Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Season Recap and Lakeside Tri: Now I feel ready for anything :)

And just like that the 2015 triathlon season is over! I feel like I blinked and it was all done. I don't think that it could have gone much better. 5 races, 5 wins, no knee pain! :)

Lakeside had been in my race calendar for awhile. I wanted to complete an Olympic Distance race this season. I wanted to know that I could finish a longer distance triathlon. More specifically, complete the 10km run at race pace with no pain. When I accidentally left my lucky Kask helmet in Guelph the weekend before and knew that I would have to race without it, I almost changed my mind. When I learned that it wasn't going to be competitive (the Pro race was in Georgina), I almost changed my mind. When I learned the weather was going to be a frigid 10C with 30kph winds, I almost changed my mind. When I knew I would have to miss part of celebrating my sister's birthday, I almost changed my mind. When I got sick on Monday last week and was still sick on Saturday, I almost changed my mind. Adam often tells me that, too often, I try to "fit a square peg in a round hole." I admit, that trying to fit this race in was me doing just that. However, I chose to ignore that fact this time. I raced, I suffered, but I'm happy I did it!

I woke up early on Sunday morning, got all my gear packed, said goodbye to Adam, got my McDonald's coffee and muffin, and drove to Lakeside. I would be alone at this race, with no sherpa and no friends/family watching. Not because they didn't want to be there, but busy schedules kept them away. I wasn't too bothered by this as I knew they would be following my results. What was more bothersome was the pouring rain I encountered during the drive, the wind and the cold temperatures. Luckily, the rain didn't follow me to the race site, but it got colder and windier as I got closer to my destination. Even though the race was a late start (10am) it didn't look to be warming up much. So, I sucked it up and tried to get excited about the race. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

SWIM: Water temp 19C, Air temp 10C (with wind making it feel like 7C). The water temperature wasn't too cold actually. However, even with a good swim warmup, the few minutes standing around in the waist deep water waiting for the swim start was long enough to get me chilled again. I started the swim as fast as I could, but with no circulation in my arms and legs it was very difficult to go fast. I did have my own space of water though and there was no being kicked or swum over. Always nice to start a race like that. Eventually I warmed up and I swam very comfortably to a 21:46. I think this put me about 3rd out of the water.

BIKE: I spent a lot of time in transition getting on a Craft base layer and Outwet Vest. This was an excellent decision. I was completely comfortable on the bike and not chilled at all. However, I think the time spent being chilled to the bone (between warmup and the start of the race ) had taken its toll. I was flat on the bike. Anything near threshold was incredibly painful. So, I stopped looking at my power meter and started looking up the road. I made it a mission to not lose sight of the triathletes up ahead. The crazy wind gusts almost knocked me off my bike a few times and it rained at various points, but other than that the course was great. I loved the rolling hills (totally my strength!) and the smooth roads. Before I knew it I was back in transition. I clocked a time of 1:08 for the bike - with an average speed close to 36kph. Not so bad for the conditions!

RUN: This was the only part of the course that I didn't like. Normally, I love running in colder windy weather. But this course was on a loose gravel road...so when I tried to push off the rocks moved under my feet and I just couldn't get a good grip underfoot. I tried to run on the more firmly packed areas, but that wasn't always possible. I was a bit worried about how the uneven terrain would effect my unstable knee, but my wide Altra running shoes ensured that my feet were able to spread out on impact with the ground and keep me stable. Near the end of the race it was hard to stay motivated, but I knew I was quite far ahead of the next female and I was passing a lot of the guys ahead of me, so that kept me strong. I was hoping to run a bit closer to 40 minutes, but I'll take a time of 41:12. Overall, I finished first female (4th overall) in a time of 2:13:56.

Clearly from the photos you can tell I was tired. My eyes are closed in all of them! Hopefully, not the bike photo :) So, despite having to race while sick, tired and battling harsh conditions I am happy I did it. I made the square peg fit in the round hole, like I have done many times before. It wasn't ideal, but I have so much more confidence after having successfully raced an Olympic distance tri. I'm looking forward to finishing school in June next year and being able to train a lot more next summer :) My plans for 2016 involve some local racing on the MultiSport circuit, some late season half-ironmans (I hear great things about Barrelman) and a winter Ironman (or 2?). But for now, I have two weeks of off season! Where's my pinot grigio? :)

A special thank you goes out to:

- All my readers for their support and for following me in my triathlon endeavours.
- The volunteers, officials and race organizers (especially on that cold day)
- Kim Lumsdon, my swim coach
- Adam and the kids for being my inspiration and for letting me use the car on Sunday!
- Spectators and fellow racers for being there to cheer me on
- My classmate, Gary, for the pre-race massage
- My sponsors: High Rock Capital Management, WattsUp Cycling, The Urban Athlete, Altra Running Shoes, Fitt1st Bike Fitting

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