Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tour Di Via Italia

Today marks the 50th running of the Tour Di Via Italia. I absolutely love the atmosphere of this race. Loaring Physio and LPC are honoured to help support this historic event.

Team LPC will be represented tomorrow at the John Smith 30th Annual 5k and 10k Run.

A couple of great milestones for two great events.

Guelph Lake II

Yesterday was my final triathlon of the season and the goal was to A) have fun and B) finish the year with a win on home turf. I was pleased with my 4th place Canadian finish at Canadian Elite Nats two weeks ago and CoachCT and I decided that Guelph Lake II would be the final race. My bro Pre won Guelph Lake I earlier in the summer. So he put the pressure on me yesterday and said that the Guelph title must remain in the family. I consider both Guelph and Windsor my hometown races. I have never won either--despite more 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th finishes then I can count on 2 hands.

Yesterday brought fabulous weather and over 1000 participated in the sprint tri, sprint du, and tri-a-tri. It was just an awesome day to be out at Guelph Lake Conservation Area.

I had a great swim and emerged 40 seconds ahead. I had to take it out hard in the first 50 meters as I couldn't risk an accidental blow to the nose by one of my fellow competitors. Two weeks ago, at Canadian Nats, I suffered a brutal elbow to the nose in the first 100m of the swim. I still had a great race, but certainly the biggest nose ache I have ever incurred in a race. Yesterday, the nose was still extremely tender from the break two weeks prior.

I love the Guelph bike course but had some hydration issues. I went to grab my first sip of water 2mins into the bike, only to discover that my bottle was not in my cage. I later found out it had popped out of the cage on a speed bump in the first 30" of the ride. So that meant zero fluids for the entire bike. I didn't panic and just kept a solid tempo. If I 'pinned' it, then I would have risked muscle cramps early in the run. So I kept a solid tempo pace, and fortunately it wasn't too humid out yesterday morning. I arrived at T2 feeling good despite a mouth that felt like chalk. All I could think about was WATER. Finally at the 2k mark of the water--there was an aid station. What a great feeling to clear the dry mouth--it had felt like I had been in a desert for hours. I enjoyed the run, had zero cramping issues that I greatly feared might happen during the bike, and started to think about how great this year has been. I reflected on how busy the past few months have been, but how amazing and rewarding they have been. It was nice to have lots of friends and family cheering me on out on the course. Home course advantage always helps. I was greeted by my beautiful wife at the finish line. And some chocolate milk.

It was great to see Brian, Tim, and Shauna all have excellent days. Travis was still recovering from a bike crash at Junior Nats two weeks ago, but he still went out there and gave a good tempo effort. Brian used the race as a final tune-up for Muskoka 70.3 in two weeks time. I can't wait to cheer Brian, and Team LPC, on Sept 14th in Muskoka.

And props to Karsten Madsen with a solid 5th place finish (first junior). Karsten used this race as a platform to raise funds for the Sunnybrook Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Perinatal Research Fund. It is awesome to see so many talented (and nice and thoughtful) juniors on the race scene here in Ontario. There is a large crop of junior studs (like Karsten and Travis) who will certainly be giving me a real go next year. If I can't beat them in a race--then I will try to 'beat' them in a fund-raising effort :-)

I just love this event and look forward to supporting it in some way/shape/form, for years to come. Dave--the torch is in your hands when you toe the line at Guelph Lake I in 2009.

Results here.

So what is next for me in terms of racing and training? I will have two weeks of zero training (other than a evening walk with Bre and Mav in our backyard forest) and then start back ez at the PTC. I will do two running races later in the year, the Jingle Bell 5k in Essex, and the Canadian Cross Country Champs only 3k from home on Nov 29th.

I have written this while following the online coverage of Ironman Louisville. Go Shelley, Ralph, and Rob! Go Team LPC!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Favourite Performances from Beijing 2008

Bre and I splurged and purchased an LCD tv so that we could watch all of the CBC and NBC action in high definition. I was a sponge and lost much sleep over the past couple of weeks to tune into just about everything. Good thing for DVR, or else I would have gone crazy watching ads o some coverage that is just well, boring. The TV has full connectivity and is hooked up to our wireless network--so in addition to the excellent broadcasting coverage, we could watch live streaming on the big screen via my laptop.

