however knowing that a descent and then the finish awaited was enough to muster me onwards.

Final run time 3:04:59...another BQ! Still no sub 3hr marathon but I guess it'll just have to wait.

Final Time: 9:30:16 - A new PB in Kona on a tough day.

I was 138th overall including the Pros, Top 100 Amateur and 25th in M30-34.
Finisher Pic (photo credit FinisherPix)

I actually didn't find out until the next day that I had won the military division. This was the first year that the military division was international and not just American Military personnel. 
Samantha Morrison (USAF) and me receiving our awards (1st Male/Female in the Military Division)

An award I will always cherish.  

Thanks to my amazing wife, Claudia, and my three blessings Ruth, James, and Klara for supporting me through another wonderful year in pursuit of racing in Kona. Thanks to my family (especially dad + mom), friends, supporters, and sponsors for standing beside me for another year.

It was truly an honour to race in Kona. It is a race like no other and one that is always special.

Battle Scars from Kona!

Friday, 10 October 2014

One last sleep! D-1

And so it comes down to one last sleep before the cannon goes at the 2014 Ironman World Championships. It is so totally an honour to be participating in this amazing event for the 3rd consecutive year.

Today was a quick workout in each of the disciplines to keep the body fresh and ready to roll on Saturday. I started off with a short swim to the Coffees of Hawaii floating coffee bar for one last espresso. After the light swim I did a 30min ride and finished off the training with a light 4km run.

I then finished up my transition bags, quickly recleaned by bike, and made sure everything was just perfect for race day.

At ten I met up with Dave Lacombe for a quick photoshoot. Dave is also in the Cdn Armed Forces and will be racing for the first time in Kona.

Dave Lacombe and I in front of the Courtyard King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel (Host Hotel)
This afternoon I did bike drop-off and then spent the rest of the afternoon back at the condo with the family.

Stealth Steed sits ready to tackle the 180kms (112miles).

A light day, family time, and dinner with Team Mel (D-2)

So in an effort to keep today's blog short I'll resort to pictures.

Today was an off day from training so I only did a light swim this morning...of course the swim meant another trip to visit the Coffee's of Hawaii Swim up Coffee Bar.

After my morning swim I headed back to the Condo, had breakfast and then I headed out with the family.

First item on the agenda was to visit Carl the Carmeleon at Greenwell Farms. The kids were super excited to visit an old friend. And as an added bonus I got to pick-up some of the best coffee in Kona.

A baby carmeleon (~2weeks old)
A great selection of home roasted beans!

After the visit to the coffee plantation we spent some time at the Kamakana Playground. The kids loved it.
Attention to detail at Kamakana Playground is unreal.

After the playground the ladies took the kids to the pool while dad rested and I prepared my bike for Saturday.
Stealth Steed ready to roll!

The ladies went shopping after lunch, while dad and I watched the kids and watched hockey.

I made a quick trip to the Training Peaks Kona Party and finally Claudia and I attended the Kona Athletes Welcome Banquet and had the pleasure of sitting with Team Mel. Melonie MacDonald, from St Albert, is doing her first Kona and brought along a great support crew of Kevin, Noni, Quinn, and Rob.
Rob, Quinn, me, and Claudia
Kevin, Mel, and Noni.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Gatherings (D-3)

So today was a mixed bag of activities.

A light morning swim with a pitstop at the Coffees of Hawaii floating coffee bar.

Then I attended the AWA Gold Breakfast. I had the opportunity to meet Chris Thomas. Chris is a very accomplished amateur triathlete, is racing Kona for the 8th time, is a member of Team Timex, and coaches for LifeSport. Later during the breakfast we were joined by up and coming Australian Pro Kira Flanagan and her coach Andrew. Kira will be racing Kona for the first time and then taking her Pro Card.

After breakfast I met up with Claudia and together we toured the Ironman Expo. The expo was great as always. During our tour we ran into Jordan Bryden from Tri It Multisport in Calgary. Jordan is the new race director for the Chinook Triathlon Festival in Calgary, a Professional Athlete, and sides as a photographer. He is in Kona working for Lava Magazine.

Jordan and I at the expo.

Of course no trip to the expo is complete without stopping by the Compressport Booth.

Compressport Booth at Uncle Billy's
After our tour we headed back to the Condo and then attended a Wyndham Resort Time Share meeting. Least to say that was two hours of my life I won't get back. At least we got a $100 AMEX card for attending.Thankfully I had other pressing committments (aka training) which allowed us to get out of there early.

I had just enough time to fit in my scheduled ride out on the Queen K and then followed that up with a quick transition run of 6km.

