Ironman 70.3 Victoria - A Return to Long Course Racing

Victoria 70.3 - my first long course triathlon in 2 years, ongoing foot issues, and stress fractures having previously kept me sidelined. However, with an extremely conservative run program in place for 2017, I had made it to the start line, success! Time to dust off the cobwebs.

Swim

The swim is a single loop of Elk Lake, the race format being a rolling start. The water was 18 degrees making it feel (almost) warm, this is a lovely lake to swim in.

I swear my swim has improved, however, you wouldn’t know it by looking at that swim split. I have always struggled during mixed race starts with men, I find them to be far more aggressive, this time was no different. Being punched in the face and kicked in the stomach early on really threw me, I moved to the side, treaded water, calmed down, then set off again.

Feeling pretty grumpy I decided to swim solo, swim wide and swim the hell away from anyone else! On the plus side, the remaining swim was easy and calm, even if I did then come out of the water 'behind schedule.'

1.9km - 32:35 (6th Age Group)

Photo credit: David McColm

Photo credit: David McColm

Bike

The bike course is a single 90km loop on a closed bike course. Unfortunately, with many houses being situated on the race course the result was still cars on the course. I saw several close calls, but luckily no resulting crashes.

The temperature was only 9 degrees, brrr. I put on arm warmers under my wetsuit, toe covers on my shoes, a dry jersey on in transition, then gloves, and a wind vest in my back pockets as a backup. A good choice, I felt comfortable.

Setting off my bike was making a loud noise, the back wheel was rubbing on the brake, very badly. I realized I'd have to stop....
Stopped, got off the bike, re-seated the back wheel, checked the gears, got back on the bike again. No more noise, great, let’s go!

For anyone planning on racing this course in the future, I would advise pre-riding the bike course, I did not, nor did I drive it, that was my mistake. There are a lot of turns, many of which came as a total surprise! I did hear afterward several people went off course?! 

I didn’t feel especially cold, however, my body was revolting a little. All my nutrition I took in seemed determined to make a re-appearance, on a regular basis, then around 60km I began to cramp, badly in my right adductor and quad, unfortunatly this then stayed with me for the remainder of the race. 

70km in the course become a congested sea of age-group men. I find it near impossible to pass groups of men in a race situation, something happens to (many men's) egos once passed by a girl. Those men inevitably chase hard, back pass you, then sit up in front of you, tired from the extra effort of having just passed you again. I’m then stuck freewheeling behind them and hitting the brakes, this cycle then continues.

This, of course, does not apply to all men, just unfortunately in my experience a substantial enough amount to repeatedly impact my races, I know many other women also experience this. The remaining 20km into T2 was an exercise in frustration for myself and the 3 other women near me, who were also caught in this. 

Not exactly a picnic out on the bike, but into transition in one piece!

90.1 km - 2:41:22 (1st Age Group)


Run

My run training for 2017 has been very conservative. No high volume, no speedwork and no back-to-back run days. The entirety being steady z1-2 endurance. I am (fingers crossed) currently injury free, minus a few minor feet issues.

The run course is 2 loops around Elk lake, rolling, all on trails.
Rushing out onto the run I had forgotten to take off my bike jersey and arm warmers. My jersey pockets also stuffed full of gloves, wind vest and gels, whoops! I managed to finally deposit them all on the second lap.

I was hoping the cramps from the bike would ease up on the run. However, it was not to be, my right leg seizing so badly that I was forced to stop dead and do what can only be described as a bad 80s stretching routine.
Several minutes of this then I was back limping, walking, jogging then gingerly running again. The rest of my run was a delicate balance of trying not to cramp. On the plus side things had warmed up, I had warmed up and this meant all my nutrition I took in remained firmly in place!

So much of long course triathlon is a mental game, a ½ Ironman can be a long time to be alone with your thoughts, especially when having a bad day. I regrettably spent the majority of the day in a fairly negative headspace, which was a shame as i'd really been looking forward to returning to racing. I fully realize when writing this that one person's bad day is another persons terrible day, is another person's PB, so when reflecting on a race experience you can only do so from a personal perspective.

However, I was warmed by the great, positive energy of all the volunteers on the course. Every aid station someone had a kind word to say, which when I was not feeling good, was really appreciated.

21.2 km - 1:40:44 (1st Age Group)

Post finish line I left the race site immediately; race #2 was to get back and have time for a shower before our 12:30 pm Air Bnb checkout!

I didn’t know I'd placed until coach Bjorn texted me to let me know I was 1st in my Age Group. I’ll admit my first thought was that, that wasn't correct. However, I think several years of race experience and just slogging onwards, regardless of how my day played out had worked in my favour.

Total - 4:58:16 (1st Age Group)

Next up will be the ITU Aquabike World Championships in August, followed 2 weeks later by the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, where the women race on a seperate day to the men ;)
Before then I'll be working on my cramping issues and on gaining some better mental positivity! 

As always a huge thank you to my husband Darcy and to coach Bjorn & Steph, who were at the race site with us all weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running down the West Coast - A mini guide!