Below is my biased top ten list of my favourite performances during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Had I not inserted the word 'performances', then I would certainly have to include the Opening Ceremonies and other special moments of these wonderful Games in the list.

A total of 10500 athletes competed in 302 events in 28 sports. So of the 302 events, 10 truly special events made my top 10 list.

I fully admit that there is a Canadian bias, and most of my favourite moments are from swimming and track and field. But I do say above that they are MY fav performances, and make no claim that I feel they are the greatest moments and/or performances of these Olympics. They are simply the moments that stand out in my head and I will no doubt reflect on them for quite some time.

There are many honourable mentions that do not make the short list:

  • China dominating table tennis was amazing. They have crazy awesome skills that produce some of the most entertaining highlights in sport.
  • The Aussie stealing gold on the final dive in the Men's 10m platform was amazing.

  • Adam Van Koeverden storming back 24h later to hold on for silver in his pet event was very inspiring. We can all learn something from his interviews.

  • Emma Snowsill winning the women's triathlon in a fashion that looked too easy. She is mighty mouse.

  • The men's 4x200m free relay. I believe 5 teams broke the WR. The Canadian Team swam well to finish 6th. Phelps's lead off for the Americans was fantastic.
  • The men's 4x100 medley relay. The Americans prevail over the Aussies in a close battle. But history will remember this race forever as the moment that Phelps achieved the impossible: 8 golds in event events.
  • Usain Bolt shatters the 100m record (and would have taken off another 6 to 8/100's had he dropped the hammer the entire way and leaned at the line. He averaged 43.9k/h btw 60m and 80m!
  • Jamaican domination of the 4x100 relay, shattering a most impressive WR by three tenths of a second.

  • Sheila Taormina was disappointed with her final result in the Modern Pentathlon. But she gets an honourable mention for doing something that has never been done before: qualifying for her fourth Olympic Games in THREE different sports! Sheila won a gold as part of the American 4x200 free relay in 1996. Then picked up a new hobby and almost metalled at the 2000 Games in triathlon. After being the World Triathlon Champ in 2003, she retired from the sport after her 3rd Olympics in 2004. I have swum on occasional with Sheila when I trained in Clermont, Florida. I truly respect her work ethic and few are as passionate and relentless as Sheila. But qualifying for the Olympics in the sport of Modern Pentathlon after only 2 years of experience learning how to fence, ride horses, and shoot pistols, is well, mind-boggling.

And there are so many others, but enough procrastinating and rambling--here are my top 10 performance memories from Beijing 2008:

    10. Trampoline - Women's Trampoline
    Karen Cockburn lands silver in trampoline. Trampoline has been in the Olympics for three Olympiads. Karen has won a medal at each of them. Karen was chosen to carry the flag for Canada at the Closing Ceremonies. Very well deserved.

    9. Rowing - Men's Eight
    Gold-medal redemption for Canadian men's eight. These guys are as tough as they come. They were disappointed with their 5th pace finish in Athens, and then commit to 4 years of offering toil, sweat, and tears in the pursuit of excelled. They certainly excelled and hearing Adam Creek bellow the national anthem during the medal presentation sent goose bumps down every Canadians spine.

    8. Swimming - Mens 1500m Free
    Canada's Ryan Cochrane swims to bronze in a thrilling race that saw Aussie Grant Hackett almost make history by claiming his 3rd gold in the same event in three successive Olympiads. It was Canada's first Olympic swimming medal since Curtis Myden captured bronze in the 400IM at the 2000 Sydney Games.

    7. Athletics - Womens and Mens 5000m and 10 000m
    Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibbiba and Kenenisa Bekele, claimed a rare double in winning the 5000m and 10 000m double on the track. Ok that is 4 separate events/moments, but I just had to give credit to the King and Queen of distance running. They are poetry in motion--especially during the final lap of their races.

    6. Women's Wrestling
    Carol Huynh marked the turning point for Canada with our first gold. Enough said.

    5. Athletics - Mens Marathon
    Sammy Wanjiru raced 'suicidal' from the gun, turning the marathon into a true race of attrition, and almost knocking off 3 minutes off the Olympic marathon record.

