Thursday, 15 March 2018

2018 UBC Triathlon

The 2018 race season started off great with the Pacific Road Runner's First Half Marathon. Following that momentum, the 2018 UBC Triathlon was even better.

Having already had my bike and helmet inspected earlier in the week (mandatory for this race), I headed straight to transition. 

The race guide said to be at transition 75 minutes before your wave start.  My wave start was at 7:00 am.  It was now 5:45 am and there were only 2 other people here. At least I was on time.

Before heading into transition, I asked if I could get my race wrist band replaced.  When it was put on at package pick up earlier in the week, it was not tight enough for my liking.

After the wrist band was sorted I headed into transition.  It was first come, first serve.  I picked out a spot along the back fence close to the bike in/out. 

As I set up my transition, I chatted with the few other early birds.  Most were doing their first triathlon and had alot of good questions.  I answered them and told them to just have fun. 

The guy beside was doing his first triathlon with the goal of doing an Ironman.  I told him that was my goal as well and asked him which Ironman.  He said he was signed up for Ironman Canada in Whistler in July.  Whistler is not an easy course whatsoever. I told him it was great he signed up, but to be ready for a tough day. I did the 70.3 last year and just the Half Iron distance was difficult enough. He smiled and said he was aware, but he wanted to do a local race.

After I was happy with my setup, I did a walk through of transition.  I walked from the swim entrance to my bike, did a mental walk through of swim-to-bike, walked to bike out, made note of the mount and dismount line, walked back to my bike, and then walked to run out.  Satisfied that I knew exactly where to go in transition, I triple checked my gear and made my way to the pool.

I walked along the path I'd be taking to get from the pool to transition. Once at the pool, I took off my outer layers, placed my gear in a locker, and made my way onto the pool deck. 

Being a pool swim, this race is set up a bit different.  You began in one corner of the pool, swam to the end of the lane, turned, swam back, then ducked under the rope into the next lane, and so on. The swim was still 1500 meters (1.5k), so once at the other corner, we had to jump out and jump back in at lane 5 and swim half the pool again to get the last 500 meters in.

Upon exiting the pool, you went outside.  Here you had a choice, go straight to Transition 1 (T1), or use the change tent just outside the pool.  Last year (when racing the Sprint), I used the change tent due to the temperature outside.  Although this year it was not raining, it was still cold.  I opted for the change tent. 

During package pickup, we were provided with a 'wet bag.' This would be handed to us as we exited the pool before the change tent.

In my wet bag I put a towel, a long sleeve cycling thermal, socks, my running shoes, gloves, a cover for my neck/face, and a pair of thermal tights (rolled up and tied off with easily broken strings to help when putting them on while wet).

I dropped off my wet bag and made my way to check in.  I checked in, got my body marking, and my timing chip.  It was 6:40 am.  The race guide said to be on the pool deck 40 minutes before your heat start.

Once again, only a handful of people were on time.

Another athlete who was on time was my friend and Coach Powell Teammate Ann, who would unknowingly become added motivation for my race.  Don't let Ann pass you. 

Coach Powell was on the upper observation deck and happily snapping pictures and giving us some last minute encouragement.  

Soon the race officials called us over for the pre-race briefing.  It was all the usual info, if someone taps your toes, let them pass at the wall, no drafting on the bike, helmets must be fastened, etc. 

We were asked to line ourselves up according to our estimated start times.  After some shuffling, we got into an order we though accurate. 

This heat was the Olympic Group A and they were fantastic! Everyone was extremely encouraging and fun. This would continue throughout the entire race (as you will see).  

The Swim

With Heat A all lined up, it was now time to start the race.  The horn blew and the first athlete entered the pool.  As soon as one athlete started swimming, the next athlete had 10 seconds to walk across a timing mat then enter the pool.  Then, when the race official gave word, they would start and the process repeated.

As soon as the athlete in front of me started, I quickly walked over the mat and entered the pool.  The race official said go a bit sooner than I would have liked, so I probably had a few seconds added to my time as I gathered myself. 

The first 50-100 meters went smooth.  Down to the end, turn, up, under the ropes, and repeat. 

Around 150 meters I could feel my heart rate start to spike. This happens from time to time on the swim.  I knew all I had to do was focus on my form and breathing and it will go away. It also helped that at this point I had caught up some slower swimmers and was forced to slow down. 

I gave them a tap on the feet and one by one, I was passing people constantly.  I soon myself in what looked like 3rd.  

At each end, I would slap the wall before ducking under the rope.  The race officials made it clear we had to touch the wall for the lap to count.  I wanted to make it obvious.  Each time I did this, I could hear Coach Powell yelling encouragement. 

At about 800 meters, an athlete with an orange cap came out of no where and passed me easily. He was either late, or really underestimated hims time. I did not let it phase me. I had my own race to run.

I was soon at the end.  There was a ladder a few meters from the wall, but the race officials made it clear to go the wall first.  I went to the wall, but did not use the ladder.  I just pulled myself onto the pool deck and I was out.

I walked to the middle lane of the pool, hopped in, and began again. 500 meters to go. 

With about 400 meters left to go, I felt a tap on feet.  Once at the wall, I let the athlete behind me pass.  He thanked me as he turned.

I gave him a few seconds then pushed off. I could have caught back up with him to pass, but I decided not to.  There was only 400 meters left to go and pushing hard to stay ahead of him would have expended to much energy.  So I caught a draft and eased off all the way to the end.

As we approached the wall, I noticed an athlete go straight to the ladder without touching the wall.  As I swam past I shouted to him, "Touch the wall! Touch the wall!"  I did not want him to get out only to have to jump back in to touch the wall. 

