Wild About It: My Float Bag

Once most have my triathlon training squad had raced I found myself needing to get workouts in while everyone else was on their post race recovery. I decided to motivate myself by heading down to open water swim Tuesday mornings at Cherry Beach.

The first morning I went, I arrived at the beach and was alone. It was very weird to not have my squad with me, but also super weird to not have any life guards as well. I knew this wasn’t safe. Moments into me putting on my suit a man arrived out of the change rooms, we greeted, and he wrapped this floating thing around his waist – this floating thing was exactly what I needed. Staying in the swim zone got in a 30 minute swim. While heading towards the shore a boat drove into the pedestrian swimming area. This was weird and I wasn’t totally sure I had been seen. I left the beach and went straight to MEC to by a bright personal flotation belt, a My Float Bag.


I ended up having to purchase the My Float online from MEC, but within 2 days it arrived and was even better then I anticipated. Not only was it a great safety device, it also was a giant dry bag with roll top closure that’s the perfect size for keys, phone, even clothes or shoes! Now I didn’t need to worry about leaving my wallet and car keys on the beach, I could keep them with me during my swim.


The My Float contains adjustable straps which works as a shoulder strap on land or as a belt in the water. I used it while alternating from swimming on my front and back and the strap was never tangled or in the way while I kicked.

img_39261I’ve now used my My Float three times and speak so highly of it, suggesting all open water swimmers invest in one.

Not only does it let you carry your stuff, it keeps you bright and insight from boats as well as offering an additional safety as a flotation device (but remember it’s not designed as a PFD or lifesaving device).

The My Float is available online for $69 and in store through a variety of source, I used MEC as it was convenient and shipped very quickly.

Race Recap: Montreal Demi-Espirit

4.5 months in the making, my goal race, the Montreal Demi-Espirit 70.3, was here on Saturday. It’s a flat course that offers “your best chance you’ll ever get to personal best” and for me, it did!


I first decided to do this race and my sister and her crew had decided to race it because it is a “bucket list” race. Company on these long distances races is great and once I heard about the unique course I was in.


The race takes place in the Montreal 1976 Summer Olympic Park. Summer in the rowing basin, riding around the Formula One Canadian Grand-Prix track, and running back around the rowing basin. It was amazing for spectators as people were everywhere along the entire course, and as an athlete you were able to see your supporters multiple times on route.


The Swim

The swim is an out and back in the Olympic rowing basin. This swim is unique in that while it’s open water, it’s a protected current-free basin is similar to a 2 km long, 100-meter wide and 3-meter deep swimming pool.  The water has a sandy bottom which I was able to view the entire time and “is considered superior for swimming.”

Because of these conditions I felt very confident on course. There was lots of space in the water and not once was I near another person where we might have touched. Certainly the number of women were less, but we also had a great deal of space. I stuck to my usual plan of a steady effort and during the final few hundred meters set my sights on a few swimmers that I wanted to pass and I did giving myself a third place age group finish for the swim.


The Bike

The 90 km bike portion of the race consisted of completing 21 laps around the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, which is the site of the Formula One Canadian Grand-Prix. The 4.3 km loops were very smooth and were filled with a combination of winding turns, hair-pin turns, and straight aways. There was one bottle drop/aid station which had it’s own lane and an opportunity to not only grab a bottle while continuing to ride, but also pulling over for a stop.

2016-09-10 | 2016 Triathlon Esprit de Montréal (Samedi)

The Pro-timing chip on your ankle counts your laps, but I also used my Garmin to make sure I was on track. The lap count is shown on a giant screen near the exit lane, and your name and bib number appear on the monitor on lap 5, 10, 15, 19, 20, 21. The race are continuously shares that when you see your name with the number 21, you must exit the course, however I saw at least 5 people who misunderstood and did an extra lap.

My bike experience was one that is most easily described as terrifying. As one of the first few women out of the swim I entered the bike loop, with tired legs, at a measly 25km/hrs pace. I entered into a bike race in progress with many men holding what I could only assume was 40+km/hr paces. I felt like Disney’s Simba during the stampede scene of the Lion King. Men was racing past me on both sides. There was no organization as to where slower riders should be and when I assumed it was to stick the left and pass on the right (which it was) speedy men would cut through almost no spaces nearly taking both of us out to pace. This was my race situation for almost the first 40 minutes until more women entered the course and I can only assume some of the faster men started exiting.

21 loops certainly offered an interesting option as I was able to see my family and receive their coaching and cheers almost every 8 minutes, I will be honest that while 21 laps seemed fun before riding, it was very mentally challenging and required a lot of focus for almost 80% of the time. Although that being said, this mainly flat course was one of my fastest rides, in which I was able to hold my Olympic distance pace during double the distance.

