Race Reports, Triathlon


An unforgettable experience in the sunshine state. 

My journey to becoming an Ironman formally happened in November 6, 2019 when I signed up for the 2020 edition of Ironman Florida (IMFL). I gave myself one year to train for it. I’ve been asked this many times, “why Florida?”.  I’ve always seen Florida as my second home, I have a lot of family on my dads side that lives here. IMFL is the race I wanted my first Ironman race to be at. I also just felt a “calling” from my heart to do this one. But we all know what happened in this time frame. A pandemic came through, and while all the races around the world were cancelled or postponed in this period, IMFL 2020 was the only one that went on. However, with all the travel restrictions that happened, there were just too many risks of missing flights or not being to come back etc. so I deferred my race entry to 2021. Great, I gave myself another year to train. 

All during this time, I was pretty much self-trained. Running is my first love and discovered this in 2017 after I began eating healthy plant-based food, then I took up cycling and swimming in 2018 only a month before I did my first sprint distance triathlon. Very self-taught, and probably slightly foolish tool, but alas. I primarily trained on the bike indoors with various programs, and while I built up a decent power to weight ratio, it did not make up for a lack of childhood experience riding outdoors. So my bike handling skills are still pretty mediocre at best. The same goes for swimming, I pretty much did all of my training in the pool with minimal open water training. 

So, when the time finally came for 2021 Ironman Florida, I thought I was ready, and while I might have made it though the bike and run, my swimming skills just did not cut it. Add to that, the 2021 race had horrendous rip tides where 25% of the field Did Not Finish (DNF) the swim itself! Unfortunately, I was in that statistic. However, the one thing I am proud of is that I never quit despite being asked 3 times by staff to be skidoo’ed out back to shore. I told them I am going to finish the swim. I ended up swimming over 5km (supposed to be 3.8km) do to poor sighting skills and the rip current making it feel like a washing machine. I never quit. But I did not meet the swim cut-off time limit of 2:20 hours, so staff at the swim exist took my timing chip, and my first ironman attempt was over just like that. My tail was between my legs and went back home to Toronto to ponder my life decisions. 

After sulking for a few weeks, and friends reaching out, I decided it was time to find a coach. Especially one that was a good swimmer. After a number of calls and shortlists, I found coach Miranda Tomenson of Tomenson Performance and Wellness (TPW) based in Toronto, Canada. She taught me to be more relaxed in the water, worked on my swimming technique, did video analysis, greatly improved my sighting and learn to take straight lines in open water. And with her guidance, I achieved my goal by completing Ironman Mont Tremblant 2022 in Quebec, Canada. I was thrilled when I became a first timer. This was a tremendous confidence boost for me. However, while I was very happy and grateful, there was this sensation that something was missing. And about 4 weeks prior, I had a heat stroke and crashed my bike, which made me miss a few key bike volume sessions leading up to the race. While I did become an Ironman, it wasn’t where I wanted it to be or to my full potential. 

In our post-race debrief, I told coach Miranda that I am signing up for the 2023 Ironman Florida. We have one year to train for the original goal I wanted to achieve almost 4 years prior! 

Jump forward to this year, the 2023 season started off with a mixed bag of results. First, I got a brand new spanking Trek Speed Concept bike. I set a new 5K PB on a hilly course with 21:05 minutes. But then had rather lack lustre sprint, and Muskoka 70.3 due to a lack of training and recovery from a crash a few weeks prior. I broke my new bike, but fortunately insurance covered it, and my good friends at Evolution Cycles got me back on it in no time. A got a big surprise confidence boost at Barrelman 70.3 in Niagara with a 38 minute PR (05:04 hours). 

I must also say, that with training for 70.3 and full distance races, it’s very rare that you get a “perfect build” in which no illness, sickness, injuries, crashes, or life lemons get in the way and throw training off. For Barrelman I was fortunate and it paid off. And leading up to IMFL 2023 I had the same luck of no compromises in training. I did every workout session as prescribed by the coach. Nothing more, nothing less, I nourished myself, I took care of my self, and better yet, I still made plenty of time to spend with family and friends. And then it was time. 

