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Race Reports

Race Reports, Triathlon

Race Report: Milton Sprint Triathlon 2019

Howdy! Well today was an interesting experience at the Subaru sprint triathlon in Milton, ON. Long story (it will come later) short, I finished alive in one piece. This was my second Sprint. However, Milton was slightly longer than usual as it is a 750m swim, 30km, and 7k run.

The Swim

I improved a bit in the chilly open water swim. Only had to resort to backstroke a little. Maybe I’ll practice with the wetsuit in the pool and definitely get more open water swimming experience at local lakes.

The Bike

Crashed 3 times on the bike and got mechanical service twice…big cuts and bruises on all 4 limbs. Was asked many times if I was able to finish…still hit the run, and I was certain I was the last person, but still ended up passing a handful of runners. A bunch of lessons learned. Need more practice bike handling and doing actual hills. My poor bike absolutely needs to get repairs. Anyways, I live to see another day, however that was the most painful shower I’ve ever had. Milton bike course is actually ranked one of the hardest climbs in Canada. And of course I decided to pick this race. Well, the Rattlesnake Point has a 8% average incline with a 16% steeper one. I crashed twice, fortunately no one else was hurt. Once trying to power my way up the hill, that didn’t work and I crashed to the right side of the road. What goes up, must come down. I totally was not ready for that mad descent back down and panicked and bailed out. Both times required mechanical assistance which took 20 mins off my time. But at that point, I just wanted to finished. I was asked several times if I was sure I wanted to continue the race. I didn’t hesitate once and said “let me keep going”. Essentially what I learned from this is that indoor training on the smart trainer is fine, and is great for time effective workouts. But nothing beats getting the real on-road experience of handling, balancing, and braking, specially for someone who just picked up cycling. My good friend Iain said “You aren’t a real cyclist until you’ve had your first crash”…I guess I’m in the club! Bike needs to be taken into the shop for repairs as well. But she’ll be fine. What’s kind of messed up and funny is that even after yesterdays bloody mess, I actually have no demotivating feelings on cycling. Really surprised I didn’t come in last! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? My mind is looking forward to healing up, getting my bike fixed up,

The Run

The run to the finish was fine. I was just so happy to get to this segment. Aerobically felt fine, but I was still pretty shook up from the bike leg. All my limbs especially my shoulders were stinging from the ripped skin, so I wasn’t able to use my arms for optimal momentum to hit my full desired race pace. 

Aftermath

 

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*DO NOT SWIPE LEFT IF YOU ARE GROSSED OUT FROM BLOOD* Happy #MedalMonday and happy #WorldBicycleDay ????? Completed my second Sprint distance triathlon in beautiful #MiltonON yesterday. The swim was cold, but my open water swimming and anxieties are improving. The run to the finish was fine. The cycling segment of the race though…now that was something I’ll never forget. The @subarutriathlonseries Milton bike course is actually ranked one of the hardest climbs in Canada. And of course I decided to pick this race. Well, the Rattlesnake Point has a 8% average incline with a 16% steeper one. I crashed twice, fortunately no one else was hurt. Once trying to power my way up the hill, that didn’t work and I crashed to the right side of the road. What goes up, must come down. I totally was not ready for that mad descent back down and panicked and bailed out. Both times required mechanical assistance which took 20 mins off my time. But at that point, I just wanted to finished. I was asked several times if I was sure I wanted to continue the race. I didn’t hesitate once and said “let me keep going”. Essentially what I learned from this is that indoor training on the smart trainer is fine, and is great for time effective workouts. But nothing beats getting the real on-road experience of handling, balancing, and braking, specially for someone who just picked up cycling. My good friend @djiain said “You aren’t a real cyclist until you’ve had your first crash”…I guess I’m in the club! Bike needs to be taken into the shop for repairs as well. But she’ll be fine. What’s kind of messed up and funny is that even after yesterdays bloody mess, I actually have no demotivating feelings on cycling. Really surprised I didn’t come in last! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? My mind is looking forward to healing up, getting my bike fixed up, and practicing more before @im703muskoka. As they say Allez! Allez! Allez! #triathlontraining #ironmantraining #miltonontario #bikecrash #wipeout

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Lessons Learned

  • More practice in wetsuit
  • More practice in Open Water
  • Work on bike handling/braking
  • Work on bike climbing
  • Work on bike descending

Conclusion

THANK YOU to all the awesome volunteers, road side bike mechanics, medics, and organizations. It was a beautiful event nonetheless.

I see races as a metaphor for life. No matter what happens, always keep a positive mindset, and finish strong.

