Welland Half Iron Tri Race Report – Part 1


We had a 4am wake-up for the 2-hour drive to Welland on Sunday morning. Miles had to sit up front with me again since my bike and gear were occupying the entire back seat. Thank you Kong for keeping him occupied until he eventually decided to go back to sleep.

We found parking and met up with Erin and Hailey before heading to transition to rack the bike and set up. I was really nervous but also excited as we went through the motions of kit pick-up, body-marking, etc.


We had some time to scope out the site a little bit. At least it wasn’t raining this time so we didn’t have to hide out in the car. We ran into Geo too and chatted about the race as time ticked by. It’s amazing how fast time passes before a tri (we arrived two hours before the start) – there is just so much to do to get ready!

Welland-009-225x300I used a combination of New Skin spray and waterproof adhesive bandages to cover up my booboo (which hurt like **** with the lightest contact, ouch!) and hoped for the best.

Welland-007-225x300Before long it was time for the pre-race meeting and a final pit stop before heading down to the canal to suit up and get in the water. (Water temp had dropped to low 70s after a storm and cold front – nearly everyone wore wetsuits.)

Welland-012-225x300 Welland-014-225x300

It was a deep-water start so we waited until there were a couple of minutes to go, then paddled into position to wait for the start. Erin gave me a quick pep talk that this was MY race and nobody else’s race was more important than mine. She told me to fight back and not take any crap. Got it! Thanks Erin!

Swim – 2000m

welland_half_iron_swim-1024x273The swim was a large rectangular route in the canal, where we had a 70m wide “start line” tapering to a 10m “lane” along the shore. This was my first mass-start experience (almost 500 swimmers) and it was chaotic, to say the least. I was jostled and toppled and pummeled for almost the entire first half before I was able to get some space. It was nuts and I found that a lot of the men were very aggressive.

Video courtesy of Hailey:

The turns were an absolute nightmare with people all over each other and I could feel people pushing me down more than once. On top of that, I was paranoid about my elbow being bopped, so I was swimming very defensively and trying to protect it. I breathed only to my right side so I could see if anyone was getting too close on that said and move to protect my arm.

Welland-017-300x225Things were a little better along the straight ~1000m stretch on the opposite side of the canal; I finally felt like I had some room and could swim without people all over me. I got into a bit of a groove, but all I could think was “This is so long!” I had never swam this distance in open water before, or even continuously in the pool, so it’s definitely something I’d like to work on over the summer.

It became pretty clustered again around the next turns, but then it felt great to be on the way to the finish. I could hear cheering at the swim exit for several minutes, which was awesome.

Welland-019-300x224Once I made it, there was a big step out of the canal; luckily they had volunteers there to help pull us out. I had a little stumble once I was upright, but caught myself. Phew!

2000m – 38:24 – 1:55/100m
6/15 F30-34, 166/403 overall

Swim1 Swim3

We had a long run (~350m) mostly on sidewalk into transition. I peeled down the top half of my wetsuit and removed my cap & goggles along the way. Once in transition, I yanked off the rest of my suit, tossed swim gear to the side, threw a tank top on, scarfed a Honey Stinger waffle + salt pill, helmet on, race belt, socks + shoes, grab bike and go!

welland_race_site_layout_sunday-300x265Run Up: 1:37
T1: 1:52

Meanwhile, Miles was having a little snooze with his head resting on the curb…

Welland-022-300x225Up next, the bike…


30 thoughts on “Welland Half Iron Tri Race Report – Part 1

  1. Great job on finding your groove. Mass starts are always a crap shoot as you never know if you will get a ‘lane’ or if you will be banging bodies the entire time.

    Way to get through it and those volunteers are awesome for helpingr to pull you out of the water.

    Can’t wait for Part II but I will be emailing you some points…..you knew that was coming right?

  2. I know it’s a race and all but the thought of being kicked and scratched and pummelled all while trying not to drown would make me a nervous wreck. Great job on the swim.

  3. Fast swim! I get that whole swimming defensively looking out for your elbow thing.This morning I swam and made sure no one was near my wrist!

    It looked like everyone swam well in that video compared to the sprint I watched the other day.

    Miles looks adorable.

    I can’t wait to read more. I hope the elbow was less of a problem on the next two legs. I would think the water would be the worse.

  4. I don’t think I will ever swim that far again in my life. Think you did a great job at it. And I see you have a new big supporter at your races: the lovely Miles.
    He’s so cute.

  5. this is exciting! congrats on a great race and swim, that looks terrifying! i love that miles gets to go to races, i love having milo at mine. it’s the best to see that little face 🙂

  6. Good thing you had a sleeveless wetsuit.
    I hate how congested some swims can be. I can’t even imagine in a narrow canal like that. Great job!

  7. Girl. ….
    Freaking. Awesome.
    The only thing I can think of that’s harder than swimming is open water swimming.

    You. Amaze. Me.
    Can’t wait for the bike & especially the RUN!!

  8. Pingback: Welland Half Iron Tri Race Report – Part 2 | Mission to a(nother) Marathon

  9. I fear the OWS with hundreds attacking you…you handled it well and had a great time. I’m wondering if you can get a snorkel and swim underneath everyone?!? 🙂

    Great job, lady!! xo

  10. Awesome job marlene! You really did well in the swim! I can’t imagine having all those people swimming around me. I would have freaked out.

  11. Pingback: Welland Half Iron Tri Race Report – Part 3 | Mission to a(nother) Marathon

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