Wednesday November 1, 2023, I packed my bike and gear and flew with Delta Airlines back to Panama City Beach, Florida. How the sights, smells, and sounds of the Gulf Coast never get old. 

I met so many new friends, heard and told a lot of stories. From all walks of life, all ages from young to old. From all over the world. We were all here to participate in the 25th anniversary of Ironman Florida! AND I FINALLY DID IT. I finished the ocean swim in a pretty good time, and rocked the bike and run and accomplished my original dream and athletic goal of finishing Ironman Florida! Not only that, but smashed my previous full distance triathlon PR by 2:08 hours! Additionally, it’s actually the first international race I’ve ever competed in as well.

The Race: [Official Time: 12:27:04 hours] 

We had a professional star-studded men’s and women’s field featuring the likes of Magnus Ditlev, Skye Moench, Cam Wurf, Rudy Von Berg, Matt Hanson, and more. This really made gave IMLF a big race vibe.

The whole day didn’t go without some adversity though. Right before the swim start, my chest Heart Rate monitor strap broke as I was putting it on. Initially, I was frustrated, but realized it doesn’t affect me that much as I don’t really look at it during a race. My watch would still track my HR on the swim and run, I’d just be missing data for the bike, but I got over that quickly. Coach told me just to not wear it as I McGiver’ed it with duct tape, but she warned me that could cause chaffing, so I ditched it. Glad I listened to her. 

I learned from 2021, that race day morning is pretty chilly. So, this time I bought a throwaway pair of sandals and cheap hoodie to toss away right before I got into the water. I also brought a spare pair of goggles just incase. But once I got near to the start, I gave them to a by stander spectator and told them if any athlete needs it to give it to them. 

After the professionals started, the nerves kicked in until Eminem’s “Lose Your Self” hit the PA speakers. It was on.

SWIM (3.8KM) – 1:30:22 hours @ 2:20/100m

Out of everything, this swim was by far the biggest mental and physical obstacle for me to overcome. Last time I could barely sight and battle the rip currents. This time, while still wavy, I sighted each and every buoy, stayed calm and steady, and swam straight lines at a sustainable pace. The salty water does throw me off when it gets in my mouth, but coach Miranda had me train at the pool with a bottle of salt concentrated water which got me accustomed to the sensation. There was thousands of jelly fish, but fortunately I never got stung. I was happy when I saw my time upon the first lap, I felt good and strong. And was super thrilled when I finished the second loop. I GOT MY REDEMPTION RIGHT HERE! As a matter of fact, I pretty much swam the same time I did in Mont Tremblant, and that was a mirror lake. That says a lot to the swim training coach gave me. 

T1 – 11:59 mins

This was a rather long run into the transition zone. Just the wetsuit peelers (no longer on the beach it self anymore, which is good as you won’t be covered in sand) and used the showers to get the salt water residue off.

BIKE (180KM) – 6:07:29 hours @ 29.43kph

They said Florida is flat and fast, and that she was. While not super flat, there was still some light rolling hills, and a sketchy area in a park, but it seemed like time just flew by. We had to ride one giant loop, which I found really fun and scenic for the most part, except when we had to ride behind a Publix grocery store, but that’s fine. I have never rode on such nicely paved roads in my life before either. Wow, we got spoiled big time. We had some headwind going out of town but a nice tailwind coming back. 

I stopped at Personal Needs station, which kind of threw me off guard as it was at 80km instead of 90Km. I also took quick stretch and pee breaks at 3 aid stations. But I could have probably not stopped at 2 of them and hold it a bit longer.  

I used the stock 11-33 cassette that came with my bike. However, next time I will use a 11-28 cassette as I was either spinning at 90rpm or 70rpm. On a flat course like Florida, it would be nicer to have more increment options between gears so I could target 85rpm better. 

My goal was to target between 150-160 watts, and I stuck to the more conservative side and at the end averaged 152W. 

