NYC Triathlon 2014

Race Report


A l(not so short) look at the two main options for fueling in endurance sports

My Famous Fails

A little recap of my accidents

Race Recap of the Demi-Marathon des Microbrasseries

Race report for this new race, complete with multiple distances, and BEER!!!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Winterman 2013 Race Report

The Team in Training Coaches!
Ok it's a cheesy line for a frozen race, but it was printed on my number bib, so don't blame me exclusively.
This past Sunday I went over to Canada's capital, Ottawa, for the Winterman Marathon. I had signed up for the full distance a while ago, but due to a lack of proper training, I felt that I should maybe switch to the half. Of course, machismo kicked in when I got there so when I approached the registration desk to pick up my number, I blurted "Marathon" quickly without hesitation.

The Winterman Marathon has been going on for a number of years, put on by the good people at Somersault events, who organized other races that I've done such as the Carleton Place Tri. This year was the largest yet, with 1,500 people participating between the different events (5K,10K, 1/2, Marathom, relays), but you wouldn't really notice it, especially when comparing to a 20,000+ person event like the RnR Montreal. Registration happened inside the Canadian War Museum, where they also handed out souvenir shirts, sold race merchandise, and picked up your timing chip.
The race officially started at 8:30 with a cannon shot (real cannon! It's a WAR museum after all), though you were able to request an early start for 8am.

The course for all the events were basically the same course, with the marathoners running 8 loops. The course was slightly rolling One aid station was set up near the turnaround at the end, as well as right after the timing mat that marked laps. The aid stations carried either water or Gatorade. For the first time ever I was actually HOPING that the water would be warm! I really have to hand it to all the volunteers, who rotated in shifts, for standing outside to support our foolishness.

My race went as well as I could have hoped for considering my lack of marathon-specific training. My time was not very impressive (4:35:52), but thanks to the small size of the race, I managed to snag 3rd place in my age group! My first time on the podium, so I'll take it! The race wasn't particularly scenic, and running loops didn't help. Neither did the -20 degrees temperature or wind coming off the river. But all these things are what made the race fun. One of the most special parts for me was running most of the second half of the race together with fellow Team in Training coaches, and running across the finish line in tandem, with smiles across all our faces.

Did I mention that it spins?!
The finisher medal is appropriately shaped like a snowflake, and the marathoner's flake spins inside an octoganol metal frame. Though distinct, they do reuse the race medal, but change the lanyard. Along with the medal and T-shirt, the race also provides participants with a small towel (perfect for using on a bike trainer), and a reusable Somersault grocery bag filled with some sponsored booklets, a snack, and some Deep Ice lotion.

Winterman 2013 will always hold a special place in my mind. It wasn't particularly the hardest race (aside from the temperature), and it wasn't my fastest, but it was certainly a lot of fun, and I hope that I can make it back in future years because, hey, I have to defend my (bronze) title.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Looking for a Coach - Triton Triathlon Coaching

In my attempt to better myself as a triathlete and my overall fitness, I've began looking for a coach or coaching program. I don't really mind using an online service or interaction, but I don't think I'm quite ready to start shelling out $100+ a month for a coach, so for now I'm trying to find an effective but cost-sensitive coaching program.

The criteria that I'll judge any programs on are:
- Price
- Training Plan structure/ adaptability
- Coach responsiveness

One that I found was the newly created Triton Triathlon Coaching. This online service was created by Simon Whitfield, a renowned Canadian Olympic triathlete.

Getting Started

Triton offers a free 10 day no credit card required membership, that grants full access and is really a nice way to check if the program is for you. Set-up is quick and painless; input basic information, then select goal race distance and date, then add in any additional races that you have scheduled between now and then. Since training for races requires a minimum training period, the system will not let you select a race that is too soon (don't expect a 1 month training program for an Ironman). The system will then populate a complete training calendar for you to follow.

Using Triton
As you go through your calendar, you just click on the workout(s) of the days, length and specific exercises or intensity levels is prescribed for you to follow, along with tips and instructional videos.

After your workout, it is important to log how it went, which is supposed to help the program adapt to your responses. Since you don't upload anything (recorded HR, pace etc from a watch), this is the only way for the program to get a sense of what you need going forward.

So how does Triton stack up in the end?

At only $40 a month, Triton is arguably one of the cheapest triathlon coaching programs that I have seen. Membership can be cancelled at any time.

Training Plan
- Visually clear, and entire training calendar is visible right away
- Workouts can be moved within the week account for time limitations
- Workouts are clearly explained
- Feedback is available
- Site is slow

Coach Feedback
Coach feedback is available through a messaging dashboard. You simply write any concerns or questions and can expect a response not long thereafter. My first emails to customer service took 36 hours to respond, and the second not too long after. Depending on what you're used to, this might be considered a while.

- Can only schedule triathlons can be scheduled as non-goal races. How do I account for a half-marathon during my training period?
- Training time seems on the low end. For a half-Ironman, my longest bike ride is less than hours
- Feedback sometimes takes time.
- Plan adaptation is based on just a few log responses, not recorded data (HR, pace, etc...), uncertain how much it really changes based on input.
- Scheduling must be done completely manually. Since I know I will not be able to train on Saturdays, I'll have to move each week's training to different days
- There has been reported issues with a lack of sufficient REST days

Overall, I think that Triton has the potential to be a great training program for many athletes, but at this time the service is just too new, and has too many features that are "coming soon" to be a complete training guide or substitute for a live coach.