Race Day Countdown

By Angela Lilly

Here we are! You’ve had months of planning, training, learning, nutrition consumption and hopefully, great race day experiences in your blood. As soon as I wake up one week from race day, it’s called “race day countdown”.  We have many challenges, juggling family, career and triathlon training. Here’s some tips for this week.

  1. Get your gear ready now; make sure everything is working as it needs to and do this when you have the time.
  2. Make paper lists; write down what needs to happen every day this week as well as lists for Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if needed) by the hour.
  3. Plan your nutrition liquid and food; whatever it is, stash it at home and make sure you, nor anyone else, consumes it. Nothing worse than packing Friday night and your gel isn’t where you left it.
  4. I like to take my “race gear” out for a test run; everything from the wet suit to the bike with race wheels and whatever you are going to carry for nutrition to even my race day shoes carrying whatever nutrition I am planning to use. It just helps for race day when you are dumping out your bag at T2 and need to get dressed in seconds.
  5. Take care of yourself; you should have more time daily so fill that with “to do items” that are off your feet. I like to use my TP massage roller more and just sit on the floor and stretch while chatting with the kids and paying attention to our dog after school.
  6. Sleep and rest; I’ve set myself a firm bed-time and let those around you know what time this is. Open communication with my husband and kids let’s them know when I’m “on” and “off” duty. They are wonderfully supportive when they know.
  7. Pack the extras in a separate bag; I know what I’m going to race in BUT if it’s cold on Sunday then I might need something to keep my toes or fingers warm prior to the start or during the race. I like to keep all that packed in a separate bag so I’m prepared if I need it, but right now in my planning, I’m not counting on it.
  8. Independent support crew; Team Lilly is ready and with their experience, will rock out their race day with their plan just like I will with mine. If your goal on Sunday is more competitive, let them do their own thing and you do yours. If it’s less competitive, experience every hour together. There is a lot to do between the athlete meeting on Saturday right through to the awards presentations Sunday afternoon. They want you to be your best so go do it.

How to be a Student Athlete

I recently finished 6 years of school completing my undergraduate degree and post-graduate degree.  Training for triathlon can be tough for anyone. School is a time for finding yourself and there are so many opportunities. I am going to lay out some tips on how to train for triathlon during the post-secondary school year.

  1. Always have your training gear with you. You can always squeeze a workout in for a study break or between classes. I found myself swimming between classes when I was not swimming for my varsity team.
  2. Join a varsity team. If you feel confident in one of the sports, joining a varsity team can help you improve that sport and also help you meet like minded people.
  3. Pack your meals!! I can’t say this enough. When training, you need to be prepared to have good food ready. This is especially true if you plan to swim in the morning, have a full day of class and then squeeze in another workout later.
  4. Studying on the trainer can kill two birds with one stone. I find myself looking over notes while doing easy spins. When you are time crunched it just makes sense.
  5. Try to become a morning person. University is tough in that respect because of classes all the time, but getting a workout done in the morning is one less thing to worry about.
  6. Sometimes you have to miss a workout and that’s okay. Sleep and school is important. If you have a big essay or mid-terms coming up just let it go and move on. Triathlon will always be there but school won’t.

Balancing triathlon and school is tough but very rewarding. I could not imagine not racing triathlon in university. I was able to train and race on the swim and cross country teams at my university, represent my school and country at the world university triathlon championships, and also keep myself healthy physically and mentally. Just remember, work hard but also realize it is okay to miss a few workouts!  Happy Training!

-Stevie Blankenship

Life will happen, so let it

By Dempsey Cruz

It’s hard to believe how quickly this race season has come and gone. I remember looking forward to another fun year of racing back in May, and it definitely feels like September arrived just like a blink of an eye. 

Being an age-group athlete has its challenges, mainly having to juggle my full time job, time with loved ones, and training. The last several months unfolded quite unpredictably, to say the least. I had such a solid, consistent pre-race training season that I dove into my first couple of races full of promises. Despite being strong enough to qualify for next year’s ITU Worlds, I had no idea what was coming my way. To share a few, I became a homeowner in June, suffered from a concussion in July, had my first DNF, and now have the honour of being my sister’s “Man of Honour” for her wedding at the end of this month.

All that said, life took over which impacted my training and performance for the rest of the season. I’m sure many of you can relate. 

Last weekend, MultiSport Canada hosted its final race of the season in Lakeside, one of my favourite venues of the series. Sure it was the standard du provincial championships but my goal was to have fun, cheer on fellow athletes on the course, and race without concerning myself with the numbers. It’s incredible how an intention can make you look up and around, instead of looking down at your gadgets.