T2 – 6:26 mins

RUN (42.2KM) – 4:30:50 hours @ 6:25mins/km

Finishing the swim, then the bike, were the main concerns of this race for me. Running is my first love, so I’m just always glad I get to run. The first half-marathon went pretty decent with a 2:08 hours. I fuelled according to my plan with coach exactly with the right amounts of carbs and electrolytes all day. But the inevitable heavy legs and body became to take place just shortly after the half-way turn around. I slowed down quite a bit, but I never once walked on the run. Only slowing down at the aid stations to pour water on my head and get water. The suffering was real though. And I think every athlete gets this at some point in the marathon. I had to used the portal potty twice, but probably could have still done without, or only 1 half way. The thought of telling myself “this is my last ironman ever, this is my last marathon ever” crossed my mind at least a hundreds times on the run, until the last 5k where you can hear the announcer echoing at the finish line. And what a finish line it was! Right down the Pier Park main street with the lit up ferris wheel in the background, absolutely a wonderful moment I will always remember. I finally got the emotionally finish and feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment I wanted out of this. 

All day, I stuck to my nutrition plan, which was basically 95 grams of carbohydrate and 5grams of sodium citrate (1100mg sodium) per hour. 

For this race, I used the Nike AlphaFly 2. While it’s a great shoe for standalone marathons, it’s not great when your form and technique is poor. Ex. entire during an Ironman. Next time I participate in a 70.3 or longer distance triathlon, I will use the ASICS Metalspeed Sky.

And for the second time in my life so far, hearing the phrase “Sean Chin, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN” is bone chilling. 

In Conclusion 

I want to say thank you if you’re reading this and got this far. All those early morning alarms, early workouts, long weekend, were all worth it. I love and embrace the journey and training the most, and it’s what keeps me going. But race day, that’s the cherry on top where we get to finally celebrate our fitness, health, and community. 

Dare to dream big, and whatever obstacles come your way, look inside yourself, and find that path through it. 

Thank you to all my family and friends who put up with me and my training, thank you to all the volunteers, police, and race organizers for putting on such a spectacular event as a very family friends race venue in Panama City Beach, Florida. I will definitely be back!  


Podcast: An Athlete for Life Episode 2

I’m grateful to have made so many new friends along my journey. And on the road to IRONMAN Mont Tremblant, I got to meet Ian Lawrence @hybridathlete4life_training on IG, then in real life at Muskoka 70.3. We both completed our very first full distance triathlon this season and I was so honoured that he brought me on his new podcast to share my story to achieve this feat of fitness, grit, and passion for the sport. It’s now available to listen to on Apple Podcast (see below), Spotify, and the video version is on YouTube! (see above!) Thank you so much for this opportunity Ian! If I can do it, anyone can if you put your mind to it!

Race Reports, Triathlon

IRONMAN Mont Tremblant 2022 Race Report

“Sean Chin, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.” – Mike Rilley

The words I have been dreaming of hearing for the last three years has finally come to fruition! Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. I am thrilled that my mom and dad attended and got to witness me crossing the finish line. I am forever humbled and grateful.

I am beyond happy and satisfied for this extraordinary experience at this magical race venue in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. The race didn’t go fully the way I wanted with some really dark places and emotions, I will describe below. But I did something not many people can say they’ve done. And I loved every moment of it.

My journey to IRONMAN

For the first 29 years of my life, I was an 195lb (88kg) overweight couch potato who played too many video games and ate way too much junk food. I changed all that with a plant-based whole food lifestyle from the book “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman in 2017, dropping down to my lowest at 120lb. Not too long after that, I found plant-based endurance athlete Rich Roll’s book and podcast “Finding Ultra”. So, I took up running and I did the Toronto Waterfront Half- Marathon 2017, and then the TO Waterfront Marathon in 2018.

After a handful of 5Ks, 10Ks, and halfs, I got a little ankle niggle. What do a call an injured runner? A triathlete! Haha. But in honesty, while recovering I stumbled upon Canadian professional triathlon Lionel Sander’s YouTube channel, and as well as US Navy Seal David Goggins work. And from those two, I was hooked on Tri! I used this time to also build and put on some muscle through CrossFit and strength training and got back up to 140lb, but with lean muscle. And actually, I was running faster than ever!