Hootsuite closed their offices over the holidays this year which gave me an unexpected, but very welcome 10 days off, thank you Ryan! We decided to take a road trip down the West Coast, through Washington & Oregon. The bikes were staying at home, so we were going to be on foot!
I’d been given some recommendations beforehand from friends; I’d also spent time researching runs and hikes. I thought afterward that I’d put together this mini run/hike guide, hopefully this will prove useful to someone else one day. 
This wasn’t about training, intervals or speed, none of that mattered. This was about getting outside, sightseeing, exploring and stopping to take photos. My husband is new to running, so while he didn’t join me for quite all of these, he was there for the most part, so we kept things easy and mixed up run-walks with hikes to prevent any injuries.

Seattle
The few times i've visited Seattle I've enjoyed running along the Elliot Bay Trail. It winds around the coast, is easy to reach from downtown and has some great views and sculptures! Garmin file here


Cannon Beach
Without a doubt the main attraction on Cannon Beach is the iconic Haystack rock; however, the beach itself is also great to run along. An out and back along the length of it nets you a little over 10km.
The winters can bring some spectacular storms, we got some strong 40km/hr+ headwinds the morning we were out. Garmin file here

tamasin reno


Yachats
We spent 2 nights in Yachats, it’s a really pretty little town. If you visit then don’t miss the fish & chips at the Luna Sea Fish House!
There’s a nice little coastal loop you can run around the town, on the Oregon Coast Trail. It winds around the neighbourhoods and also down onto the beach, where I then lost the trail, or maybe it ended! Garmin file here

tamasin reno


Cape Perpetua
Close to Yachats is Cape Perpetua, with a whole mix of great hiking trails and a very helpful visitor centre, with trail maps. We connected several trails together to make a 14km hike loop. This would however, also make a great trail run. Garmin file here
If you make it to Cape Perpetua be sure to also stop in at Devils Churn, especially at high tide. In the winter this can only be described as spectacular, but very violent!

tamasin reno


Siuslaw River
This run happened by accident! We had driven inland intending to do the Kentucky Falls Hike - which looks great, I plan to do this one day.
However, I hadn’t checked the elevation of the trailhead. With 12 miles still to go, seemingly all up we were now driving on a windy single track, on thick snow, with a sharp vertical drop off. We had snow tires on the Mini, but it was too bad to continue; we had to admit defeat and turn around.
We parked lower down and ran along the Siuslaw River, which was very pretty! Garmin file here


Dunes City - Oregon Dunes Overlook
The sand dunes stretch for over 40 miles! We stopped at the Oregon Dunes Overlook which is just south of Dunes City. If you’re short on time there’s a great viewing platform just a few steps from the car, or there are a number of hikes down into the dunes. We did a shorter hike through the dunes, out onto an amazing, but freezing beach Garmin file here

tamasin reno


Coos Bay
We spent just 16 hours in Coos Bay; I don’t want to offend anyone from there, but for us that was more than enough! If you do however, find yourself there in winter the holiday lights at the Shore Acres State Park are pretty; we didn’t find much else to do though.
I ran around the town in the morning before we left, it was an experience, I don’t think they’ve left the 1980’s yet! Garmin file here


Portland - Downtown
We were staying right downtown in Portland which meant we were on the doorstep for the Waterfront Park Trail. This is a great running spot, you can take in a short tour of some of the Portland bridges!
Next, cross over one of the bridges and join the Eastbank Esplanade which becomes the Springwater on the Willamette. This is a great out and back paved trail along the river, it goes on for miles! Garmin file here


Portland - Forest Park
A short 10 min drive from downtown Portland is Forest Park. It has some of the best trails I’ve ever run on. Having just finished the Wildwood trilogy I may have been a touch more excited than otherwise, however, the Wildwood Trail is amazing! Unfortunately I did not meet any talking animals that day... These trails extend for miles though, more than enough for a really long run day. Garmin file here


Eagle Creek - Near Portland
45 minutes from Portland is the Eagle Creek Trailhead. We had planned to do the longer Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls Hike. However, crazy winds, freezing temps and a lot of water eventually turned these trails into a solid ice skating rink. After I had done a few good Bambi impressions on the ice we were forced to turn around!
The day was not lost though, we did brave the winds and snow and managed the Eagle Creek Hike which had some spectacular views from the top! Garmin file here


This is obviously just the tip of the iceberg of what the West Coast has to offer. It was an amazing 10 days away; I look forward to future adventures exploring here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Peach Classic & the Kelowna Apple Sprint Triathlon

Continuing the theme of racing short and fast this year I’ve travelled to the Okanagan twice in the past month for the Peach Classic & the Kelowna Apple Triathlon.

Peach Classic Triathlon

First up was the Peach Classic which doubled as a qualifier for the 2016 Sprint World Championships in Mexico. The summer heat wave hadn’t let up; water temps were above 24 degrees, and so the race was declared a non-wetsuit swim.
Not having a swimming background I rely on my wetsuit for a good body position in the water and some ‘free speed.’ I reasoned however, the majority of other people would be in the same boat.
It was mass start, both male & female. I found a spot found near the front and the gun went off. The usual washing machine of a swim starts began, I found some feet to swim on, but shortly after was shoved off by a much larger guy. Figuring my chances of moving him were slim, I settled in behind, luckily 750m goes by pretty quickly!

