Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bracebridge Olympic


Slept over in Bracebridge the Friday night before Sara’s Race to avoid any last minute travel troubles. We woke up at 6am to about 3 different alarms going off at the same time...there was my annoying blackberry ringtone, Sara’s blackberry’s crickets and the radio blaring something from Moose FM. While Sara showered and got ready for her race I made a Tim’s run. Her choice of pre-race meal was a blueberry muffin and large coffee and I grabbed a whole grain blueberry muffin and large decaf (no caffeine the day before a race helps me sleep way better, which I discovered in Rhode Island). We had a non-rushed morning: she had breakfast and played Screw Your Neighbour on her iTouch and I had breakfast and played Sims 3 on the laptop. At around 7:00am we hoped on our bikes and biked the 3.7km to the race course. Wow, my quads felt sooo tight – I was a bit worried that if 3.7km hurt then what was I going to do tomorrow when I had to ride more than 10 times that. We got the race site and I chose the best spot for Sara’s bike, which was super close to the bike exit so she wouldn’t have to run too far with her bike. We went through the pre-race routine...check-in, transition set-up, a short dryland warm-up and then a short swim warm-up (swim would be non-wetsuit). Right before her race...*surprise*...Papa showed up. Sara and Papa hugged and cried...she was happy...and now even more psyched up to race. Sara exited the water 2nd, was 2nd after the bike and then 3rd after the run. Woohoo!! She had a massive cheering squad of me, Papa, Kevin, Ross and Tom there for support. It was awesome and very inspiring for me. After her race and all her fans left I just hung out in the hotel room, did some yoga, stretching on the roller, had a nice warm bath, and watched Helen Jenkins win the London ITU World Champs! For dinner I chose a very bland dinner of penne pasta with tomato sauce and chicken with a side of garlic bread from Boston Pizza (take-out). I actually went to Walmart to buy salt and pepper because I wouldn’t have been able to eat it otherwise. I ate at around 6pm and was in bed at 8pm.


The no-caffeine pre-race day plan worked and I slept all the way until 5am (9hrs!), when the radio and my blackberry woke me up-I actually was a bit sad not to hear Sara’s crickets. I started my day off with a round of yoga, got changed and packed up the car. I made a Tim’s stop on the way to the race course and had a plain bagel with peanut butter and jam and a medium black coffee. Ahhh...caffeine again! I got to the race site super early so I took my bike out for a 10 minute easy ride and I practiced getting on and off my bike with my shoes in the pedals. Then I went to check-in and pick a good spot in transition to set up my bike. Not as good as Sara’s, but I was limited by my bib#. Then I did a 5 minute easy run followed by some great warm-up exercises I learned from Paul Bregin. I finished setting up my transition area and then swam the course. I made sure I knew what to site for if the orange buoys were hard to see and got my feel for the water. Pre-race prep was done. Next, I went to the race directors of the Milk Tri Series to try to convince them I should be starting in the elite wave. First, I mentioned that I was a varsity swimmer and that didn’t work, then I said I would bike above 30km/hr, then I said I would probably finish the race in 2:15...ahhh, finally, that had them convinced. And now the expectations were set....

The swim was a time-trial start so I started 10 seconds back from the elite in front of me, in the third position. The swim felt great – I actually really liked the non-wetsuit. I had my trisuit on which basically feels like a bathing suit so I had no extra resistance in the water. There were no feet to draft off of, unfortunately, but I felt myself speeding up as I got into the groove of the race. I even passed two of the male Pros! It was a two-looped course and by the end of the second loop I saw, and passed, a fellow competitor, Ayesha, who started in the first position! OMG-I was now in first place (of the Pros!). I couldn’t help but be a little bit excited. My swim time (including the run to transition) was 22:08, not bad for a non-wetsuit swim! 5th fastest time of the race.

T1 was fast with no wetsuit to worry about. My bike mount was a little slow as my pedal had rotated to a different position than I wanted it in – but not bad considering it was all up hill!

The bike was on a great course and, other than a few sharp turns on some sandy patches and a couple speed bumps, the pavement was nice and smooth. The first 5km my legs were a bit stiff, but no more so than the start of the bike in any race. I guess it’s unavoidable since I tend to be a “kicker” type swimmer. After the big climb in the first 4km though they started to loosen up. I felt pretty good on the bike and was in a good rhythm up until the 17km mark, when we turned onto a side road and had a head wind and was all up and down hill. I lost my rythm a bit here but after the turnaround, with the wind at my back, I started to get in a groove again. I think it was the 30km mark when I was passed by Beth Primrose (a former top Canadian triathlete who is now 50 and still an outstanding triathlete!). For the next 8km I would be passing her and she would pass me. It was kind of fun – but having to slow my pace down when she passed to avoid drafting wasn’t. After the 38km mark I passed her for good and we came into T2 first and second. I couldn’t believe I was still in first after the bike! To quote my dad’s response to seeing me “She’s still in the lead after the bike, that’s a first!” Too bad Beth was still close behind. My bike split was 1:10.07 (34.2km/hr).

I exited T2 with Beth and we ran the first 3km together (4’06, 3’53, 3’58). My heart rate was staying around 170bpm and I didn’t feel too bad so I knew I wasn’t running too hard. Just after 3km Ayesha caught both of us and both her and Beth pulled ahead. I wanted to stay with them, but they picked up the pace too much and I didn’t think I could maintain their pace for the whole race. Stupid brain. At the 5km mark Beth had pulled ahead of Ayesha and I actually caught Ayesha (splits for 4, 5km were 4’03, 4’04). Ayesha didn’t like this and she picked up the pace again and once again my head got in the way and I let her go (6km split of 4’06). I started to feel a bit worse at around 6km (7km split of 4’15)...possibly because the two track sessions I have done led to about 5-6km of cumulative hard running...and my pace dropped a bit. I managed to hold mostly 4’08s though for the last 2km + 300m (my GPS clocked the course in at 10.3km). I finished the run in a time of 41:48 and the whole race in 2:15.36! Second place female overall and just 9 seconds ahead of Ayesha.

It was awesome to have a surprise fan, Papa, and mom and dad Bharadwaj and Rikki there to see me! They were great at cheering!

Next stop...Cornwall Olympic