I bought my first road bike ever about four weeks prior never knowing how to ride before, and “taught myself” how to swim in the pool about five weeks before my first sprint distance at Toronto Triathlon Festival in a thunderstorm. It was also the first time I ever swam in open water, and first time I ever used a wetsuit. My first few triathlon races all went pretty terrible, but I did them and never quit any. Oh, how far I’ve come…

My plans of becoming an IRONMAN has had many highs and many lows. The adversity go back to when I broke my collar bone training for IRONMAN Florida 2020, this put me out of action for 3 months. Then even though I recovered, I eventually had to defer IMFL 2020 due to the travel restrictions of the pandemic going from Canada to the US. I got on the start line for IMFL 2021 the following year in Panama City Beach, felt good for a flat bike an run course, but then Mother Nature took a bite with rip tides and as a weak swimmer, I DNFed the swim along with 25% of the field. And then even this season, I had a scary blackout and crash on the bike due to severe heat just 3 weeks ago. But I came back through all of them.

Yes, I was initially heart broken and sad. However, I do no regret it, and I learned so much from IMFL 2021. I made so many new lifelong friends, met professionals like Lionel Sanders, Gustav Iden, Skye Moench, Renee Kiley, and more. I lived the IRONMAN experience.

At this point I did a total of 5 triathlons, TTF sprint 2018, TTF Olympic 2019, Milton sprint 2019, DNF’d the swim/bike cut-off at Muskoka 70.3 2019, and DNF the swim at IMFL 2021. Not a great track record at all.

However, from IMFL 2021, I took away that I needed to greatly improve my swimming. I also needed to do bike/run bike workouts. What I needed is a triathlon coach. Especially as a newbie.

Getting a Triathlon coach.

Shortly after this in November 2021, I researched a handful of the best local coaches in the Greater Toronto Area. I talked to a few, and then decided to do a swim video analysis with coach Miranda Tomenson of Tomenson Performance & Wellness (TPW). It was really eye-opening to see myself swim and what I was doing wrong. She was very patient and gave me good advices. I immediately felt a connection and good vibes. And made the decision to work with Miranda on making my dream of becoming an IRONMAN.

From February 2022 to Aug 2022. I managed to overcome my fears of the open water, learned to sight, and stay calm. I improved my bike handling skills, and learned to ride in aero position. Implemented frequent brick workouts.

In less than 6 months, I was able to perfectly execute Milton sprint, Mont Tremblant 70.3 (5:58), and got redemption at Muskoka 70.3 (5:42) with coach Miranda’s guidance! And most importantly, I FINALLY lived my dream to become an IRONMAN at Mont Tremblant (14:37hr). I cannot thank you enough coach.

Coaches goals for the race:

Swim – seed yourself around the 2:00/100m group or about 1:15-1:20, aiming for 1:30hr.

– crocodile eyes, bend the right arm

– swim straight

– easy effort, save if for the run!

Bike –  normalized power around 130-150W average, effort should be 5/10 for 60km, 6/10 for 60km and 6/10 for 60km (on average, ok to be 8/10 on climbs but always climb feeling like you could go faster if you wanted)

– HR < 155bpm mostly

Run – asole focus will be to keep the HR down! < 170bpm for sure. walk the aid stations and long hills if HR creeps into 180-190bpm range,


This time around in Mont Tremblant, we stayed inside the village at Tours des Voyageurs I. We were lucky to get an upgrade to tower one with an included kitchen! The best thing about this hotel is that its literally right beside the transition area, so there is absolutely no need to drive anywhere. We left home in Markham Thursday morning and arrived by 4pm that evening. Got to eat and sightsee the wonderful village.

I did open water swim practice with Steve Upton, who is a fellow vegan triathlete, a great human, and super fast!

On Race day, I woke up at 3:30AM ate breakfast, and headed to T1 for 5AM. Then it was time for action.

The RACE: [Official Time: 05:42:54]

SportStats: https://www.sportstats.ca/display-results.xhtml?raceid=114755&status=results&bib=661

The SWIM (3.8km) – 01:29:49.0 @ 2:21/100m

I had absolutely zero fears going into Lac Tremblant. It was great to start with my friends Ian and Amy, all doing our first full distance triathlon. As a matter of fact, 400 of the approximately 1000 athletes were first timers!

