ironman 70.3

Race Reports

IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka 2023 – Race Report

This was my third time racing here in Muskoka and it’s always fun and convenient to do a local event! 

However, there was no PB today. I didn’t have a good proper build up to this race from a bike crash 2 weeks prior. I got a bunch of road rash, bruised left side of body, and a broken bike frame! I was absolutely devastated. Because of this, I missed out on a handful of key training sessions, and came to this race just grateful to get the start line. 

The RACE: [Official Time: 06:03.17]

SportStats: https://www.sportstats.ca/display-results.xhtml?raceid=128814&bib=86

SWIM (1.9km) – 47:53mins @ 2:28/100m

For some reason my swim pace is slower by around 15 seconds per 100m compared to last year. I am not sure why. Maybe because I missed out on the feel for the water the past few weeks? Might need to go back to the drawing board for this. 

Despite this, I sorted out 3 things.

  • I solved my goggle foggy issue with the Orca Killa 180
  • I can sight, but still need to not legs sink
  • And importantly, I did this swim for the first time, not hating the open water, I actually kind of enjoyed it too

Apparently there was a strong as well, so maybe that contributed to me being 3 minutes slower than last year. 

T1 [5:23]

They had wetsuit peelers! Yay! 

BIKE (90km) – 3:03.50 hr @ 29.41kph

I had really great memories of this bike course from last year. While it was still just as fun, my lower back seized up around 45km and I was losing power through the legs to the pedal. As my Trek speed concept Disc was being repaired, I was fortunately to still own my rim brake version. The issue is that it’s a frame size too small, and while still useable, it wasn’t the most comfortable. Additionally, because of my recent crash, my left elbow was still pretty bruised and couldn’t get into aero position. 

I dropped a chain with 5km to go, so I had to quickly stop and put it back on. This is what made me not get that 30kph avg. 

However, the BIGGEST upset on the bike segment is that I only got HALF of my nutrition. I was able to get all the liquid from my cockpit XLAB Torpedo bottle. But only 1/4 of my SpeedFil came up the straw. For some reason I wasn’t able to suck the rest up. And my the end of the bike I was really hungry and I knew I would be going to the run in a big calorie deficit. Not good! Especially when I know my numbers and had it down pack. 

If this happens again in the future, coach says it’s best for me to stop at an aid station and get it sorted to save my run. 

T2 [2:39]

RUN (21.1km) – 2:03.32 hr @ 5:51/km

This run was BRUTAL. It’s so interesting how I can do the exact same course back to back years and yet they felt so very different all because of nutrition and lack of fitness from the crash. 

I almost instantly cramped but quads on the big hill right out of the T2. I knew this was going to be a painful half-marathon. I stopped at every aid station to get as much nutrient and salt to make up for the calories and hydration lost on the bike. I didn’t really work and for the first time, I had to stop to use a porte-potty in a 70.3! After this I did feel a big better and started to feel some energy come back. It was also pretty hot which added to the suffering. I fought and fought as much as I could to try get under 2hours, but ended up running a 2:03hr half-marathon. It’s not my best by a long shot, but also could have been a lot worse. So all things considered it was “okay”. 

In Conclusion

Despite all the adversary I encountered leading up to this race, I am extremely thankful and grateful that I was even able to get to the start line and being this race. I thank all my family and friends who gave me their support and best wishes while I was injured and out. 

Congrats to my good friend Steve Upton who got 13th in our Age Group, getting closer to top 10! And congrats to Camila on completing her first 70.3! Fast swimmer too!

Race Reports

Mont Tremblant 70.3 2022 Race Report

After a long yet scenic 6-hour drive to Montreal, Quebec, it was time for the second race of the season. This time for the iconic and hot ticket race IRONMAN Mont Tremblant 70.3! I have two “A Races” this year, and this is one of them.

This will be one of a few redemption events for me. While I did complete Muskoka 70.3 in 2019 within the overall 8:30 hour cut-off time, I was such a weak swimmer and incredibly novice cyclist. I never rode a bicycle in my life until the age of 30, yes not even as a kid. I fell so many times learning and my primary training was all indoors on Zwift, where I developed somewhat okay power, but zero bike handling skills. So I had no idea about shifting gears in Muskoka, walked up 2 hills, and didn’t make the swim/bike cut-off time. I made it a personal mission to improve everything, especially my outdoor cycling skills and swim. 

