Member Spotlight and Race Reports

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  • 31 Jan 2015 11:59 AM | Anonymous

    Sophie Pugh is January's member of the Month.  Sophie and her husband Mike joined the TTC in November and she is always smiling at training.  Sophie (and Mike) have embraced triathlon by eagerly signing up for swimming at Riverdale, Track at MPS and Riding at WattsUp on Friday mornings.  Sophie has attended many of the clinics and talk and has roped (gently encouraged) her husband to get involved as well.  Sophie is brand new to triathlon and is training for the Muskoka 70.3.  Congrats Sophie!

  • 04 Oct 2014 9:13 PM | Anonymous
    Lycra+Epilepsy=ok sometimes 

    This summer I competed in two triathlons. My first in five years! I joined the Toronto Triathlon Club because I wanted and needed others to train with. It wasn’t because I was bored training alone. I actually enjoy solo training sometimes. I really enjoy the independence of triathlon but I have come to accept that I can never do this alone. I’m not a very competitive person, so I was a bit nervous about joining a triathlon club, but I found the club is not about competing with each other at all. My main reason for wanting to train with others is a little bit of a surprise.

    I’m an endurance athlete with epilepsy. We exist! 
    I’ve been an active soul my entire life, and when I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2007, I did my absolute best to keep participating in the endurance sports I love. I have complex partial seizures and have to take medications throughout the day to control my seizures. Every day requires so much effort on many levels.

    People are curious when they find out I’m training and competing. “Aren’t you afraid of having a seizure while you’re out there?” 
    I’m aware (but I’m not afraid) of the possibility that I could have a seizure when I’m pushing my body like this. In no part of our life can we completely eliminate risk. The best we can do is figure out how to minimize risk and have a good time!

    Asking for help is a hard thing for most of us especially those stubborn independent people like me. Epilepsy has been a lesson in asking for help. In a sport as independent as triathlon, I will always need to have a crew of support during training and competing. When participating in a race, it’s awesome to have people cheering for me, but it’s really important to have people who know me really well stationed throughout the course, because they can recognize the difference between what I look like when I’m working hard and what I look like when I need help. It is a big request to ask friends and family to come out to races. I am so lucky to have people who are willing to wake up at crazy times to support me.

    Competing with epilepsy, I trust my doctors, family, and friends enough to override my feeling that I can participate in endurance events. If they feel it is unsafe for me, I give them the right to make that decision for me. Sometimes we get so ambitious with our athletic goals, we ask so much of our bodies and minds, we forget to slow down and give our bodies and minds the kindness they deserve.

    Some of us race to cross the finish line with every ounce of energy left out on the course. For me, or anyone with epilepsy, the risk of leaving everything on the course is that I might have a very serious seizure that will not end on its own. There are many training days I have to skip because I don’t feel well. I’m sure there will be races I will have to end short of the finish line as well. I’ve accepted that I have to listen to my body and I am not going to be qualifying for Kona anytime soon. Well, one never knows!

    The main side effects of seizure medications are fatigue and lethargy. Every time I am able to get myself out the door to train or compete is a podium achievement. It takes special attention for me to figure out if I am feeling normal seizure medication fatigue or fatigue that is training-related and requires me to skip the workout. It is such a fine balance.

    A little about the Muskoka 70.3 Ironman… 
    I decided on the Muskoka 70.3 Ironman as my main race for the season. I contacted the organizers to let them know what might happen and to give them my safety plan. We made sure my number was flagged as a person with a medical condition. The medical team and support cars were all made aware to check in with me throughout the course.

    The swim made me the most nervous, so I got advice on where to start, and I made sure to keep a kayak in sight at all times. I stayed on the inside of the swim course right near the buoys so that I could get out of the crowd of swimmers and float on my back if I felt at all as if I was going to have a seizure. The swim to bike transition seemed to go well until 5km into the bike I realized that I had forgotten my seizure medications and my gels in the transition zone. I considered turning around and going back to the transition zone. I opted not to though… which was a risk! I obviously need to work on my transitioning.

    I made it through the bike course and took my meds in the transition zone between the bike and the run. The transition zone is a curious place. Transitioning in triathlon is often a sport of “HOW FAST CAN I GET IN AND OUT OF HERE WITHOUT FORGETTING ANYTHING?” I am finding though that the transition zone needs to be a time to slow down and listen to what my body needs. During the bike-to-run transition I needed to sit, take my meds and ask myself “Am I ok?” Because the seizure medications make me feel lethargic, I was foggy for the first kilometers of the run. “Am I ok?” I kept asking myself as the kilometer markers went by. The answer was yes!

    It comes down to, “Do I enjoy doing this enough to take the risk of hurting myself, and what can I do to reduce the risk?”
    For me, the benefits outweigh the risk. I love being out tri-ing. 
    I will never race hard enough that I will cross the finish line and need IV hydration but I will race hard enough to raise awareness for athletes living with epilepsy. 
    How did the race go for me? Amazing! I placed 4th in my age group and completed 2km of swimming, 94km of cycling and 21km of running in five hours and 32 minutes. It feels great to know that my support network, epilepsy and I can work together in this life to achieve great things.