The first thing I noticed was the scenic venue. It was a pleasure running on the lush trails and cycling surrounded with clear skies and acres of fresh farmlands. The next were the volunteers and spectators. They created a positive atmosphere for all athletes as they were all so happy to be there and encouraged athletes by their names. The energy was infectious, I couldn’t help but smile and have a great time!

Most importantly, there were so many athletes rooting for each other. I heard my name being cheered for at least ten times from different athletes on the race course. There’s a general realization that we’re all in it together, not against each other. This is the type of friendly atmosphere that so uniquely defines MultiSport Canada.

What I love most about the amazing team at MultiSport Canada is the focus put on the athlete experience and the celebration of diversity in the community. At every race, they make a genuine effort to recognize athletes of all ages from all walks of life such as first timers, and first responders. They also do their very best to make every race as fun and safe as possible for all athletes. More than ever this year, I was constantly reminded of why I’m such a huge advocate for MultiSport Canada. I’m thankful to be part of a community that is so inclusive and welcoming.

There is a place for everyone.

Preparing for the Swim in the Pool

Race Simulation Pool Workouts to Prepare for the Swim
Created by: Stevie Blankenship

For many of us busy athletes it can be hard to get to the pool, but also, getting to swim open water safely can be a hassle as it is sometimes hard to sync up times to swim with other swimmers, throughout the summer it starts to get dark earlier, and sometimes a pool simulation workout can be a better choice overall compared to open water! I am going to give you 4 different workouts to get ready for different swim distances.

Sprint Triathlon:
Warm up:
200-800 choice
4×50 as fast/easy by 25

Main set:
2-4x(50 fast! On :10 sec rest, 3×100 on :15 seconds rest at race pace effort, 200 easy on 1:00 rest)

Cool down:
200-400 paddle pull
100 choice

Olympic Triathlon
Warm up:
200-800 choice
4×50 as fast/easy by 25

2-4x(100 fast! On :10 rest, 400 at race pace, 200 easy on 1:00 rest)

Cool down:
200-400 pull paddles
100 choice

Half Distance:
Warm up:
200 choice
Main set:
1000 at race pace, :30 rest, 500 pull paddles, :30 rest, 500 slightly faster

Cool down:
200-400 choice

Full Distance:
Warm up:
200 choice

Main set:
4x 1000 on 1:00 rest 2 and 3 as pull paddles all at race pace

Cool down:
200 choice

These are all great workouts to get ready for your specific distance. To add more to the simulation, try to find someone that is a similar speed and spend time taking turns drafting each other!

Happy Training!

Training and Racing Old School

By Tim Doris

As I prepared to go for one of my lunch hour runs at the end of June. As on all my runs I would periodically glance at my wrist looking for the data that would appear, my pace, heart rate and distance travelled so far. But on this particular day my watch screen was blank. Oh well just keep running and when I get back to school I will try to fix it. The next 60 minutes running one of my favorite routes was pure joy with nothing to gauge my progress except for the sound of my own breath.

Once back at school, several attempts to reboot my watch and even with a trip to a local sporting goods store after school it was clear my watch was done. If this had happened a year ago I would have just run out and bought a new one. But for some reason I thought of this as an opportunity to train and race a little different. So I decided this summer racing season I would not rely on electronics to help me train or race. I found an old watch in my closet that I used only as a time piece so I knew at least the time of day.

So I began to do something that I had already been practicing for the last 10 years and that was listening to my body to tell me how and when to train. I have to admit at first it took some getting use to, lying in my bed a little longer to check my heart rate before getting up in the morning and at night before falling asleep, and making sure that that the alarm was set for my morning workouts.

It was one thing to train this way which I was really enjoying instead of pouring over all the data at my fingertips, but I wasn’t sure how this would work while racing.

So off to Welland I went for the first race of the Multisport Canada Triathlon Series to participate in the sprint duathlon. A lot of familiar faces where on the start line so when the horn sounded for the race to start and once the initial opening nervous sprint off the line was over it didn’t take long to find a pace bunny for the first 2.5 km run. I fell into a comfortable pace behind a group of 3 individuals and just waited to see what would happen at the turn around. As expected one of the threesome dropped off the front so I just continued to hold my pace into the transition and then out onto the bike.

The changes to the Welland bike course meant that I would be able to see all of the other racers in my age group constantly for the 20 kilometers. Again without my bike computer working I had to measure my speed by perceived exertion and off of the other athletes on the course. Well by the start of the second lap, I was riding literally right behind one of my age group competitors and decided that if I kept in close proximity to him then coming out of transition onto the final run I would be in good shape.

Back into the transition area I went only a few steps behind my competition, bike racked, running shoes back on and then out for the final 5km. Immediately I could tell the pace was a little quicker than the first run but I was feeling okay. I ran up behind my bike buddy and stayed a step or two behind him for the first 2.5 km. Then for the last lap I ran up onto his shoulder and there I stayed until the 4 km mark at which point I decided to use the water station as my spot to pull away. With runners coming in both directions there was just enough space for me to run down the center and open up a little gap. Then a series of 4 short burst of about 100meters and finally seeing the finish shoot was all that was needed for me to get to the end.