I spent a lot of time in the later part of 2020 (after I recovered from my broken collar bone surgery, from a bike crash sigh), and the summer of 2021 doing long weekend rides up to 204km on hilly routes. I slowly build up a little bit of road confidence, and had rides with a few friends to loosen up the anxiety. 

Coaches goals for the race: 

Swim – aiming for 45 mins. “Again, the focus on straight swimming here. No number goals, swim based on effort (6-7/10) – enough to keep yourself warm, but not enough to leave you gasping for air. Seed yourself around 35-40min.”

Bike – aiming for 3:30 hr at 170W / 28kph. Use all your gears! No grinding up the hlls in your big ring. You should be little ring in the front, easy gear in the bag climbing duplessis. Try to stay aero as much as possible.

Run – aiming for 2:10 hr. Steady and controlled first 7km. Don’t get carried away on fresher legs here. Stay on top of nutrition. Miiddle 7km should start to hurt a bit, but still know you have an extra gear for the finish. Last 7km the goal is to be the one passing people, not the one being passed.

In our pre-race phone call, coach Miranda and I laid out some pretty doable goals. 


I’m really fortunate to have friends also racing this weekend. Mark, his wife Shaunna, and my friend Catherine were there to embrace the day. The 4 of us did an early morning bearing of where our bikes were in relation to the swim, bike, run exits and starts, then walked quite a hike to the swim start at the tennis club. 

The RACE [Official Time: 05:54:37]

SportStats: https://www.sportstats.ca/display-results.xhtml?raceid=116458&bib=946


SWIM (1.9km) – 43:43 min @ 2:15/100m

This is probably the most concerning leg of the race for me as usual. My intention was to take the steady and calm pace I had in Milton earlier in the month, but apply it to a distance 3 times longer. And I managed to do it! The water was a perfect temperature and pretty still. I sighted often and stuck to a straight line. I’m really happy the buoys were numbered and since I knew how many there were, I just counted them down. This really helped with my spatial awareness, otherwise I couldn’t really know how much felt I had. The only tricky part came after the first red turn buoy. The sun was shining straight in our face and it was almost impossible to sight the next buoy. So for the first little bit I had to follow the feet and splashing I saw.

Once I turned the second buoy, I felt really good because there is only way back to shore! That’s when I noticed I was most calm heading back in. Even though I saw athletes already stand and begin walking on the sand, I swam all the way up until my hands touched the steps out. I quickly glanced at my watch and saw it said 43 mins, woohoo under 45mins! 

T1 (6:09 min)

It was a rather long way from the swim exist to my bike, so I calmly jogged and made sure to not just walk. Got the wetsuit off pretty quickly, but fumbled a little with getting socks on. I guess I need even more baby powder next time. Now off to this legendary bike course!

BIKE (90K) – 03:03.1 Hours at 29.98 km/h

Like every race I do, the main goal of the bike was to not crash, and not walk up any hills. But seriously, this course was a really good dose of toughness and pleasure. I didn’t notice the Montee Ryan part, the Hwy 117 was really fun and thrilling and Chemin Du Plessis absolutely lived up to the hype. I found the most challenging part “the wall” climb on the return on 117. That was a long steep hill with no shade. Whereas, Duplessis had some steep climbs, but they were often broken up with plateaus, a lot of forest shade, and a ton of cheering spectators! It felt really Tour de France style. For some reason, I couldn’t help but cry as I finished the climb. It was beautiful. There was 3 or 4 U-turns, but on one of them, I had a little dodgy moment where I skid onto the outside lane gravel, but made it back onto the bike. Someone yelled out “good save!”, phew! 

The only two bodily issues I had was I noticed my lower back start to have some pain after the 117 climb, but this went away on its own. And that my right foot hurt because I tightened the shoes too much. 

I did noticed quite a lot athletes flatted out, and I only recall seeing about 2 service vans. Pretty scary, so I’m making it a goal to learn and be prepared to fix a flat tubeless setup as best I can. 

The bike course is iconic and maybe I can better pace or bump up my nutrition for Duplessis and in the final 2 climbs, I feel I like I got really close to my legs cramping up, but luckily they are rather short segments. 

