September 05, 2015

Race report -- The Canadian Sprint Triathlon

September 5, 2015
750m swim, 30k bike, 5k run
Finish time: 1:47:51 (4/66 OA, 2/11 AG 40-44, 50/165 men and women)

Sharing the podium with Julie Piché and Clare Gallant

After a number of teeth-gritting, push-through-it races this summer, I had two goals going into my final race of the season. First, to leave my feet clipped in for the entirety of the bike. After a near-miss in my first race where I just about wiped out on a 180-degree turn, I've been tentative on those tight turns and kept unclipping my inside foot "just in case". Stupid waste of speed, and a head game that I had to put an end to. My second goal was to find the joy of the race again. Feel the wind on the bike, enjoy the rhythm of my run steps, appreciate the camaraderie of the participants, and thank every volunteer I encountered. I'm happy to report that I achieved both goals today.

Beautiful morning for a race

Swim + T1 -- 20:40 (750m... actual swim about 17:03)

The swim start was the most rambunctious I've experienced this year. The right side of my goggles got knocked a little loose and I didn't want to waste time fixing them, so I breathed left for the first 400m or so to keep water from getting in my eye. After going out fairly hard, I felt like I couldn't sustain the pace and tried to settle in. I'd say this swim felt about the same as Cornwall... I could have been straighter, and missed catching a draft from the front pack. I heard Christine call a couple of times around the time I exited at the beach, and it seems I was maybe a few seconds faster than Cornwall. I went out onto the bike course 18th out of 66 women, and 2nd in my age group.

One down, two to go

Bike -- 1:00:30 (30k, 29.75 km/h)

The bike course at the Canadian is a familiar one, following the Rideau Canal from Hog's Back locks past Carleton University and back. Originally the course was to be a 7.5k loop, but construction necessitated a shortened 5k loop. I succeeded in staying clipped in at the narrow north-end turnaround, which turned out to be easily manageable. Amazing what sorts of things needlessly psych us out. I knew from driving it recently that the road wasn't in great shape, and there were many athletes on the course at once. This required sharp attention, especially where you had those doing 40 km/h and those doing 18 km/h in close proximity, with the latter sometimes forgetting to yield the left side.

Around 23k, I started feeling some discomfort in my right hamstring and adductor. I backed off a bit, dropping down a gear to raise my cadence and try to spin it out. I had to do this a couple of times over the final 7k -- I've gotten used to not saving anything in my legs at the sprint distance, but a) this bike course was 50% longer than a regular sprint (halfway between a sprint and an Olympic), and b) I didn't want to risk something seizing and tearing. 'Cause that's not fast. In the end, my bike split moved me up 10 places to 8th overall. 

Little jog around the park, anyone?

T2 -- 1:51
Run -- 24:50 (5k, 4:58 pace)

Personal best on the run! I'm so happy about this, and not just because of the pace. Also because (see goal #2 for this race) I really enjoyed this run. Because the bike course was longer than usual, I carried Skratch and almonds for fuel. I felt really good when I headed out onto the run course. I approached it with the notion that I would run my own race, push to the edge of my comfort, and be genuinely happy for the chance to enjoy the day and the race. Let the cards fall where they may. As it turned out, I managed to gain another 4 positions on this leg, moving me into 4th overall. As I turned the last corner and headed down the track toward the finish, I heard Todd comment on the big smile on my face. This is exactly how I wanted to finish the race, and the season.

Helping out at Lisa's aid station after my event

After the sprint awards presentation, in keeping with the feel-good vibe, I went back out onto the course to dole out necessities to the runners still competing. I yelled "Gel! Salt! Chews!" so many times, I think at one point my words got muddled and I offered someone shoes. As I held out what I had and asked "What do you need?" I got some good answers -- including "a ride" and "beer". Unfortunately I couldn't deliver on either. Seeing athletes trudge again and again up the hill I'd climbed hours before, I wished I could offer more than a sugar jolt and an encouraging word. I remember the all-consuming effort of my 1/2 Iron race, and empathized completely with those who looked like they were near the end of their capacity as the day got later and the crowd got thinner.

River looking lonely in transition at the end of the day

With my third season of triathlon officially done, I would like to thank Louis Garneau and Dr. Patrick Kirkham at Britannia Chiropractic for their support in 2015. I put a lot of myself into racing, and I so appreciate their belief in me as an athlete. If anyone has questions about Garneau products, I own lots of them -- get in touch with me, and I can tell you about what's worked well for me. For questions about chiro treatment, use the above link to get in touch with Dr. Kirkham directly. Of course, I'd be very happy to share my personal experiences with it as well. I would also like to thank my OTC coach, Mark Manners, for all his help this year.

And now, to celebrate the start of the off-season, I'm going to have a cider in my Cornwall Tri mug and bust out some Pop Tarts! Yeah! :)