Monday, June 20, 2011

Victoria Sprint Triathlon - Race Report

Rest day is always a good day to catch up on a report, and quite exciting for all is that super photographer Shawn was at the race this weekend with his trusty camera - and I get to do a photo essay race report!  How exciting :)

1.  We slept in our super van at a super lake.  A very convenient unnamed lake.  Look how excited I am to race my very first sprint!

2.  Start of the Sprint Swim. This picture is awesome because one guy is actually going the wrong way.  I wonder how his day turned out.  I realized minutes before the start of the race that this swim had 200-ish people going 150m and then turning right.  Ha!  At one point I found myself launched up onto a very nice man who thought it was as funny as I thought it was that he was going to piggy back me around the first bouy.  Thanks nice guy!  Sprint swim = awesome!

3.  The swim exit.  Usually I try to swim all the way up until my nose hits the sand (or close) but these girls were playing a pretty awesome underwater Battlestar Galatica - so I pulled up early and did some awkward water running.  I should really try to smile for the camera one of these times because this really was one of the more fun, chaotic, swim survival manoeuvres I have ever pulled off!

4.  I love this photo.  For anyone who knows anything about my T1 times, they'll know I like to take about 4-6 minutes getting my butt in gear.  So in an attempt to get competitive, I've upped my game.  I think I got out in under 2 minutes and I'm pretty darn proud.  This photo should be in the National Geographic feature on triathletes, wild, in their habitat.

But instead of David Attenborough announcing, it was the lovely Steve King.

5.  The bike course was lovely and I really enjoyed blasting through it with little consequence.  I only had to run 5km!  So, pedal power!  My hands were almost warm enough to shift gears (what a treat!) and I even felt somewhat yearning to continue on to the 1/2 Ironman course and not turn off for the sprint (but that would be silly) so off I went to the finish.  This photo is two fold.  Firstly, it is public shaming of myself for being too chicken to take my feet out of my shoes while nearing the dismount line.  I feel like if I put it out there, I better not do it again.  It makes running so awkward.  Secondly, and more humourously, what I want to know is what is this guy looking at?  Perhaps my decoy German tri shorts has him all befuddled.

6.  Triathletes in the wild Part II.  The native triathlete returns to their habitat, a cold and unlikely place to store their valuable trinkets they have acquired over the winter months.  They shed their protective shells and don new toys with stretchy laces.  Look, as the spectators do, in amazement of the rare triathlete at home.

 This show, narrated by the lovely Steve King, told me & many others that I was in 2nd place - wow - a surprise to me!  Shawn also gave me the information that I was at least 2 minutes back of the first place woman, and, as I was running down out to the trail, he told me the 3rd place woman had just come into transition.  So, a little more stuff to think about rather than just get my legs moving, so, that was a nice little challenge.  Knowing who was in 1st place was a bit of a kicker because I was sure she wasn't a slow runner, and I'd just have to figure out the damage at the turnaround point.  The gap was sizeable, albeit shrinking, and I just told myself to keep working hard and not to let up as this was only a 5km and I had better do it in under 20 minutes.  I did.

7.  Now, the fun part was on.  Before this race started, there was conversation between me and my friend Joerg.  We were both doing the sprint.  We both have our talents and they are both in different arenas.  So, the challenge was obviously on, and it was a challenge to Joerg to get a big of a gap as possible so I couldn't catch him on the run.  Too bad Joerg.  At about 150m to go, I hit the sprint button (fitting, because this is a sprint) and ran him down.  I won by 2 seconds.  Now, just wait for the sequel, which will be coming in the Vancouver 1/2 Ironman.  Joerg is back & I'm sure looking for revenge.

8.  My last post was entitled, "4th race, 5th place".  Now I could title this "5th race, 2nd place" but then the next post I'd be in the minuses and that is neither possible nor encouraging, but I can say I did finish in 2nd place, and won my age group.  Not bad for my first Sprint distance triathlon!  Coming in under 70 minutes was the goal, and that was definitely accomplished.  I really paid no attention to the running clock until I crossed the finish line, so that was a nice surprise.  And within 10 minutes of rest, I felt like I could do it all over again - what a difference from what you feel like after a 1/2 or full Ironman.  No wonder so many people like short course triathlon!

And that's that.  A story in pictures.  This was a great race and a really fun way for me to try a sprint triathlon.  Now it's back to the long stuff - and that is exciting too - doing a shorter race faster makes you want to do the longer race faster too.  How do you know how fast you'll go until you try it?

In my ever evolving thoughts on triathlon, two new features have seemingly become paramount.  First, you need to be good at getting your body to adapt and change to the newest demand put upon it, whether that is in training or in racing.  Second, you also need to have some type of short term amnesia, to trick your body into doing a whole new sport all over again, and this applies to training and racing also.  "What, no, I didn't just swim in a thrashing pirhana tank.....I'm just going for a bike ride......What, no, I'm just going for a run, but I have no idea why my legs feel like the Pokey and Gumby figurines".

It's been pointed out to me on several occasions by the people I love that at times, I'm called "unobservant".  Like when I didn't notice we had a new somewhat large flat screen TV.  Or, perhaps the time I didn't notice we had a new car (granted, it was the same colour as the old one....).

So, perhaps it has always been in my DNA to be a triathlete.  Time will tell.

Next stop.  Vancouver 1/2 Ironman.

Let's go Vancouver girls & boys.  It's our turf (and surf).  And anyone who rides in Vancouver owns the UBC hill.

Crush it kids :)  Happy training everyone!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

4th race, 5th place

Let the games begin!

Last Sunday was my first triathlon of the season at Shawnigan Lake 1/2 Ironman.  Great races are a pretty wicked way to start your racing season.  Especially when it's your 4th one.  Now, mind you, even though it's the 4th, I've only picked long ones, so to be fair, I've had a good amount of race time for only 4 races.

My history of triathlon is short.  And it goes like this:

#1 - "Triathlons are fun"
2009: Oosoyos 1/2 Ironman: 5:56:58
33rd place (F), 5th in my AG
My swim was 51 min, including panic attack, plus, off course swimming and a chat with the kayak guy.  "Do you want to finish the race"....uh, yes please.  I now know this time was on the slow side.  I came 97th out of the water, of, 104 women.  But as they always do for me, things got better and I ran it into a sub 6.

#2 - "Swimming can be scary"
2010: Oliver 1/2 Ironman: 5:21:19
38th place, 9th in my AG (to be fair, a more competitive race, despite my 35 min PR)
Swim was 45 min.  But this included a fairly lengthy cold water panic attack, 50m of breaststroke, and about 750 of backstroke.  This really makes you take a beating in the energy department, but, if you go with the concept that moving forward is good, you'll get there.

IMC 2010: just delightful (photo credit to JH)
#3 - "Ignorance is bliss"
2010: Ironman Canada: 10:58:13
I believe top 50 F (including 16 pros), and 10th in my AG.
It was great.  Point to point.  I loved it and during the run I got sad because I didn't want it to end.  A blissful 1:17:17 swim, and it just got better from there.  On that day, ignorance really was bliss.  I had no idea what to expect and I got everything I ever wanted.

#4 - "Cut to the chase"
2011: Shawnigan Lake 1/2 Ironman: 4:57:38
5th place, 2nd in my AG (only a 24 min PB, rats)
Now, the game has changed.  I swam a 34 min something.  Remember, I swam 51 not so long ago.  Non-swimmers take heed.  Anything is possible.  I'm not going to be the fastest swimmer, but, I have a feeling I'm going to become one of the best chasers.  Some people are fishy swimmers, rockets on bikes, stars in transition, my secret weapon is going to become the chase.  Be afraid, I'm-ma comin' to getcha.

So that's the long and short of it.  4th race, 5th place.

Ok, to the race report.....

Shawnigan 1/2 bulleted Race Report (because the Canucks are playing and this is intermission):

-Yes, this was a cold swim.  My best advice to others is buy a neoprene cap and strap that sucker on (they allowed gloves and booties - who knew??? not me, or else the only skin you would have seen on me would be my chin)

-This was a cold swim, but it wasn't uncomfortable (when your hands are numb they're not painful, they're just numb).

-I got the feeling back in my hands by the 2nd lap of the bike.  That's not too shabby.  Feet came back about the 3rd.  No worries there, as that's great timing for a nice 4th lap and a trip to transition.

-I biked harder than I had in previous races, not really knowing how it would feel - it felt pretty good actually - I'm going to try that again.

-The run.  Ouch.  That's what you get for not running for a month.  Ok, lies, I ran, but not very much, and I didn't really like it.  A marathon on May 1st took a meat tenderizer to my legs and didn't let up, for what seemed like an eternity.  I was told speed wouldn't be there.

Well, that was certainly true.

In the second half of the run, sufferfest began, things got ugly, and then a little uglier.  However, going
back to great depth of triathlon experience, one thing always holds true, 'going forward is good' - and you just can't quit.  Don't quit.  You might lose time, but you certainly gain some character.
legs.  love hate. loved them then, hated them now.

So, cobwebs dusted off after focusing on running up until May and not doing a triathlon since last August,,  I am getting very excited (finally, not feeling scared!) to race the next race, and the one after that, and on and on.

Victoria, see you in two weeks :)  Vancouver, see you in 4.

And I looked up "chase" just to make sure I was picking the best secret weapon.  Mmmmm, gamey triathletes.  My vegetarian roots just might be in trouble.  I smell spandex.

chase 1  (chs)
v. chasedchas·ingchas·es
1. To follow rapidly in order to catch or overtake; pursue: chased the thief.
2. To follow (game) in order to capture or kill; hunt: chase foxes.
3. To seek the favor or company of persistently: chased me until I agreed to a date.
4. To put to flight; drive: chased the dog away.

Crazy?  Maybe.  But I'm having fun.
seriously. this is me having fun :)