I got out of the pool and made my way outside to the change tent.  A volunteer was there with my wet bag ready. IT WAS COLD.

In the change tent, others from Heat A chatted about the swim.  I was happy with my swim time. Much faster than I thought.  Someone remarked that for such a fast swim, I was not breathing heavy. I told them that the swim is my warm up, the bike is my best, and that I suck at the run.  I joked that at some point, everyone there would pass me on the run.

I proceeded to dry off, put on my thermal gear, and slip my running shoes on. I put on my gloves and neck cover while on my way to T1 to save time. I also took this time to take a gel.  Breakfast of Champions.

It was very easy to find my bike.  I slipped off my running shoes and placed them with my run gear for T2.  I put on my helmet, my bike shoes, and my sun glasses and was on my way.

I walked to the mount line, mounted up and was off! 

The Bike

The course was new this year and way better. I had a blast on the bike. 

The beginning of the bike was a gradual uphill on East Mall.  I took this time to ease into the bike and get some water. 

At the end of East Mall the course began a gradual downhill to a roundabout. Then it took the first right onto 16th Avenue and down a hill. 

I took the roundabout and the hill more conservatively than usual just to feel out the course. There were 4 laps, plenty of time to to speed up. 

At the bottom of the hill, I took the turn easily and pushed on the first 180 degree turn around.  

Once at the turn around, I realized that I had been singing Stan Bush out loud. 

Doubling back to 16th, the course did a crossover onto the other side of the divided road.  I saw a couple of athletes in front of me slow down and take the turn very tight.  The roadway was wide enough to swing far the left and take the S turn at speed.  And that is what I did. Wide left, cut right, wide left.  This spit me out right on the back wheel of the 2 other athletes ahead of me. I dropped into my aero bars and passed them with ease.

As I passed people in Heat A, I could hear them encouraging me as I flew by.  Have I mentioned how awesome Heat A was?

I went on a recon ride the Sunday before the race and noticed quite a number of potholes just past the SW Marine Dr Viewpoint.  I emailed the race director and they assured me it would be well marked for safety.

And it was.  As I made my way down to the mine field of potholes, each and every one had at least 3-4 bright orange cones in front of it.

The road from UBC to the turn around is a long gradual downhill.  This in conjunction with being in the aero position as much as possible helped ensure I was making good time.

Soon I was at the second 180 degree turn around. There was a bit more room on this one to start out wide, cut tight, and exit wide.  Just one problem.  Right at the apex of the turn around was a road reflector.   As I was making my turn, my back wheel caught it, and I almost went down. As I passed the med/aid station tent, I warned them about the reflector.

As I made my way back toward UBC and up the long false flat, I warned some other riders about the reflector.

I could now see more of the Heat A athletes I had met on the pool deck. We exchanged encouragement as we passed.

I soon saw Ann zooming along the other side of the course.  We each cheered as we flew past one another.

Don't let Ann catch you.  While I knew at some point she would, it was still good motivation while I was ahead.

Soon I was back at 16th and making the turn to climb up the hill.  I changed to an easier gear and tried to maintain the same perceived effort as on the flats. At the top, it was a left turn in the roundabout to end up back on East Mall.

This part of East Mall was still an uphill until you passed Stadium Road.  Once the road and my heart rate began to dip down again, I grabbed a gel and some water. This seemed the best spot to take a gel, It was the end of a lap, my heart rate would be dropping, and it meant I could get the 4 gels needed for my time on the bike. I coasted down the hill to the 3rd 180 degree turn and the end of my first lap.

This turn was much wider than the others. It needed to be as this was also where the mount/dismount line was.  I made sure to check for any athletes entering the bike course from transition before making my turn to begin my second lap.

(That is not me, but it shows the lap turn around)
It was now onto lap 2. After the gradual uphill along East Mall, I took the downhill, the roundabout, and the hill down 16th much faster.  I now knew the course and felt comfortable kicking it up a notch. Bam!

I also began to wait longer before slowing down on the 180 degree turn arounds. By the time I got to the second turn around, the race officials had covered the road reflector with a cone. As I rode by I thanked them.

I could see the others from Heat A at the same distance behind me, except Ann.  She was gaining. Ann is a much stronger biker and runner than me. It was inevitable that she would catch me, but I still liked the motivation.

I made my way back up the long false flat and back to the hill on 16th.

Then is was business as usual to finish off lap 2. I got my heart rate down, took on some fuel, and was ready for lap 2.

Lap 3 was business as usual as well. I kept up my speed, was smart on the turn arounds, dodged the potholes, and was soon climbing the hill on 16th again.

At this point the duathlon athletes were out on their first run leg.  I heard a cheer from the run course up and to my left.  I looked up and saw an elite athlete I have met at Cultus Lake last year.

His name is Allen Fossheim. During Cultus Lake, I was suffering through an ankle injury.  After completing his race, he stuck around to cheer on those still running.  He encouraged me to keep going and finish the race. I did just that.

Now to see him again, cheering on athletes he did not know, was a great feeling.

Once at the top of the hill and onto East Mall for a third time, an athlete passed me and asked if I was at Cultus Last year.  He remembered me!  We had payed leap frog on some hills at Cultus.

On the third turn around, I saw my friend Stuart cheering me on.  He was doing the super sprint race later in the day and was there to cheer me on. Jen was there cheering as well, but I missed her.

On lap 4 I thought about pushing harder but knew I had a 10k run ahead of me.  With my run being my weakest, I decided to keep the same bike pace to conserve for the run.

Half way up East Mall on lap 4, it happened.  Ann passed me. Ann is a great team mate, always encouraging those around her. She gave some of that encouragement as she passed. I felt good about holding my own until lap 4.

The athletes of Heat A continued to encourage each other knowing that we were all on our last lap.