  • 22 Sep 2014 6:48 PM | Anonymous

    For those interested here is the summary of my first experiences back to back half ironman events!
    Saturday - First half-ironman in 6:02hrs.
    1) First ever back-to-back half ironmnas in the world and use of a drone for the race - how cool is that!
    2) Cold temperatures (8C) & choppy waters for the swim - 5th out of the water.
    3) Nice bike course but deceiving hills - slight but long rolling kind! 10k into the bike rain starts to come down & wind (40kmph!) decides to take you down!
    4) How to keep waarm was the only thing on the mind for the rest of the bike & the race. Possibly tried everything from breathing to mental trips to happy places/pubs in Irland & Scotland - didn't work!
    5) Never felt so alone & cold on bike before, so much so that I couldn't pickup or squeez my water/nutrition bottles & had to take help of a volunteer at the trasition to unclip my helmet!
    6) Run was mostly flat but 80% on trails - Keep moving to keep warm, was the slogan!
    7) Entire 6hrs of racing with just a bottle of ensure & 2 gels - unreal & wrong on so many levels.
    8) 7th overall & first in the age group. But never seen so many DNS & DNF in a race due to weather conditions!
    9) Wonderful support by the volunteers in crappy weather conditions - I couldn't have done it!
    Sunday - 2nd half ironman in 6:35hrs.
    1) No rain but still gloomy & cold conditions (5c!) - keep moving to keep warm is the slogan again!
    2) Sore from yesterday but 5th out of the water again and quick transition on to the bike.
    3) Legs refuse to move & wind refuse to chill! Lost a few position in the first 10k and winter like conditions didn't help!
    4) Dreaded the down hills but loved to hills - awesome way to stay warm! Half way through the bike, sun decides to shine & started feeling my fingers & toes..
    6) A spill on the bike but not a scratch on the bike..pheff! Attacked by dogs on the course....yeah ?? (apparently few others had the canine challenges)!
    7) By the end of the bike, Achilles swells up = 15mins walk before couple alieve pills (courtesy a wonderful volunteer)!
    8) 15 more mins of slow walking before pills kicks in and the run begins! Boy, does it feel good to chase people down on the run...5mins pace all the way to the finish line!
    9) First in the age group again for the day. 4th overall/3rd male for both races.
    Great organization for an inagural trathlon weekkend - happy to . Cudos to Wayne - the race organizer & the volunteers.

  • 16 Sep 2014 7:04 AM | Anonymous

    For those interested - summary of my first 100mile/29hrs trail run at Haliburton forest

    1) Craziest of storms on the night before the race - pouring rain, scary non-stop lightning all night long.
    2) 6am start on Saturday & in the dark with all happy faces & my flashy blue shoes!
    3) First 25miles in 5:30hrs - all smiles & making friends, blissfully unaware of what’s to come!
    4) 2nd 25miles in 6hrs, sight of fellow racer lying down in the middle of the trail, out of extreme dehydration - indication of what's to come!
    5) Starting of 3rd 25miles with 45mins of luxurious stay in the medical tent (getting blisters treated) & with delicious hot soup, running with crazy people who would stick with me till the end and running with a bear-bell for the rest of the way!
    6) 3rd 25miles in 8:15 hrs being seriously chased by sleep monsters, hearing & seeing things (that are not there!), walking off the course twice and word of advice '100miler doesn't even begin until mile 75, so enjoy while you can!'
    7) 4th & final 25miles in 9 hrs, being kicked out of an aid station by a wonderful volunteer at 3am, stupid move of running fast 2km (6:30min/k pace - after drinking lt of coffee) with still 30k to go followed by 60 mins of delirious & extreme paranoia (of missing flags & getting lost in the forest, eaten alive by wolves, passing out by the side of the trail....).
    8) Finishing 100miles after 28hrs at 11:57am on Sunday, cheering fellow racers until cut-off time of 30hrs & then passing out in the tent. And of course the words of 'Never Again!'
    9) Incredibly chance & luck to witness & welcome a courageous gentleman finish his 100mile on his 10th attempt in 33hrs - no more words to describe it!
    10) Finally getting the coveted finisher buckle - which belongs to the fellow racers, support crew, medics, volunteers & the amazing race organizers!
    11) And already thinking about the next one a day after ! undefined at Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve.

  • 24 Jul 2014 10:18 PM | Anonymous
  • 12 Jun 2014 1:04 PM | Anonymous
  • 12 Jun 2014 1:04 PM | Anonymous

    I just read the latest member update, and was surprised and happy to see that my showing in Puerto Rico got the TTC a second place finish!

    Just wanted to share the fact that, when Jane Zhang and I signed up for the club two years ago, I was struggling with the (400m) swim distance in the "give-it-a-tri" distance, and that when the two of us showed up for swim sessions at the Regent Park Swim Club, we nearly dropped out. I couldn't even float in the pool without my legs dropping to the bottom.

    Anyway, with Rob's help, and from observing others, we got better. Jane was the overall age-group winner (at the "give-it-a-try" distance) for the Multisport Canada series last year, and I finished my 2-km open-water swim in Puerto Rico in 47 minutes, on my way to a 5:43 finish time. Slow, but energized. If I hadn't suddenly moved to Miami in November, I'm sure you would be seeing a lot more of me around now, but sadly I've transplanted to warmer climes.

    Anyway: thanks for the help, support, and induction to the sport!

  • 12 Jun 2014 1:01 PM | Anonymous
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