    4. Swimming - Mens 100m Fly
    The magical touch of Phelps in the 100m butterfly final that kept his impossible dream alive. But even more impressive, is that he won gold in this event AND the 400IM. I believe that is a double that will never be repeated--unless from Phelps himself. I dare say it is the equivalent of winning gold on the track in both the 400m hurdles and the 1500.

    3. Triathlon - Mens Olympic Triathlon
    This was tough for me to not pick this finish as #1. But the 2 below are so special is has left me to place this as my 3rd pick. I was fortunate to watch Simon win Gold in Sydney with the 500 000 others that lined the course. In was one of the most inspiring days of my life. I hung from a tree with a Canadian Flag wrapped around as a cape. I almost fell out of the tree cheering Simon on, as he was 5m behind the German and less than 400m from the finish line. 8 years later the roles were reversed and German Jan Frodena won gold over Simon in another Olympic triathlon finish for the ages. Another example of Simon thrilling a nation and showing what champions are made of. The National Post featured this story about courage and possibility. Read it, and then read it again.

    2. Athletics - Mens 200m
    I was fortunate to be in the stands when Micheal Johnson demolished the 200m record at the 1996 Olympic Games. My family and I were amongst 90 0000 others who all knew that we just witnessed something truly special. Since then, I have always felt that MJ's 19.32 was the greatest WR in all of sports. It was a "Beamonesque" performance that I thought would last another generation. It took only 12 years for a lightning Bolt to fly through the Bird's Nest and cover 200m (in a 0.9m/s head wind!) in 19.30. Bolt cemented himself as the athletics star of the Games and one of the greastest single performances in the history of the Olympics.

    1. Swiming - Mens 4x100 Free Relay
    This may have been the greatest relay in the history of sport. Eamon Sullivan lead off for the Aussies in 47.24. That was good enough to break the WR for the 100m free. Phelps lead off for the Americans in a fantastic 47.51--he was expected to be further behind.

    Only the lead-off leg is eligible to break the WR. A great relay exchange can provide about 7-10's of a second advantage. Alain Bernard (the WR holder from France before this relay race started) was first into the water going into the final leg. Jason Lezak had the impossible task to keep Phelps's impossible dream alive. Bernard swam a blistering 46.73 seconds. However, he made a major tactical error of swimming against the lane rope, allowing Lezak to maximize his draft. In the final 10m, Lezak somehow found a way to slingshot by Bernard at the finish to steal the gold and keep Phelps's dream alive. Lezak's split of 46.06 will forever be the stuff of legend--and this relay race will certainly be reflected on for all of time. How did the Americans do it? Check out this video to read an analysis of the splits.

    If you are still reading, you deserve to be in this list for your perseverance. Those were my Top 10. What were yours?

Monday, August 25, 2008

PTC Year in Review

CoachCT created and posted this video on the Provincial Triathlon Centre blog. The PTC has been in operation for almost one year now. I am very fortunate to live only 3k away from the best high performance triathlon training base in Ontario. The facility, coaching, sparring partners, and endless running trails and paved rolling terrain, have all been instrumental in making the past year of training and racing a great success. Most importantly, I have been having a blast.

"If you build it, they will come". I look forward to future training at the PTC and know that it will continue to grow and develop many of the top junior and elite triathletes in Canada.

Team LPC In Action

Here are a few random picks of Team LPC this summer:

Tim Zippel having blast in the pouring rain at IMUSA
Tim completing his first Ironman

Rob Tranter(minator) taking 4th in the 800m at the Provincial Track & Field Champs

Miro Tot on the tready at Loaring Physio.

Charlotte Loaring, Ralph Iannitelli, and Jane MacLeod before the weekly Thursday "Chooch" bike ride.

Coach James, Janet Sharratt, and Max cheering on Brian, Prefontaine, Shauna, Helen, Rob, and Margaret; at the Guelph Lake Triathlon.

Bre, and Mav, and baby Loaring, all exhausted after a big day of cheering.

Kona Shelley and Rocket Robbo at the Chatham Bull Dog Tri.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

LPC August e-News

It has been a busy month for Team LPC. Click the logo below to view the LPC August e-Newsletter.