Soon I was at the turn around.  I almost missed the turn into the dismount line but read the sign just in time.

I dismounted and made my way to T2.  Jen walked along side me asking how it went.

I racked my bike, switched shoes, grabbed my race belt, and traded my helmet for a visor.  I walked to the run start and was ready to go!

The Run

The start of the run was uphill and I really wanted to walk it.  I also wanted to make sure I had a good run.  So I ran up the hill slowly keeping my cadence high.

My pace was very slow, but this was fine.  I wanted to ease into the run.

The run course took us down the Main Mall Greenway towards the football stadium.

The first aid station was at Stadium Road.  The volunteers were saying "Gatorade and Water!" I asked for one of each,  Turns out, they had already mixed the water with the Gatorade, something I usually do on my own.  They knew what they were doing.

Just past the aid station was a hill up to East Mall.  I walked a bit up this hill. Once at the top, the course took a trail that rose above and ran along the bike course. This was were Allen had cheered us on during the bike.

I took his lead and encouraged those still on the the bike course as they climbed the hill up 16th.

We ran around the UBC Gardens and football stadium and soon I was back at the aid station.  I asked if it was the only one.  Turns out it was. "In that case, make it a double!"

I thanked the volunteers and was on my way back up the Main Mall Greenway.

Along this section, some of the faster Heat A runners were coming out for their second lap.  Many offered up encouragement while some even gave the occasional high five or fist bump.

Have I mentioned how awesome the athletes in Heat A were yet?

Allen came down this section as well and he recognized me.  In true Allen fashion, he was all encouragement.

I made my way back to the start of the run, but had to do a short out-and-back to the fountain at Memorial Road before starting lap 2.

At the turn around, my transition neighbor FLEW past me.  He was almost done with his second lap and his race.  If he performs like this at Ironman Whistler, he will crush it.

The volunteer at the turn around was extremely encouraging.  We chatted a bit as I rounded the fountain.  I told him I'd see him soon.

I turned left to head back down to transition before starting my second lap. Stuart was there sheering me on again.

My pace had steadily increased during lap 1 and I continued to speed up on lap 2.

I made my way down the Main Mall Greenway with more Heat A high fives and fist bumps.

At Agronomy Road, Allen was coming back from his loop.  He stopped to give me a hug and some words of encouragement. This meant alot to me.  An elite athlete taking precious seconds away from his race to hug and encourage the likes of me!  It solidifies my love for this sport.

His last words to me before we each ran on were, "I'll see you at the finish line."

After another double at the aid station I made my way up the hill on Stadium Road. I passed another athlete who was walking and gave her some encouragement. She asked me if I was on my second lap.  When I told her yes she replied laughingly, "Damn you!"

I replied, "Don't worry. Soon you will be on your second lap and someone on their first will be damning you."  We each had a laugh as I made my way up the hill.

Once again taking Alan's lead, I encouraged the cyclists making their way up the hill on 16th.

I took a few more short walk breaks on lap 2 only because I was near the end and starting to subconsciously push.

Soon I was back at the fountain turn-around. The volunteer there remembered me and cheered me on.

I made the left turn down the hill towards transition.  The hill in combination with the finish in sight made me run faster to the end.

I saw Stuart and Jen as I rounded the corner to the finish.

I heard my name as I crossed and it was all over.

After I stopped my watch and received my medal, I looked up to see Allen waiting for me.

"I told you I'd see you at the finish line!"  He had waited for me to finish!  I thanked him profusely for the encouragement both at Cultus Lake and here.  We chatted for a bit and got to know each other better as Ann walked up and congratulated me too.  We had a great time chatting at the finish.

After giving Jen a run down of the day and thanking her for coming, I went to get my gear out of the locker at the pool.

I then stuck around to watch another Coach Powell athlete finish her sprint distance swim.

After cheering, I made my way to transition to collect the rest of my gear. There I chatted with a few others collecting their gear.

I made it a point to find the race directors and let them know that I thoroughly enjoyed the new course.

Swim:  0:33:20
T1:       0:09:09
Bike:    1:37:47
T2:       0:02:49
Run:     1:12:17
Total     3:30:20

Although my time was not my best, I am still very happy with it.  I was 30 minutes over my best time overall, 30 seconds over my best in the swim, 14 minutes over my best time on the bike, and 12 minutes over my best time on the run.  But the swim was a pool swim that included an exit and the transition setup was very different.  All in all, given the day, the weather, the setup, and all the factors, 30 minutes over is not bad at all. A great first triathlon for 2018.

Just a reminder that all my 2018 races are benefiting The Alzheimer's Society of BC.

The donation page can be found here. As of right now, we have raised $520!

The next race will the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon!

Monday, 12 March 2018

2018 Pacific Road Runner's First Half Marathon

With the completion of the Pacific Road Runner's First Half Marathon, my 2018 race season has now
officially begun.

On February 11th, I awoke early to catch the Skytrain to Yaletown. The train was full of runners chatting about the race.

Once at the race, I dropped my bag off at bag check and proceeded outside.  A vast majority of runners were huddled inside to stay warm.  I wanted to be outside to acclimatize to the cold.

I found a nice stretch of road to do my warm ups.  While doing my drills, I was joined by my teammate Alex.  We chatted about the cold and how we each anticipated a slow race.

I also spotted the Mile 2 Marathon group.  We share a track on Tuesday nights.  A few of them recognized me and wished me luck.

It was soon time for the start.  I lined up in section of the start chute appropriate to my estimated time (in the back).

While waiting to start, several cars kept trying to turn onto the closed roads.  The police officer informed them when the road would reopen and the driver left in a huff.  I turned to the police officer and said, "Every time." She smiled and we began to chat.