2016-09-10 | 2016 Triathlon Esprit de Montréal (Samedi)

The Run

The 21.1 km run starts at the back of the Transition Area where you will run directly onto the Voie Maritime for a short 2km out on the trails. I entered this area at the exact time the duathlon was starting here. They let me get a few feet ahead before they started and it was certainly motivating to run so closely with others.


Once back on the basin wall, you  circle the Olympic Rowing Basin and complete 4.5 laps. The race almost everywhere including the website states 4 laps, but it’s actually 4.5. I didn’t realize this until I was on course and for over two hours watched racers run across this floating bridge, trying to figure out what they were doing and whether that was my race or another distance.

While heading out on what I (and my family) thought was my final lap I asked a staff what the deal was after a large group ahead of me went across. It was here on course that I learned about the extra half lap. This definitely sucked as I had mentally thought I was nearing the finish, and then having to explain to my family too, while running, that I still had a half lap left. I hadn’t started my Garmin on time, so knew that wasn’t reliable. So when it was finally my turn to cross the bridge – I was jumping for joy.

The course was well fueled with 3 aid stations per loop. They had water, ice, coke, pretzels, and an electrolyte drink. They were well organized and the volunteers did a great job.


One thing to be aware of is that almost all on race communication on race day is in French. Pretty much the only thing I spoke while on course was the phrase “English please”. This was challenging on the bike, where I felt very unsafe and was unsure of what was happening when people didn’t appear to be following the “rules”. Race communication prior to race day was bilingual.

That begin said, I enjoyed this flat and fast race quite a bit. It gave me personal bests and an awesome spectator experience from my family and friends. I would definitely suggest others give it a try.


Road to 70.3: Week 17

Week one of the taper is here. With three sports, it means my schedule is still pretty packed which was surprising to some of the run crew who are used to just a run taper, which means more days off. I certainly did enjoy the additional free time as well as starting to plan what my post race workout schedule would look like.


MONDAY:Typically our Tribe interval workout. We became quickly distracted by…Mr. Peanut. So we decided instead to run him down. We located the giant hot air balloon in the yard of Fort York. We snapped some photos and continued on completing a 5km route.


TUESDAY: A few weeks ago I started a new training habit of open water swimming. With my new My Float in hand – or on waist – I headed out at Cherry Beach. The water was so clear and fresh, unlike other times I’ve been there. It was nice to get the practice in outdoors and swim through some of the conditions open water brings. In the evening I taught my YFit class at YYoga.


WEDNESDAY: Tonight’s Tribe 5km run concluded with runner’s Pilates. We concluded our run at The Attic, 318 Queen St W, and took part in this brief but information class led by Robyn Hickey of Rebalance Pilates.


THURSDAY: Today I presented at a Physical Literacy conference in Hamilton. It was a pretty busy day as I had to race back to Toronto for an opportunity meeting before heading to teach at YFit. Apart from teaching which I kept light, today was my rest day.


FRIDAY: My day started with a 60 minute hike along the Bruce Trail with my sister and dad. It was a nice walk with more stairs then any of us had anticipated walking. We went from Tiffany Falls to Scenic Drive. After lunch I took off for the cottage. As my hamstring hadn’t been feeling great I had been holding off on my run, but looked forward to getting it in up in Kincardine. I arrived to the cottage after the 3 hour drive and was the first one there which meant I could get out on my run without any guilt of leaving family and the need to be with the family while away. The run started off feeling great. As it was a taper I wanted to keep it light but started to play with speed and set the goal of a light, but faster second half. Just as I approached the turn my left ankle left like it wasn’t tracking properly and essentially froze and I was in a great deal of pain. I stopped running, because I physically couldn’t run and started rolling and pulling my ankle trying to free up some movement. This was not the run I was hoping. After a few minutes here I returned to run home in pain. I tried to put more pressure on the outside of my left foot which seemed to help. I was worried. My ankle continued to be sore for the rest of the weekend.


SATURDAY: Heading to the cottage for the long weekend I saved my mid week long ride for today. Riding at the cottage has certainly become one of my favourite things. There is almost no traffic out on the rolling hills and I can get in an epic out and back sticking to one road. This ride felt good. I’ve still been noticing tightness in my hamstring but have continued to stretching plan every night and after each workout.

SUNDAY: I had planned on running today, but with my ankle still acting up I decided I would enjoy the cottage and instead take a rest day. We relaxed on the beach, used my new Stand Up Paddle board and just enjoyed the summer. I was texting with a friend who asked how the taper was going. I replied stating that I felt is if every injury I had was coming back and that my body was falling apart. She replied “So it sounds like your taper is on track”. I know these feelings are common, so I need to keep reminding myself of that in the coming week leading up to Saturday’s race.

Missed a week of my training?

Week 16   Week 14   Week 13   Week 12  Week 11

Week Ten   Week Nine  Week Eight

Week Seven  Week Six  Week Five

Week Four   Week Three  Week Two  Week One