Thursday, August 14, 2014


I just found this post sitting in my draft folder. I started it in May and when I saw it today, I've decided to finish it. Better later than never.

I did my first Ironman in 2010 and trained relatively hard for it. As a result most of my PRs were set then. After that, while I kept racing, my training was minimal and very chaotic.

Last year I joined Durham Region Triathlon Club and I got the extra motivation that I was looking for and started to have a more consistent training. A couple of months later I got my first important PR in a while, a 38:29 min swim at Half Ironman Muskoka, which by itself it's just an average swim time, but for me it was a huge improvement considering that the year before it took me 44:23 min to swim the same course. The next important PR was my 3:13:39 min at Hamilton Marathon, beating my 2010 marathon PR by 5 minutes. This finish time met the Boston Marathon qualifying time for me, but my chances were 50/50, considering that I had only a 1:21 minutes under my required qualifying time. Qualifying to Boston was my goal since 2010, which I slowly gave up in the meantime, as my marathon time went from bad to worse.

When I saw that I had a real chance to BQ (Boston Qualify in running parlance) I've decided to make it my number one goal and try to finish a marathon in under 3:10, which will give me priority registration for Boston and pretty much much guarantee that I'll qualify. My next decision was to join the Slowtwitch's 100 runs in 100 days challenge. I started it on December 15th and in the first 2 weeks I completed only 4 short runs. That's because I got drunk almost every other day, as December had just too many occasions to celebrate. You can train with a hangover only so many times. Drinking started to interfere, not only with my training, but with my personal life as well. On January 9th I've decided to give up drinking, for at least a year. It was one of the best and the hardest decision that I've made. Giving up drinking helped, a lot. In February I managed to do 28 runs in 28 days, which was a record by itself.

My running improved a lot and in March I went for the first time under 2:15h at Around the Bay 30K Road Race, finishing in 2:13:56 and getting the silver medal (anyone who finishes under 2:15 gets the silver medal).

My next PR was at Mississauga Half Marathon. I managed to finish in 1:27:39, which was a huge PR for me. This was my first half marathon where I did not stop at all at the aid/water stations. I have difficulties drinking while running and I usually have to pretty much walk in order to drink water in races. It was a good decision and I believe that my lack of hydration did not slow me down.

Due to the weather, most marathons on the East Coast are held in May and October-November. So, I was reading a lot about what would be the best marathon in the area to BQ and my final choice was between Bob Pots, in York, Pennsylvania and Ottawa. In the end I've decided to go for Bob Pots and also visit Washington DC, which is only an hour drive from York.

It was a good decision and I had the perfect marathon, finishing in 3:09:59, which will allow me to register in advance for Boston and it pretty much guarantees that I get a spot.

Start line at Bob Potts marathon. I am the guy in the middle, with a red singlet.

Bob Pots is a beautiful running race, which I highly recommend. It's small, capped at 500 participants and very well organized. This race is a no-frills race done right. It is fast and flat. You're running along a rail road line, with beautiful scenery.

The registration for Boston Marathon is going to be held in September and I am looking forward to, hopefully, getting that much coveted spot.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant race report

Here's a late and brief race report about Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant.

I'll start directly with the results:

5:35h was by far my fastest half Ironman finish time so far. And considering that I did not train that much for it, I am more than happy with my result. Here's my training log for June. As you can see, I had less than 15h of training in June, prior to the race.

On the race day, all the stars aligned and I had a perfect race. The weather was nice, the roads were in perfect shape and this time I managed to pace myself almost perfectly.

It looks though that almost everybody had a great race. Usually 1:49h for the run is a pretty good time, but this time I did not place in the first half in my age group (153 out of 290 men in my age group). To put in perspective, a 1:49h run at Muskoka would have placed me on 18 out of 115 men in my AG.

Miha started the race with a nasty cold and I was very worried about her. The water was a little bit cold, which was OK for me but I knew that it would be an issue for Miha. And it was, she ended up swimming breast stroke for the entire swim leg. It took her 1:08h to complete the swim, but she did not give up and I am very proud of her.

All in all, we had a great time in Mont Tremblant. This race has a beautiful venue, perfect roads and it is very well organized. We are probably going to signup again for the full Ironman in 2014 and this times two of our friends might join us and complete their first Ironman.

