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reflecting after IMAz, and my 2008 season

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

This has been a year of significance for me.  I was coming off a disheartening season in 2007, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was contending with some irritated nerves from my lower back that were causing my gluts/hamstrings/calves to be slow to fire, cramp and/or tighten up.  By the end of 2007 even with my love of the sport, things became ‘not so fun’ anymore,…capped off with me DNFing in Arizona, and being further humbled by walking 2 of the IM marathons (IMC and Florida).

Moving forward, I ventured to figure out what was causing these problems to manifest.  Being a chiropractor, I had the good fortune of having the education to know how to decrease stress to my lower back, and improve it’s overall health.  I bought an inversion table, and started using it regularly, I made a running belt which I could decrease compressive forces on my spine while running (by transferring the weight of my arms to my hips/legs), I started an intensive core program, I was taping my back regularly, I was getting acupuncture/dry needling done, breaking up scar tissue with steel instruments, and underwent a significant amount of prolotherapy, ozone injections, and trigger point therapy with Dr. Jason Ahlan.  All of this has brought me back to a much more healthy body than I’ve had in years.  Now, at least my sciatic nerve irritation is a problem of the past, and I’m back enjoying training and racing, and have a greater appreciation than ever for the health of my body.

For the race itself, it a victory just to get to the starting line and know that I was in shape of breaking my personal best time of 8hr45min.   I feel that this personal belief is quite significant, and almost as important as the execution itself.  I’m proud of my efforts in truly trying to become as fit and healthy as possible leading into the race.

Now for my race summary…

The start of the swim was fast and furious as expected – the pro-field was stacked with excellent swimmers.  I took off strong and attempted to stay with the lead group,…I stayed on their feet as long as I could within reasonable effort limits.  First of the second pack swimmers to come scoop me up was Jordan Rapp, then Jasper Blake and Chris McDonald.  I jumped on their feet, and stayed with them for a ride.

Swim at IMAZ 2008

Starting the bike, I was in company of a lot of guys.  I took the bike out as I normal would, cruisy to start with the focus of building throughout the ride.  I felt comfortable and confident that I was going to even split the 3 lapped course,…I had an idea that I’d like to be in the ball park of an 1hr30min for the first lap, and descend or hold pace from there.  This plan was working up until I started getting uncomfortable on my saddle.  I took for grated the fact that in training I usually use 2 cycling shorts, and have hills which allow me to come out of the aero-position taking pressure off my groin.  After about 100km of riding, I opted to sit way up on the nose of my saddle as the pressure on my arse was just too sore.

Bike at IMAZ

I was excited to start the run, as I really wanted to see how fast I could go.  I had been running consistently strong and well leading up to the race, and wanted to prove to myself that I could run a sub 3hour marathon.  Starting straight away in the marathon the plantar surfaces of my feet were killing me.  I opted to shorten my stride and wait and see if my feet would start feeling better with time.  After 15miles, my feet were just too painful to continue without risking undo harm.  Better to be safe than a stubborn and sorry athlete, I say.

Running at IMAZ 2008

In reflecting on the race itself, I really feel quite content.  I’m happy and feel privileged to be able to do this sport.  I have a stronger than ever appreciation for strengthening bonds with my family and friends, who in a shared effort help to make this journey worthwhile.

Running and seeing double at IMAZ 2008


Ironman Coeur d’Alene – race report

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

What a seemingly epic journey it’s been, just getting to the start line has been a victory in itself – healthy, happy, excited to race at the starting line. I came into the 2008 season holding onto recent memories of some disheartening performances in 2007. Heading into this race, I was needing some forward momentum,… something to boost my confidence and give me reason to believe that I can do well at this sport.

Ironman Coeur Body Marking

In January this year, I took a step back to evaluate why my right foot was going completely numb in races. And was the reason why my right foot was injured at IMC last year any part of this?

To make a long story short, I felt like I needed to address this issue. I ended up consulting with an Ironman/sport focused Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine in Calgary, Dr. Jason Ahlan of Paradigm Health ( . Since February, I’ve been using his (and amazing nurse Shawn) services on a regular basis. With his analysis, there has been so many issues health-wise that have been missing pieces to my overall health, ultimately affecting my maximum physical and mental potential.