Finally to close out the door I attended the Slowtwitch Kona gathering. It's always a well attended event, an oppertunity to catch up with friends, and an oppertunity to win some pretty nice swag. Hebert and his crew did a fantastic job with the event.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Athlete check-in & the Parade of Nations! (D-4 )

So today's activities consisted of a morning swim (with a scheduled stop at the Coffees of Hawaii Catamaran), athlete check-in, a bike ride, a run, and the Parade of Nations.

I hit the water at 0645 and managed to get a solid hour of steady swimming in. By the time I got back to shore the pier was a bussle of activity.

Coffees of Hawaii - Coffee Bar (picture compliments of Coffees of Hawaii)

After the swim, I did a light walk around town and then proceeded to athlete registration. I was a little early so had to wait in line for almost half an hour. I didn't mind though as it meant the check-in process was quick and in a matter of minutes I was done. A quick pitstop at the Ironman Merchandise tent for some race swag (aka my coffee mug).

This year's backpack is pretty flashy! Nice to see WTC do something different!

After that it was back to the Condo and out for a good hour of riding on the Queen K. After the ride I had lunch, let it settle and then headed out for a light 30min run in the heat of the day.

Last up for the day was the Parade of Nations. We were early (as per normal) and so we had both the Canada name sign and the flag. Seeing as I had the privilege of carrying the flag my first year here I was happy to hand it off.

The Maley Clan
The Cdn Athletes (there was supposed to be ~130) a few more joined in as we marched!
A quick picture with the CAF CISM Coach, Dave Harju
The Cdn Contingent

Monday, 6 October 2014

An easy day (D-5)

So today was an easier day of training and lots of lounging around at the Condo.

I started the day with an early morning 45min run. While out running the Training Peaks House had Skratch Labs refreshments out so I was thankful to grab some electrolytes and score a few individual packs for later in the week.

After the run I headed into town for a light 30min swim. Of course, no race week swim would be complete without a pitstop at the Coffees of Hawaii Swim up Catamaran. Downtown was a bussle of activity and it will only get busier as the week progresses. After my swim I checked out the Endless Pool. This was the first time I have tried one and was quite impressed. My quick session earned me a free Kona Coffee at the corner coffee shop...hey, I will not complain.

After the swim I headed back to the Condo and took it easy for the remainder of the morning and most of the afternoon. Just before dinner I headed out for a light 30min ride.

That was my day...easy, calm, and relaxed.

Dinner and Family time on the Lanai!
Tomorrow should be a little busier - athlete check-in and the parade of nations.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Reality is settling in (D-6)!

So the reality of racing the Ironman World Championships is starting to settle in. Another day closer to the big dance and now starts the mental prep to race my best.
5 Oct 14 - Sunset from our Lanai at Outrigger Royal Sea Cliff

Today the focus was a steady swim of 1hr in the morning. I like to practice the swim at the approximate start time to get a good feel for where the sun will be and how it might affect my sighting. The water was near perfect this morning with great visibility and a few small swells. I swam just over 3km while focusing on a long stroke and good sighting.

After the swim, it was back to Kona Coast Resort for breakfast, pack-up, check-out, and then we headed to Kona Baptist Church. As this was the third year in a row that we have attended there were quite a few people who remembered us. As always the preaching by Pastor Dean Stanley was superb and the hospitality was awesome.

After church, we had lunch at the park and then headed to Wyndham Outrigger Royal Sea Cliff to check-in. Claudia was able to book us into this resort through RCI so we figured we would give it a try this year.

After we were all settled in I headed out for a light 90min ride and followed that up with a steady 8km run at slightly faster than race pace. While out on the run, I saw Chrissie Wellington out riding. As always she had a big smile on her face. She is always a class act and an amazing ambassador for the sport. Despite no longer racing she always shows up in Kona to do her part.

The countdown begins - D-7 to the Big Show!

And it begins...

4 Oct 14 Sunset as seen from our Lanai at Kona Coast Resort
We are now on the Big Island and the countdown to to Ironman World Championships is at D-7.

Dad & James

Me & Klara

Mom & Ruth

Claudia, the kids, and I flew out to Kona last night and we met my parents in Vancouver (YVR). We are staying at the Kona Coast Resort for a couple days and then will move to the Wyndham Royal Sea Cliff for Race week.

Today was quite uneventful. We had breakfast at Bongo Ben's which was once again fantastic. The service is second to none and the food is great.

Breakfast at Bongo Bens
 After that it was bike setup time, a trip to Bike Works Kona (for CO2 cartridges), and then a ride out on the Queen K.