I kept a straight line and sighted like practiced and just counted down the buoys. Unlike the 70.3 there was overcast, so I didn’t get blinded by the sun on the first turn. I got kicked in the face once and goggles fogged up, so had to quickly get that back in order. Other than that, it was pretty good. I just felt so far to swim versus smaller loops.

As mentioned earlier, things didn’t go the way I wanted. But ironically, out of everything, the swim was the only part that went according to my plans. I was aiming for 1:30 hour, and got 1:29.50! You can even see how happy I looked from the photos. I don’t think I’ve ever seen myself smile that hard!

T1 (00:07:42)

This was the time I got to experience the “clean transition” area and changing tents of a full IRONMAN race. I kind of like it better as you don’t need to fight with others for space beside your bike in T1.

Took advice from coach to ensure goggles and cap are off before getting to change area.

Was able to get my wetsuit off really quickly, and my half-rolled socks + baby powder trick worked like a charm again.

BIKE (180K) – 07:38:08.0 @ 23.57km/h

Once I was out of the water, I knew I would become an IRONMAN today.

However, it wasn’t so smooth sailing. Even though I did the exact same bike loop at the 70.3 and knew the route, I found this extremely humbling and challenging.

I stuck to a lower power target as prescribed to ensure I made it all the way through.

I managed to ride in aero for a decent part of the first half of the bike as well. Still building confidence here.

The big thing that got me was the same thing from the 70.3 a few months ago. Which was the long big climb on the Hwy 117 return. My lower back really ached again. And actually the first loop was ok, but since we had to do it twice, then I got a really bad back spasm.

This pretty much ruined my form and power for the remainder of the bike and run.

I had to stop at Personal Needs to refill all my nutrition and quickly relieve myself.

After the second long 117 climb, as I passed by an aid station , a bike mechanic actually yelled out to me saying it looked like I had a flat. I stopped, and he inspected my rear wheel. And didn’t find any puncture. But my tire was about 60% full, so he was able to pump it back up quickly on the spot. I have no idea how long I was riding like that for. But glad he could help.

I got caught in about 30 mins of thunderstorm and pouring rain. This freaked me out because I don’t ride in the rain and was worried they might cancel the race! Fortunately it ended and didn’t affect me too much.

The second climb up Duplessis was insane. I saw so many people walking up it and I almost had to as well. This is probably was the nail in the coffin for my run.

However, one cool note is that since I knew my bike splits were going to be slow, I didn’t even feather the breaks at all on the descents and went all in hitting 70.3kph!

Anyways, I looked at my time on the computer and as long as I was within the swim/bike and intermediate time cut-offs, I’d take it.

As I rolled into T2, and unclipped right before the dismount line, I was so full of joy. I did it. It’s up the run now. In every triathlon, my subconscious goal is to just get to the run.

T2 (00:05:31)

I was so glad to get off the bike and tried to stretch out my back and it didn’t seem like anything would help. So just got my run gear on and headed out for the marathon.

RUN (42.2KM) – 05:11:38.0 @ 7:23/km

Once I got out of T2 I could feel my dreams getting so much closer. But I still wasn’t done and it wasn’t time to celebrate yet.

Because what was my slowest bike pace ever also turned into one of my slowest run paces ever as well (however, still better than my very first marathon when I bonked half way!). But this was indeed a challenging 2 loop out and back run.

My lower back was preventing me from getting into optimal form, and my quads and hamstrings were sore from the climbing. And I just couldn’t hit the paces like practiced. I was very sad and disappointed initially. However, I was motivated by all my friends and other athletes I saw on the course.