Soon it was time to start the race.  The race director was counting down on the loud speaker and we were poised to go when suddenly, "BANG!"

We all jumped.  They had let off a firework to signal the start of the race.  I remember thinking to myself, "Well, all of Yaletown is awake now."

As the race began, I realized I was in the back of the pack.  I did not dare look behind me though.  I kept telling myself that most of the people in front of me are starting off to fast and will drop off.

I kept pace with a man in a bright green vest all the way to and around BC Place.  He must work with the police department somehow because every police officer there said hi to him and cheered him on.

I saw my friend Debra out with her camera. It would not be a running event in Vancouver without Debra snapping photos.

As the course made its way around BC Place and back past the start, the sun had crept higher in the sky.  It was beginning to warm up.

I had on a thin, paper, throw-away jacket and was looking for a place to throw it away.  I did not want to just throw it to the side of the road.  As I passed the start, I noticed that the event fencing had jackets all along it.  As I ran by, I ditched the jacket.

As, I ran past the point where I started, the same police officer from earlier recognized me and gave me a high five.

The course then dropped down to the Seawall past the Vancouver Aquatic Center.  It was at this point that my earlier prediction came true. People were beginning to slow down and I began to pass them.

During this part of the race, I took a moment to take in the gorgeous view.  The sun was out the sky was blue, and we were running on the waterfront.

Soon, I was at Sunset Beach the first aid station.  My friend and fellow TNT alum Doris was there volunteering.

The course took us further up the Seawall to Second Beach. Here, we turned right to head into Lost Lagoon.

As we ran along the south side of Lost Lagoon, we could see the first place runner on the north side.

Just before the Chilco Underpass, the first place runner rounded Lost Lagoon and ran past me.   It was a member of the Mile 2 Marathon group.  We (Coach Powell) share a track with M2M on Tuesday nights.  

As he ran past I shouted, "Looks like those Tuesday speed sessions are paying off!"

The course took us to the Chilco Underpass and onto the Coal Harbour Seawall.

At around the 5 mile mark, I matched pace with 2 other runners. We ran together for a bit and chatted about races and training.  Soon, they began to slow and I moved on ahead.

I was having a bit of an internal struggle at this point. I was running at a faster pace than I would have liked, but was feeling good.  Do I slow down and try to maintain a more conservative pace? Or do I stick with this slightly faster pace, see how long I can hold it, and get the race over with sooner?

I decided to just keep going with a pace that felt good. In this case, it was the faster pace.

We approached Lumberman's Arch and the second aid station.  I grabbed some water and some 'sports drink.'  At this aid station, it was yellow. . .  And disgusting.

The loop around the Seawall was business as usual.  Although I began to take more walk breaks than I would have liked.  Several other runners and I played leap-frog all the way to Third Beach.

At Third Beach was the third aid station. I grabbed some water as a volunteer offered me some 'sports drink.'  I asked it what color it was.  It was yellow.  I made a face and said no thanks. He then informed me had purple too.  I thankfully took the purple drink and was on my way.

At this point, I thought I was almost finished.  Just up to Second Beach then along the Seawall to Yaletown. As I got closer to Second Beach, I began to realize that this was not the case.

I still had to loop around Lost Lagoon. I collected my thoughts and mentally prepped for a bit more running.

As the course took a left toward Lost Lagoon, I stopped to take off my long sleeve.  I tied it around my waist and onward I went.

I made my way around Lost Lagoon, back to Second Beach, and walked up the slight hill back to the Seawall.

Soon I was back at the first aid station and the home stretch. I played another game of leap-frog with a few other runners all the way to the 20k mark.

I walked up the small hill by the Aquatic Center and knew I was almost finished.

I turned on the gas.

With a faster cadence and gradual downhill, I pushed on to the finish line.

As I made the right turn into the finish chute, I saw the police officer from earlier cheering me on.

Halfway down the finish chute, I saw Jen cheering and soon it was all over.

I crossed the finish line strong and as soon as I stopped moving, I could feel how hard I had pushed in the end.

Considering I had not run anything over 10k since November, I was happy with my time.  This was not a race for a PB, it was a race for distance.

After retrieving my bag from bag check, I chugged the chocolate milk I had stashed at the bottom.  I changed clothes and headed home for a much needed hot bath.

Thank you for taking the time read yet another race report.  2018 is shaping up to be a great year in and outside of racing.

Just a reminder that all my 2018 races are benefiting The Alzheimer's Society of BC.

The donation page can be found here.  As of right now, we have raised $520!

This report was written very late and I apologize.  We are finishing up a project at work and it has taken up the majority of what little free time I have.  Later today, I will begin to write my report of the UBC Olympic Triathlon I raced on Saturday.

The next race will the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon!

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

2017 Wrap Up and Updates for 2018

First off, sorry for the lack of posts in the second half of 2017. It was a busy time.

In September, I once again raced the Cultus Lake Triathlon. The swim went well. It was not my fastest but still a good swim.

The bike went great. The start and end of the bike course is hilly, but the rest is flat. It really played to my strength on the bike. Having done this race before, I was familiar with the bike course. This helped with pacing.

Since I'd been having issues with speed wobble on the bike, I bought a new wheel set. It's the same as the wheels I've been running, but 50mm instead of 80. I had been training with a 50 on the front and an 80 on the back and had no issues. So this is what I did for this race.

The run is where it fell apart. On the first out-and-back on the first lap, I got a sharp pain in my left ankle. I stopped a medical tent and had it wrapped, but is stuck around for almost 7 of the 10 kilometers of the run.

There were moments during the run that i almost took my self out of the race, but I kept on and finished.

I plan on doing the race again this year. In 2016, I got a flat on the bike. In 2017, I had an injury on the run. So in 2018, I will either have a bad swim, or everything will finally go right.