With all the climbing, I was really surprised and pleased that I completed this in 3:03hr at 29.98 kph. I could have totally got 30kph average if I didn’t feature on at least two of the descents…next time haha. Good cadence above 80 rpm as well. 

The highlight of this race for me was actually seeing Lionel zip by me!!! As I was heading out on the 117, I saw the pace car approaching from the other direction on the other side of the road. I was like…”omg who is leading?” and surely enough, it was Lionel Sanders himself. Usually, when I get into a dark place in a race, I think of Lionel Sanders training videos and keep telling myself “no limits”. Today was quite remarkable. Just seeing him lead the race and realizing that I was sharing this exact same course with him, and other amazing pros like Tamara Jewett, Jackson Laundry, and Cody Beals gave me such a surge of adrenaline!

T2 (3:35 min)

I guess I was slightly disoriented because I almost racked my bike in the wrong spot twice. But quickly found my spot. Got everything off, put my running gear on, and now it was my time to shine. 

RUN (21.1KM) – 01:58:09 hr at 5:36 min/ km

I always feel the most at home and in control in the run portion of a triathlon. The entire and day to prepare me for the run. I had an initial feeling off the bike to pee, but decided I could hold it and see what happens. Turns out I never needed it. 

This run course was also stunning. And part of it is on the famous Petite Du Nord marathon trail. However, this route did have quite a bit of hills as well. Oh did I mention it felt like 40C?! It was a hot day for everyone. I was lucky that coach Miranda recommended the Omius headband that some of the pros use as well. It’s heat sink tile made from space shuttle material that diffuses heat keeping your head cool. It totally works! 

My goal was to start the run strong but then lock into a steady pace. I only slowed down at aid stations to splash and sip as much cold water as I could. We broke this into 3x 7km segments and I feel like I met it to plan. I picked off other athletes rather quickly and pretty much for the rest of the race. 

There were definitely moments where I felt like run/walking, but I knew I could do better. Every time I looked at my watch I had to keep calculating and knew I had an opportunity to sub-2 this half-marathon. So I stuck to my paces. I was planning to light my match in the last 5km, but the last part was pretty much uphill, where I saw a lot of people break down and walk. So I did light a match, I didn’t quite get a long sprint finish like I wanted, but feel like I ended strong. 

The last 1km back into the Village was absolutely breath taking and wonderful. I roared into the finish chute, crossed the line, and was exhausted and so thrilled, and so very happy. I met my friends in the recovery tent and I cried with them. I did it. 


This was my first 70.3 in official time!! The funny thing is that I think was racing against the wrong clock because when I finished I saw the overhead clock say 6:27, in which I was pleased to get sub-6:30. But my friend showed me that I actually finished in 5:54 hours!!! Sub-6!! I really couldn’t believe I did that. I think that actually one of the best feelings was knowing that I didn’t have to worry about making any of the intermediate cutoff times like in the past haha. I’m a new triathlete now! 

I ended up doing better than all the goals I had and more so. I learned so much from this experience as well. And this triathlon community is the best. 

I cannot thank coach Miranda Tomenson enough. Her training plan is the exact perfect dose. I trust it, and I trust her. I still have mind games with confidence though. Heck, she probably believes in me, more than I believe in myself! I need to work on this, but it’s slowly coming along!

Future Goals:

Well now I have a Muskoka 70.3 in only two weeks…probably not the greatest schedule idea ever, but we will see how I feel. This will be a “B race” at best and give me a chance to try out an upped version of my race nutrition. 

I still want to swim at a 1:55-1:59/100m pace in open water so very badly! Since I know I can sight and swim straight and calm at this distance, I will try push the effort a little more in Muskoka. 

Race Reports, Triathlon

Race Report: IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka 2019


On Sunday July 7, 2019 I “finished” by first crack at the half-ironman distance in Muskoka, but there’s a DNF twist based on a technicality. I’ll get to that by the end of this report. Not to be concerned, this isn’t a sulking review. I’m in good spirits, I indeed receive my Finishers Medal, t-shirt, and cap within the total time limit. And most importantly, look forward to the process of improving myself! 

It was the first time in a triathlon where the idea of quitting did not cross my mind even for a split second. 

I registered for this race almost a year ago. And my triathlon history is super short having only done 2 sprint distance events before. Needless, to say I was cool and calm up until the day before. I was absolutely terrified in the 24-hours just before the big day. 