Peach Classic Swim Start

Peach Classic Swim Start

I was out of the water in 6th, passed another 2 girls in transition and was onto the bike in 4th. The hilly bike course suited me and I’d passed another 2 girls by the top of the first hill putting me into second. Entering the first out and back section I saw the girl in the lead already leaving, I put her out of my mind and focused on enjoying the ride, the scenery there is amazing.
was surprised to catch the lead girl just 10 minutes later, I worked hard to put as much distance between her and myself as possible over the rest of the bike.

Peach Classic Bike

Peach Classic Bike

Coming into T2 I wasn’t paying attention, I went sailing over the dismount line, by quite a bit… Shouting, by officials, at me, a short time penalty and I was off again.
Shoes on and I was heading out of T2 when I heard Steve King announce the second woman in on the bike, time to get moving! The 5km run had a brutal hill, meaning at least 2km was UP UP UP, I tried to focus on keeping my head up and picking off a few guys ahead of me. The run was an out and back, meaning I could count how much of a cushion I had over second place at the turn, 90 seconds, not a lot, but hopefully enough!
The last 500m stretch seemed to take forever, my legs went to jello! I was so happy to see the finish line, with 1:11 on the clock. This was good enough to take the win and grab a spot to sprint worlds in Mexico. For 2016 this will be draft legal, so that should be interesting!

Peach Classic Finish Line

Peach Classic Finish Line


Kelowna Apple Triathlon

Next up was the Apple; I headed to Kelowna with my good friends Sara & Amy, looking forward to a girls weekend away.
We were hoping for some beach time after the race but a fire in Washington and changing winds brought in a lot of smoke overnight. We awoke to thick, heavy air, the smell of bonfires and an extreme air quality warning, our bikes covered in a fine layer of ash.
The race went ahead, but several people chose to withdraw. I took my inhaler twice, crossed my fingers and hoped that the race was short enough that the smoke wouldn’t get to me.

I have yet to make it to a race without forgetting something, this time was no different. As we walked over for body marking I realized everything seemed very blurry, I’d forgotten my contact lenses!
Luckily Amy’s race was a few hours later and she was able to dash back and grab them for me, then we used her phone camera as a mirror so I could quickly shove them in.

Women 20-34 started in a single swim wave with women 35-39 starting 5 minutes behind. For me having moved into 35-39 category this year that was a disadvantage. I was not getting a swim start with the younger faster girls, in the one portion of the race where drafting is legal. I got my wetsuit on, warmed up and the gun went off for our small wave. I swam 50 strong strokes, looked around, but no one was with me…
I swam hard, but solo, encountering a lot of the slower women from the wave ahead, the second half of the course became very congested. For me it wasn’t a great swim, I came out of the water a minute behind where I’d like to have been, expending a lot of energy.

A quick T1 and onto the bike where I headed up Knox mountain on what felt like some very dead legs, too much kicking in the swim!
However, the Apple is a fast bike course and my legs came around for the second lap. Down the last stretch of the bike I was aware of a strange wheezing noise that I realized was in fact my breathing, damn that smoke...
I came into T2 holding just over a 36km/hr for the bike, good enough to also snag a few Strava QOM's. I saw some of the faster girls from the wave ahead already heading out onto the run. Panic set in, I had to then remind myself i’d set off in a wave 5 minutes behind them, not with them, I had time…

I set off running at a decent pace, my lungs holding up. However, 3km into the run I was struggling, I had to slow down, and focus on breathing evenly. I ran a steady last 2km coming into the finish with a 20:19 run for a 1:09 overall time.
A short wait for the results and then confirmation I had been just fast enough to take the overall win! Happy!

First 5 women across the line

First 5 women across the line

Top Overall Male and Female

Top Overall Male and Female

Today I sound like a 60 year old 2 pack a day smoker, but my lungs will bounce back!  So ends a fast and fun triathlon race season for 2015; I’m looking forward to some off-season cyclocross and running races though fall and winter!

Team Ossenbrink representing with a 1st & 4th Overall

Team Ossenbrink representing with a 1st & 4th Overall

Trading Endurance for Fast Twitch - Vancouver Sprint Triathlon.