At the end of November, I was signed up to run the Seattle Marathon, but had to cancel my plans due to my Grandfather passing away.

Granddad had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's years ago and had taken a turn for the worse. A part of me hoped he would hold out until after the marathon, but like most thing in life, I had no control over that.

I flew to Indiana for the funeral on Thanksgiving Weekend (US Thanksgiving). It was a fantastic trip under less than ideal circumstances. I was able to see the entire Hayden family. All 14 aunts and uncles, 14 cousins , 15 second cousins, my sisters, my bother in laws, my nieces, and my brother.

I got to spend more time with my brother than usual and I feel we are a little closer because of it. If you know anything about that relationship growing up, you know what a big deal this is.

I learned so much about Granddad over those few days. Things he would have never bragged about as he was truly a selfless man.

Deacon Robert (Bob) Hayden 89, passed away Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017 at Walnut Alzheimer's Special Care Center. Bob grew up in Dearborn, Michigan, the son of Robert & Hazel Hayden. 
As a high school freshman, he entered Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. In 1945 he moved to Evansville, IN and graduated from Memorial High School in 1946. He served in the armed forces and graduated from the Technical Arts Institute in Chicago as an auto mechanic. He married Lucie Loehr and was loving and dedicated husband for 68 years. He worked as a parts clerk, a salesman and eventually became president of Lannert-Moutoux Warehouse. Bob was owner of East Side Auto Parts and Penny Auto Parts and in 1990 retired from his business commitments. 
Bob was inducted into the Greater Evansville Automotive Hall of Fame for his dedication to the Automotive Aftermarket and for his superior service to the industry. 
Bob was a charter member of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church and was the first president of the Parish Council. He coached Little League for nine years and served his parish in many capacities. He constantly attended theology classes to enhance his Catholic Christian knowledge. Bob joined the Society of St. Vincent de Paul when he was in his twenties. He held offices in the Society on the Parish, Diocesan and National levels. 
Bob dedicated his life to taking care of the spiritual needs of others through the Society. The first homeless shelter for families in Evansville, the Ozanam Family Shelter was initiated by Bob and he served as its President of the Board for twenty years. 
On January 19, 1991, Bob was ordained a permanent deacon of the Catholic Church and was assigned to Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Oakland City, IN for three years. He continued his ministry at Holy Redeemer. Deacon Bob was the facilitator 'with RCIA Process and "Catholics Returning Home" for many years. He retired from his Deaconate duties in 2013, continuing to visit the nursing homes, hospitals and shut-ins. 
Bob enjoyed working out at the YMCA. He and Lucie also liked to travel and dance. 
Robert was proceeded in death by his parents, a sister, Wanda McPharlin; and a brother, Richard Hayden. He is survived by his wife Lucie (Loehr) Hayden; children, Connie (Dan) McPeak of Tampa,FL; Dan (Susie) Hayden of Mt. Vernon, IN; Jim (Debbie) Hayden, Larry (Teri) Hayden, Jeff (Donna) Hayden, Laura (Ron) Hudson, Deanna (Rob) Brown all of Evansville, 14 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren.

At the Memorial Service, my uncle told a story that personifies Granddad better than I ever could. My uncle recalled one of his basketball games in which Granddad was constantly yelling at the referee. The referee, in an attempt to quiet Granddad, offered his whistle with the challenge, "If you think you can do a better job, then you do it!"

Granddad took the whistle and refereed the rest of the game.

In the words of my uncle, "He saw something that was not right, and he fixed it."

In a world where turning a blind eye to the things that are wrong, it is sometimes hard to do the right thing and fix it.

This is the lesson I will carry with my along side all the memories I have of Granddad.

Seeing the impact that Granddad had on not only our family, but those families in need and seeing the impact Alzheimer's had on him, I made a decision.

All of my races in 2018, will be raced to benefit the Alzehimer's Society of Canada In Granddad's name.

Racing for a charity not only benefits the charity, but gives me added motivation/inspiration while racing. When I need a push, I can think about those I am racing for.

Abi and those I have raced for in the past will still be with me, but now I can add Granddad and those suffering from Alzheimer's. And not only those afflicted with Alzheimer's, but the family members it ultimately affects as well.

With the help of The Alzheimer's Society of BC and I have setup a donation page: 

The page will be up all year for donations and every race I do will be added to the page.

If you know a family that has dealt with the affects of Alzheimer's, or if you just wish to donate, the webpage will be up all year.

The first race up, is the Pacific First Half, Half Marathon on February 11th.

If you are reading this, then you already know where to go to follow my progress. 

As always, thank you for taking the time to follow my story. 

Monday, 7 August 2017

2017 Ironman Canada 70.3

Just 5 weeks after the Mont Tremblant 70.3, it was time to add yet another Half Iron distance triathlon to the list.  Sunday, July 30th was the Ironman Canada 70.3 in Whistler, BC.

Leading up to the race I felt very relaxed and confident. My recent success at Tremblant had taught me that I was fully capable of tackling another 70.3. While Whistler was a challenging course, Coach Powell assured me that if I could finish Tremblant, I could finish Whistler.

The day before the race, I dropped off my bike and transition bags. This race was setup a bit different. T1 and T2 were in difference locations and since the half iron and full iron races were going at the same time, transitions were setup as if it were a full 140.6 distance race.

This meant no real transition set up. Instead we had 2 bags, a bike bag and a run bag. Everything you need for the bike, you put in your bike bag. Helmet, shoes, gloves, etc all went in this bag. The same went for the run. I'll explain more on how this works as we get into the racap.

After a swim, the athletes briefing, and a Coach Powell meeting, it was time for final prep and dinner.