Race Reports, Running

Race Report: Toronto Marathon 2019

Here we go. It’s been a week since the Toronto Marathon and I’ve had good time to reflect. This was the second crack at the full marathon 42.2KM or 26.2miles. If you remember, my first one at STWM last year did not go exactly as planned. Yes, I finished, I became a marathoner, but without proper training and running an entire month before, I hit the wall in stunning fashion at 30KM. I finished STWM in 5:18…it was time for redemption.

GOALS 

A – run without hitting the wall

B – sub-4:00

TRAINING

This training block, I got appropriate physiotherapy from Dwane Rebello of Spectrum Sports Institute. This got my left ankle back in working form. This allowed me to complete a 12-week Running Room training plan with 4:00 goal marathon race plan in mind.

Prior to this during winter, I did a bunch of intentionally ridiculously slow Zone 2 Heart Rate (~135bpm) long distance runs on the treadmill. This is one of the best parts of the treadmill as you can really dial in a pace according to your heart rate. I did 4 of these half-marathon 21.1KM distance big slow runs in total. I feel like this really benefited my winter aerobic build up. 

In addition, I strength work 4-days a week. This involved 4 main compound movements. Deadlift, Backsquat, Overhead press, and Bench press. I found that these staple resistant weightlifting really help develop my core, and back structure and form. 

RACE NUTRITION

  4x Endurance Tap 

  250mL flat coca cola with 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt

  • Water from every aid station. No Gatorade as it doesn’t sit well in my stomach
  • PS Coconut oil makes an easy natural chaffing cream!

GEAR

  • Nike Vaporfly 4%
  • Underarmor singlet 
  • Patagonia strider pro shorts
  • 2XU compression long socks 
  • Apple Watch Series 4

PRE-RACE ITNERARY

3:30AM – Wake up

3:40AM – 32oz Water + BCAA/Creatine

4:00AM – Breakfast Bowl* with coffee

5:00AM – Stretch & Yoga routine 

6:00AM – Leave house

6:30AM – Arrival to Yonge & Sheppard Centre 

6:35AM – Bagel with peanut butter, strawberry spread, honey

7:00AM – Clif Bloks Black Cherry + 50mg caffeine 

* 3/4 CUP DRY OATS 

1 BANANA

1/2 CUP BLUEBERRIES MIX 

1 TBSP CHIA, HEMP, FLAX 

1 CUP SOY MILK

THE RACE

I dropped by backpack at bag drop-off at 6:45AM near the start line, which was actually still being set up for the 7:30AM start time. I met up with awesome Instagram running friends Lisa, Joy, Denoja, Vanessa, and Jon. We went to find the 1:50 pacer. But we kind of ended up doing our own thing. Joy, Lisa, and myself pretty much stuck together for the first half of the race. Being in their company really made time fly. I got a quick surge of gratitude within the first 2K when I heard someone yell “Yeah, go Sean!”. It was my good friend Randall, who was doing the Half-Marathon later on that day. The weather was absolutely beautiful, I could not have asked for better race conditions. I felt pretty good from the get go. There was one big hill at 8K, but then the course became an overall downhill and then flat for the most part. We pasted by some cool spots like Casa Loma, the CN Tower, St. Lawrence Market, Ontario Place, and many tempting restaurants along the way. 

I took an Endurance Tap at 8K, 12K, 16K, 20K. Like I said, I felt pretty solid. While I did not hit the wall, I started my legs begin to slow down at around 28K. So, I immediately began sipping on my flat coke throughout up to 35KM. It’s weird because I don’t normally drink coke (from my weight loss journey), I was surprised that it actually worked magic on me during a long race. My legs quickly got energized within a few minutes. The last 5K stretch along Lakeshore was pretty draining, and I dug deep to keep the pace. I recall my eyes closing at times, as I just wanted to push through. When I saw my Watch at the 1:50 mark, I started to get a little worried, but knew if I kept to my plan, I’d be fine. I did not want to be greedy, and blow up by accident. I stuck to my pace and the sub-4 goal would be mine for the taking. The only 200m was a sudden uphill and then across the Ontario Place bridge to the finish line in front of the Better Living Centre. Crossing the finish was an amazing feeling. I did it. I accomplished what I originally wanted to do, but failed at STWM last year, which was to run a sub-4 hour marathon. 3:55:37.2 to be exact! I PBed by 2 hours! I sub-4-ed a marathon! 

POST-RACE

When I saw the clock at the finish line, I was thrilled and relieved. I hobbled over to a volunteer and received a ginormous finisher medal. This thing is the size of a pancake! I surprisingly felt pretty good overall. My form was good, and other than the normal soreness expected, I was in pretty good shape aerobically and structurally. I made my way into the the Better Living Centre to get a banana, coconut water, and some Clif bars. I collected my bag, and changed into some dry clothing. I found Lisa and Joy and we all got a nice photo of the three of us and our super sized medals. 

