We woke up dark and early (4:15AM) to rain, and lots of it. It was not fun loading the car, and I was just hoping that conditions were looking better at the race venue (about 1.5 hours away). It was a bit of an interesting car ride, since my bike and gear were taking up the whole trunk and back seat so Miles had to sit with me up front. I spent the first half an hour wrangling with him to settle down, but he eventually relaxed (phew).
Otherwise the drive was smooth, but we arrived at the site to find more rain. Yuck! I got out and checked my bib number so I could rack my bike right away at my favourite spot (end of the rack closest to bike-out) but left everything else in the car for a while in the hopes that it would clear up. No such luck… it continued to rain so eventually I had to suck it up and get soaked. I got body-marked, picked up my timing chip and set up my transition area.
After waiting in the car so long, I didn’t have a chance to scope out the race site as thoroughly as I normally would and started feeling a bit frazzled as start time drew nearer. I listened to the pre-race announcements, made one final pit stop and finally got my wetsuit on. It was time to head down to the water and I didn’t have time for a warm-up swim either! Not how I like to start a race, but it was time to go. I managed to run into Geo on the way down to the beach and we exchanged good lucks before his wave went off 4 minutes before mine.
Unfortunately I don’t have any pics taken during the race – hubs was busy contending with my newest cheerleader throughout the morning! He was a good boy, especially with all the crowds and excitement.
I was in a pink cap starting in the 3rd wave (8 minutes after the official start) with all of the 30-39 women (32 in total). After wave 2 went off I waded in, checked my watch and adjusted my goggles. The rain had actually let up by this point, just in time for us to get wet. Go figure.
I positioned myself near the inside/middle and one row back. It wasn’t too crowded at all and didn’t take long to find some space once we got moving. There was a little bit of jostling for the first hundred metres or so, but after that I really didn’t have any issues or contact except rounding the corners. The water was pretty choppy and I was getting a ton of mouthfuls. I never really found a comfortable groove, but focused on swimming strong. I was gasping for air a little bit and had to breathe every 2 as opposed to my usual 3 strokes. The swim was short enough (although sometimes those big green turn buoys looked like they were miles away!) that I knew I could just push through it.
Nearing the shore, I noticed that I had caught a handful of the yellow caps from wave 2 and also seemed to be near the front of the pack of pink caps, which surprised me. I nearly squealed when I hit the beach and glanced at my watch to check the time.
750m – 14:39 – 1:57/100m
(Adjusted stats to reflect race distance; my Garmin records open water swims way short.)
The run up to transition was about 200m and the official swim timing mat was at the end (I’m glad I recorded my actual swim time as per Garmin). I ran to my rack, tossed my cap/goggles and stripped off my suit. I had left an opened gel propped up inside my helmet, so I sucked that back as I got ready. Helmet, sunglasses (for safety, not sun), race belt, bike shoes, bike, GO!
T1 (including run from beach): 2:31
I wheeled my bike out to the mount line, hopped on and pedaled away. The first KM-ish was on narrow park paths, and it was pretty much impossible to pass until we got out on the road. Once I had space, it was time to get to work. I had a lot of people to pass and the novelty of calling out “On your left!” got old fast. I just wanted to settle in and ride, but I was constantly weaving out around people.
The course was a “J” shaped out and back with a double out and back along the top. We were mostly on farm roads, which were flat and quiet. We had some decent winds to contend with, which made for some significant speed fluctuations as we switched from head wind to tail wind. The roads were wet, but fortunately the rain was still holding off. I had been terrified at the thought of riding in the rain. I was extra cautious on turns and braked early when needed, but otherwise it was alright.
Roads were open to traffic and although we encountered very few cars, I did have issues a couple of times. More than once, I came up behind a vehicle that was driving along behind cyclists, rather than moving over and passing them. I tried motioning for them to move over hoping they would see me in their rear view mirrors, but that didn’t work. It was a tight squeeze getting around on the right side, but I was afraid to pass the vehicles on the left because crossing the centre line is technically illegal in the race. It was extremely frustrating each time this happened (and I really can’t figure out why they would not just pass and move on!) but I eventually got around and continued on my way.
I was feeling strong and pushed hard almost all the way. At times I actually worried if I was pushing too hard, considering that I still had to run 7.5K. I basically decided that I was willing to learn the hard way if need be, so I kept it up. I didn’t have to pass as much in the second half, so I was able to relax and get in the zone a bit more. I felt great cruising along in aero and watching the kilometres tick by. I thanked the volunteers and police officers whenever I could, and exchanged brief comments with an occasional cyclist.
Before I knew it, we were back on the park roads where I got stuck behind a guy who decided to take his feet out of his shoes when we still had ~800m to go, slowing down and wobbling all over the path in the process. I managed to call out and get by him, riding all the way in to the dismount line.
Remember that 56-minute goal? yeahhhh…. (Funny story: my friend/”goal consultant” Erin told me after that she had secretly predicted 50 minutes but didn’t want to scare me. I think I’ll keep her around.)
29.2KM* (18.1 mi) – 50:25 – 34.8 KPH (21.6 mph)
*course was shortened slightly at the last minute due to some road construction; results reflect actual distance
I racked my bike, ditched the helmet, yanked off my shoes, slipped on my runners, grabbed my handheld (which was bundled together with a headband and Gu) and ran outta there.
I slipped on my headband and took the gel right away. I was nervous starting the run, especially being 7.5K which feels way longer than 5! I just told myself to relax and find my legs, trying not to look at my pace at first. We started out on grassy trails through the park for the first kilometre or so, which made it tough to get going. It also felt extremely muggy all of a sudden. I was actually relieved when it started to rain again.
I felt better once I got out on the road and I knew we just had a straight shot out-and-back. I liked watching other runners coming back, as I always do, and also kept an eye on the women in front of me. It looked like I was doing well in the standings, and not one woman passed me. I saw Geo who was looking happy and strong on his way back (he smoked it!) and snagged a high-five.
There were some minor rolling hills along the course – nothing too bad but just enough to make my legs complain. We were into that wind again on the way out (complete with rain pelting our faces) and it felt great to turn-around. I was definitely tired, but manageably so and was able to maintain a pretty strong and steady pace. For the first half of the run, I kept feeling like I was going to “bonk” at any minute, but on the way back I knew I had my goal in the bag with room to spare.
This time I was happy to be back on the grass because it meant I had just over 1K to finish. I passed quite a few people here and said
obnoxious encouraging things like “We’re almost there!” and “Home stretch!” I could finally hear the finish line and followed the pylons and markers around a few more twists and turns, then there it was!
Splits: 4:49, 4:42, 4:49, 4:46, 4:30, 4:38, 4:51, 4:37 (last 500m)
7.5 KM (4.7 mi) – 35:29 – 4:44/KM (7:37/mi)
The rain was really coming down once I had finished so we didn’t hang around long, unfortunately. I was able to see a couple of my friends off in the Give-it-a-Tri event, then packed up all of my gear, put on some dry clothes and warmed up in the car for a bit. After a while, I went to find some food (chocolate milk and burgers, yes please!) and chatted with Geo while watching for my friends to finish their race. I ended up staying just long enough to stand on the podium and pick up my award, then we headed home. It had been a long and soggy morning for everyone! The pooch passed out and snoozed the entire way home – I may have stolen a little nap, too.