A few more pictures:

Getting hydrated before the race:

Miha, showing off:

Our future Ironmans,  enjoying a vegetarian meal:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Getting ready for Ironman Mont Tremblant 70.3

On Sunday, Miha and I will race IMMT 70.3, which is our first triathlon this year. And as usual, our training is not nearly where we planned on it being. I have plenty of excuses for my lack of training, but the truth is that I am just lazy and disorganized. Anyway, if you read my previous posts, you already knew that about me by now.

The good thing about my lack of training is that I did not get injured. I read my friends' blogs about how they got injured from overtraining. That's never been a problem for me. It's hard to have training-related injuries when you train for less than 4 hours a week.

I was browsing the website and I saw this picture. It reminded me why that the Mont Tremblant is the perfect venue for a triathlon, which was the main reason we registered for the Half Ironman on Sunday. They also have the best roads I rode my bike on.

Back to my training, the part I am most scared of is the swimming leg. I swam only twice in the past 10 months and it did not go well. My swim sucked even when I relatively trained for it and now is going to suck even more. My bike and run are a little bit better. I trained close to 4h/week for the past two months, which is pretty good for me, even though is only 1/3 of the weekly training volume of my fellow triathletes.

My goal for Sunday is to finish in under 6h, which I think is doable. If everything goes well (it usually never does in an Ironman race), I'll probably finish the swim leg in 45 min, the bike in 3h and the run in 2h. That's a total of 5:55h, if you include 10 min for the transitions.

And now a quick update about the races we did since my last blog update. The race I am very happy about was the 5K Withby Waterfront, where I broke the 20 minutes barrier for the first time. Also, it was Maria's first 5K race and she finished it in 32:40. Not bad at all for an 8 year old.

Other races Miha and I finished lately were:

We also did the DVP Ride for Heart three weeks ago. This is not really a race, but I treated it like one and tried my best. As usual,  I started too fast, averaging 35 km/h after the first hour. In the end I completed 82 km at 33 km/h, which is a respectable speed for me. 

That's all for now. Best of luck to everyone who races on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant

It's been a while since I've updated my blog. By the way, ironically, "blog" is not recognized by as a valid English word.

Back to the subject of this post. Miha and I both finished Ironman Mont Tremblant with little to nothing training. Which shows that an Ironman is not that hard after all or that Miha and I are naturally athletic. Of course, I tend to go with the latter.

The hero of the day was Miha. Her longest bike ride was 94 Km, at IM Muskoka 70.3 in 2011. And her longest swim was 3 Km. As usual, she had a big panic attack during the swim leg. No matter how warm the water is, it's still too cold for Miha. Add to it the excitement and nervousness of your first IM race, the fact that you need to swim for 3.8 Km and you get the perfect storm for a panic attack. So, a few minutes after the start, Miha was the dead last out of 2,198 participants arguing with with a lifeguard that she should quit the race. Not a great start for your first IM. Another hero of the day was the lifeguard who in the end convinced Miha to continue with her race. Kudos to the guy! Miha got herself together and slowly started to swim, knowing that there's really nothing to lose. And it worked, she had a good swim and actually managed to pass 20 people on the swim leg. She finished the swim leg in 2:01h, 19 minutes faster than the dreaded swim cut off.

I had a decent swim, considering my complete lack of training. I finished in 1:26h, 6 minutes slower than my PR at IM Lake Placid in 2010. I started the bike leg strong, passing quite a few people. My biggest worry was that I did not see Miha after the turn around. This was Miha's first IM and even though neither of us trained properly for this race I knew how important was for Miha to finish this race. When I started to lose hope, I suddenly heard Miha yelling my name. She looked great and had a big smile on her face.

As soon I knew Miha finished the swim I felt way better. I was quite worried about her. Feeling better made me push harder on the bike. It worked well for the first 2:30 h. Then I got to the big hills and all my energy evaporated after climbing hill after hill. I finished my first loop extenuated and worried that I won't be able to finish the second loop. I decided to ignore my pride and slow down. It worked and slowly got my energy back. I finished the bike leg in 6:26 h, nothing to be proud about, but at least I had enough energy left to start the run in a good shape. And again, considering my lack of training, I had an OK bike leg. 

My run started well and the first loop went pretty good, finishing the first 21.1 km in 2:13h. Then I started looking for Miha because according to my calculations I should cross paths with her soon. At some point I gave up and I thought that Miha did not make the bike cut off. I felt pretty bad about it. Then I saw her and I had a huge relief of joy. 

She told me that she was extremely happy that she made the bike leg.  Once I realized that she finished the bike leg I knew that she was going to finish her first Ironman. I decided to run the second run lap with her. The pressure was gone and we had good time running together and talking about all kind of things.

I finished in 12:58 h and Miha finished in 13:54 h and both of us are very happy with our results.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Athlete #2120 and #669

That's Miha and I on the Ironman Mont Tremblant participation list, which is going to take place in less than two weeks. Neither Miha or I are remotely ready for this race. Actually we were seriously thinking of bailing out of the race, but because neither the entry fees or the cottage rental are refundable, we've decided in the end that we're going to give it a try.

The reason we're so scared of it is because our training sucks big time. Really big time! Just to have an idea of how much our training sucks, this weekend was the second time this year we rode our tri bikes outside. The first time was for the DVP bike ride two months ago. Swimming wise, I probably swam like 6 or 7 times in total this year, none of it in open water. Running is better, with about two regular runs on average per week. I like running the most and that's why it's easier for me to train.

As I said, yesterday I did my second ride of the year and to my surprise it went better than expected. I managed to average 29.8 Km/h for 103 Km. The thing is that I had perfect weather, cloudy with no winds, which I am sure that it won't be the case at Mont Tremblant. I was tired after the ride, so if I were to ride another 80Km, my average speed would have probably decreased significantly.

As the other athletes are beginning their taper time, Miha and I are starting our training. As funny as it sounds, I am serious, we are planning to train the most for the next 10 days and then have a 3 day tapering period. It should be enough, considering how little we trained.

The only other races we did this year were Around the Bay 30k Road Race in March and Toronto Marathon in May. Both went pretty went well, considering our lack of training.

While I don't like at all where we are training wise, we had a pretty good year so far. I guess that one of the main reasons we did not train was that we took lots of holidays. We went for 7 days in Cuba in February then 5 days in Rome in June and another 16 days in July to go visit our families in Romania. We had a really great time and of course lots of drinking and eating. Holidays and triathlon training are just not blending well. Maybe if you are super organized, which is not my case. This is just one of the reasons, but the main reason in my case is definitely my lack of getting organized, having a concrete training plan and then following it.

Back to our race. Ironman Mont Tremblant is going to be Miha's first full Ironman, and of course she's very scared. Her main goal, actually her only goal, is to finish it, which is doable if she doesn't panic during the swim. Except for her last race, Ironman 70.3 Muskoka in 2011 where she got a swim PB, she panicked at all her other races in the past and ended up swimming breast stroke. She did buy a new wetsuit for Muskoka which she says that it helped her breathing much easier, so hopefully it will help her again at Mont Tremblant. If she makes the swim cut off, she should be able to make the bike cut off, even if it might be close if the weather is not cooperating. The running should not be a problem at all.

For me, my main goal is to finish in under 13:30h and if I ma lucky, in under 13h. That's sad, considering my 11:47h finish time at Ironman Lake Placid two years ago, but that's what happens when you're not training for such a long time.

Good luck to all my friends who are doing IMMT, happy tapering and we'll see you in less than two weeks in Mont Tremblant!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye 2011, looking forward to 2012

It's been a while since I've updated my blog. Today I have some free time and I thought that instead of checking Facebook again a better use of it would be to update my blog.

The only major sport event that happened since my last update in August, was Ironman 70.3 Muskoka in September. Briefly put, I sucked while Miha had a PR by almost 30 minutes. She forgot her wetsuit at home and we had to rent one. This was for the best because she liked the rented wetsuit so much that she decided to buy it. And it was worth every penny because this was her first triathlon when she did not have a panic attack during the swim.

Dan, Miha and I after finishing Muskoka. This was Dan's first Half Ironman and he had a really great time.