I woke up early on race day. The 70.3 did not start until 8:45, but I wanted to get there early to make sure everything was ready.

I drove Jen and Diana (Diana was doing the full 140.6 distance) into Whistler. Diana and I went to add our nutrition/hydration to our run bags before taking the shuttle to that start. We could not have our nutrition/hydration in our bags overnight due to bears. Jen took a nap in the car until it was closer to my start.

After a shuttle ride to that lake, I prepped my bike and bike bag. I met up with Andrew and a few other Coach Powell Athletes and we watched the 140.6 Ironman start. We were lucky enough to see the pros start out on the bike before it was time to start thinking about my race.

While we were putting on our wetsuits for a warm up swim, Jen found us. After some loving words from Jen it was time to get in the water for a warm up.

The water was cold, but not as cold as it was the day before. Although I found myself shivering. I could not figure out if it was the water temperature or nerves. After swimming for a bit, I let myself float out in the water. I looked around and took it all in. I was no longer shivering. I felt relaxed and ready.

I swam back to shore and positioned myself in the 35-40 Minute start area. At Tremblant I had underestimated my swim time and wanted to seat myself accordingly here.

Andrew came by and wished me luck. I jokingly pointed at the sign and said, "I'm in the right start group. Don't worry!"

While we slowly marched to the swim start, we were all excited. We all chatted about the race and other races we had done. I though about what I had said before Escape from Alcatraz. In 2 seconds this will all be over and I will think, that was it? But I had to start first.  

Jen cheered as I walked over the start mat and into the water.

The Swim

I walked thigh deep into the water before falling forward and starting my swim. 

The start angled to the right before starting around the swim course. It was a bit confusing. Most of us ended up swimming at an angle from the shore to the first turn buoy. I feel it would have been easier/better to swim to the first buoy then turn slightly right and follow the course. 

I found my rhythm and drafted when I could and before I knew it, we were approaching the first turn buoy. 

As we swam closer to the first turn, swimmers began to bunch up. I found myself with 3 swimmers in front of me and one on each side. I did my best to keep my pace and stay out of the way, but there was no where to go. I ended up hitting the leg of the swimmer in front of me. 

Immediately, the swimmer starting thrashing and kicking. He stopped swimming as I swam past him. I could see him shouting at me as he splashed water in my face. 

First off, this is a race. People get bumped. Calm down. Secondly, splashing? Oh no! Please don't splash me! I don't want to get wet!  

I made my turn and swam on. 

At this point, the sun was directly above the mountain in front of us. I stopped for a second to try and find the buoy for my sight line. I found a yellow buoy and began to swim again.  

As I swam I began to think something was not right. I stopped and took another look. I had been sighting the wrong buoy. I was looking at the first yellow buoy AFTER turn 2. I quickly found the orange buoy (turn 2) and looked above it. I made note of a spot on the mountain with no trees. I then used this for my sighting.

I made my way around turn 2 without indecent. 

Even after turn 2, my line was still wide. It took a long time to get back closer to the buoy markers. I kept my rhythm, my sighting pattern, and drafted when I could.

As we approached turn 3, it began to get crowded again. It seemed everyone was swimming angry, constantly bumping and fighting for position. I was cut off several time by swimmers suddenly veering left or right to get around someone. 

After turn 3 it was a straight shot to the swim exit. At this point, the water became very choppy. The wind had picked up and it no longer felt as though I was swimming in a nice calm lake. It was more like I was back in English Bay.

I kept my sighting pattern and made my way to the swim exit. I swam in as far as I could before popping up and walking onto shore. 

I peeled my wetsuit to my waist and for the first time, took advantage of the wetsuit strippers. I sat on the ground as volunteers grabbed my wetsuit and pulled. They handed it back to me as I thanked them and moved on.

I found my blue bike bag and made my way to the change tent. I found a chair near the back and dumped my bag. I stuffed my swim gear in and started to get ready for the bike.

I dropped my bike bag (now technically my swim bag) and found my bike. I made my way out of the large transition area, under the spectator arch, up a small walkway, and to the mount line. 

As I made my way to the mount line, I positioned myself way up and on the right. The mount line was very crowded and on an uphill, I did not want to end the bike early.

Jen was there raking pictures and captured a great series of me knocking my water bottle off while trying to get on my bike. 

After retrieving my water bottle, I clipped in with my right foot and pushed off. I was not able to clip in with my left foot, but luckily Coach Powell has us do single leg drills quite often. 

I powered up the incline one legged and clipped in at the top. The bike had started and my day was about to get much worse.

The Bike 

As the bike course took us up on Alta Lake Road, I noticed my watch had not been lapped yet for T1. I hit lap and it said "Run Started." I must have hit it twice accidentally. I cancelled triathlon mode and put it in bike mode and restarted it. Not a big deal, I just won't have very accurate data after the race. It still worked fine for monitoring rpm, pace, and heart rate. 

As the course winded it's way toward the Sea to Sky Highway it became very crowded. As the hills started, several bikers flew past me on the uphill. It was way to early in the race for me to be charging up hills. I took them nice and slow. 

As I started down the first downhill, my problems began. The conditions had become very windy and I chose to run my deep aero wheels. On the first downhill, I was knocked uncomfortably around by the wind.

I have been having issues with this setup on my bike since a training camp in May. On the downhills in windy conditions the bike does not feel stable and begins to shimmy (Speed/Death Wobble). It's strange because I had been riding with these wheels for almost a full year with no issues. But today was windier than any other race I've done. 

The bike course turned right on the Sea to Sky Highway and took us through Whistler. There I saw Jen, Andrew, and a few people I train with in Vancouver. They had come up to cheer us on.

