Oliver Half, June 2009
Photo by ASI
Triathlon Training and Racing Diary
January 2005 I was looking around for a fitness goal. Since I'd
graduated from university, I'd gained some weight in my sedentary
office job. After losing the weight again, I needed a physical
challenge. I considered signing up for the 10k clinic at the Y, but
since I didn't like running, I signed up for the triathlon clinic
instead and for the first time ever started working on aerobic
fitness. These pages are my ongoing account of my multisport
2005: in which I get started
2006: in which I get carried away, train like crazy and do Ironman Canada
2007: in which my fitness declines and I'm glad I didn't get an Ironman tattoo
2008: in which I don't actually do any triathlons at all, but go on some runs and rides
2009: in which I experiment with 6:00 a.m. swims, complete another half ironman, and sign up for next year's Ironman Canada
2010: in which I realize that the second Ironman is not as exciting as the first
And this year . . .
Well ... so far the 2011 training season has consisted of two months of eating croissants and drinking wine in Paris. Since the Vancouver marathon was two days after we got back from France, I tried to put in at least a little bit of run maintenance, but Paris is not a city that is well suited to running. No two blocks of a street continue in a straight line, so it's difficult not to get lost. We ran with a map. The sidewalks are narrow and filled with people, parked motorcycles, and unbelievable amounts of dog shit. The air quality is reasonable, but not great. People make humourous remarks when you run by. And did I mention the dog shit?
In the end, although I was determined to complete the marathon, I came down with a cold and didn't race. But, I am registered for the Victoria marathon in the fall. Hope springs eternal.
Ironman and ALS
The Ironman has a lot of great stories associated with it. Legendary battles between pros, people crawling across the finish line, there are as many stories as there are participants. Some of the stories that really stand out are not about the fastest competitors. They're about people who overcame great obstacles, or even, failed to overcome them.
One person who stands out is John "Blazeman" Blais. He was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), which typically has a progression of just a few years before the patient dies. John Blais did a number of remarkable things after he was diagnosed, and one of them was to race at Ironman Hawaii, rolling across the finish line. The next year, he was too sick to race, and soon after that he died. But he impressed so many people that triathletes have been raising money and racing in his name every since.
One of those is my friend Bob Gebbie, who coaches triathlon in Victoria with his wife Carolyn at TriStars Training. Bob raised money for ALS before his Ironman Western Australia in 2008. Another is Corey Friesen, who will be competing in Ironman Canada this August as an Ironman Canada for ALS team member. I wish him luck, and if you'd like to contribute to his campaign, go to his IMC for ALS page.
I love this site. It's not crammed full of advertising, and there's
some good writing. My favourite articles are Dan Empfield's
columns. Sometimes they're about his dogs or his weight loss projects,
sometimes they're about favourite run and bike routes, or about
friends—often giants in the sport. In the course of discussing his
experiences, he manages to convey some of what triathlon or multisport
brings to his life, and that's what keeps me coming back to the
- Lore of Running—Timothy D. Noakes. The author
does a great job of conveying his love of running, and also of citing
a lot of studies to support what he says, which I like. Lots of
treatment of ultramarathon distances, which is good for long course
- I think Gerard Vroomen, the co-founder of Cervelo, writes great
race reports. These are no longer on the Cervelo page, so I'm posting
the links from the internet archive: Powerman
Ironman Qualifier, Peterborough
Half Ironman, and Ironman
Canada. Also check out To
Hell and Back.