Since I first began racing Triathlon 3 years ago i’ve always focused on long course and endurance; it’s been a good fit.
However, with increased work commitments and less time to train I decided to switch gears this summer and race short, temporarily trading in my endurance in the hope of discovering some fast twitch muscles and short course speed.
First up was the Vancouver Sprint Triathlon, my ‘test run’ before the Peach Sprint a few weeks later that was a qualifier for 2016 worlds in Mexico.
Anyone living in BC knows just how dry it’s been this year and with that came many forest fires. I awoke on the morning of the Vancouver Triathlon to find the skies thick with heavy smoke, stunning to look at but Vancouver smelled very much like a bonfire and our poor air quality rivalled that of Beijing.

tamasin reno

My friend Sara was also racing, this was her first Triathlon! Canada’s National Duathlon Champion comes over to the dark side, haha!
Race prep done, inhaler located and fast forward to the gun going off; I got a good start, pushed hard and kept up to some of the front girls.
However, within 300m we’d begun to catch the back of the men's field and it became a game of weaving around them. While passing one guy he grabbed onto the back of my wetsuit, I tried to keep swimming but he wouldn’t let go and I had to kick him fairly hard, I was not impressed.
Choppy water and current aside the rest of the swim was thankfully less eventful; I came out of the water in 4th, 11:39 for the 750m with a pace of 1:33/100m, faster than i’ve swum before, which was great.

Moving quickly through T1 I went to then hop onto my bike, but another man set off near me, swerved, weaved around, and fell into me...!
I was kind of grumpy by that point and it was a pretty congested bike course, so I found myself repeatedly shouting ‘on your left’ as I tried to pass by the guys, I think they even caught this in my race photo. As I learned the following Monday one guy i’d been shouting ‘on your left’ at particularly loudly turned out to be a co-worker at my new company Hootsuite, whoops!
I’d been battling some stomach issues in the lead up to this race so that kept things interesting as I found out pretty quickly that anything I tried to take in came straight back up again, so I realized best just not to try and drink anything at all.

tamasin reno

Coming through into T2 I made the mistake of undoing my helmet strap before racking my bike and had to serve a short time penalty.
Penalty served and out of T2 I ran, forgetting to do my shoes up, so I had to stop again, and finally off... I had passed the remaining 3 girls on the bike, but hadn't realized so at the time.

tamasin reno

The run was a straight out and back, with a long finishing stretch in the sand; this certainly made it more amusing for the spectators, albeit more painful for the racers. Kudos to one girl who we saw really attack the sand pit, sprinting through and bursting over the finish line before of course vomiting!

tamasin reno

I finished the 5k run in 19:53 for a total time of 1:09 which was good enough for the overall win. Sara had an amazing first Tri finishing 8th overall. It’s certainly a very different feeling to racing long course and a very different race!


Ironman 70.3 Victoria - a racing vacation.

Early this year I mapped out my 2015 races; so far things have not gone to plan, but when do they ever really!?
I started by clocking up 3 DNS (did not start) at various running races due to sickness or re-surfacing injuries, my body just not wanting to co-operate.

I had signed up early for Ironman 70.3 Victoria, initially intent on getting a spot to 70.3 worlds in Austria.
However, in April a new career opportunity presented itself and I left Vision Critical for a role as a UX/UI Designer at Hootsuite.
This was an exciting and challenging career move for me, but I quickly found it taking nearly all my attention and focus. A friend posted this pic a few days ago, it seemed pretty accurate ;)

Fast forward into 70.3 Victoria race week; I was feeling mentally unprepared to race, my mind was elsewhere and I somewhat regretted signing up.
Coach Bjorn assured me I would be fine, we decided to call this a long training day with ‘just go and have fun out there,’ as the only plan, so no pressure.
We booked a great little Air B&B in Victoria at the last minute and I stocked up on my usual assortment of odd pre-race food; this became as much about a mini vacation as it did a race.

Pre Race Food

Race morning arrived and with ‘go have fun’ in mind I found myself bizarrely with no pre-race nerves. The early 6:15am race start was a little cruel but it was a wave swim start meaning age groups started 3 minutes apart vs a mass start of all 1700 athletes. Starting with only the 119 women in my age group meant it was going to be a pretty calm start vs. the usual ‘human washing machine.’ Coach Bjorn was on site to help us into wetsuits, which was greatly appreciated. I’m around 10lbs heavier than when I last wore my wetsuit in China at Worlds (and it was tight back then) so it made for some uncomfortable squeezing! Darcy likes to use the term ‘fat sausage’ ;)

So the gun went off and 3 women quickly pulled away, I pushed hard to follow them. However, 300m in it was clear their pace wasn’t letting up and I didn’t think I could swim that fast. I looked to the right and saw 4 other girls a short way behind. I decided to drop off and swim easier till they passed and I then hopped on behind them.
Sighting into the rising sun was brutal and the constant obstacles of slower swimmers we’d catch from waves ahead of ours kept things interesting. I decided to assume the other 4 girls would do a good job of navigating so I stopped sighting and just cruised along behind them.
As I wasn’t sighting the swim exit actually came a lot sooner than I was expecting (bonus!) and I finished the 1.9km swim in 32mins, sitting in 8th place.
Thanks to a tip from Nathan to spray Tri Glide on the outside of my wetsuit it amazingly came right off in T1 vs. my usual fighting and stamping it onto the ground with it stuck around my ankles!

Heading out of T1 onto a congested bike course reminded me of a soggy GranFondo, but on TT bikes! I rode the first 25km fairly aggressively to get clear of the crowds, then I had an open road.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to ride my bike and this was a pretty fun course to zoom around on, rolling hills, wide turns, fun descents and nothing too technical.