For those interested, more specifically, Dr. Ahlan has been giving me prolotherapy directed towards my lumbar facet joints. This has been amazingly beneficial in reducing lumbar nerve root irritation. This has reduced a tonne of tension and tightness that was increasingly getting worse in my lower limbs. I’m so much better now after going through his treatment protocol. Thankfully, I raced last sunday for the first time without my right foot going numb. This is such good news for me, and the prospect of having healthy longevity in this sport.

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Swim Exit

I had a great swim. It was good to see that the swim base I worked on throughout the winter had paid off. I sat in with Michael Lovato, and Jim Vance, enjoying their draft. I started the bike in 5th place.

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Bike

I really enjoyed the first 1/2 of the bike. I was really keeping my efforts controlled,…I felt like I was taking the first half very conservatively. I found myself in 3rd place by the 95 km marker. Comparing myself with Viktor Zyemstev who I was biking with for the first loop, he pulled away on the uphills, but easily catching back up on the flats/downhills and windy sections.

With 40km to go, I could feel that my bike endurance fitness wasn’t there. I just didn’t have the energy to go. Mike Neill then passed me like I was standing still. I was happy for him,…but I was concerned about my current energy status.

By the start of the run, I was on survival mode. Walking every aid station, grabbing hydration, I was in need of a serious boost of energy.

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Run

With 10km to go in the marathon, I finally got the boost of energy I needed. I picked up the pace, and finally was moving again. It was too little, too late — I was far off the pace set by Tom Evans who won,…but felt proud overall for gutting out an 8th place.

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Finish

Here’s a photo of Jonathan Caron and I after the race,…he’s a good friend in the sport, and I very much respect his opinion and objectivity.

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Scott and Jonnyo

I’m happy overall with my race. It wasn’t the race I was believing I could have, but it was a learning day. The momentum is shifting for the better, and hope that things continue to improve.

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Scott and Allison

Thanks Allison, my wife – for your amazing support.


IRONMAN FLORIDA RACE REPORT (November 4th, 2006: 3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42km run)

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

This race will go down in my books as an emotional rollercoaster ride. Leading up to the race I had a period of 12 days whereby it was impossible for me to run. This occurred following a fall off my bike, hurting my left knee upon impact. I did however salvage 10 days worth of important Ironman specific training – I banked on the hope that these 10-days along with the fitness I gained from training for Ironman Canada would be enough to pull off a great day in Florida.

While in Panama City Beach, I was set up with a homestay – Doug Welling and his cocker-spaniel Hadely were my most excellent hosts. After a couple of boring days of sitting around watching movies, feasting on food, and some more resting, I was getting anxious to start racing. Following the pro-meeting the day before the race, Greg from Versus/Outdoor Life Network interviewed both Kyle Marcotte and myself as the Canadian representatives in the pro-field. It will be added to the TV coverage when it is broadcast in Canada (I think Nov 26th and 27th).

Race morning welcomed us with 4°C air temp, and a stiff 20km/hour wind. I made my way down to the transition area where I dropped off my special needs bags, pumped up my tires, added my waterbottles to my bike etc. When it was time to walk down to the swim start, I met up with my Mom and Dad who were waiting on the beach – it was a final time for me to say goodbye to them before starting the day of racing.

The swim was rough, I’ve never raced in the surf, with breaking waves before. I found that I had to sight at the top of the crests for any hope of seeing the bouys and markers. Prior to the race start, I envisioned myself having a good swim – emphasizing it more than I did at Ironman Canada. Unfortunately, my best efforts were not enough to knock off a good swim. While I was exiting the water, I had a sinking feeling in my gut that I had a poor swim. My fears were acknowledged with a glimpse of the pace clock reading 55minutes! I became very concerned,…

”How could I slip up that bad in the swim??!! DAMN!!”, I thought.

Ironman Florida swim exit   Scott riding at Ironman Florida

I ran off, through the transition area, knowing that I had a big time deficit, and needed to make it up on the bike. Early on the bike at approximately the 40km mark, I received a split that I was 11minutes down from the leader.

Scott biking in Ironman Florida

As this point, I couldn’t help to think, “What is going on with me??!! Am I losing touch with my bike as well?”.

I was concerned, and quite frustrated but carried on thinking that I’ve sacrificed so much to be here,…just focus and have the best day possible. Just keep focus,….just keep focus,…go go go GO!

