Early this year I mapped out my 2015 races; so far things have not gone to plan, but when do they ever really!?
I started by clocking up 3 DNS (did not start) at various running races due to sickness or re-surfacing injuries, my body just not wanting to co-operate.
I had signed up early for Ironman 70.3 Victoria, initially intent on getting a spot to 70.3 worlds in Austria.
However, in April a new career opportunity presented itself and I left Vision Critical for a role as a UX/UI Designer at Hootsuite.
This was an exciting and challenging career move for me, but I quickly found it taking nearly all my attention and focus. A friend posted this pic a few days ago, it seemed pretty accurate ;)
Fast forward into 70.3 Victoria race week; I was feeling mentally unprepared to race, my mind was elsewhere and I somewhat regretted signing up.
Coach Bjorn assured me I would be fine, we decided to call this a long training day with ‘just go and have fun out there,’ as the only plan, so no pressure.
We booked a great little Air B&B in Victoria at the last minute and I stocked up on my usual assortment of odd pre-race food; this became as much about a mini vacation as it did a race.
Race morning arrived and with ‘go have fun’ in mind I found myself bizarrely with no pre-race nerves. The early 6:15am race start was a little cruel but it was a wave swim start meaning age groups started 3 minutes apart vs a mass start of all 1700 athletes. Starting with only the 119 women in my age group meant it was going to be a pretty calm start vs. the usual ‘human washing machine.’ Coach Bjorn was on site to help us into wetsuits, which was greatly appreciated. I’m around 10lbs heavier than when I last wore my wetsuit in China at Worlds (and it was tight back then) so it made for some uncomfortable squeezing! Darcy likes to use the term ‘fat sausage’ ;)
So the gun went off and 3 women quickly pulled away, I pushed hard to follow them. However, 300m in it was clear their pace wasn’t letting up and I didn’t think I could swim that fast. I looked to the right and saw 4 other girls a short way behind. I decided to drop off and swim easier till they passed and I then hopped on behind them.
Sighting into the rising sun was brutal and the constant obstacles of slower swimmers we’d catch from waves ahead of ours kept things interesting. I decided to assume the other 4 girls would do a good job of navigating so I stopped sighting and just cruised along behind them.
As I wasn’t sighting the swim exit actually came a lot sooner than I was expecting (bonus!) and I finished the 1.9km swim in 32mins, sitting in 8th place.
Thanks to a tip from Nathan to spray Tri Glide on the outside of my wetsuit it amazingly came right off in T1 vs. my usual fighting and stamping it onto the ground with it stuck around my ankles!
Heading out of T1 onto a congested bike course reminded me of a soggy GranFondo, but on TT bikes! I rode the first 25km fairly aggressively to get clear of the crowds, then I had an open road.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to ride my bike and this was a pretty fun course to zoom around on, rolling hills, wide turns, fun descents and nothing too technical.
Shortly after my teammate Shelly caught up to me and we joked about this being more like a training ride!
For the first time ever I actually spent the majority of the bike in my aero bars. I think worrying about lost power trumped fear this time around. I was determined to gain back lost time by staying aero even through descents and roundabouts! Zoom, zoom...
The bike passed pretty quickly and I even got a wave from Darcy who was riding the course backwards.
I kept up a comfortable tempo and rolled into T2 with a ride time of 2:36 for 88km. I didn’t know it at the time but I’d passed another 6 girls and was now in 2nd.
The funny thing about racing age group triathlon is you quite often have no idea how you’re doing relative to the rest of the field until it’s all over.
I hopped off my bike and ran into T2 to where I ‘thought’ my running shoes were, no shoes… Of course I’d run down the wrong aisle and then totally lost my bearings. I began reading race numbers and ducking under barriers with my bike, finally locating my shoes!
Shoes on, sunglasses on, let’s go running! The course was 2 loops around the lake, rolling trails, mostly shaded and with a pretty good breeze.
It always takes about 3km before my legs click into gear, they feel like lead, I’d prefer to sit down and eat chips, I could just stop, but I’m not really going to, but I want to, ok, off we go, keep running…
I’d lost Shelly on the bike but she caught up to me again 5km into the run. This was a good thing as I was trotting along with my mind wandering, I was thinking about eating burgers and fries post race; she kicked me into gear and we ran together for a bit.
I’ve never mastered picking up the little cups from the aid station and drinking them while still running, but I also never want to stop. Apologies to a few of the volunteers who I tried (and failed) to grab cups off as I’m pretty sure I covered them as well as myself in Gatorade & Coke. Of the cups I did manage to grab the majority of it went over me. As the run progressed I became a sticky, moving wasp magnet.
By about 18km in I was getting tired but I’d had a really relaxed day out there. I finished off the 21km run in 1:36, staying in 2nd with an overall finishing time of 4:47. Melindi Elmore the Canadian Olympic runner won my age group, so I was happy with 2nd!
So this certainly wasn’t my fastest race, but I finished feeling good with some gas in the tank also knowing I could have pushed harder throughout the day. However, I had a lot of fun and was reminded that I really do enjoy racing, I can just go and enjoy myself and then drink beer after with Darcy to recover :)
I decided against taking a spot to worlds this year, I’d like to go in 2016 but for now i’m looking at a revised more mentally manageable plan for myself for the remainder of 2015. Next up i’ll be racing my first ever 5k at the Scotiabank Vancouver 5km on June 28th, it has a more sociable start time ;)