Tamasin Reno

Shortly after my teammate Shelly caught up to me and we joked about this being more like a training ride!
For the first time ever I actually spent the majority of the bike in my aero bars. I think worrying about lost power trumped fear this time around. I was determined to gain back lost time by staying aero even through descents and roundabouts! Zoom, zoom...
The bike passed pretty quickly and I even got a wave from Darcy who was riding the course backwards.
I kept up a comfortable tempo and rolled into T2 with a ride time of 2:36 for 88km. I didn’t know it at the time but I’d passed another 6 girls and was now in 2nd.
The funny thing about racing age group triathlon is you quite often have no idea how you’re doing relative to the rest of the field until it’s all over.

I hopped off my bike and ran into T2 to where I ‘thought’ my running shoes were, no shoes… Of course I’d run down the wrong aisle and then totally lost my bearings. I began reading race numbers and ducking under barriers with my bike, finally locating my shoes!
Shoes on, sunglasses on, let’s go running! The course was 2 loops around the lake, rolling trails, mostly shaded and with a pretty good breeze.
It always takes about 3km before my legs click into gear, they feel like lead, I’d prefer to sit down and eat chips, I could just stop, but I’m not really going to, but I want to, ok, off we go, keep running…

tamasin reno

I’d lost Shelly on the bike but she caught up to me again 5km into the run. This was a good thing as I was trotting along with my mind wandering, I was thinking about eating burgers and fries post race; she kicked me into gear and we ran together for a bit.

I’ve never mastered picking up the little cups from the aid station and drinking them while still running, but I also never want to stop. Apologies to a few of the volunteers who I tried (and failed) to grab cups off as I’m pretty sure I covered them as well as myself in Gatorade & Coke. Of the cups I did manage to grab the majority of it went over me. As the run progressed I became a sticky, moving wasp magnet.

By about 18km in I was getting tired but I’d had a really relaxed day out there. I finished off the 21km run in 1:36, staying in 2nd with an overall finishing time of 4:47.  Melindi Elmore the Canadian Olympic runner won my age group, so I was happy with 2nd!

So this certainly wasn’t my fastest race, but I finished feeling good with some gas in the tank also knowing I could have pushed harder throughout the day. However, I had a lot of fun and was reminded that I really do enjoy racing, I can just go and enjoy myself and then drink beer after with Darcy to recover :)

tamasin reno

I decided against taking a spot to worlds this year, I’d like to go in 2016 but for now i’m looking at a revised more mentally manageable plan for myself for the remainder of 2015. Next up i’ll be racing my first ever 5k at the Scotiabank Vancouver 5km on June 28th, it has a more sociable start time ;)

tamasin reno

Team Ossenbrink - New Kit Design for 2015

Last weekend we were in Kelowna for the Team Ossenbrink Easter training camp, 3.5 days of sunny, but cold training. We covered many miles, with a lot of climbing, including a trip up to Big White where it’s still full-on ski season! Coach Bjorn snapped this just as I was leaving for the long descent back down.

tamasin reno

Coming back with a low immune system into a crowded office and a busy work week meant I inevitably got sick. The up-side of this forced week off training was it gave me time to help coach Bjorn with the new team kit design.

Bjorn already had some defined design ideas, including a sketch with notes and even colour choices; this really helped streamline the process for both of us, I just had to help bring his designs to life!

I initially mocked the design up true to the sketch; however, we found on review that the solid alternating blue/pink barcode segmented the space too much from top to bottom.
I suggested thinning the bars a little, introducing some white to tie back to the white arm and letting some of the black background show through. The intention here was to better tie the top and bottom of the design together, as one complete piece.

Aside from another few small tweaks we were then able to stay true to Bjorn's original design idea.

Team Ossenbrink, Tamasin Reno

Champion System will use this design to translate across to the other pieces and I’m looking forward to some sharp new kit for the 2015 race season! 
Next up for me is some more rest followed by the Sun Run 10km next weekend, which is one of the largest road races in North America.

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modo spring run-off

This past Sunday it was time to dust off the racing cobwebs and build some running speed by entering an 8km road race; this was my shortest race to date.

Juggling three sports as a triathlete (not to mention a full time job) can sometimes be challenging! I’d had a mostly cycling-focused training camp in Tucson, which was great, but now running was on the cards.

It was a mostly flat course around the seawall ending with a final brutal km uphill! Being a part of the Canadian Running series (with some good prize money on the line) it inevitably attracted some speedy elite runners.

The gun went off and I set off like a dog chasing a stick, trying to keep up with some of them, logic did not prevail!
I came through the 1st (mostly downhill) km at around 3:30 but was still holding that pace at 2km. Unfortunately that’s too fast for me right now; I suspected I’d be in trouble later on.

Had this been a 5km race I’d have nailed it, unfortunately it was not… Sure enough I hit a pretty good wall at 6km; my legs felt like blocks of cement.