Soon after this split, Christophe Bastie from France caught and passed me. I kept in touch with Christophe,…his pace was close to mine. We ended up catching Lother Leder from Germany (a legend in the sport, and one of the pre-race favorites). After a few rounds of cat and mouse, Lother ended up falling off our pace around the 60km mark,…slowing I was starting to gain some confidence back. I started to pick up the pace a notch. My plan was to break down the 180km ride into 3 equal parts and slowly build strength and speed from sets one to three. Special needs on the bike was at 80km,…while exchanging my waterbottles at this point, I completely lost touch with Christophe Bastie who decided not to use a special needs bag – he just blasted through this section. Soon thereafter, I received another split that I was 26minutes down.

“How did I lose 15minutes in 40kms!!!!?”, I thought.

Part of me didn’t believe him, but small part of me did however – contributing to a mix of emotions. At this point I was getting mad,…thinking that I was completely losing it! Thankfully I’m stubborn by nature, and continued putting force to my pedals –


The next 30km wasn’t fun for me,…I was fuelled on anger and frustration – at a time when I should’ve been thinking “relax,…go fast”, and all those positive thoughts. Thankfully for my sanity and much to my surprise given the day I thought I was having, I ended up catching three more guys, one being triathlon legend and another pre-race favorite Spencer Smith. Soon thereafter, I entered the out-and-back section – a finger in the race course whereby you have a chance to see your competitors allowing to gauge your position and placement. This is when I found that I was 10minutes back and in 6th place. And so the emotional rollercoaster continued…I was feeling better about my race then,…

I was thinking, “Yeah, that’s better,…let’s go,..keep it up”.

Somewhere in there, I picked up 2 more places, and was in touch with 3rd place, Christophe Bastie. Overall I found the bike ride very lonely,…I was spoiled in my experience at Ironman Canada where I had my wife Allison and friends out on the course cheering me on. My experience here in Florida was much different, and became a good experience as I’ll now be stronger for knowing for next time to 1) disregard splits unless they are from your own source or friends who you know, 2) think positive always, and 3) Go for it, while following your pre-race plan to your best ability.

Scott riding at Ironman Florida   Scott running at Ironman Florida

I started the run in good shape – thankfully leading up to this point, I had no low energy periods. My friend Jonathan Caron was at the run start and gave me a boost by cheering me on – he said the leader looked to be in rough shape. I drank my waterbottle of CarboPro mix starting the run – then settled into a groove. I timed my first mile in 6:30,…then 2miles where done in 13min,…I felt smooth and happy with the pace I was hitting. Somewhere in these 2 miles, Jim Vance passed me – he looked smooth and light,..I tried to pick up my pace to match his better but with little avail,…he easily pulled away. I was however catching Christophe Bastie,…I was feeling so good, I knew it was just a matter of time before I’d catch him.

Scott and Christophe running at Ironman Florida

Interestingly, all the while, my right foot was completely numb – I had NO SENSATION in it even with striking the ground,…all I felt was a constant intense numbness. I felt better about this situation when I recalled Jasper Blake telling me once that during Ironman Canada (the year when he finished 2nd place) he had a numb feeling across half his body during the run.

Scott running at Ironman Florida

I timed the first 10km split in 39 minutes – I was quite encouraged at his point as I felt very good. I split the 21km mark in 1hr28min – Jonathan was cheering for me, pointing out the fact that I was on sub-3hour marathon pace.At the turn-around,…I guzzled down another waterbottle of custom drink from my special needs – I passed Christophe Bastie at this point,…and started to distance myself from him.

Scott running at Ironman Florida

The last 5km was tough for me,….I was sitting in 4th place,…I felt as though I probably had 4th sealed up – and just tried to hold form, keeping things together. My legs were starting to feel the distance of the marathon,…they were trashed, feeling like they were ripped up. About 2km to go, Stephan Bayliss passed me,….he was moving well, and had good spring in his legs still. I made a 10second effort to try to go with him, but alas my legs were unable to respond.

I ended up finally getting to the finish line in 5th place in a time of 8:45:12. I was happy to finish,…and it was neat having my parents at the finish line seeing the pride in their eyes.

I spoke with my coach Peter Reid today,…we’re talking about next year already. I’m excited about 2007 – working with Peter, with his guidance and plan, I have no doubt that I’m going to be racing at a new level.

Thanks everyone for reading.