Member Spotlight and Race Reports

  • 05 May 2015 12:25 PM | Anonymous

    Stephan was featured on Global News last week!

    A few years ago I was what you might call your typical workaholic, frequent traveller, who was not getting enough sleep, watching a little too much TV, and eating foods that were not too lean and high in sodium content.

    I also ran, swam and cycled regularly, thinking I could just shed the weight or at least retain a balance between my stress and eating habits and my body’s well being.

    I thought I was the invincible professional that could go on forever without a care for how tired I was, how much stress I could handle and the food I ate.

    Then, after many half marathons and mini triathlons from 2002 to 2009, on July 4th 2010, after just finishing another sprint triathlon, it happened.. I suffered a full blown heart attack with a 100% blockage of my right coronary artery.

    I was very lucky that all the emergency services were at the site of the race. And all the paramedics were trained to deal with the situation.  That the hospital’s emergency unit was not busy, and that the best cardiac surgeon was on call on a Sunday morning.  Best of all, my spouse of more than 28 years recognized what was happening to me because his father had had a stroke 20 years earlier and took immediate steps to get help.

    Later that day, in the cardiac unit while I was recovering, the nurse handed me all the pills I would have to take every day for the rest of my life. 

    She also gave me the most important book I ever received in my life written by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and provided for free to recovering heart attack and stroke patients. It explained in detail what had happened to me and gave me the hope and courage I needed to know that eventually I would recover.

    I realized at that moment that I didn't understand the signs of this impending calamity during my training but in hindsight they were all there. Months before, I had experienced them: decrease in performance, a dizzy spell after a long bike ride, what felt like exercise induced asthma during my runs and swims (I never had asthma before). That last one was not asthma… it was angina, a very serious last warning before the big one.

    Over the next few years I slowly worked back into my swim, bike and running routines, waiting patiently to get back to my first tri.  In 2012 I joined the Toronto Triathlon Club and by July of that same year I finished my first post heart attack Sprint at the Toronto Triathlon Festival. 

    On July, 2013, almost three years to the day of my heart attack, I successfully finished my first Olympic Distance triathlon, (a sport that my cardiac surgeon urged me to get back into after he implanted a stent in my right coronary artery).  Thanks to the research and the information that the heart and stroke foundation provided, I have regained my life and my strength.

    I am proof positive that it can happen to anyone at any age. I am also proof that you can recover with the help of well-funded research and information.   

    Thanks to the Toronto Triathlon Club for being there and providing all the great programs that went a long way to enabling me to recover fully.

  • 27 Apr 2015 9:30 PM | Anonymous

    David showed is generosity and commitment to triathlete development by donated his membership drive prize back to a new triathlete in need.  He also handed over his 50/50 ticket to Mike Wallace who ended up winning the prize.  Mike in turn donate the winnings back to the cause for the Beaches Kids Triathlon.  David is an active member of the club participating in the indoor track program and Regent Park swims.  

  • 23 Mar 2015 11:35 AM | Anonymous

    March's member of the Month is Liza Perry.  Liza has been an active member of the club by participating in the morning swim classes, and indoor cycling program on Friday mornings as well as volunteering with the club at the Track Meet.  Thanks for being such an active member Liza!

  • 23 Feb 2015 6:09 PM | Anonymous

    This months Member of the Month is David Noseworthy.  David was nominated by Jackie O'Conner- Friday morning Cycling Coach.

    "David has been a committed member of the Friday Base Cycling Group since it's inception in November. He is focused throughout the workout, asks questions - which as a coach I like because it is indicative of an athlete trying to learn, goes home and repeats the workout  implementing the feedback he was given during the first effort in an effort to see the difference, and further goes on to share his enthusiasm and interest in the class with other TTC members both at other TTC classes and on his own Facebook Page. It's a pleasure having such an engaged and positive individual with us at 6:00am."

    David is also our sponsorship director and has participated in the Bike TT and Track Meet over the past month.


  • 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
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