At this point I began to eat humble pie. I had clearly paced this horribly and was now left with the only available option, ‘run as fast as you think you still can without puking’… This however, was drastically slower than my earlier ‘run as fast as you can, like a dog chasing a stick.’

Fortunately I managed to stave off dry heaving until shortly after the finish line, apologies to anyone who was standing near me at the time.

So, a new race distance, a new learning experience and some good feedback from coach Bjorn about having the guts to test and find my limits, albeit the hard way. I came in with an official chip time of 31:48; I can never remember to stop my watch right at the line! 

tamasin reno

It was good enough for 12th place overall women (1st non-elite runner) and 3rd place age group (30-34).
I’m not usually as happy with a result like that but when the winner of my age group was Lanni Marchant (the current Canadian marathon record holder) then I really have no complaints!
She ran amazingly fast and was out of sight almost immediately; it was cool to have at least started a race near her.

I also got to catch up with my friend Gen who was back racing for the first time since the birth of her son Xavier 5 weeks ago. She ran a fantastic race, also coming 3rd in her age group!

Next up is the Team Ossenbrink 4 day training camp in Kelowna over Easter, fingers crossed for semi-warm weather and no rain.


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Tucson Traincation

Recently a small group of us escaped the slightly colder sunshine of Vancouver for 9 days of winter training in the slightly warmer sunshine of Tucson. Wait, what?! Yes Vancouver was sunny the entire time we were away; in fact I think Tucson had more rain…

We rented a small house on Air B&B. Our lovely host Lee met us the first night to answer any questions we had, have a glass of wine and suggest some fun non-cycling activities.
We quickly overtook his entire house with 4 bikes, multiple rollers, massage sticks, electrolyte powders, gels, recovery powders and a monster amount of food from Trader Joes in preparation for the days ahead.

I had made the assumption I’d be given a rest day from my coach during this trip; a few text messages assured me this was not in his original plan but that I could book them off myself! Perfect, two ½ days booked off in TrainingPeaks to play tourist and ‘only’ a 2hr run scheduled for those days, full training days otherwise.

Over 9 days I clocked up 36 hours of solid training; 1.5hrs of swimming, 27hrs of cycling, and 7.5hrs of running.

There’s a good reason a lot of PROs spend their winter here, aside from the dry climate and sunshine the riding here is pretty hard to beat. For anyone thinking of riding here check out this site listing the Top 10 best rides in Tucson.
We had a solid first week of training; nearly all of us avoiding the rain and hail that occasionally passed through. Darcy met his match one day getting hailed on while 8000ft up Lemmon. I was not sorry to have missed that one as he deemed it ‘the worst ride of my life’ and ‘crashing would have been better’…

Our non-training highlight was definitely an afternoon spent in Tombstone, a town just over an hour outside of Tucson. Tombstone was one of the last wide-open frontier boomtowns in the American Old West and is best known as the site of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. We got to watch Sara in a western style gunfight, drink cheap $2 beer and watch a comedy western. It’s debatable what was funniest, the comedy western itself or several extremely drunken audience members intent on participating!

Tombstone, Arizona

For anyone who likes to run and hike Sabino Canyon is an amazing place. I had a great run there one day along Bear Canyon trail. This passes a giant water pool shown in the photos below, well worth a visit!

tamasin reno

Two rides I really didn’t want to miss out on while here were the Tucson Shootout and a climb (or maybe two) of Mt.Lemmon.

The shootout happens every Saturday; it is Tucson’s oldest and most famous group ride. During the winter PRO cyclists and triathletes ride it for fast tempo training; it’s essentially a 100km un-sanctioned race.
For us this was day 8. I rolled out of bed pretty cracked, non-verbal and unsure if my legs had anything left in them.
Roughly 60 cyclists rolled out from Starbucks on Euclid at 7am. More joined and the group quickly swelled to well over 100 within a few miles; I only counted 7 women on the ride that day.
The first 10 miles roll out at a somewhat mellow pace with an entire side of the road overtaken by cyclists and some jostling for position. I made sure to stay near the front in the hope of not being instantly dropped and looked around at some very fast riders!
Once you cross Valencia at the edge of the city it’s ‘game on,’ the pace ups pretty dramatically and then it was a case of, ‘how long can I hold on for?’ Some time passed, I stuck on wheels moving around a bit, trying to hide from the wind.

At some point while I was sure I was still pedaling I appeared to be going backwards and a little later I was unceremoniously dropped! I ended up in a chase group that built to around 30 riders.
I had briefly looked at the shootout route before leaving, but when 8 guys in front of me made a right turn (there are no right turns on the shootout) for some unknown reason I turned with them!

