Sunday, August 29, 2010

House of Payne 5Km Beer Run

On August 28th, 2010 I attended the House of Payne 5Km Beer Run. It was a blast and I had a really, really good time, especially at the Payne-a-Poolza party that Bryan held at his house after the race.

The rules for the HOP 5K Beer Run are pretty simple: "At the start you drink one beer, then one beer every kilometre. If you "puke", you run an extra lap and have an extra beer."
More about the rules you can find on the

The HOP 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. Before the race I thought that drinking 6 beers fast is not a big deal.  Then, during the race I realized that drinking beer fast can be really hard. It took me 20 seconds to drink the first one and probably more than 5 minutes to drink the 6th one, most of the time feeling on the verge of puking. I finished dead last, 12th out of 12 persons. My initial estimate was 24:59 and it took me 43:24 minutes to finish. Running was easy, but the drinking part was HARD.

What I found really interesting was to find out who were the people who participated in the Beer Run and the debauchery that followed after it. As Bryan said, the results will probably surprise. Of the twelve participants, all are married, none are divorced, eight have kids, eight are triathletes, three have 15 Ironman finishes between each of them, one is a Kona Qualifier and the most remarkable, is most are LEADERS in their chosen career path:
  Sr. Sales Representative
  Police Officer
  Health Inspector
  Accountant - Mergers and Acquisitions
  Canadian Tire Dealer
  Copy Writer
  Business Development and Marketing Director
  Lawyer - International Mergers and Acquisitions
  NASA Research Scientist
  Structural Engineer / Landscape Company Owner
  Computer Programmer
  Monitoring Centre Officer (Department of Corrections)

For more details about the race and the party that followed after, please read Bryan's blog. I am inserting here a few pictures and a video made by Bryan, where you can see how fun and crazy things got.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's next

It has been more that three weeks of debauchery since Ironman Lake Placid. The first two weeks were quilt-free because I was recovering and celebrating. The last week though I was supposed to start training but instead I continued partying. Not good. Today I finally managed to get my self out of the door and do my regular 10K run. It was just awful, especially because last night Miha and I stayed until 4:00 AM drinking wine, listening to music  and drinking wine. The combination of good music and drinking takes me to another reality, where everything is just better. Of course that this morning when I woke up at 7:00 AM everything was just worse. Luckily, after I drank a strong coffee I was 100% recovered, or so I felt. One of the main reasons I started doing triathlons was to be able to drink and in the same time stay healthy. So far my plan is working exceptionally well.

Our next big goal is to qualify to Boston Marathon. In my case, all I need to do is to finish a marathon in under 3:15 hours. Miha needs to finish one in under 3:45 hours. We both plan to do it on October 17th at Toronto Marathon. In my case, it should not be too hard, considering that I did Mississauga Marathon in 3:18 hours. Of course that would actually work only if I start training, instead of drinking.

Our next big race is Ironman 70.3 Muskoka, on September 12th. We also did it last year, when I fell off the bike with only 2 Km left on the bike leg and ended up being taken to the hospital. Luckily, nothing was broken. Miha finished it in 8:02 hours. It was our first long triathlon and a tough experience for both of us. This year hopefully it will be an "easy" race, considering that we made a huge progress since last year.

I just realized that the next biggest race by far is the House of Payne 5KM Beer Run. How could I forget the event of year?! It is going to take place on  Saturday, August 28, 2010, at Bryan Payne's house. This is my type of race: drink - run - drink. After the race there's going to be the Payne-a-poolza party, where I get to meet all the triathlon celebrities, some of whom I met before, like John Fortin and Carlos, and some I'll have the pleasure of meeting for the first time, like Matty O. Dr. Sesuss says that "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.".

Today's pictures are from Toronto Island  Give-It-A-Tri, where I finished 5th overall (out of 343 participants) and first in my age group. Of course it helped that most of the participants were doing their first triathlon on a rusty mountain bike, while I was on my $3000 Cervelo bike. I did the race because 2 of my friends were doing it, both of them being beginners and I wanted to encourage them. Even though it was a Give-It-A-Tri (Swim 400m, Bike 10 Km, Run 2.5Km) it was a good feeling to finish for the first time on the podium. I did the same race in 2007, when I came 14th in my age group.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ironman Lake Placid - Race Report

After drinking one beer and two Smirnoff Ice (from my wife's stock), I have finally managed to completely relax and stop thinking about my first Ironman. I went to sleep around 10:30 PM and I slept like a baby. I actually slept so well that when the alarm clock went on at 4:15 AM I stopped it and I continued to sleep. I finally woke up half an hour later, completely rested and ready for the big day. After I ate a tuna sandwich I headed to the transition area. On my way there I realized that I forgot my wetsuit, so I went back to pick it up. I finally got to the transition area at 5:30. Then I realized that I forgot my water bottles at the hotel. I did not want to spend another 15 minutes going back to the hotel so I just went across the road at a gas station and bought 3 bottles of Gatorade.

The Swim
2.4 miles (3.86 Km) - 1:20:46 hours, 2:08min/100m
Place: 259/355 in my age group, 1671/2611 overall

At 6:20 I put on my wetsuit and I headed to the Mirror Lake to get ready for the race. On my way there I met with Miha and the kids. They were in a good mood and cheered me up.