View this post on Instagram


I’m here! Feeling very overwhelmed and not going to lie, pretty terrified. But loving the vibe and experience in Muskoka! I signed up for @im703muskoka almost a year ago and have been training ever since. This will be my first attempt at the half-Ironman distance. I have no idea what to expect tomorrow. There’s so many variabilities in a triathlon. I only intend to not drown in the swim, crash/mechanical on the bike, and not get sunstroke on the run. It’s going to be HOT tomorrow. My goal is to have fun and finish strong. Final #carbloading with a delicious cheeseless Primavera pizza with mushroom, artichoke, red peppers, and black olives at @tlp_by_the_lights ???? #AnythingisPossible #Ironman #Ironman703 #IronmanMuskoka #poweredbyplants

A post shared by Sean Chin (@seanchin) on

I arrived in Huntsville Saturday morning and stayed at the Tulip Inn, which is close to the start/finish line at the Canada Summit Centre. My pre-race carb-loading involved a delicious veggie primavera pizza from That Little Place by the Lights in downtown Huntsville, and then a veggie fettuccine bowl from East Side Marios. I did this race and the lead up to it on a whole food plant based lifestyle. 


  • Don’t quit
  • Don’t drown on the swim
  • Don’t crash on the bike
  • Don’t have a mechanical bike issue
  • Don’t faint on the run
  • Have fun 

SWIM (1.9KM) 

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/2513017844

This swim in Fairy Lake was gorgeous. I took a good 30 mins to put on and pull up my ROKA wetsuit. By putting this much attention into this, I had no chest or shoulder restrictions. The water was wonderful and warm with nice sandy bottom.

It was my best Open Water Swim (OWS) to date. No panic attack. No loss of breath. Kept calm whenever I got crawled over or kicked in the face. Continuous swim with no stopping. No reverting to backstroke. And completed under the 1 hour cap. Additionally, the volunteer wetsuit strippers yanking them off our bodies was a unique yet time efficient experience.  

Now that I know I can be completely comfortable in OWS, I need to work on building and bringing in more power and speed to my stroke.


Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/2513076283

They call IM70.3 Muskoka the “Beauty and the Beast” for a good reason. It’s an insanely challenging course. With big climbs, and steep descents. Yet, it was such an enjoyable ride at the same time. 90K is my longest outdoor ride to date, with the previous being 50KM at the Tour de Gueph. I was honestly was surprised that I did not crash or fall over once and not one drop of blood was shed. My mounting and dismounting is improving too. 

Based on my history ex. Milton, I was certain that there was a 90% chance I’d end up in a bloody mess at some point and pull out. Shockingly and fortunately, that did not happen. 

I noticed that after around 25KM, my hands and arms got numb, and had to take breaks to feel the sensation again. So this needs to be figured out ASAP. I feasted on all of my Lara bars, cliF bars, gummy bears, did not like the waffle stingers though.

RUN (21.1KM)

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/2513232950

Just like the previous 2 Sprint Distance triathlons I’ve done, all I keep telling myself is to “just get to the run”. And that was no difference in Muskoka. I’ve been been so happy to see a “Bike Off” aka dismount sign before. my plan was to stay at a consistent power the entire-time. The run is when I passed a boat load of people. It was a particularly hilly course, no surprise, but I actually don’t mind running up hills since my Spartan races. I loved the finish chute with the finisher banner to hold over my head at the end.



This acronym stands for “Did Not Finish”. To me, it’s a rather vague term especially in the sport of triathlon, because it is used as a status on a handful of outcomes. It can occur if someone quits mid-race on their own terms ex. fatigue, a race-ending injury, an unfixable mechanical issue, not making the final cut-off time, or intermediate cut-off times. 

I’m coming into the world of triathlon from running. And I’m used to events such as a marathon having a singular cut-off time of 8 hours for example.

In the standard 70.3 or Half-Triathlon distance, the final cut-off time is 8hours and 30 mins. With a swim of 1:10, Bike 5:30, and Run until the total time. However, it’s still not that simple. at Muskoka 70.3 there is also “intermediate Time of Day cut-offs” on the bike ex. 9:55AM at 23KM, 11AM at 45km, 12:06pm at 67KM, and 1:15pm at 90KM. 