I’m usually not craving any solid foods after big bouts of effects. But I knew my body was in much need of nutrients, and it’s best to consume them within 30 minutes. I whipped out my Recovery Smoothie which includes Banana + 2 Dates + 1/2 cup frozen mangos, 1sp Tumeric powder, and Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein. It was delicious. 

THOUGHTS

I felt like I had solid form all the way through. This somehow, was by far the single best athletic performance of my life, so far. It was most likely the combination of spectacular weather, the 12-week training, nailing the nutrition, and the positive vibes. 

Getting my own squat rack and doing compound strength training movements such as deadlifts and back squats really help improve my lower back and core stability. The training paid off. I also noticed that my appetite returned much quicker after an extensive long run effort than before. And I guess my body is now getting used to the longer distances. I had no muscle cramping, no noticeable stomach issues, and never really got out of breath. 

While I was sore the following 2 days, it was expected. What I was surprised about is how NOT so terrible my body felt versus STWM 2018. 

Also, if you’re wondering, the Nike Vaporfly 4% lived up to the hype. They are an absolute dream to race in. I will only be using them for important races as I’ve heard that don’t last too long, and the cost a pretty penny. But if they’re good for the great Eliud Kipchoge…then why not? 

WHAT TO DO NEXT TIME 

I’m very happy with the training plan I followed for the Toronto Marathon. While, I know that I have something that works, I still want to strive for a 3:30 goal time next. 

Before I get into full training for STWM 2019, I will do a few more of those Zone 2 HR super long runs, to continue building my aerobic base. 

Thus, I’m now looking for some other training options, possibly a coach, and/or using power with the STRYD foodpod. 

 

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What do we say to the god of DNF? NOT TODAY. They say #Hardworkpaysoff…AND I CASHED THAT IN. Finally hit my goal at @torontomarathon this gorgeous day! SUB-4 hour marathon with an official time of 3:55:37.2. I had to dig so deep in the last 3K. Big props to @belovedrunner & @joysofrunning for running with me the majority of the course. It was awesome seeing @attherockshow root me on at the beginning, and congrats to him on completing the Half!! Thank you so much everyone, the organizers, volunteers and spectators for this BEAUTIFUL RACE ??????? All #poweredbyplants ? More thoughts to come after sleep, food, and of course Game of Thrones…#MyTorontoMarathon #TorontoMarathon #veganathlete

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Race Reports

Race Report: Run for Southlake 5K

Absolutely loved the atmosphere at #RunforSouthlake this morning! Inspiring community and fun race! Finished strong with a new official 5K PR of 23:27! Additionally new PRs for 1 mile (7:19) and 1K (4:27) woot woot ?????! Thank you to all the volunteers, spectators, @southlakefndn /@southlakerhcorganizers, and sponsors @naturescanada ?! The @nike#vaporfly 4% were a dream to ride on! Time to refuel and get ready for the blood bath on Game of Thrones tonight! #hardworkpaysoff

Race Reports, Running

Race Report: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2018

It’s been just over a week since #STWM. And I’ve had some good time to recover, regroup, and reflect. Leading up to my first marathon, many friends and peers told me once you finish line you will say one of two things to yourself “I’m never doing this again” or “I can’t wait to do another”. Mine was slightly different. As soon as I crossed that finish line I said to myself “I want a rematch”… “Success is going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill.
First off, I have a brand new appreciation for marathon runners. It takes next level grit to pull this off. It was first time I didn’t hit my time goal in a race and finished with the most painful and humbling experience of my athletic career. The first half was pretty good. I was on par with my half-marathon. slightly slower as I was trying to converse energy. I actually bonked hard and hit the physical wall at 30KM. A special thanks goes out to my chiropractor Dr. Arnold and massage therapist Dr. Lipvanova for getting my left ankle tendons in as good a shape as possible in such a short amount of time. Without them, I probably might have not even finished.

You have good days and bad days. Getting good at the marathon that needs experience. And I feel like I had a good learning experience I hope to grow from. I had the most fun running through our beautiful city of Toronto.

So even though this isn’t the outcome I was hoping for in my marathon debut. I will NOT let this discourage me from running. On the bright side, I can now officially call myself a marathoner and have a new baseline of distance. I learned so much about myself and really appreciate all the support I received from my family, friends, volunteers, and spectators rooting me on.

This winter will be productive. First up is to recover and come back stronger. Got a few things on my mind already. My goal next year is to still run a sub-4 marathon (PS I had no idea I made this pose at the finish line until I saw the official photos) #nolimits#infinitepotential #runTO #tbt #stwm@runcrs

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