Being a lousy swimmer, my strategy was to wait at the back of the pack so that I won't be passed by faster swimmers and get kicked as much as if I'd have started in the middle of the pack. So I waited exactly 1:39 minutes until most of the swimmers have crossed the starting line and then I started swimming slowly. Most of the swimmers at the back were slower than me and quite a few were swimming breast stroke, which made it difficult for me to pass them. Each time I saw a gap opening  in front of me I sprinted and passed as many swimmers as I could. For the first 10 minutes I kept sprinting and passing probably close to 900 swimmers. At the first turnaround buoy I got kicked in the face for the first time. It was not too bad, but my goggles fell off and I had to stop to put them back on. For the rest of the swim I managed to find a pair of feet to draft off and keep a steady pace. I also managed to swim most of the time next to the underwater cable so sighting was not an issue this time. As I got out of the water after the first loop I could not believe that my watch showed 40:18 minutes. The second loop was uneventful, I just kept drafting off other swimmers. I finished the swim leg in 1:20. My goal was to finish it in 1:25 so I was really happy when I saw my time.

Transition 1
Time: 8:24 minutes

Once I got out of the water a volunteer helped me to strip off my wetsuit. The guy was really fast and he knew what he was doing. From Mirror Lake to the transition area it was a good 2-300 m walk and run combined. In my bike gear bag I had waiting for me a bottle of Chocolate Muscle Milk, which I slowly drank up. After that I put on my bike equipment, gave the bike gear bag to a volunteer and went to pick up my bike. My time of over 8 minutes was a really slow one. I really need to work on improving it. 

The Bike 
112 miles (180.24 Km) - 5:55:28 hours, 18.9mph (30.4Km/h)
Place: 112/355 in my age group, 548/2611 overall

The moment I got on the bike I felt really strong. I kept passing lots and lots of people. This always happens to me because I am a much better cyclist than swimmer. I guess for more than half of the bike leg I kept passing hundreds of people. I got passed a few times but in total I would say that less than 10 people passed me, while I probably passed close to 8-900 cyclists. 

The weather was again just perfect. 22-23C, cloudy with a few drops here and there. I could not have wished for anything better.

As I passed by my hotel, Miha and kids were there waiting for me and cheering me up. It was so good seeing them.

My fastest speed was 75.8 Km/h, during the long descent into Keene. A year before when I came to Lake Placid for a training session, I was really scared of this descent and I remember that I applied the brakes a lot. 
This time I barely applied the breaks a few times and for the entire descent I felt in control of the bike. I also passed quite a few people, who seemed to be scared and kept applying the brakes.

I finished the first loop of the bike leg at 31.4 Km/h. Just as I finished the first loop I started to feel a little bit tired and I realized that I'll need to slow down in order to have enough energy to climb the 3 downhills, Baby Bear, Mama Bear and Papa Bear, on my way back. Just before I reached the hills I opened my secret drink, a bottle of Red Bull, which gave me enough energy to pass quite a few people on the last 20 Km of the bike leg. 

I got back into town feeling energized by the Red Bull and ready to start the run.

Transition 2
Time: 7:06 minutes

The moment I got back to the transition I was so happy that I was finally able to use the porta potty and pee. I guess that I spent close to 2 minutes in there enjoying the feeling of liberation and relief. Then I went to pick up my Run gear bag and found that the knot got really tight. It took me more than 2 minutes to get it loose enough and untie it. Hence the 7 minutes spent in T2 instead of 3 minutes like the other participants.

The Run 
26.2 miles (42.2 Km) - 4:16:24 hours, 9.48 min/mile (6:02 min/Km)
Place: 126/355 in my age group, 767/2611 overall

I was off to a great start. I felt in very good shape. The first 1Km or so it's mostly downhill running. By the time I reached my hotel I was running really fast and felt good. 

Miha and kids were waiting for me there. Miha said that she knew that I felt really good because I kept smiling while I was passing them.

For the first 5K I kept passing people and felt really well. Then, once I hit the hills my left knee started to hurt. At that point I had to make a decision, should I push through the pain or I should slow down? Then I remembered my first marathon from a year before when I pushed through the pain until my knee just gave up and I finished limping the last 10 Km. So, I decided to slow down. I realized that I have a very good chance to finish in under 12 hours at a slow pace and I said to myself that it is not worth taking any risks. I made a decision to walk any uphill, run on any downhill and run or walk on the flats, depending on how I felt. It was a very good decision. The moment I started walking the pain went away and I actually started to enjoy the run/walk combination. It felt effortless and I still managed to maintain a pretty good pace.

On my way back to town I passed again by the hotel, where my kids were waiting for me to give them high fives. Your family cheering you up never gets old and it kept motivating me to continue running strong.

The second loop of the run leg went well, too. My strategy to walk/run helped to stay in good shape and I just knew that I was going to finish in under 12 hours, which made feel really good. I kept smiling to the spectators and thanked them for cheering us up. All the time I had the feeling that I had the perfect race.

Once I got back into town I realized that if I start running for the last 2 Km I can even break 11:50. At that point I started running fast and kept monitoring my watch. Entering into the oval area was just awesome.

All those people cheering you up made me forget about the pain so I sprinted all the way to the finish line. Once I heard Mike Riley saying:"Doru Sandor, you are an Ironman" I felt so relived and just very, very happy, especially when I realized that I finished in 11:48 hours.

My goal was to finish in under 12:30 hours, hopping that if I have a very good day I might break 12:00 hours. At no point I thought that I'll be able to break 11:50 hours at my first Ironman.

Once I crossed the finish line, a volunteer came to help and guide me. She was a very nice lady, who kept asking me if I felt OK. I told her that I felt more than OK and she should not be worry about me. She joked that is her job to take care of me and she won't get paid if something happens to me.

I met Miha and the kids at the exit and we all went to the hotel. I took a shower, changed my clothes and we went to a restaurant nearby to celebrate. All I remember after that was that the beer never tasted so good. Best way to finish a perfect day!

Official results: