Toronto Island "Give-it-a-Tri"

It was an early (4am) wake-up on Saturday for our first tri (!!!) – even though the race wasn’t starting until 8, we wanted to catch the first ferry to Toronto Island (6am) and had to pick up our race kits before that. It’s a bit more challenging logistically with the ferry ride, mostly because I was super paranoid of forgetting anything in the car and because we needed to haul everything with us on the boat and across the island to the race site.

It was an extremely foggy morning and it was pretty spooky on the ferry ride across the lake. We could not see anything!

Other than that, it went smoothly and we arrived on-site extra early without forgetting anything. After setting up in transition, we puttered around to scope things out and pass the time.

The buoys were not even visible from shore with the fog, so the start was going to be delayed by 15 minutes. Ahhh, more time to get nervous ready.

Thankfully the fog started to clear and we weren’t going to be delayed any longer. Pretty soon our friends/cheerleaders/photographers arrived and it was time to suit up and head to the beach.

We went for a short warm-up swim in the chilly water (17C/62F) including the obligatory wetsuit pee. The water was crystal clear with a nice sandy bottom and very calm – definitely not what we expected in Lake Ontario after our practice swim from the mainland last week.

Hubs’ wave with the 30-34 men started seven minutes before mine so I was able to see him off before waiting for my turn. Then it was time to wade in (we started about knee-deep) and wait for the horn.

I made the decision to be aggressive and place myself front and centre. Looking at previous results and my own open water swim times, I knew I could probably swim near the front of the pack.

At 8:29AM, we were off!

It was mad chaos at the start. People were all over me and it was impossible to find a groove. I was glad to have had practice last week swimming in a tight pack and getting clobbered, because I was able to stay calm and hold my own pretty well.

Once we made the first turn, it cleared out considerably. I had plenty of room to actually swim and found a pretty good rhythm. It was still super foggy and difficult to sight now that I wasn’t in a pack and had to find my own line. I caught myself veering off slightly a few times, but nothing major.

I made the second turn and was headed back to shore. I passed a couple of people on this home stretch and before I knew it, my hands were grazing the bottom.

My friends were cheering like crazy and called out my actual swim time for me (8:20). I was excited that it had gone well and ready to tackle part 2!

And then I face-planted in the sand.

I completely lost my footing in all the excitement (I blame for cow-bellers for being so distracting) and the next thing I knew, I went down. Naturally, it was caught on camera…

That’s what friends are for

My friends were laughing like crazy, and let’s be honest – so was I. How can you not? It was hilarious. Anyway, I pulled myself up and continued on my merry way. I was soaking wet so I was now covered in sand from head to toe, especially my hands. Luckily I was having so much fun that it didn’t even phase me.

It was a bit of a trek (about 300m) on sand, board walk and grass to transition. I passed at least a few people along here who were walking or jogging slowly.

400m – 8:20
+ 1:38 run up from beach
official time – 9:58
3/47 F25-29

Found my rack, yanked off my wetsuit, strapped on my helmet, slipped on shoes, buckled my race belt, strapped on my Garmin, grabbed my bike and I was outta there.

T1: 1:10

I wheeled my bike out of transition and hopped on after the mount line.

The entire 10K out-and-back route would be along the paved (flat!) park trails, which were relatively narrow and open to the public. There was a strict no-passing zone for about 400m near the beginning so I used the time to secure my feet in the cages and suck back a gel that I had taped to my tube.

I was stuck behind a few people moving very slowly (average speed at this point was 23kph/14 mph) and I was itching to get moving, but had to be patient.

Once passing was allowed, I turned it on to make up time for the slow start. It was going to be a short ride, so I really cranked it and passed people like crazy. The paths turned out to be relatively clear and I never found that it was crowded.

10K goes by fast on a bike. Before I knew it, I was hitting the turn-around and on my way back. Not one person passed me the entire time!

We followed a path parallel to the bike finish to complete a short out-and-back before bringing it in. It was great to hear everyone cheering and get a quick boost to wrap up the ride.

I hopped off just before the dismount line and ran into transition on wobbly legs.

10.0KM – 18:22 – 32.7 kph (20.3 mph)
1/47 F25-29

Rack bike, remove helmet, grab head band, GO!

T2: 0:33

Time to run! We headed out on grass for the first few hundred metres and I struggled to find my legs. I felt “normal” by the time we hit the paved trail for two short out-and-backs; lots of turning in this 2.5K run! There was more traffic than on the bike since we were on such a short course, and I liked having people around to chase. I passed quite a few people and offered encouragement along the way.

