To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be writing another big race report so soon. But due to silly planning on my part, here we are! Just two weeks after Tremblant 70.3, I raced in Muskoka 70.3. This one was to redeem my first attempt DNF back in 2019 when I didn’t know how to swim or change gears and ride a hilly course outdoors. That’s also when I used to wear elbow and knee pads. Oh, how things have changed! In reality, I wasn’t quite sure what my body was capable of only 2 weeks later. So, I was really surprised to see a similar swim, but better bike and even better run!
Coaches goals for the race:
Swim: Swim straight, similar strategy as Tremblant but it’s a wave start so maybe start a bit back of the main pack and a bit off to the side so you aren’t trampled!
Bike: – Focus on going hard into the uphills and make sure you go one gear harder as you crest the top of the uphills
– About 170-180W, HR ~165bpm
- Stick to the white line or close to the yellow line, avoid the middle of the lane on the 117
Run – pace the uphills, like on the bike use the downhills to get momentum and then steady up the hills ALWAYS feeling like you have a bit more speed for cresting at the top.
– HR < 175bpm for the first 7km, slow and controlled up the first set of hills.
The RACE: [Official Time: 05:42:54]
SWIM (1.9km) – 43:51 mins @ 2:16/100m
The swim went pretty much how I was expecting it go in terms of pace and obstacles. Where Tremblant had a self-seeded swim start, Muskoka had an Age Group start. I find AG starts a lot more chaotic, as I got kicked in the fast at least 5 times. Sighting was good except for the second buoy as there was direct sunlight and a mass swarm of athletes, so I had to go by feet initially, but not too long before I got my bearings back. Once around the turn buoys, I felt comfortable swimming back through the channel to the swim exit.
My swim is interesting, because no matter the distance, ex 750m, 1900m, 5K, my pace is always 2:15/100m-sh. It’s way better than before, so as long as its under 45mins for a half IM, then I’m okay for now. Also, wetsuit strippers were back! Yay!
Half-rolled socks with baby powder 100% works!
BIKE (90KM) – 2:58:37hr @ 30.47 km/h
What a gorgeous bike course! Still pretty hilly, but a lot more shade from trees made it very enjoyable and scenic. Took about 5KM for me get my legs firing. Stayed really calm but with steady effort the entire ride. And even got into aero a little bit! The only kind of sketchy part was the very narrow coned aisle in the return to Bayville section. I loved seeing my friends Mark, Shaunna, Noel, and Garth all lay it out on the course!
Pretty fast for me. Already had my socks on, put on hydration belt, race bib, Omius headband, shades, slurped an Endurance Tap, let’s gooooo!
RUN (21.1KM) 1:51:37hr at 5:19 min/km
Felt good coming off the bike. But BAM massive hill immediately. Wow that’s mean! Haha. I think it was tolerable for me, but saw the majority of people walking this. After this hill though, I actually felt pretty solid for the rest of the run. I couldn’t believe I was running faster here than at Tremblant too. I’d say the Muskoka run course is definitely without a doubt tougher. Hence “The Beast”. Some of the friends that past me on the bike, I soon got my turn to pass them on the run hehe. But the highlight for me was that I got the opportunity to see Miranda Tomenson get into the final 2K of her run and she was smashing it hard! I yelled out FIGHT!! And she won by 20 minutes and beat some elite men too. This fired me up as well to keep pushing hard up all the hills to the finish!
First off, I’m so damn happy, that I finally got to rectify my DNF in 2019 this time around. Secondly, Tremblant 70.3 was always the “A 70.3 Race” of this season and Muskoka was a “B Race” to get more open water racing experience, nail down my nutrition / fuelling, and get more confidence on the bike. Somehow, someway, I got a 12 min PB only 2- weeks after Tremblant 70.3! I don’t really have an explanation how that happened. But it’s most likely do the solid training, and precise amount of recovery and taper planned by coach Miranda!
Now that I have 1 sprint, and 2x 70.3s done. The main target and goal of the year is only 6-weeks away. IRONMAN Mont Tremblant, a longer swim, 2 loops of Duplessis, and a marathon. The full enchilada. Now, I think I can do it. I can do it if I follow the training plan exactly as I can just like before. I just need to remain calm, excited, keep healthy, and stay focused. It will happen!