Once back from Welland and looking at the results on the Sportstats website I was able to see my results and pace for the run and bike segments of the race. This gave me a great indication of where my fitness was and also if my new old school training was paying off and it was. I finished 4th overall and won my age group.

I continued to go old school at MSC Gravenhurst and MSC Kingston. Making the overall podium and age group wins in the sprint duathlon events.

This may not be the best way to train or race for everyone but for me it was a welcome change. I am planning on purchasing a new watch but I haven’t decided on which model or brand yet. For anyone new to multisport racing you don’t need all the fancy gadgets to help you train and race, you just need to listen to your body, eat well, get lots of sleep, and if you have aches and pains know that it is okay to take a day off.

Tim Doris Radio Interview

Give Them Opportunities and Watch Them Grow

Sunday, July 14th, 2019 marked my return to Gravenhurst to compete in the Multsport Canada Triathlon Series Sprint Duathlon. When I first competed in Gravenhurst in 2016, I made the trek up to the Muskoka area solo as I was unfamiliar with the race course, venue and a little inexperienced with the steps and procedures  to follow on race morning ( even after using the MSC website to read all the prerace information)!

It became clear as soon as I arrived that MSC goes out of their way to provide the racer with an easy to navigate registration process so that every athlete can have a positive race experience from start to finish. Racing in Gravenhurst also provides me with an opportunity to share my love for multisport racing with my kids. Since 2017, I have brought at least one of my three children to volunteer at the event.

This year due to sports commintments only my middle child Emerson was able to come with me, but we agreed that he could bring a friend along with him (Will) from his soccer team. On the way up on Saturday evening, I was listening to the conversation in the back seat of the car. Emerson was explaining some of the jobs that they would do in the morning with extreme detail and care! When we arrived on course the boys were put in charge of timing chips and I was able to help out until it was time for me to begin my warm up before the sprint duathlon start. They were given their instructions and immediately began to have athletes coming to claim their chips. They were confident and polite explaining where the timing chips should be worn for new racers and also wishing everyone good luck. Knowing that they were in the capable hands of the MSC team, I said my goodbyes and got ready to race.

Once again I ran into the finishing chute to see my son and friend busy at work taking timing chips and handing out finishers medals. I introduced the boys to a number of athletes and sponsors that I am happy to call friends.

Of course the highlight for the boys is the free pizza lunch and volunteer t-shirts that they received. Once the medal ceremonies were over, it was time to pack the car and head for home. On the way home I heard all about the events of the morning that I missed while racing and of course how amazing the pizza was.

The boys told all their friends about the volunteer adventures. I have already  been approached by another  soccer parent from my sons team about bring their son along next year.

Volunteering at MSC races has been a great way for me to introduce my kids to multisport racing, become involved in supporting the races and also spend time making memories together.

So for anyone wanting to show their friends and family what multisport racing is all about, sign up to volunteer at one of the races. Those of you with high school aged kids, it is a great way to pick up some of your community service hours. Need some more information on the volunteer opportunities at an MSC race head over to the MSC website.

Tim Doris

A few skincare tips for tri-duathletes

As I am getting myself into the triathlon world, I am asked more and more to weight in my skincare expertise and figured I would take a moment to share a few tips relevant to triathlon and to all gender.

Pool chlorine, time under the sun cycling or running, along with sweating profusely can wreck a havoc and there are many things you can do to maintain healthy skin.

  1. Cleanse but do not strip your skin: I am not a fan of soap bars on the face simply because they are meant to bind and emulsify your skin oils and wash those down the drain. And yet, sebum is essential for pH balance and anti-again. Stripping it off will only get your skin to either overcompensate by producing more for what is lacking… and age your skin sooner. I strongly suggest looking for a cleanser with no harsh surfactant, Cream cleansers may not foam yet many provide great cleansing action without dehydrating the skin.
  2. Toner: Many skip that step. As your cleanser and water have different pH, you skin is meant to stay slightly acidic. Beware of alcohol astringent that dries your face even further and choose a product with slight amount of vitamin C, Citric acid or anything that acidic in order to have your skin at a favorable pH. Just be conscious if your skin is inflamed to have those diluted.
  3.  Moisturize like your life depend on it: Tapes and race tattoos might not stick on very well but always make sure that once showered you use a good moisturizer. For  your skin to be quenched and nourish, your body might require a different moisturizer than your face. A reminder that if your skin still feels dry after 10 minutes, you may need to apply. There are many options as to ointments, cream which are oil based and heavier or lotion which contain more water which is also necessary to skin health. If you are prone to break outs, remember that NOT moisturizing will make it worst. Try to find a lighter lotion (often with more water than oil) for  your skin type.