Next thing I knew, I hit the final turn-around and made my way back across the grass to finish.

2.5KM – 11:18 – 4:31/KM (7:16/mi)
1/47 F25-29

Official time – 41:18
Overall – 11/266
Females – 2/147
F25-29 – 1/47

I have to admit, there is something special about a triathlon finish line. It may have all been over in just 41 minutes, but there are wardrobe changes, equipment changes, THREE disciplines. It was exhilarating and very rewarding. It definitely won’t be my last.

Pretty neat to hit the podium on my first shot, too. šŸ™‚

Great big thanks to my awesome cheerleaders and photographers for tons of support – but mostly, for kicking sand at me laughing at me when I was down. I have a feeling this memory will bring us laughs for years to come.

Congrats to hubs on an awesome race and 2nd place in his age group! I love that we can share this sport, too.

Next up: Wasaga Sprint Tri on September 10th – our anniversary. šŸ™‚

47 thoughts on “Toronto Island "Give-it-a-Tri"

  1. !!!!!!!!!!!! What an awesome race recap! I love that you just laughed it off after your first fall. And sounds like you held up during the swim (that's what scares me from trying a TRI). Congrats on placing on your first TRI! You are such an inspiration! šŸ™‚

  2. What an awesome recap. Felt like I was there kicking I mean cheering you on.How could Beth miss this part:If you were writing an adult movie wouldn't you include the following:Found my rack, yanked off my wetsuit, strapped on my helmet, slipped on shoes, buckled my race belt, strapped on my Garmin, grabbed my bike and I was outta there.Great job and I am excited to watch as your transition continues to grow.

  3. Well, if that isn't a great start to the Tri sport, I don't know what is. Seriously, Marlene. That is just awesome. Congrats on all of it. Looks like you are a natural (with some hard training to help out)!! You are a rockstar. So proud of you.

  4. I'm so happy your friends got a picture. I asked for an embarrassing moment (sure, I thought it might be a helmet blunder) and I got one! :)Congratulations Marlene. That is an awesome result and recap!

  5. LOVE this! Way to go! This is going to sound funny, but I love race reports for relatively short events. In short events, it's all out for speed racing. And it's fun!

  6. WOW! What a great race and a great report.I love your friends for giving us the opportunity to giggle on your pope imitation of kissing the ground šŸ™‚ And congrats on your first podium place, also for hub. You both did great.

  7. Awesome job Marlene!! You are a natural! I hate that I laughed at the part where you fell but it was funny and I have done the same thing so many times – just easier to laugh at yourself! Congrats on the AG win! Well done speedy!

  8. Wait, did you come in FIRST? You are amazing!Seriously laughed out loud about the sand part, I'm so glad you took it so well because it is pretty hilarious. Congrats on rocking out your first tri, and I completely agree it's a different kind of accomplishment- just bringing all the gear and having it is a huge accomplishment haha. On another note, your transitions were SO fast. How did you DO that haha

  9. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! Great time on all 2 but especailly the bike! I loved the fall, sorry, but it's so cute and funny that it was caught on camera! Can't believe how foggy it was! You definitely have Canadian blood, i could never swim in 62 degree water! My toes/feet feel like blocks of ice and get all numb in anyhting less than 75. Super proud of you!!! I didn't get to do any tris this summer. I only signed up for 1, an olympic but Hurrican Irene cancelled it!

  10. first off, that fog would scare me. second, i can't believe you fell…sorry if i laughed. šŸ˜‰ next, that was a fast transition getting out of a wet suit!! and lastly…not surprised at all that you killed it! congrats!

  11. Great result! For both of you. Seems like you've found something else that you're really good at and we running purists may have lost you to the dark side.

  12. WOW, how awesome is that! CONGRATS TO YOU šŸ™‚ What a great recap. Totally motivated me to eventually "tri" one of these. I've always wanted to, but like most, have feared the swim :(I could read this recap over and over…SO MOTIVATING!!!

  13. Ahhhh The Dark Side welcomes you! You are right, the triathlon finish line is different! The running one is cool and great too but the triathlon finish is a significant accomplishment. GREAT JOB!! I cannot wait for Saturday's sprint!! You killed it on the bike!! AWESOME job! Girl, if you had a tri bike you would be (even more) ridiculously fast! And THANK YOU for sharing your sandy face plant! I laughed and empathized so hard at the same time! You are too cute!!

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