I knew I’d well and truly left the shootout when a while later I saw the lead group from it pass us in the other direction.
It turns out the group I was now with were practicing the course for the next weekend’s road race, the Tucson Classic.
They set up a rotating paceline, into a brutal headwind. Frequently someone would attack and everyone would give chase.
I felt myself beginning to crack, I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t drinking and I had no idea where I now was. I was however, doing a good job of death gripping my handlebars and willing my legs to go harder.
Every time someone attacked I would count to 10 telling myself it would be just 10 really hard seconds then whoever would be caught; there was a lot of counting to 10!
I finally came to my senses, shoveled some food in, downed an entire bottle and then finally we reached the edges of the city again. At this point we joined with some of the juniors and the pace became more sedate.
I crawled home, lay on the floor, ate and showered. I went back to bed and I passed out, utterly exhausted. That was a hard 125km!

What better way then to spend that evening than by recovering at ‘The Roadhouse Cinemas.’ For $12 you can watch a movie in a lazyboy recliner complete with a full dinner service. You can even press a light next to you for service mid-movie! One word, amazing… 

The following day, day 9 a climb to the top of Mt. Lemmon was scheduled! Mt. Lemmon, aptly described; ‘If you love to climb and descend this is the ride for you!’
There’s 40km of gradual climbing at a 4-6% grade, ending with an optional leg-busting final climb to the observatory, pitching up to 12%. There’s 7639 feet of climbing to the observatory.
 
Given that I’d been awake the night previously with quad cramping I wasn’t too hopeful. However, I set off a little cockily thinking, ‘oh this will be fine.’
A few days previously we’d done a slightly shorter climb of Lemmon to the cookie cabin, then I’d felt pretty good, this was just adding another 800ft to that, on some very tired legs!

 I felt pretty decent till about 2hrs in when I pushed hard and hit a total wall; shoveling in extra gels did not help, I just then felt extremely sick. You know you’ve really started reaching your limits when you start thinking such crazy thoughts as ‘at least if I crashed I could rest,’ the side of the road had never looked so inviting!
Lemmon also has helpful mile markers; they let you know how far from the top you are, wow do those mile markers ever go by slowly when you’re having a tough day…
Those final few steep minutes on compacted snowy roads up to the observatory really tested both Darcy and I and there was definitely some swearing (Darcy)
I’m usually not a fan of descending but Lemmon’s wide roads and swooping turns make this a delight, especially as at that point you’re done and going down. You can happily pedal with no need to touch the brakes!

tamasin reno

Our second ½ day tourist foray saw Darcy and I making a run for Mexico! We parked on the US side, crossed the border on foot and spent a few hours in Nogales, Mexico.
A sign of the failing medical system in the US was evident by the wealth of dental clinics, pharmacies and even plastic surgeons in Nogales. Primarily however, people come here to shop. Not having any room in our suitcases we did nothing more than walk around. Our US border guard on re-entry left a little to be desired; despite talking with him in English and showing him my UK Passport he still thought I was Spanish!

We’re now back in Vancouver again and it’s been a rest week for me. Next up it’s time to start working on some leg speed and prep for some up coming running races!


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Racing Kits & Rainbow Kittens!

For 2014/15 I’ve had fun designing my friend Nathan’s race kit. It’s an opportunity for me to stretch into a somewhat unfamiliar design space, and Nathan is very easy to work with; thus allowing me a lot of creative freedom.

For anyone who hasn’t met Nathan, he’s anything but a shrinking violet! He has a vibrant personality and there’s never a dull moment when he’s around. I wanted to carry some of that vibrancy through into the designs, combined with a contemporary feel.

While vibrancy in a myriad of rainbow colours can sometimes equal pure awesomeness, I thought for Nathan’s kit we would rein it in, just a little. So no rainbow, butterfly, unicorn, kitten this time around, but one day.

I decided to use just a single vibrant colour, set against monotones. It was also important to reference that Nathan was Canadian.
The obvious choice would have been red but neither of us felt that worked in the context of the design and we settled on a very bright green. 
Instead I brought the Canadian connection through in a series of maple leaves, in monotone, combined with a couple of smaller bright green ones.

Sponsor Logos are always challenging; they can very quickly overtake a space visually. 
Nathan had a lot of logos to include and I wanted to avoid the myriad of rainbow colours that would arise from adding these in their original form. 
Luckily his sponsors were ok with colour modifications, and I was able to carry my original design intention throughout the piece unhindered.

So here we have the completed designs. For the bike kit I went with a slightly more retro feel for 2015, whereas the tri-suit remains unchanged from 2014 / 2015. 
So it looks like I’m going to have to find a way to sneak a rainbow kitten into my designs elsewhere, perhaps at work instead ;)

 

Tamasin Reno, Racing, Kit Design, Triathlon.

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In search of some winter motivation - the squat rack, my new frenemy?

Winter - short days, long nights, and if you live in Vancouver, that means lots of rain. Now in the summer I love this city, but right now looking out at yet another apocalyptic rainstorm it’s easy to feel a little like Eeyore.

eeyore, tamasin, winter, motivation

Motivationally I find this a tough time of year; Christmas holidays are over, training is ramping up, but race season still seems far away. Every morning the alarm goes off, it’s pitch black outside, and I fight the temptation to just hide back under the covers.

I’ll sometimes try to trick myself. I stand on the doorstep, pre-run, eyes closed, dumping rain and put this song on. This is usually accompanied by my inner voice shouting ‘MOVE, MOVE, MOVE,’ and off I trot, several seconds later I’m utterly soaked and (sometimes) cursing.

