Archive for September, 2011

Interview with

Posted in Nutrition, Paleo Athlete, Triathlon on September 13, 2011 by Living Against the Grain

Holistic Nutritionist Jennifer Trecartin of based in Vancouver, BC featured my ironman journey on her outstanding blog. She is an amazing friend and incredible nutritionist. Check it out. We spoke about my start in triathlon and my appreciation of the paleo diet.


2011 Ironman Canada Race Recap

Posted in Lessons Learned, Triathlon on September 2, 2011 by Living Against the Grain

On Aug. 28, 2011 after 6 months of training, 4 practice races, and a boat load of knowledge and experience gained I completed my first Ironman triathlon, the 2011 Ironman Canada. It was an extremely hot and windy day in Penticton and although my race didn’t go completely as I had planned, I had a great time, it was an incredible experience, and it was a memorable end to my rookie triathlon season.

My parents, friends, and amazing girl were there to cheer me on and we all celebrated together at the finish line. I can’t thank them enough for all the support and encouragement they gave me throughout the last few months. So now onto the race recap!


The day began at 4am. I woke up, had some coffee, ate some bacon, hard boiled eggs, and drank a home-made smoothie. I arrived in Penticton at 5:15am, dropped off my two transition bags (which contained my swim to bike gear, and bike to run gear) and then proceeded to set up my bike with my race nutrition….. Or should I say, my not so effective, race nutrition (more on that later).

Pre-race with friend and fellow Competitor Kellen

On to the Swim: Time – 58:32, 9/126 (25-29 Age Group), 102/2880 (Overall)

I then put my wetsuit on and entered the water at 6:30 for a little warm up. Man oh man, was the water ever warm! I was sweating in my wetsuit and part of me wanted to take it off and swim without it. Nevertheless, I left it on (mostly because everyone else had one on) and chilled out in the shallow water waiting for my 7:00am start. The pros started at 6:45 and the next 15 minutes flew by. Before I new it, we had one minute to the start. I had a few quick laughs with the athletes around me and then bang! off we went. I was positioned front and centre with 2880 other ironman athletes behind and beside me. I thought I’d be able to swim straight out of the pack with a 200-300 meter sprint and have some solid clear water to use to find my rhythm. WAS I EVER MISTAKEN! The gun went and we all started swimming, and it was an absolutely mad house out there!

I had started 4 races prior to this one and had never imagined a swim could be so rough. Think UFC in a washing machine….. I tried to remain excited and positive throughout the swim, but it was really really hard. People on your left, on your right, in front, behind, smacking your face, your head, your feet… I even had one women swim over top of me and pull back on my shoulder… Not overall cool, but its all part of racing.

The swim/madness ensues!

All throughout this barrage, I just tried to remain calm, keep optimistic, and keep my heart rate down. The other challenging aspect of the swim was the heat. The water was pretty warm so I overheated in my wetsuit and by half way I was in a full out sweat. I thought about stopping to let cool water in but I just kept pushing on and hoping not to lose too much electrolytes through sweat before hitting the bike.

The swim finished well, with a nice space forming in the group I was swimming with. It was a nice break from the UFC style swimming I had grown so accustomed too :). I came out of the water in 58:32, good for 9th in my age group, 102 overall.

Exiting the water in 58:32

On to the Bike: 5:20:22, 9th/126 Age group, 111 Overall

The bike is by far my favourite part of triathlon. I exited the water excited and looking forward to the bike portion of the ironman. I settled into a rhythm early in the bike course, but was amazed by how much energy the swim had taken out of me. Although I had paced myself on the swim, I don’t think I accurately compensated for the the energy and electrolytes I lost. I say this because at about 40km into the bike I had a deep deep abdominal cramp that almost made me crash on the side of the road! I sat up in agony holding on with my left hand, and the pain was merciless. Eventually it subsided enough to let me resume the aero position and I just kept a close eye on it throughout the rest of the bike, trying to be careful not to trigger another spasm. Was it the heat? Was it nerves? Did I tweak it unknowingly in the swim? I don’t know, but it was a little extra race day adversity which added to the fun of it all!