After riding past Whistler Village, the course narrowed and with the windy conditions and crowded course, I became very frustrated. My memory of this section was a blur.  

I tried to pick up speed on the downhills, but the wind would catch me and push me all over the narrow, crowded course. It got so bad that at one point I contemplated quitting.

The day before at the athlete briefing, the speaker said that the only thing we can control is our attitude.  I decided to just do what I could with what I had and push on. 

I was so focused on trying to control my bike in the wind that I had not been keeping up with my nutrition/hydration plan. Additionally my heart rate was higher than it should have been. 

I pushed on and tried to stay positive. I saw several other Coach Powell athletes on the other side heading back to Whistler. We cheered as we passed. 

The course took a right turn onto  Callaghan Valley Road then became a climb. As I climbed, I noticed the wind had died down. Maybe once I got to the turn around, I could give the downhill a solid try.

I made it to the aid station, refilled my aero bottle, mixed in my electrolytes, and headed to the turn around. Once at the turn around, I gave the downhill a try just as the wind picked back up.

I could not catch a break. 

On the way back toward Whistler Village, I continued to fight the wind. On one downhill I said screw it and went down no brakes.  

Halfway down, my whole bike began to shimmy wildly. It was the same thing that happened when I almost crashed at the training camp. I relaxed and eased on the brakes. As the bike slowed, I was able to steady it.

I was frustrated. Downhills used to be fun. I enjoyed going downhill at speed and making up time. What is going on? I should be destroying this course! I should be bombing down the hills and using the momentum to get up the next. I felt as if I'd lost my edge. 

As we climbed I tried to pass another biker who was riding on the left side of the road. I did the standard 'On your left' call but he did not move. I said it louder and louder until I ended up passing him very close.

Once I passed him I realized why he did not move. He was wearing earbuds. I tried to get his attention to let him know that was illegal, but he was ignoring everyone. 

I don't usually like to call people out, but earbuds on an Ironman course is not only illegal, it is dangerous. So bib #3922 Nate Bullock from Bothel Washington, you are lucky you did not get disqualified. 

As the bike course continued, it was split by the road's double yellow lines. On each side of the double yellow lines were 2-3 foot divots with road reflectors in them. This split the bike course so only 1 rider could pass at a time. On the down hills, if one rider was passing, there was no room for the faster riders to pass without someone hitting the divots. I was almost forced into a divot while trying to pass someone when a faster rider tried to pass me. I was forced to the other side of the divots and almost forced the rider I was passing into automobile traffic.

With the windy conditions and over crowded conditions, this whole section was extremely dangerous, especially on the fast downhills. 

Still frustrated, I rode past Whistler Village and out on the long out and back. The course flattened out a bit and I was able to enjoy the beautiful scenery as we rode past Green Lake. 

I could see runners on the run course and a sign for the 70.3 run turn-around. I made a mental note, once you get to the lake you are almost at the turn around. 

Around 50k, the course took a huge downhill. Due to the wind and what ever was causing the speed wobble (aka Death Wobble) on my bike, I had to take this section very slow. 

Everyone else on the bike course was flying by me going at least 50kph. I became very angry. This was the section where I should be making up lost time. Instead, I was riding my brakes all the way down.

Halfway down the hill, some volunteers and police officers where signaling for us to slow down. As I rounded a corner I saw a biker laying on the side of the road with a volunteer supporting her neck. Leading up to where she was laying was a very long skid mark on the road.  

It looked like she had lost control, tried to stop, and went off the road down into loose rocks. Maybe it was a good thing my bike was not letting me speed down hills today.

I looked over at the athletes coming back up the hill and wished I was climbing rather than descending. Careful what you wish for. 

After a long climb, we made it to the turn around. After the turn around was another downhill before going up the very long hill we came down.

The uphill was long and grueling. To add insult to injury, there was a strong headwind. The headwind was so bad, I stopped once because it felt like I had a flat tire. It seemed like everything on this course was out to get us.

As the course leveled back out as we passed Green Lake once again, I took a look at my watch. Definitely no PB on the bike today. I was well over my Tremblant time as well. I still had a long way to go and a half marathon to run. I began to worry about the time cutoff. The only thing I could do was to keep moving forward.

As we came back into Whistler Village, I knew I was almost done. I saw Jen and she cheered me on. She could tell I was hurting. 

The course took us off the Sea to Sky Highway, then looped around under it. We were now riding through Whistler Village on our way to T2. I was so ready to be done with this hellish bike course. 

The way to T2 was lined with spectators cheering for us as we rode in. After a few twists and turns, the mount line came up fast. 

I tried to unclip but for some reason, I could not. I yelled to a volunteer that I could not unclip and he would have to catch me. I slowed and he grabbed my bike. I tried to unclip while he was holding the bike and he lost his grip.

Down I went.

I landed on my left knee but managed to keep the bike from hitting the ground. I laid there for a minute not wanting to move. For one, I did not want to get up too quickly in case I was hurt, and secondly, after that bike course I could barely move anyway.

The volunteers scrambled to get my bike out of the way of other riders. I got up as they all asked if I was ok.  

I saw the volunteer start to take my bike (in this race volunteers take your bike for you at T2), but my watch was still on it. I yelled, got my watch, and hobbled to find my run bag.

I found my bag and made my way to the change tent. My bag had my run shoes and a smaller bag with everything else in it.  The plan was to dump the bag, put on my runners, put my bike gear in, grab the small bag and go, putting on the rest of my gear on the run.

After the fall at the mount line, that plan went out the window. I sat and took my time. I grabbed some water then hobbled out of the change tent.

The Run

My knee was hurting and bleeding and my heart rate was jacked. I walked a bit, letting my body settle before starting to jog very slowly. 

