Alan Larter has been with the Endurance Training Systems (ETS) cycling programs at Talisman Centre from the beginning. The contagious atmosphere of cyclists, mountain bikers and triathletes in the growing program helped to spur on his desire to complete an Ironman. In October 2005, he signed on to work with an ETS coach and embarked on his quest to complete Ironman Canada in 2006. Alan's training was progressing nicely with some concentrated work on his swim and bike early on. However, Alan has struggled on and off over the years with an arthritic knee which did limit the amount of time he could spend running. Alan was in fact off of running for an extend period of time in December and January. After visiting a specialist at the University of Calgary Sports Medicine Clinic in February, his options were to either eliminate running to preserve his knee for later in life or have a series of Synvisc injections to get him through the Ironman. A set back like this would leave many athletes questioning their ability to actually continue doing the training let alone completing the event but Alan always remained positive and upbeat and his desire to complete Ironman was unstoppable. His training moved to focusing on strengthening the muscles around the knees, his core and his shoulders for the rigors of increased swimming. His aerobic fitness improved through swimming and cycling. Alan even rode portions of the Ironman Canada course on a few snowy days in February on the Computrainer.

By late March, Alan had been able to integrate more continuous runs into his training with minimal soreness. As the training shifted from primarily indoor to outdoor training, Alan began logging more cycling and running kilometers outside. Along the way to his pre-Ironman races, his knee cooperated with the training and racing. On June 25th, Alan amazed everyone at the Arbour Lake olympic distance triathlon (1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, 10 km run) where he won his age category by over nine minutes and finishing 12th overall with a time of 2:23:23 (h:m: s). He also posted the fastest bike split and second fastest run split in his age category. A truly dominating performance that proved Alan's hard work was paying off. On July 22nd, Alan competed in the Sylvan Lake half-ironman distance triathlon (2.1 km swim, 90 km bike, 21 km run) and once again dominated his age category by almost 13 minutes over the second place finisher. He also posted the fastest swim, bike and run times for his age group, but the best news was that his knee did not limit his running during the event. In a truly determined fashion, Alan crossed the finish line and collapsed from his all-out effort. For the next several weeks Alan increased his running and cycling to further build his endurance in preparation for Ironman Canada.

On August 27th, Alan achieved his goal of completing Ironman Canada in under 12 hours with a great time of 11:43:58, finishing 22nd out of 161 triathletes in his age category. Here is a brief account of his day:

"Well, where to start? You can really get caught up in all the excitement. It really gives you a boost to feed off everyone's energy levels. My race went very well. I was well rested before the start. We had stayed at a B & B in Naramata which was very peaceful. I got to the start early, had all my prep done and then relaxed until the start. I had a great swim. I couldn't believe my time when I exited the water 1:07. I was hoping for around 1:15. I was in traffic all the way and maybe that's what speeded me up. The bike was a dream! I had a great time. It was a bit like a pace line at the start and for the first 50 km. After that things got better. I passed a lot of people on the hills. I think that's where I made a lot of ground. I was passed on the flats by some but I caught them again on the hills. I was up the notorious Yellow Lake hill before I realized it. I was still waiting for a bigger hill! All the people along the course cheering you on made it feel a lot easier. My back was a bit stiff after getting off the bike – it spasmed a couple of times. I took time and stretched it in transition and then I headed out on the run with a good pace for the first nine miles or so. I suffered a bit of cramping but I took some salt tablets and carried on. At the turn round I was feeling pretty good although a bit tired. Mile 22 was where it really hit me. First, my left calf cramped up forcing me to hop on one leg and then the other cramped and I promptly fell over (much to my initial amusement). Then the pain hit. Trying to get the muscles to release was excruciating and I almost threw up on one of the volunteers who was trying to push my foot up. I promptly put four salt tabs under my tongue, let them dissolve and then took another four. It took about fifteen minutes of walking and shuffling to get back into some semblance of normality, with a couple more hopping sessions for good luck. After that I managed to get running again and finished quite strongly. Definitely a great feeling crossing the line."

Congratulations to Alan on a great year! You were awesome to work with and an inspiration to all of us. Thanks for letting us share your journey.


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