As most of you out there know, there are often setbacks involved with training and preparing for the race season. I made some pretty good progress between January and March, especially on the bike and in the pool but running has been a bit of a struggle again this year. Running puts a lot of stress on your body and is usually where most people will have problems. In 2011 I had to deal with planter fasciitis, in 2010 I had to have knee surgery and in 2009 I struggled with ITB Syndrome all of which I have overcome.
This year I'm having some GI (gastrointestinal) problems which is limiting the amount of intensity that I can handle during periods of high exertion, in particular during track workouts and fast interval sessions. It got so bad in March & April that I had to stop running almost completely. I even had to stop swimming and cut back on biking for almost a full month. I've been trying to figure out what the issue is and have had lots of tests taken and I've still got a couple of tests coming up over the next couple of months.
|Delta Triathlon on my Trek Speed Concept|
Basically, my gut is extra sensitive right now because my intestinal lining is not very strong. Anything that I'm sensitive too is creating more problems these days than usual. My body isn't absorbing a lot of the food that I'm eating which is affecting my energy levels. Fortunately, one of the tests that I did has really helped me to narrow down the problem. I did a lactose intolerance test and found out the hard way that I'm definitely lactose intolerant. I knew that I had issues with dairy products but hadn't realized that they were this bad until now. It took almost two weeks to fully recover from it. It took five days for me to get the full impact of the lactose. It actually made my gut bleed (that's the major symptom that I've been getting occasionally over the last few months).
During the spring months I still did some small races to get myself ready for the official race season. I did a couple of 5k running races which I was able to finish in around 17:20 which was pretty good considering I'd hardly been running at all. It was a good way to maintain a little bit of speed. I also raced at the Delta Sprint Triathlon in April and managed to pull off the overall win taking 1st place. Leading up to that race I had only done around one or two easy runs per week for the previous four weeks and had only gotten into the pool around four or five times so I was really pleased that I still had some speed. It was good for my confidence to know that I hadn't lost too much.
After the Delta race I started to build up my volume again and tried to work on my endurance. I had a bit of a setback with the lactose test during that period but I managed to get in some pretty good training. I was starting to feel confident again leading up to Shawnigan Lake and tried to stay focused and remain positive. I felt pretty good but I wasn't sure what to expect.
Due to my dietary issues, I haven't been eating particularly well over the last couple of months and have struggled at times to get in enough calories. Sometimes when I'm feeling a little sick I neglect to feed myself because I don't want to feel worse and my training suffers because of it. I've lost around 10 lbs in the last three months without consistent training... Not a good way to lose weight. I recently (around three or four weeks before the race) switched to a completely dairy free and gluten free diet in an attempt to be healthier. I've been feeling much better with more energy and no fatigue during the middle of the day which has been great but I've struggled a little bit making the transition. I have to be really well organized and have everything planned out. This ended up being a problem before the Shawnigan Lake race and I didn't eat enough in the couple of days leading up. I also struggled to get enough sleep for each of the three nights leading up to it which I think played a big factor as well.
I didn't have as quick of a T1 transition as usual but it wasn't too bad and I was able to get on my bike in fairly short order (someone knocked my helmet and glasses onto the ground and I had to fumble around searching for them). Once I got started on the bike I quickly got into a good rhythm and found my pace. The new tri suit I'm wearing, the Zoot Ultra Tri Suit, has amazing compression around the core and really helped me to keep my core engaged on the bike. It made a big difference in terms of staying in a good strong position. Not too long into the first of four laps my friend Brendan Naef passed me (we were in the same swim group) and we ended up riding over two laps together. It was great to have someone there to help keep the pace up. At some point on the third lap I dropped Brendan but it was mostly due to some cars that were in the way on the road that I was lucky to be able to get around fairly easily (he ended up keeping me in sight and finishing only 25 seconds behind me). When I looked at the data after the race I was pleased to see that my first three laps were all within one second of each other which is pretty amazing. I kept the pace really consistant. The new Trek Speed Concept bike that I'm riding from West Point Multisport is amazing. It's the most comfortable bike and fastest bike I've ever been on and it really makes a difference at these races. The Shimano Di2 electronic shifting makes it so much easier on these hilly courses since you don't have to reach over to the aero extensions to shift when you're climbing or accelerating out of corners (with extra shifters on the sides). The last lap was a few seconds slower than the three previous laps but at that point I was starting to think about the run and I wanted to make sure that I had enough energy.
|Trans Canada Trail|
Several of my training partners had some great races. Stephanie Ossenbrink finished 2nd overall female in the Half. As I mentioned, Nathan had a great run to finish in 3rd. Brendan finished in 5th and Lawrence Grigg finished in 7th. Donovan Watts finished in 4h 32m and Geoff Watts finished in 4h 33m with a huge PB. Another friend, Cendrix Bouchard, had an amazing race and finished with a time of 4h 51m cutting off a lot of time since last year which was awesome (great swim Cendrix!). Richele Frank won her age group (5th overall female) as did Geneviève Cauffopé. Al Russell had an awesome race finishing with a time of 5h 5min in his first attempt at the Half Iron distance (well done Al!). Anita Holtham had a stellar race and won the women's Olympic distance. There were more but it's hard to name everyone. Congratulations to everyone that raced. We got lucky with some great weather this year.
Even though the race wasn't great for me I still had lots of fun and it was a positive experience for me going forward. I look forward to my next race at Ironman 70.3 Boise on June 10th. Next time I will make sure to get enough sleep and make sure that I eat properly every day. Laura has been helping me at home with the meals which I am very grateful for. To keep track of my progress between races please follow me on my Facebook page and on Twitter (both links are at the top of the page). Thanks for all the support!!!
Next blog post: Back on Track