I saw Jen again and she could tell that something was wrong. I told her what happened and she asked if I was ok. I told he that we would find out. 

The more I ran, the better I felt. I was still exhausted but the pain in my knee was better. I walked up a small hill and looked at an athlete keeping pace with me.

"I am not sure what this says about either of us but I am walking up this hill, you are running, and we are both the same pace."

He brought a much needed smile to my face when he laughed, slapped me on the back, and said, "It doesn't matter. We are both out here crushing it."

The course then a did a loop around Lost Lake. It was nice and shaded. I walked most of the uphills and ran when my body would allow. I passed the time by reading all the encouragement written in chalk on the course. 

There were lots of spectators sprinkled along the course.They gave me several much needed boosts then they read my bib and cheered me on by name. 

After the loop around Lost Lake, the course opened up before turning right on Blackcomb Way. This area was packed with spectators cheering for everyone. I saw Andrew, Jen, and several other friends along this section.

After the turn onto Blackcomb, there was a group of people cheering from a tent. They said they had beer and would give me one on the way back. I told them I would remember and hold them to it. 

The course continued before turning right into the Riverside Resort. As we ran into the wooded area it became very dark. It took a second for my eyes to adjust to the shade.

As I ran through the thick forest, Run Through the Jungle by CCR got stuck in my head.

I kept my pace as best I could and stayed positive. It was easy to stay positive as I saw several other Coach Powell athletes either coming back the other way or passing me. High fives and Whoohoos all around.

After an aid station, the run course opened up and took us along Green Lake. I saw the iconic bridge that in all of Ironman Canada's promotional photos. I knew I had to run across for a good photo.

The scenery was amazing. As I ran, I made sure to look around to take it all in.

As the course took us around Wedge Park and along the Sea to Sky Highway, I knew from the bike course that we were close to the turn around. It was here I saw the top women pro athletes for the full ironman on their back and ultimately to the finish. 

As the course took us along the bike course, I was sure to cheer on those still out on the bike course. They were out there doing the full 180k. I knew what 90k did to me and could not imagine what they must be going through. 

I made it to the turn around and started back. For a while, I was running with a nice man named Gerald from London, Ontario. We chatted about the race, past races, and future races. He asked where I was from and we chatted about how much we both loved Vancouver. Eventually we got separated, but it was nice to have someone to run with for a while. 

Around 15k, I turned to another athlete and said, "Today's theme is, 'This Sucks, but we're gonna finish.'"  

She laughed and said that she felt 'mostly dead.' I laughed and said, "But mostly dead is slightly alive."

She laughed and we each went back and forth quoting The Princess Bride in relation to the race.

"Think we will finish?  It'll take a miracle!"

I told her to enjoy the rest of her day. As I ran on, I shouted over my shoulder, "Good luck storming the castle!" 
She shouted back, "Good luck storming the Finish Line!"

Just after the aid station before Riverside Resort, I saw fellow Coach Powell Athlete, Diana, who was racing the full 140.6 distance. We cheered and high fived, 

As we ran 'through the jungle' again, I saw an athlete running in full firefighter gear. I was sure to encourage him as he ran on in the heat. 

As we ran along Mons Road, I saw another full distance Coach Powell Athlete Vicki. This was her first Ironman and I was sure to cheer her on!

I soon found myself back on Blackcomb Way. I passed the tent from earlier and shouted, "Some one here promised me a beer! I remember!"

We all laughed and I ran on.

I turned the corner and saw Jen one last time before the finish. I knew I was close. 

The course looped back around the parking lots before heading into Whistler Village. After looping around before Blackcomb Way, the course took a left turn.

I joked with the volunteers and spectators that this was torture. The finish line was in sight right in front of us, but in order for the bike course to come through, the run course had to do a little loop.

I turned left, ran down down a hill before loping back up and over. As I ran through this section of the village, the sides were packed with spectators cheering for me. The crowd once again included fellow Coach Powell athletes. 

I ran over the bridge, took a right, then a left. Then it was straight to the finish.

I ran down the finish chute to the roar of the crowd ready for the day to be over. I saw Jen out of the corner of my eye but was too focused on getting this over with.

I crossed the finish line with no sign of celebration. I just wanted it done.


I received my medal and finishers hat and moved through the finishing area. I met Jen who looked up my times for me. I was not happy with my times.   

My lines on the swim were off and I most likely ended up swimming more than 1900 meters. I should have done better on the bike given all the downhills. My run was on par for a 70.3 run, but still could use some improvement.

At the time, my goal of doing an Ironman one day seemed fleeting

It is now a week after the race and after some reflection I feel a bit better about my performance. 

Next time, I will watch my sight lines more closely on the swim. My swim time was not bad and was my second fastest 70.3 swim time. 

Ironman Canada 70.3 is one of the toughest bike courses out there. I chose to use my deep aero wheels to build my confidence back up. It may have been the wrong choice, but I chose to try. Plus, I cannot control the wind.

I will work on descents in my downtime to build my confidence back up. Vancouver has no shortage of hills to work with. I will have the bike looked at to see if anything can be adjusted to make it more stable at high speeds in the wind. It may just be that those wheels are not good in high wind and I need to experiment with alternative wheel set ups for specific conditions. 

My goal for the rest of the summer and fall is to run a marathon. It's been over 3 years since I have run one and this will be the perfect time to work on my run game. 

Like the drill sergeant or sensei in the movies, Ironman Canada 70.3 has shown me my weaknesses not to break me, but to show me where I can improve and excel. 

I look forward to working hard to improve on these areas and possibly tackling this beast of a course  sometime in the future. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my race report. I know most of it seemed to have a negative tone, but to quote a great movie, we fall so we can learn to pick ourselves up.