A note about SPF: A reminder that the efficiency of skin protection lies in the reapplication so I would say you would be best with moisturizing and using an SPF on top for sun protection (as opposed to both in one). Broad spectrum protection with prevent burns from UVB and future wrinkle damage from UVAs from training under the sun.

Another reminder is that your moisturizer can do so much more once you scrub the dead skin cells off. A weekly scrub (pumice, coffee, salt or sugar based) can reveal wonders! Do not however scrub more than once a week as many of us will end up with more breakouts or raw skin.

  1. Lip balm: Because lips dry up too! A mild scrub or even a wet cloth can help in getting the dry skin. Once you have tackle the dry skin, make sure to prevent it by re-applying as often as you remember.
  2. Mask: A face AND a hair mask once weekly can do wonders especially when EVERYTHING is dry! Some mask will pull out impurities and some will add on moisture so be sure to select one that your skin or hair needs most. A hair mask or deep conditioner once weekly after the pool can help some of the damage from the chlorine.
  3. One of the most important rules of it all… Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Because your skin needs moisture…from the inside out! Do not take your water intake for granted.

Once you have a new skin care routine, your skin might breakout in order to release impurities now that it has the chance to do so. A reminder to be patient and to wait 2-3 weeks before noticing results and to stay consistent all year long for long term benefits.

More skincare questions? I work as a Health and Beauty Advisor at Quarter Master Foods in London, ON and I can be messaged or catch us on social media! @quartermasterfoods


Open Water Swim Workouts with Andrew Bolton

2019 Kingston Long Course Triathlon Race Recap

I was very excited to be an event ambassador for the Kingston Triathlon, which sold out all its races for yet another year. I’ve visited Kingston for a kayak race several times and as a drive stopover on the way further eastward, but it would be my first time doing their triathlon. The historic City of Kingston offers a delightful array of small shops and waterfront parkettes, and brought a warm welcome to the athletes participating that day.

After spending a delightful night camped at Kingston Mills lock, I picked up a breakfast at Tim Hortons, drove downtown and parked three minutes away from Confederation Park. The beauty of smaller cities is the ample free street parking – try doing that in Toronto! I brought a volunteer who needed to hand out timing chips, so I had to drop by two hours before race start. Arriving early, while a good practice, also has the inadvertent effect of making me nervous. I spent a bit more time getting things prepared in the car before bringing everything over. The racks weren’t numbered so I picked a spot that was easy to mark from the swim exit and laid out my gear. Time inexplicably sped up, and before I knew it the pre-race announcements were on while I was trying to get my wetsuit on. Not much time for a warm-up swim!

The Swim: 2000m

I waded out into the warm waters for the in-water start, and then my wave was off! After 250m we made a sharp right turn and out for 750m. That buoy seemed so far away! I was having some difficulty with my wetsuit as it was uncomfortably tight around my neck. I had to undo the zipper a bit to breathe a bit better. After rounding the buoy, there were headwinds on the return portion. The chop of the water forced me to turn my head more skyward which wasn’t as hydrodynamic and certainly more awkward. Stripping out of the wetsuit to reveal my trisuit, the bike portion was next.

The Bike: 56.2km

This is the first time I’ve been in a race where there was an untimed neutral zone. This was because of construction and traffic on the roads leading to the Causeway Bridge. This allowed everyone a precious opportunity to relax, take in hydration and food, and mentally prep for the course ahead. The route had a few rolling hills and traffic was never an issue with key intersections protected by police officers. After the turnaround, it was the same route back, save for a short jog portion. That road led up quite a steep hill, though I was glad that we turned left just before that climb and joined back to the main road instead! Once again we went through the neutral zone, racked the bike and changed over to the run portion.

The Run: 15km

The run westward was lined with cheering spectators and athletes on the return back to the finish. The view along the Waterfront Pathway was quite scenic, and the weather was quite hot. I was secretly hoping that the route would detour into the lake for a refreshing dunk. Along the route the aid stations were manned by enthusiastic volunteers who handed out hydration and wet towels to cool off with. We continued past the infamous Kingston Penitentiary, marina, and around the hospital. The route went into Lake Ontario Park, where there was a dog obstacle course set up with dogs running everywhere. On the return portion, I saw an Ornge helicopter parked on the helipad. I’ve never seen one up so close before. At the finish I was greeted with more cheering spectators. A volunteer put a medal around my neck and handed me a snazzy black and yellow cap. Time for pizza!! I have to say that this race had a lot of crowd energy and I would definitely recommend it to new and seasoned triathletes alike.

Virgil Cheung

Reasons to race the K-Town Triathlon – Daniel Clarke