Sunday, June 26, 2011

Muskoka Long Course

Woke up and did an easy hour’s ride with Sara. It turned out to rain and was super windy, but my legs felt OK. I thought they felt just right for the day before race day. After a quick shower Rikki and I were off to Huntsville. We arrived at the hotel, checked-in and then headed over to the race site to register. I switched to the 1st wave so that I could start the race with the fast swimmers. Hoping that I would have some feet to follow. For some reason I was quite nervous...I am not sure why...I had planned to watch the Sprint Tri that was starting at 4pm, but instead I just wanted to get away from the race site. I am still not so sure why I was so nervous about the race. Back at the hotel room I set up my gear for the next morning, cleaned my bike and did a round of yoga. Then Rikki and I headed to dinner. I had some warm bread, pasta with sautéed veggies and grilled chicken...was craving a ceaser and the double chocolate cake for dessert...but decided those could be had after the race. We went back to the hotel, watched a movie and I was asleep by 9:30pm.

Woke-up at 5:30am, got my race gear on and had a quick breakfast at the hotel. Toast with strawberry jam and a black coffee...the hotel didn’t provide peanut butter L Then I biked the 2km to the race site and got a good spot in transition to rack my bike. Set-up my transition zone, picked up my chip, got body marked and then I had plenty of time to relax before the race. I ate a banana and chatted with a few friends...before I knew it the time was 7:30am and I headed into the water to start my swim warm up. I did about an 800m warm-up and felt OK...the nervousness that I experienced the day before came back though and then I started to get really cold. Weird. I positioned myself towards the outside of the main pack of swimmers and then the race started. I was with a group of 2 others who seemed to be the same speed as me but I dropped them at the first buoy and then I was all by myself. Then my goggles fogged up and I couldn’t see a I reached a bouy I had to stop, take-off my goggles and sight towards the next buoy...this continued all race...eventually I thought I saw the swim exit and picked up the pace towards it...well, I was quite surprised when I realized that I had mistaken someone’s dock for the swim exit! Grrrr! Swim time of 30:59 (that’s about 1min30sec slower than last year...) I was pretty upset when I saw that on my stopwatch. Thank goodness I saw Mamma, Papa, Sara and Rikki there cheering me on. That helped me forget about the swim and start thinking about the bike. I had a pretty good transition and got my feet in my pedals no problem after the bike mount line. The bike started out OK...I was watching my powertap and trying to keep my power above 190W. Legs felt pretty good the whole way and the hills weren’t as hard as I remembered from my ride on Tuesday. The road conditions were horrible though, especially because of all the rain. I took in 1 gel and about a bottle of eLoad during the ride. At around the 48km mark I thought “phew” I’m almost there! Then another pothole surprised me and then I heard that “shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” as all the air escaped from my back tired. Grrr! I then asked myself the question: “do I change the flat?” or “do I ride on?”...I choose the latter. The 2nd female passed me shortly after but I rode on....almost took a tumble turning into transition but I made it! Hoped the wheel was OK. Fumbled a bit in T2, still a bit shaky from almost falling off the bike on the last turn, but soon I was off on the run!. I felt great the first 8km...didn’t even notice the hills. Then the last 5km I REALLY noticed the hills! Splits were 1km-4:01 (hr 163), 2km-4’14 (167), 3km- 4’03 (167), 4km-4’10 (171), 5km-4’14 (170), 6km-4’43 (170), 7km-4’20 (168), 8km-4’57? (170), 9km-3’21? (170), 10km-4’21 (169). 11km-4’45 (170), 12km-4’58? (170), 13km-3’25? (170)...the last 200m some guy stopped right in front of me as I was running and I ran right into his elbow! OUCH! So happy that race is over. Ended up 3rd female overall and first in my age group. Looking forward to a little bit of rest the next few days.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Guelph Lake I Sprint

Guelph being an afternoon race meant I got to sleep in! So I woke up at around 7am, made some hard-boiled  eggs for breakfast. Did a 20 minute yoga session, because my legs and shoulders still felt stiff and a bit fatigued. This REALLY helped to loosen me up and get my muscles ready for the race. Any triathlete that does not get in at least one yoga session per week definitely should. I met Sara at around 9am, we loaded up the bikes onto the car and headed to the race! Made a mandatory Tim Hortons stop where I grabbed a black coffee and whole grain blueberry muffin. Yes, I realize that is probably not the best choice of pre-triathlon meal. However, I forgot to pack my usual PB with banana on a bagel so I opted for something that I eat every day. We arrived in Guelph a bit early so Sara and I drove the bike course. The route was pretty hilly, but the road seemed pretty decent (from what we could tell, anyway). This was about when Sara realized she forgot her race bag at home! This caused momentary panic, but there was still about 2 ½ hours till race time so lots of time for Mamma, Kevin and Rikki to bring the race bag. Once at the race site, Sara and I signed in and picked up our race kits. She would be in the first wave and I would be in the third. Then we headed to transition zone, located the bike and run exits and set up our bikes...luckily, Mamma arrived with Sara’s bag about 35 minutes to race time. Perfect timing! Then we headed down to the water to warm-up. At 1 o’clock Sara started her swim close to the outside to avoid the goggle grabbing crazies who start near the center. I watched her head out to the first buoy near the front of the pack! Ya, Sara, she was out front! Definitely got me excited for my race. 6 minutes later I started from the same spot as Sara. I had a good start and was the leader of my wave. A good and bad thing...for the second race in a row I had no feet to draft off of. I ended up swimming a bit off course on the swim in and some guy from the second wave almost tried to drown me by pulling on my feet as I passed. Other than that everything felt pretty good. The swim + a long run uphill to transition had me at a time of 11:52...12th best swim of the day, 2nd best of all the women!
After finishing the swim I headed to my bike only to find someone had racked their bike almost on top of mine so that the two were stuck together. Grrr. Un-stuck the two bikes and then headed to a crowded bike mount area, fiddled around trying to get my feet in to my shoes and eventually I was off! 4 speed bumps later I was finally able to get into aero position and focus on sprinting the bike course. I passed Sara and made sure she was OK. She was still smiling! Awesome. On the hills I noticed that I would get passed near the start of the hills, but the hills were long enough so that I passed back whoever passed me by the end of the climb. Not sure what that means – maybe I am in the wrong gear to start the climbs. On the descents my new 11/28 rear cassette definitely got me moving!  It was amazing. It’s too bad the road was one step better than a gravel road for the whole made for a very bumpy ride! Nonetheless I finished the course (it was probably closer to 19km than 20km) in 32:34...sweet! Fastest female bike split of the day.
The run felt good. My first 1km split was 3:48 (avg HR 181bpm)...OK, on pace! I passed 2 girls. Next km was 3:55 (avg HR 182bpm) and I was still feeling good. At the turn-around I started to feel like I was getting in a groove, the 3rd km was 3:57 (avg HR 183), the 4th km was 4:00 (avg HR 183), almost there! And there was Sara!! I cheered super loud for her, so exciting! I couldn’t believe how fast she was off the bike! OK, up this hill which is brutal...good thing I had Adam and his boys there to cheer me on! Finished the last km in 4:03 (avg HR 183). Run time of 19:43! A PB, top female time and the 12th fastest time in the day! Yay.
Another race done for me (which ended up being tied for second as for the fastest female time ever recorded in the race’s 14 year history!) and Sara’s first. She was 7th after the swim-bike and then finished 11th in her age group out of 23. AMAZING!