Heading out for a ride!

This afternoon was lazyness as we all tried to get caught up on sleep.

A light run before dinner closed out my routine for today.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Army Run - 2014 Edition

So seeing as I was already in the province of Ontario for a course I decided that I would spend an extra day, travel to Ottawa, and enjoy racing with 12,000 others. I travelled up from Borden on Friday after our course was over and had dinner at Mom and Dad's and then went down to race registration at City Hall. The athlete check-in process was quick and then I spent a few minutes touring the expo before heading home. I of course made a point of stopping by A-1 Imports to check-in and say hi.

I took it easy for the remainder of Friday and got a good nights rest. Saturday morning I did a light 5km run with a few race intensity excels. Seeing as my course in Borden had wrecked havoc on my bike training in the last couple weeks I figured I should try and get a solid ride in at IM race intensity. I headed out for a plan 100km of riding but shortly after 75km I hit a pothole which effectively shreaded my rear tire. Thankfully I was only a couple kms from a restaurant and a phone....Dad to the rescue.

I had a good nights sleep Saturday night and woke at 0530hrs for beakfast and then went back to bed for an hour. We headed downtown at 0745 and picked up my oldest sister, Kelly enroute. We arrived at the race start shortly after 0815.
Prerace with Mom and Dad.

The 1/2 marathon started at 0930 and I was fortunate to be able to line up at the front and right next to Alex Boule, a great CAF runner. Alex told me he was planning to run 1:15 so I figured I'd try and run with him for most of the race. My goal going into the race was just a solid "training" run but I was optimistic that I could 1:15 and was hoping top ten. The howitzer went off at precisely 0930 and we were off. I settled in behind Alex for the first few kms and there was a group of about 8-10 of us running together. They were running a little faster then I wanted, but knew running with a group was mentally easier then running alone. The group slowly broke up and by the time we hit the 10km marker I was struggling to hang on.

Awaiting the start!
I decided to let the gap open and start running my own race. Alex was still just ahead of me and I figured I'd just try my best to keep him in my sights. He was running very strong, which was no surprise. The last 5kms were a real struggle and the rain in the last couple kms caused the road to be quite slippery. I finished in 1:16:18 which was good enough for 8th OA, and 4th in M30-34. Totally happy with the result given that the current focus is Kona.
And we are off!

The Army Run is a fantastic race and the support from the crowd is always top notch. Running through the Governor General's residence, Rideau Hall, was always a cool addition this year.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

IM 70.3 WC Race Report - Solid Execution

So I’ve finally managed to sit down and write out my race report from the Ironman 70.3 WC that occurred in Mont Tremblant, QC on 7 Sep 14. Yes, yes I know I am a little behind.

So this year was a little different as the Canadian Armed Forces(CAF) had started a Long Course Triathlon Team and those of us who qualified on our own got to race supported by the CAF. There were five of us racing. Dave, Alex, Nick, Robert, and myself. In addition to the athletes we had Michel looking after us for the weekend. Claudia and I flew into Ottawa on Wednesday and spent the night at my parents in Ottawa. On Thursday morning we hit the road early and made the ~2hr drive to Tremblant. We settled in at the Chalet and then headed into town for athlete check-in and a light swim for me. We had rented this amazing chalet about 10km from Tremblant as my parents and oldest sister were also coming down to watch the race.
Our amazing home for the wknd!
Thursday – I hit the water early for a light swim and then followed that up with a light ride later in the day. I mostly tried to stay off my feet and get some rest.

Friday –I did a light swim and then took it easy for the remainder of the day. In the evening we had the athlete dinner and all the CAF athletes got to sit in the VIP area together which was quite nice.

These folks paid us a few visits at the Chalet.
Saturday – I did the typical D-1 race prep but due to the rain I changed it up a bit. I did a light swim in the morning and directly followed that with a run. Once the rain had subsided in the early afternoon I did a light ride and then proceeded to bike check-in.
Hanging out with my amazingly supportive wife before the race!

Race morning was quite uneventful and we were thankful for the bus transportation to the race start. I was in the first AG to start and we hit the water at 08:12.

Swim 29:33. The swim start was chaotic to say the least and I managed to get kicked multiple times and had to fix my goggles a few times within the opening 200m. By the time we hit the first turn buoy the field had spread out enough that there was a little room to manoeuvre. I was able to get a good draft for a good portion of the course and was happy to be exiting the water in under 30 minutes and now have a new PB of 29:33.
Thankfully the fog dispersed before the start.
After the long transition (which took almost 5 minutes) I was onto the bike.