I’ve realized one thing that helps me is to set small, yet measurable goals, ones where I can see week-to-week progress. Previously that’s been through learning to swim and stroke improvement. This winter's focus is building strength, more specifically with my new ‘frenemy,’ the squat rack. 

I’ve known the importance of strength training for a few years; I see it as my insurance plan against injury, and hopefully, osteoporosis
However, previously I had never lifted anything heavier than 40lbs, and no, I’ve never tried a crossfit class either ;)

mouse, tamasin, winter, motivation

So, I got quite a shock a few months ago when my chiropractor Jamie said, at a bare minimum I should be squatting my own body weight, so a little more than 40lbs then! Thus began the basis of this winter's motivational challenge, a twice-weekly meeting with the squat rack.

Each week I’ve been increasing the weight by 20lbs. Each subsequent day I’ve found myself using the disabled toilet & the handrail to walk downstairs, due to soreness, (minor problem!) 
However, soreness abates, (albeit several days later) and weekly progress is made!

Fearing that I may end up injuring myself I recently started working with Sean Del Ben, a strength & conditioning specialist. He’s been making some corrections, and prescribing some great new strengthening exercises. I would definitely recommend him.

So winter progresses; its still dumping rain but I think the days are finally beginning to get a little longer? Maybe? 
In the meantime my new evil squat routine awaits me, just in case anyone else wants to share in the pain :)


Sets 1-3 = 80lbs, squat low, explode up.
Set 4 = 130lbs, less of a range of motion.
(8 repetitions each set)


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My first Triathlon. An unforgettable experience.

As I finalize race plans for 2015 I took a moment to think back to my first ever triathlon, Boise Ironman 70.3 in 2012 and how far I’ve come since then. This race remains my most eventful to date. 
Five of us had travelled to Boise to race with coach Bjorn. I had joked with my friend Morgan prior to leaving that I was looking forward to getting a suntan, how wrong I would be.

Things started to go sideways the day before the race. Three of us were out for a short interval ride when I heard a noise coming from my front wheel. Instead of stopping to investigate (the smart choice) I decided to lean over my bike and adjust my front brake while still riding. Noise located, success! However, I looked up just in time to see the shoulder had cut in and I had drifted over. With no time to react I went straight into a concrete barrier, sailing over my handlebars and landed on my side. Ouch. 
But, I didn’t land on my head, I didn’t break any bones; I got lucky! With the help of some lovely bystanders I was up, on my bike and we were off with my friend Stephanie spraying water into a large cut on my side. 

However, back at the hotel it was clear I needed some medical attention. I appeared tearfully at coach Bjorn’s door and off to primary care we went. Several hours, 8 stitches & a lollipop later, I was patched up with a strong suggestion from the doctor not to race the next day.
Then onto the race expo where SpiderTech was offering free taping for athletes. I was met with a slight look of horror but they went to work patching me up. Finally back to the hotel to rest, things couldn’t get any worse right? Wrong!

Tamasin Reno, Boise 70.3, Triathlon, SpiderTech, Compressport.

I awoke pretty sore on race morning, flopped out of bed and was met with the news that a freak storm had moved in. Freezing temps, howling winds and snow on the course. This forced the race organizers to shorten the bike leg due to safety concerns. 
We arrived at transition to see hoards of people already leaving. I later heard over 20% DNS (people who did not start)
My friend Amy hit upon the idea of foregoing a warm-up in favor of getting into our wetsuits in the car with the heated seats on, genius!

Wetsuits on we made a dash for the swim start - just in time. We hopped into the frigid water and the gun went off. Then, panic… 
Strong winds were blowing choppy water from the left but with whiplash I had I couldn’t turn to the right, so I couldn’t breathe. I struggled the first 100m to a kayak and clung on, gaining a bemused look from the kayaker. Sensibilities said I really should have pulled out at this point (or earlier) but I felt I’d reached a point of no return. I calmed down, setting off again with an un-graceful mix of varying strokes, somehow making it around the 1.9km swim course and into transition.
Several of the Pros made the decision to stay warm and leave their wetsuits on for the bike!

I wrestled my soggy arms into a dry jersey and spent a few minutes fighting with some gloves, before finally giving up.
I hate racing in the cold but this was the one exception, everything went numb, which turned out to be a real bonus. I cruised the shortened, windy, downhill bike course and into T2, so just a ½ marathon left.
The numbness lasted for the first 10km on the run. I’m hazy on how painful things became beyond that but Stephanie ran with me doing a great job of encouragement and keeping my mind occupied. The sunshine even made an appearance.

I finished, it wasn’t pretty, far from it, but I was happy.
I took several things with me from that first race. Nothing can be that tough again, right? I actually did have fun and I’m really lucky to be able to do this. 
I’m also a SpiderTech convert, it really works, you can race held together with tape!

Tamasin Reno, Boise 70.3, Triathlon, SpiderTech, Compressport.

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