The first loop was actually kind of enjoyable even at the slow pace. But in the second half when it started to get dark and the sun was going down, thats when things got a bit real. I’ve never raced at night before, so that was new to me. I cried and got emotion at some parts, “I should be able to do better than this.” “What did I do wrong?” “I crushed the 70.3 here a few months ago, what is different now?” Were some of the dark thoughts in my mind. However, I was quickly able to shut these doors and make the best of it. The sun was starting to go down fast in the trail section and that made me want to bust a move and get out before true darkness. I felt hard and bad for the athletes just entering into that section without headlamps. At the 30km turn around I saw Amy and gave me the last drops of hope I need to get to the finish. It was a combination of walk, jog, walking. I just aimed to get to the next aid stations, the next light posts, the next group of spectators. And soon enough, in the distance, I could hear the roar of the village and Mike Riley calling athletes names. I was getting close!

After 5 hours+ of coke, Maurten gels, Red Bulls, pretzels, water, I got to the village. I found some last wind to make it strong. I embraced and enjoyed the beautiful atmosphere of the Mont Tremblant buildings, the cobbled road, and all the spectators so happy to see us and welcome us to the finish chute.

And finally, I got to hear the words “Sean Chin, from Markham, first timer, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.” From the voice of IRONMAN himself Mike Riley. Not only that, we called me again saying “Sean, did you hear that? You’re an IRONMAN!” I looked up at Mike and gave him two thumbs up, and then looked back at the finish arch, and took a bow.

What a magical day and wonderful experience.



I had the time of my life at IMMT 2022. All the ups and downs was all worth it. I would not go back in time and change anything, because this was perfect and my dream and goal came true.

Thank you to my mom and dad for supporting me through all my crazy training days for the last few years, and watching me transform as a person all my life.

Thank you to all the volunteers, race organizers, and spectators for making this a truly world class event.

Thank you to the pros at the event like Cody Beals and Josh Amberger who keep the sport exciting and took the time to take a selfie with me morning of.

Thank you to my coach Miranda Tomenson, who trained and got to know me well in a short period of time. You understand what I need to work on and prescribe the right doses of workouts, and are able to adjust when things when they don’t go well, especially like the heat blackout not too long ago! You always know how to push just to the edge of my comfort zone and take me to new places. You helped me become familiar with the open water, sight, ride in aero, to brick workouts, feel various intensity levels, nail 70.3s, and helped me to finally become an actual triathlete, and an IRONMAN! We did it coach! In just one season! Thank you!

In our post-race analysis call, we worked out what can be improved on in the future. But also, analyzed the race in TrainingPeaks, and overall, I did follow the prescribed plan relatively closely power and effort wise, which made me feel better.

The swim was where I wanted. The Bike was under 270 TSS (300 TSS), with the major gains to be made from not stopping at personal needs, and not riding with a flatter rear wheel. And even though my run was slow, my run split is still 2hours less than my bike split. So overall, I am very happy with how everything went.

I have a thirst to work on improving my 70.3 further and come back to do a full distance race to my full potential in the future.

Last but not least, Thank you to all my friends and triathlon mentors who I’ve met along my triathlon and running journey!

Note: what made this moment even more special was a few weeks later, the world found out that after 33 years of announcing, Mike Reilly would be retiring at the of the 2022 season. Making IMMT his last call in Canada. I am truly blessed that within my tri-journey, I can say that Mike called me an IRONMAN!


  • While I told myself “this is one and done” quite a few times during the bike and run, I still feel like I can do at least one more full IRONMAN in my life. And have every intention of going back to IMFL and finish what I originally started.
  • I feel like I need to really get my OWS swim pace down to 1:50-2:00m/100m at least before I can do the IMFL ocean swim again, regardless of weather conditions.
  • I know they say to not try new gear on race day, but in the future, I will ensure that I use a new fresh pair of goggles, that are the exact same model I trained with for a race to lower the chance of fogging, which I experienced here twice and had to stop to defog them
  • When my new bike comes, that is a proper size, hopefully riding in aero will be more stable and comfortable, allowing me to hold it for an entire ride. Especially on a flat course like Florida.
  • I need to work out my post bike run nutrition and sodium intake. Especially on the second half of the bike. 
  • Switch to no fibre diet 2 days before
  • I believe I can do an IRONMAN and want to feel like I did with Tremblant 70.3 and Muskoka 70.3 to my full or at least 90% potential. And I will.
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. 



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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

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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.


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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.