Friday, October 30, 2015

Post race thoughts on Ironman 70.3 Miami

Ironman 70.3 Miami was another hot race. I was able to arrive a little bit earlier thanks to my amazing homestay from Carla and Donna, which this helped me get used to the different time zone. I'd had a good amount of heat acclimatization in California and was ready to race. Miami 70.3 was the first 70.3 race that I had returned to and I was looking forward to seeing how much I could improve on last year, where I placed 9th with a finishing time of 3:55.

The day before at the race we were informed that the swim might be canceled due to a high number of jellyfish. I prepared myself for all the possibilities. By race day most of the jellyfish moved away and we had a full triathlon on our hands! I prepared for a fast and salty swim, and when the race started I was able to move into a good position. I swam through a few batches of sea ants that bit me, and I also hit a few jellyfish. It was an unusual kind of swim but I came out of the water in a good position, 13th of the 52 pro men.

The bike course was flat and windy, but we had a tailwind on the way out which let me save up some energy for the second half. At about 30km into the bike I was caught by the main group and stayed with them, waiting for the run. 

I started the run a little behind the group and worked my way back into a good position. By 4km in, I had moved into 6th place with 7th and 8th hot on my heels. I saw the top 5 slowly pulling away and just had to focus on my own pace. It was a very hot run. There were a few long stretches without water and just I focused on not blowing up in the second half. I was able to pull away from 7th and 8th place by 10km and was slowly eating away into the gap between myself and 5th place, but there still was a long way to go. At 13km as I climbed over the bridge I heard Marc Duelsen breathing down my neck. He was back, and we started to jockey back and forth, but neither of us was willing to give an inch. At 15km we both overtook 5th place and were headed back toward the finish. I continued to battle with Marc and at 18km, I put down the hammer and open up a gap of 30 seconds over the last 3km. I was completely spent as I crossed the line, a very hard 5th place finisher.

This was one of the hardest races I have done this year. I fought like an animal to make my way into 5th place and took 5 minutes off my time from last year. I tend to have my best results on hilly courses and I am glad to have had a good result on this very different type of course. It is very important that I be competitive in all conditions. This year’s Miami 70.3 was a great experience and showed me that I can be in the mix on all types of courses.

I will be off to Austin 70.3 in two weeks for my last race of the season.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Another #TaylorTime

Friday, October 9, 2015

How Triathlon helped me overcome Dyslexia.

When I was 8 years old I found out that I was Dyslexic. I had a lot of trouble reading and writing. This hurt my confidence and made it harder for me to fit in with groups of kids. In the United States, an estimated 5 to 17% of children are diagnosed with dyslexia, making it the most commonly diagnosed learning disability (Trudeau 2008). I started in soccer but I had trouble with team sports because of the pressure I put on myself and I felt from others. Once I started running I had a lot more confidence and allowed me to develop into my own person. It allowed me to develop my work ethic and understand that hard work pays off. From then on I worked just as hard in school as I did in running. There has been some research done suggesting that physical activity may have a positive impact on learning and memory.  It also helps to improve self-esteem. Many studies have also linked school sport or Physical Activity programmes with other psychosocial outcomes, such as school satisfaction and school connectedness. I fell that running and triathlon helped me in all of these areas.

Once I was in High school I chose to go into the academic stream even though my grade school teacher advised against it. I feel that Triathlon had given me the confidence to take the risk and do the work hard needed to excel at my courses. I feel that Triathlon also helped me understand the value of delayed gratification. I was able to make it through high school and into McMaster University.
In University I continues to develope the skills I needed to do excel in the class room through my dedication to Triathlon. I chose one of the hardest fields to study for myself. I studied history that revolved around memorization and writing. But I loved the subject just as much as I love Triathlon. I was able to put all my skills I have developed into getting my degree. I had developed work ethic, time management and I understood myself all through rriathlon. I did not feel peer pressure because I had a larger goal in triathlon and something to focus my life around. Triathlon has helped me develop as a person, get my degree and over come dyslexia. It has been show that sport has a direct effect on balance, dexterity and eye movement control. Also the benefits of exercise transferred significantly to cognitive skills underlying literacy, to the reading process, and to standardized national literacy attainment tests (Reynolds 2003).
There has been tests and research done that shows hoe exercise helps to develop better learning habits. D. Reynolds, R. Nicolson and H. Hambly but together a paper outline how exercise helped children with reading difficulties. The article was called, Evaluation of an exercise-based treatment for children with reading difficulties. It stated that, ‘In children with reading disabilities, a school-based program of balance and coordination training, throwing, catching, and stretching produced significant improvements in both reading and semantics (Reynolds  2003).’ This research helps to out line how I feel about triathlons role in my life. Not only is it an amazing sport but it also helps me over come some of the largest obstacles in my life.

Sports and early detection of dyslexia has helped me develop as a person and get through school. With more technology like Eye Reader that will be able to detect learning disability earlier on children will be able to develop strategies to overcome their challenges. I am working with The Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (ONBIDA) to help spread awareness about dyslexia.

Trudeau, F., & Shephard, R. (2008). Physical education, school physical activity, school sports and academic performance. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 5(10). Retrieved from
Reynolds, D., Nicolson, R., & Hambly, H. (2003). Evaluation of an exercise-based treatment for children with reading difficulties. Dyslexia An International Journal of Research and Practice, 9(1), 48-71

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cozumel to Silverman

Cozumel was the first race that I did after the World Championships. It was an incredibly hot race in an amazing part of Mexico. It was really nice to get back to racing. I got a bit beaten up in the swim but was able to have a very fast bike on a very flat course. I caught the lead group about 60km into the bike, and once I got out on the run I began to pay for that very fast bike. I was able to finish in 10th place. After the race I returned to Poway, California to re-group with the Triathlon Squad and coach Paulo Sousa. I needed the dry desert heat of California to prepare for my next race.

Two weeks later I drove from Poway to Henderson, Nevada, home of the Ironman Silverman 70.3. The day of the race called for strong winds but cooler conditions. The swim was non wetsuit but the waves were massive. After a good warm up, the field of 30 men lined up. I lined up beside my Triathlon Squad teammate Jason Pedersen who was doing his first 70.3 race. After a few light-hearted words with him, the count-down started. The gun went off and the water exploded as all of us took off. I was able to find a group of swimmers and hide from the waves for a while. Eventually Cam Dye and Michael Raelart pulled the swim apart and I was stuck chasing the group solo. Out there alone in the lake I felt the waves crashing into me. All I could do was take the beating and keep my arms turning over.

When I came out of the water I noticed that the person I had been following was Jason. As I ran into transition I heard that I was 2 minutes and 30 seconds down from the leader and in 13th place. I was not pleased to hear that number, but I put it in the back of my mind and stuck to my bike and run plan. I jumped onto my Cervelo and started to get into my power zone. Jason took off like a rocket and it was very hard not to go with him. The bike course was very windy and hilly, through a spectacular landscape. As we rode through the desert the wind gusts pushed my bike all over the road and I was glad not to be riding a disc. I slowly chipped away at my deficit. At 45km Cody Beals went by me like I was standing still. I let him go and do his own thing. By the end of the bike I had worked my way up to 6th place. But, unknown to me , Michael Raelart had been disqualified for drafting on the bike, so in fact I was moved up to 5th place. 

I quickly got my Saucony run gear on and started in on the hilly course. I had felt solid on the bike, but I felt like I was floating on the run. The course was three laps and essentially either up or down. When I had started the run I had heard that the leaders had 4 minutes and 30 seconds on me. I worked hard on the down-hills and hit the up-hills very strong. By the first lap I had worked my way up to 3rd place and was chewing into the lead. I over-took Cody Beals, who was in 2nd on the second loop, and finally at 16km I ran down Cam Dye. Once I had moved into 1st place I put it into overdrive to make sure I did not lose it. When I crossed the finish line I thought I was in 2nd place since Michael Raelart had continued to race. I was so happy with 2nd , but when I found out I had won I was over overjoyed. This was my first Ironman 70.3 win! 

Congratulations to everyone who finished on a tough course and congratulations to all the Pros. It was one heck of a race out there!

I am now back in Poway, California training for Miami 70.3 in a few weeks.

This win did not come without a lot of support.
Thank you to all my sponsors: C3, Kinetico, Royal Containers, Caledon Hills Cycling, Saucony, Nineteen, Compressport, SMITH Optics, Vorgee, Polar and Awake Chocolate.