When I finished the entire course, I actually made overall cut-off time in 8hr 16mins. I did the swim in 58mins, bike is 4:49, and run in 2:15. And I also made all of the intermediate bike cut-offs. 

A few hours later, when I checked SportStats, I was initially shocked and saddened to see “DNF” even though I made all those times. 

Why? It’s because I didn’t realize that there is actually another cut-off. I failed to understand that the combined swim and bike must be completed “5 hours and 30 minutes after the final wave start.” I thought that this meant the bike alone had to be within this, but they actually mean BOTH the swim and the bike need to be completed in this time. My time for both the swim and bike was 5:55. This one aspect led to my DNF on Sportstats. 

So call it as you wish. I may have not officially finished according to that bike/swim technicality, but I did absolutely indeed complete a Half-Ironman distance race within the total time. I bared as much pain and hills as all the other finishers that day.


View this post on Instagram


#AnythingIsPossible. More thoughts on @im703muskoka to come! #IronmanMuskoka

A post shared by Sean Chin (@seanchin) on


Since I know that the bike and especially climbing such a hilly course like Muskoka is my weakest ability, I should not have used the restroom at the 3 aid stations. My initial thought was that I was going to cruise through the run and thus I needed to get comfy and use the sorta-potties before so I could run continuous without stopping. Once at the run, then that combined swim/bike cut-off would have been over. However, now knowing about this, I should have not stopped at all on the bike to hit that 5:30 time, then I would have had the entire rest of the run to use it.

Many will say that I took on way too much for a beginner triathlete too soon at this course difficulty. That’s probably true. I’ve only done TTF Sprint 2018 and Milton Sprint 2019. In hindsight I should have done at least one Olympics distance race before a Half. 

I absolutely know my bike needs a lot more work and practice. I did this entire 70.3 on non-aero road bike, without clip-in shoes/pedals, with very little hill training. So, all of these will be addressed soon. 


  • Learn to use clip-in pedals
  • Get a true bike fitting with Saddle pressure mapping
  • Invest in an actual Triathlon bike
  • I need a real triathlon watch 
  • More outdoor riding to get bike-handling skills 
  • Learn to take hands of bars and eat/drink while riding
  • More Open Water Swimming and add speed
  • Get stroke analysis and improvement 
  • Get triathlon coach
  • Do more brick runs 


At the end of the day, I had an absolutely amazing experience at Ironman 70.3 Muskoka. The town of Huntsville, ON is gorgeous, and the athletes could not have asked for better weather conditions. As someone who has never been physically active for the first 29 years of my life and being overweight at 185lbs down to 140lbs via nutrition, to learning how to run 2 years ago, and then picking up cycling and swimming just a year ago, to completing an Ironman 70.3 on the challenging course at Muskoka, I am pretty darn proud of that.

As you can imagine, I was initially filled with mixed emotions. I’m not mad or frustrated with anyone. I have accepted and embraced the result for what it is. For all the possible DNF outcome scenarios I mentioned above, mine was in a weird situation. 

On one hand, it’s Ironman’s race, and it’s their rules, I misinterpreted it, that’s my bad. But on the other hand, I did not quit, I did not get pulled, I did not have a mechanical issue, and I actually finished the entire Muskoka 70.3 course within each activities times, and the total cut-off time. I completed the same course as the first place finisher. And I received my Finisher Medal at the end. I gained a whole world of experience, met inspiring athletes, day a beautiful day, and grow so much from this race. 

It’s also fitting that Stranger Things season 3 was just released on Netflix. Perfect timing for post-race recovery binging. A line that hit the spot from the last episode was from Hopper “Make mistakes, learn from ’em. When life hurts you, because it will, remember the hurt. The hurt is good. It means you’re out of that cave.” Much like when I attempted my first marathon, I hit the wall hard and finished in 5:17. But on my second go, I hit my sub-4 hour goal in 3:55. I will to do the same with triathlon.

Thank you to all the super awesome volunteers, athletes, spectators, race organizers, and the town of Huntsville and Muskoka for welcoming us into your home. I look forward to racing in Muskoka in the future!

I’ll definitely continue participating in triathlons, do more 70.3s (probably look for flatter courses), and maybe, just maybe attempt the full Ironman distance one day. 

Until then, the journey continues.