Bike 2:20:33 
I thought the bike would be cold but it was quite comfortable. I was able to settle into a solid pace and quickly noticed athletes bunching (drafting) instead of riding legally. I didn't realize the extent of drafting until shortly before the turn around on the highway. Shortly before the turn around a group of 40 or so riders was heading back the other way. I was pretty frustrated with the blatant drafting but pushed my frustration aside to focus on my own race. The last section of the course was by far the hardest. VI of 1.03. First Half: 239W Avg, 247W NP. Second Half: 236W Avg, 246W Avg. This was by far my best executed ride of the year.

The last descent before the hardest section of the course!
Run 1:21:50 I knew the run would be tough, but didn't realize how tough it was going to be. The hills were pretty much relentless, though thankfully most of them were just rollers...that is with the exception of the section in town. I was able to hold a strong pace throughout and averaged 3:50/km on the first loop and 3:51/km on the second loop. Though this was not the fastest run of the year it was the most consistent.

Heading out for the best part of any race...the run!
Overall 4:17:37. 130th overall, 19th in M30-34 and top 100 amateur. Totally satisfied with the result. 
Post Race Pic w/ the Awesome Trevor Wurtele

Overall this was a first quality race and it was by far my best executed race of the season. I look forward to racing this course again next year…presuming the CAF is provide slots.

Others highlights of the weekend (besides hanging out with the wife, my parents, and oldest sister) was checking in with the crew from A-1 Imports (Cdn Distributor for Compressport) and of course checking out the 2015 Argon 18 E-118 at the Argon 18 booth at the Expo!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A hectic August!

So it has been a bit of a hectic past three weeks. It started with being the Bike Course Captain for the STARRT Triathlon in St Albert on 10 Aug, then it was racing in the Apple Triathlon in Kelowna on 17 Aug, and it was capped off with running the Edm ½ Marathon this morning. Oh, and besides all that there was the normal work and training routine. 

Medals from a busy month! (L to R: St Albert Triathlon 25th Anniversary Medal, Apple Triathlon 3rd Place Medal (M30-34), Edm 1/2 Marathon finisher medal, Edm 1/2 Marthon M30-39 1st place medal)

The 25th Edition of the St. Albert Triathlon (put on by STARRT) was awesome. The race director, James Dean, pours his heart and soul into the race and it clearly shows. I was happy to be able to contribute in a small way and look after the bike course for James. As a token of apprecation the race director gave each of his captains a commemorative 25th Anniversary medal as a souvenir.

The Apple Triathlon was a great opportunity to visit family, my Aunt and Uncle in West Kelowna, put some quality training in, and test my fitness. It is a great race and the race director and his team put on a first class race. It was the first time that I went into a race just looking to have fun. No pressure, just have a solid couple hours of training and enjoy the opportunity to race. I had a good race with splits of 24:17, 1:02:38, and 36:21 and an overall time of 2:05:58. Biggest take away from the race was solid bike power output on all four laps of the bike course. My effort on the day was good enough for 4th OA, and 3rd in 30-34. And as a positive note I claimed a spot to the 2015 ITU World Championships in Chicago. 
Exiting the swim in Kelowna!

Heading to the finish!

And then this morning I ran the Edm ½ Marathon. I had put in a very solid week of trg which was capped off with a hard HIM/IM brick on Friday. I knew I would be carrying a little fatigue into the half-marathon but had intended to use the race as a gauge for my fitness. The race seems to draw a strong field so I figured it was a good way to put a hard tempo run in before the 70.3 WC. I had a very solid opening 10km, and then had to mentally battle to hold it together on the back half as I battled the fatigue from a hard week of trg. I was happy with a 1:14:11 which was just off my PB of 1:13:42 from last year, and significantly better than my result at Ottawa Race Wknd in May. I was 12th OA, 2nd Amatuer, and 1st in M30-39.

Glad to be through that but the next few weeks won’t be much different. Volunteering at the ITU World Championship in Edm next weekend (Fri, Sun, Mon) as a bike course Marshall. Yes, I’m selfish I didn’t volunteer Saturday as I need a big trg day - Ironman Race Sim. Then it’s off to Mont Tremblant for the Ironman 70.3 WC, then a trip to Borden, ON for a two week course, to Ottawa on the 21st for the Army Run and then it’ll be back home for just shy of two weeks before heading to Kona! Thankfully my wife is gracious enough to put up with the ridiculous schedule. Yes, I admitted it – I might have gotten a tad obsessive this year.