So the bike continued on, and although it was bloody hot out and very windy, I had a really fun ride. I did however run out of energy at about 150km and rode the last 30km with what seemed like little chicken legs. I was pacing properly, I was eating and drinking, but I guess I had just not figured out my nutrition properly. Either way, I pushed through it, and gracefully let go of all ambitions to qualify for the World Champs in Kona on my first try. In a race this long, you gotta have all the elements figured out. I had fitness, I had pacing, but I simply didn’t have nutrition and hats off to my fellow competitors who did. They rocked it!

So into town we came, 5:20:22 after I started. I had tried to calm my heart as much as possible in the final 20km, to somehow re-ignite the fire and get my energy back, but it just didn’t seem to work. I didn’t get down though, heck I was having a blast out there. I looked forward to making it into transition 2, and getting out onto the run…. I also tried not to think about the 30 something degree temperatures awaiting.

Run: 4:14:38, 34/126 in age group, 454/2880 Overall

I hit the run out of T2 full of steam, or at least thats what I told myself I was feeling. In reality, I was flat. I saw my parents, friends, and amazing girl and had a few moments high fiving, and celebrating with them before heading out of town. My girl Emily even ran beside me for a few metres which was really awesome. In reality though, I was hurting and didn’t know how I was going to make it the whole 42 km!

Emily running along side me as I head out on the run course

My strategy was to manage and mitigate my fatigue as best as possible, and maintain enough energy to run the last 10km and finish strong. That is exactly what I did. People kept passing me, some quickly, some slowly, some looking great, some looking like they were on the limit. I was amazed and humbled by all of them, pushing on through the heat like it was a casual jog on any given day. I was tired, but I was also amazed because my muscles themselves felt fine. It was like I just didn’t have any gas in the tank.

FInally at the 30km mark I allowed myself to try the cola they were serving on course. I knew the pros drink the stuff so it must work, but I didn’t want to succumb to it. I hate pop for a few reasons, but mostly I just don’t like the idea of putting all those chemicals in your body. Honestly though, 30 seconds after I drank a small cup of the stuff, I felt amazing. I ran the final 12km at 4:45/km pace and finished the race in a full on sprint. Ya sure I had a super boost of energy when I entered town and saw my friends and family, but I have to give a tonne of credit to the good ole fashioned sugar and caffeine contained in cola. Its a wonder drug for endurance athletes!

Heading out on the run, hurting, but all smiles

Another plus on the run were my innov8 f-lite 195 minimalist running shoes. They are actually shoes used most often in crossfit gyms, but I love the pure minimalist, zero drop, no support, light weight nature of the shoe. Its proof that you don’t need big cumbersome running shoes to cushion and pad your feet. My feet felt great the entire race.

I finished in 10:38:01 and felt amazing. Being my first race at this distance I didn’t know how I’d feel, but I was just amazed.

First time ironman finisher, Tristan Jenkin, very stoked!

My training plan had prepared me so well that my legs felt incredible, and I had no muscle soreness anywhere! I couldn’t believe it. I went over the the food tent, grabbed some soup, fruit, and water, and chilled out with my team (my girlfriend had made t-shirts for everyone to wear).

My amazing team of friends and family!

Incredible friends

Will I do this race ever again. YES. Will I do anything different? Yes. I will train for a longer period of time, and I will make sure to figure out my nutrition properly. I learned you can wing it in the half iron distance, but you had better get your game plan figured out if you ever want to be a true top competitor at Ironman.

Me and my very proud parents

For all of those whom took the time to read this, thank you! I eat along the lines of the paleolithic diet, I train crossfit endurance, I love triathlon, and I encourage you to try it out for yourself. 8 hours a week, for 6 months and Ironman is obtainable!

As for the heat? I don’t know what to say… perhaps training in a Sauna would help? Good luck!