Race Recap: C3 Kinetico Kids Of Steel Triathlon

The C3 Kinetico Kids of Steel Triathlon took place on Sunday, May 24th, and in a refreshing change from so many endurance events, it didn’t start first thing in the morning, leaving us time to get organized (or even get a couple of hours on the bike trainer before breakfast, in my case).  Thanks to steady stream of emails from Barrie Shepley, we knew exactly when Shark Boy’s race would start, and how much time we should leave ourselves for race kit pick-up and transition set-up.

We pulled into the parking lot of Mayfield Secondary School which is right on the border of Brampton and Caledon and unloaded.  There was a nice volunteer who offered to give us a ride to the race site in his golf cart.  It really wasn’t far, but the kids were thrilled to take a ride, and it made getting the bike there easier, since I didn’t want Shark Boy riding in the parking lot and walking a bike is always tedious.

We arrived at the main race site to see festivities in full swing.  Shark Boy’s favourite song ‘Paradise’ by Coldplay (also a fave of my wife and I) was playing, and the Bouncy Castle/Wall/Slide drew the boys attention right away.  


First things first though, we found the transition area and got his bike and helmet in the proper place.  I was already in a swimsuit, anticipating that I’d be getting in the water with Shark Boy.  I let him keep his shoes on for safety, and brought them to transition a few minutes before the race start, and we opted to go sockless for the sake of speed.  I had a last minute dilemma about putting him in the 6-7 age category; he’s 5 now, but triathlon rules (and body marking) goes by what age you’ll be at the end of the calendar year.  I knew he could handle it physically, but I worried a little about putting him in a higher pressure situation, and that race started a whole hour later.  The fact was that we had registered for the 3-5 year-old race, which is non-timed, so that’s where we stayed.

Then, with some time to spare before opening ceremonies and the race start, off we went to the inflatable slide.  Shark Boy knew what to do, and so did the Lightning Kid, except the whole, ‘wait your turn’ thing.  What nobody expected him to do, is climb the thing unassisted! I think he made a few sets of teeth sweat, but he always made it to the top where a volunteer assisted kids in getting over making sure they all stayed safe and didn’t land on one another.




Either the heat or pre-race nerves started to get to Shark Boy, because he couldn’t wait to get into the pool, and was not happy with waiting for any process or procedure that might keep a race like this organized and free of chaos.  He was even less enthused about sitting through speeches for the opening ceremonies, but luckily, his mood improved once we entered the rec complex – the swim portion took place in an indoor pool.

Each wave had only a few athletes, and it was generally one or two athletes (plus their parent/guardian) per lane, so everything was comfortable.  They had us inch up to an imaginary line where a lifeguard chair was, and wait for the start.  Hilariously, the kids’ nervousness and uncertainty seemed to spread to the parents, as several people started to ask if there would be a signal to start; as if there might not be and we could just go whenever!  That signal came, and off we went.




Thanks to a waterproof case for my phone, I got a few snaps in the pool as he was swimming.  As far as I could tell, he was the only one swimming without a life preserver (I had to turn down several offers).  I think we were first or second to the end of the pool, and some volunteers helped him out while I hoisted myself onto the deck.

We headed outside, and although I had reminded him of where his bike was in the transition area, he still hesitated and had trouble finding it.  Still, once he did, we got shoes on and helmet (of course) before he picked up his bike and we headed to the mounting area, but not before another wrong turn (this time it was my fault).

I’ve experienced how fast Shark Boy is on the bike so I made sure I sprinted ahead.  I tried to get pictures, but wet fingers don’t work well on touch screens, so I missed out and figured there would be some official race photos (more on that in a bit).  The bike course was very short, once around the parking lot, and the volunteers took our bike at the dismount point.

I later heard from my wife, who was struggling (along with the Lightning Kid) to keep up with the race progression visually, that Shark Boy’s name kept being announced over the speakers, as he busted through each leg of the triathlon; out of the water, out of the pool, out of transition 1, into transition 2, across the finish line.

He really got the idea of going as fast as possible, because he didn’t bother to take off his helmet, much to the amusement of the race announcer.  I asked, and he said he was OK running with it on.   We did a loop around the grass, and through the finish gate.  First place for Shark Boy!

He wasn’t interested in bananas or oranges (he’s a bit of a picky eater), so we came round and found my wife and the Lightning Kid who hadn’t been able to see much after the swim because it went by so fast!

11112772_10155536670295125_4178494456614023647_n (1).jpg

The finisher’s picture we took makes it look like triathlon is something we force him into against his will, but I promise you he’s all smiles during the race; he just doesn’t like having his picture taken and it didn’t help that the race took place during the lunch hour.

I wish we had more pictures to show, and I acknowledge that this is a nit-pick, but the race photographers seemed to manage to get several shots of almost every kid (especially our nearest neighbours in the race), but none of the one who completed the race without physical aid from his parent, nor a life preserver, nor training wheels.  And again, he came in first place.  I’d feel bad for dwelling on the win, but really, how often do you get first place in life (assuming you aren’t Chrissie Wellington)?  We even noticed a drone taking either aerial photos or video, but I don’t know when or where they’ll be available.  

We celebrated the win with a free toy that Shark Boy picked out of a box (a giant bubble wand), balloons, and hot dogs. The C3 Kinetico Kids of Steel Triathlon is a welcoming, inclusive event, because every one asked if the Lightning Kid was racing this year, or if he would next year (it’ll be soon, with a little improvement on the bike). When we floated the idea of him being the first athlete with Down syndrome in the race next year, we found out there was a girl with Down syndrome doing this year’s race. Like I said, being the first is a rare opportunity in this world!

Thanks to the C3 Triathlon Club, Personal Best and all the sponsors for organizing such  a great event!

#WorkoutHack: Triathlon Strength Training at the Cottage

The Victoria Day Long Weekend is traditionally when Cottaging season starts.  Having a cottage (or access to one) can be a real boon to the training triathlete.  First and most of all, it’s a way to access open water swimming.  Bike and run training can be done too, though often it takes a form of cross-training since the roads can be a little rough; mountain biking and/or trail running are great, and I’m proud to say I got both of those done this long weekend.

My training schedule, however, had me down for a strength training session on Monday.  I’m in the Specific Preparation Phase 3 of the plan,  where the strength training profile is specifically geared to “Power Endurance” with explosive and plyometric type exercises.  Moreover, they focus very much on triathlon specific muscle groups and functional movements that mimic swim, bike and run.

The workouts call for 8 types of exercise:
  1. Hip extension (squat, leg press or step-up)
  2. Standing bent-arm lat pull down (bent at the same angle as during freestyle swimming)
  3. Chest press or push ups
  4. Seated row
  5. Abdominal curls (core body work)
  6. Back extensions (core body work)

#3 has been substituted with a “personal weakness” in most workouts in the book.  I still like putting in some work on my chest for the sake of balance though.  The question is, how was I going to get in a strength workout at the cottage, far from any gym, never mind one so specific?

Well, I’ll tell you.  I started off doing push-ups on the dock.  I still use the 100 Push-Ups app to give me structured sets.

Then I found a stump to do step-ups.  I had considered box jumps, but it had rained, and you should generally do box jumps onto something very stable, so the stump might not have been a good idea even if it had been dry.  For a weight, I used the Lightning Kid, and moved up to a heavy rock on my third set. (10 reps per leg, per set).

Instead of a seated row, I used the kids’ swing to do TRX-style inverted row (3 sets of 12-15 reps).

I don’t like the Standing bent-arm lat pull-down, as it seems to put my shoulders at risk.  Most recently I’ve been using medicine ball slams as a substitute, but at the cottage, I chose to split some wood – same motion, same downward stroke to help the shoulders power my swim.

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t finish that workout that day, at least not before lunch was ready.   I had scoped out a bench we use sometimes and tested it out for doing Dolphin Kicks as shown below (from this article on Daily Burn); it would have also been handy to do lying leg raises which would have fulfilled the core/ab exercise for #5.

I’m looking forward to using the cottage environment to supplement my training for the rest of the summer.

Do you have ways of turning your cottage or home into a gym in unexpected ways?

Friday Five: New Stuff

I’ve been training hard, and eating (fairly) well, maintaining my weight etc.  They say you shouldn’t reward these efforts (or the goals they produce) with food, as it’s kind of counter-productive.  Let’s pretend, for the sake of this post, that I’ve been following that advice and have rewarded myself with a more ‘retail’ type set of gifts.

  1. The first item is from Manpacks.  (Full disclosure, that’s a referral link.  You can use it to save $10 off your first purchase, and I get $10 credit if you do).  Manpacks has grooming goods, underwear and other consumables that busy men don’t seem to get around to shopping for themselves.  A pack arrives every 3 months, so I find it manageable to change the order to stuff I actually need.  This item, Brode Electrolyte Vitamin is supposed to help you stay hydrated by providing the needed electrolytes before you get dehydrated.  It’s aimed at travellers (long plane rides with that recycled air), hikers and athletes.  Obviously keeping water with you is the best option, but I have found that a lunchtime run (or runch) after a morning of coffee drinking is hard on my system (I have often said that I only exist in two states: Under-caffeinated or Dehydrated) and I often don’t pack a water bottle and belt or hydration pack, so I was curious to try these.  I will say that they seemed a little hard on my stomach and I experience some mild cramping and discomfort immediately after swallowing them, but I think I could notice the effect on some of my runs, especially since the weather has been getting warmer than I am used to.

  1. I’m not exactly Mr. Compression, but with an aggressive training schedule, I’m open to trying things that will help me recover better and stay injury-free.  I have a few pairs of compression socks (most of which are lousy and ineffective), and a pair of calf sleeves from 2XU.  Those are all focussed on lower body, obviously, but that’s where the work is principally done for your average triathlete (like me!).  Still, I took advantage of a guest sale at the Reebok/Adidas corporate store to pick up a few items, including this TechFit T-Shirt.  It’s the first time I’ve had compression on my upper body, and I wore it under a work shirt after a tough strength workout (in the ‘Specific Preparation Phase 2’ part of my training program, the strength workouts are primed for ‘Maximum Strength’).  I was hoping it would aid recovery so I’d be primed for a benchmark swim the next day – frankly, it felt weird.  Not necessarily bad, but weird, and I kept it on for about an hour and a half.  It might be better to wear it during the workout; like I said, I’m not Mr. Compression, and this stuff confuses me a little.  The official description says: “techfit® focuses your muscles’ energy to generate maximum explosive power, acceleration and long-term endurance” and the next phase of the program (starting next week) focusses on Power Endurance which combines strength with velocity (including plyometric work), so we’ll see.

  2. As evidenced by our outfits at the Spring Into Action 10k, I’m liking the combination of red and black. I also like hoods (it goes with the whole ‘Rogue’ theme), but I don’t really need any more warm red hooded sweatshirts, so at the same sale, I picked up this long sleeved top with a hood. It’s Crossfit branded, but that doesn’t bother me; with the warmer weather, I’m not sure how much more use I’ll get out of it till autumn, maybe for some early morning workouts.
  3. I’m on a bit of a Saucony kick right now.  My Saucony ISO Triumphs continue to serve me well, and provide the cushioning I like on the road. I’m happy enough with them that I got Saucony’s for trail running too.  They kept me on the trail in the very muddy 5 Peaks Terra Cotta run and I can’t wait to get more mileage on them.  Heck, even my wife is on the Saucony bandwagon…
  4. Another product I scored from Manpacks is this Everyman Jack Face Moisturiser.  I needed something for the post-shave, and I’m not looking any younger, so one way to keep the face protected is with some sunscreen (which I also like for preventing melanoma of course).  I always like killing two birds with one stone when I can.
Any new stuff that you’ve treated yourself (or been treated to)? Moms out there probably have Mother’s Day Wishlists….

Race Recap – Spring Into Action 10k for Diabetes

This was our second time running in the Spring Into Action 10 km run.  After last time, I knew we weren’t going to run with both boys in the Chariot; they’re getting bigger and packed like sardines in there, and they seem to be struggling with the behavioural skill of “keep your hands to yourself” (to say nothing of feet).  So this year we brought along my mother-in-law to watch Shark Boy near the starting area while my wife and I pushed the Lightning Kid (who still seems to like this sort of thing) on the run.  

Spring Into Action had a convenient ‘Family’ registration package that saved me time and money.  Getting extra bibs for everyone took a little extra time and effort so that I missed the yoga warm-up, but luckily, the rest of the family got to participate.

I got Shark Boy a tag and bib, because I could imagine what the outcome would be if he was excluded from the bling, even if he was happy to not run the race.

I got a chance to say hi to Barry Samuel (the organizer of the race), beforehand, and he asked a few of the families in attendance to come on stage and kick the event up with the National Anthem.  If my off-key singing hurt anyone’s ears, I apologize!

We got Shark Boy to start the race with us for kicks, but as soon as he touched the starting line archway, he headed back to go play.  I hope you don’t mind me skipping to the end to tell you he had a great time playing in the surrounding woods, engaging in the kind of old fashioned outdoor play that you think kids don’t know how to do anymore.

It was a beautiful day for a run and the spring colours were in full effect in Sunnybrook park.

At the 2.5 km mark the volunteers had the 5k runners turn around to complete their out and back.  Last year there had been some trouble with people getting lost or off of the 10k course, and Barry had mentioned to me that they were going to do better this year.  Just after the 2.5 km mark we veered up one of the biggest, steepest hills I can imagine on a run. At the top was the 3 km mark, where they had us turn around again.  I was a little puzzled since I knew heading back to the start wasn’t going to add up to 10 km, and if getting 10 km was simply a matter of doing the 5 km course twice, why did we have to go up that big hill to 3 km?  

All would become clear to me soon enough, because at the 1 km mark on the way back, we turned back again.  At that point we had run 5 km, running another 2 back to the top of the hill and 3 till the starting point gives us a total of 10 km.  A little confusing, but I have to say it was much easier to stay on the course and not get lost.  This run has to compete with the Mississauga Marathon and the Toronto Goodlife Marathon for participants and volunteers so you have to appreciate that it’s a little smaller.  What the volunteers lacked in numbers, they made up for in cheer and enthusiasm.

With 2 km left to run, the Lightning Kid was eager to get out of the Chariot, going to the point of trying to bluff a bathroom break.  2 km is a little far for his little legs, but once the finish line was within sight, we took him out and he ran his heart out.  I can tell you he wore the medal he earned for it the rest of the day.

There was a post race barbecue with hamburgers (and veggie burgers and hotdogs.  The buns were provided by Cobb’s Bread, who also gave out vouchers and various buns and scones (like delicious cinnamon scones which Shark Boy and I stuffed ourselves with). There was also lemonade for sale (basically for a voluntary donation to a Diabetes cause); lemonade cannot taste better than on a hot day after a run.

There was a DJ playing some nice remixes of older tunes and a clown doing face painting. Shark Boy asked for a cheetah (his favourite animal – no, I’m not changing his nickname), and the results are below.

Before leaving, we grabbed a group shot with Barry and thanked him for a day of fun, run in the sun!