2011 was an "easy" year for Miha and I, with modest training and modest results. Here are mines:
   Feb 27 - Peterborough Half Marathon  (1:43:23 4:55min/km - I sucked)
   Apr 16 - WWF CN Tower Climb  (14:47min PB)
   May 15 - Mississauga Half Marathon  (1:35:41 4:35min/km AG:22/198, 163/3430 overall)
   Jun 05 - DVP Ride for Heart (50Km - 32.7Km/h - very crowded)
   Jul 09 - Warrior Dash Barrie  (31:41 6:12min/km AG:52/701, 451/4894 gender)
   Jul 16 - Rattlesnake Point Trail Run  (1:02:43 4:57min/km AG:26/79, 68/320 overall)
   Aug 13 - Cobourg Olympic Triathlon (2:36:48 AG:15/29, 57/189 overall)
   Aug 28 - Toronto Island Sprint Triathlon (1:52:55 AG:18/40, 103/385 overall)
   Sep 11 - Muskoka Half Ironman  (6:03:09 AG:58/112, 350/874 overall)

The kids, unlike us, had a very good year, triathlon-wise.. Maria finished first in her age group at East End Kids Of Steel and 5th overall. She also finished second in her age group at Toronto Beaches Kids of Steel Duathlon.

At Orillia Kids of Steel in August.

For 2012 we have bigger plans. We have already registered for Around the Bay 30k in March, Toronto Marathon in May and Ironman Mont Tremblant in August. This is going to be Miha's first full Ironman. She's a little bit scared and excited in the same time. It's going to be my second IM and I, too, am a little bit scared and excited in the same time. After an easy 2011 I look forward to a more challenging 2012. 

Happy New Year everyone and I wish you all a great 2012!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

House of Payne Beer Run

The 4th edition of House of Payne Beer Run was a blast! Drinking, running, laughing, fooling around and then repeat. After a couple of beers I felt like a kid at Wonderland. And it's no wonder, considering that almost everybody was wearing a costume and was acting like a kid.

Bryan raised the bar this year, making the Beer Run a World Class event. He got a new banner, a major league trophy cup and had some professional voice over work done for the opening ceremonies. This year also there was a record turnout for the HOP Beer Run: 17 people.

People were stopping on the street to stare at us. And they had a good reason. Where else would  you see Osama bin Laden (a.k.a. John B.) walking side by side with a 200 pounds baby girl (a.k.a. Matty-O), followed by two bunnies hand in hand (John and Fran).

And here's me, dressed as a beer bottle. Not very creative. Next year I'm surely going to do better. 

The Beer Run is a prediction run, everyone writes down the time they think it will take to finish, then they run with no watches or timing devises. The winner is the one whose actual time comes closest to their predicted time. Last year I predicted 18 minutes and it took me 44 minutes. Running is the easy part, drinking fast is the really hard one. This year I chose a more realistic time: 36:59, thinking that if I drink slower from the beginning I can beat my last year's time. The first beer and the first Km were easy and fast. The second was still OK. By the third I was already trying not to puke. I had to slow down with the drinking otherwise I 'd have puked. Puking is considered a penalty and you have to drink one more beer and run one more km. So, I slowed down and slowed down and in the end I managed to finish the race in 45:38 min, worse than last year. At that time I did not care anyways. I was in the zone and I wasn't the only one. It seems that everyone else lost their inhibitions. Then is when the humping started. It was everywhere.

This year the winner was The Captain himself. He was ecstatic when he heard the results, as you can see from the picture:

After the race was done we moved inside, where we had more beers and wings. The beer was flowing from the kegarator and everybody had a very good time. Then is when Al took me on the trampoline for a wrestling match, or the Battle Royal as it was named last year. Al is twice my height and weight, not really, but that's how he looks like when is your adversary in a wrestling match. I did not stand a chance until Matty jumped in to help me. Together, (mostly Matty ha-ha), we managed to cripple Al. Then I had my revenge, sitting on Al and pulling his cheeks and just making fun of him. Al is very stubborn though and kept saying that he's not going to give up, no matter how hard Matty and I was trying to make him to tap out. It was then when Bob, who is a fireman, came in to help Al out. Matty and I were no match to Al and Bob together and we tapped out quickly. Luckily no one else jumped in, so this year I ended up only with a bloody knee, which is not bad considering the circumstances.

I had to leave the House of Payne at 10:00 PM because the next day I was doing the Toronto Island Sprint Triathlon and I knew that if I stay any longer than that I won't be able to wake up in the morning. 

Here's the official 2011 House of Payne Beer Run video:

For more videos and pictures go to:

Some other participants HOP Beer Run posts, as they remember it: