I definitely hold a special place in my heart for Shawnigan and am happy once again to have been pretty pleased with my race.
As always, there were definitely a few areas that could use improvement, but I felt pretty solid through the whole thing and was pretty joyful when I crossed the finish line. I even made a point of trying to smile for the finish line camera instead of that inevitable shot where I am looking down stopping my watch. (My finish line photos have yet to be posted, so I’m yet to see if I was successful or not).
The weather for race weekend was pretty beautiful and the atmosphere at the race site was pretty great (especially when they announced that Ryder had won the Giro!!!).
Anyway, here’s how my race played out...
I started pretty close to the front on the swim and got into semi-clear water (or so I thought) pretty quickly. Then, out of nowhere I got kicked in the goggles and had a few moments where the one side of my goggle filled with water and I thought I might lose a contact lens.
I didn’t want to stop though, so I just kept going (keeping that one eye closed tight) and luckily (miraculously) my goggle seemed to re-suction to my face and shortly after making the first turn, all was good.
After that, the swim went by in a flash. I tried to focus on staying relaxed (but not going too too easy) and other than going a bit wide on the last stretch and running over a “white capped” swimmer from the men’s race, I felt good. I definitely wasn’t “killing it” but was pretty steady and solid.
I felt like I got out of the water and into transition fairly quickly. I had a bit of trouble getting my wetsuit over my timing chip which was a little annoying, but thankfully I remembered to put my helmet on before un-racking my bike (unlike in Kelowna last year) so you know, I’ll chalk that up to a win, haha.
I glanced down at my watch as I was running out of transition and saw an 8:55. I was pumped! I wanted to swim under 9:00 for the 500m and had obviously done it. It didn’t hit me until looking at the final results that the swim course was very obviously short, because there is no way I actually busted out a 7:32 500m. I think the short course was also confirmed by the fact that everyone I know who did the sprint seemed to have had the swim of their lives from a time perspective. It was still a decent swim though.
Usually I’m pretty confident and happy with my bike mounting skills. Unfortunately on Sunday, my mount sucked the big one! There was so much congestion in the mount area and even with running well past the mount line; there were a tonne of people just stopped. I completely and totally flubbed my mount. It must have looked ugly and was totally inefficient. (Also, I may or may not have let out a very audible “F*ck Me!” in that moment ~ so, umm, apologies to any kidlets in the vicinity). Thankfully once I got up to speed, my feet slipped into my shoes nice and easy and I doubt I actually lost too too much time with that disaster mount.
Once I started moving, I had the weirdest sensation in my legs. I’m guessing it lasted for about the first 5k or so and the best way I can describe it is like my quads and hamstrings were just lactic acid filled jelly. Everything burned and I felt like I had no power and was just spinning kind of wildly. My brain and my legs weren’t talking to each other quite yet I suppose.
Thankfully, by the time I hit the hills on Renfrew Rd, my body/legs seemed to perk up a bit and it was time to just try and go.
I know I’m not the fastest cyclist by any stretch of the imagination, so I just tried to push as hard as possible and maintain that effort for as long as possible… and you know, for how much I think I am a horrible climber, I seemed to pass a lot of people on the uphills. Unfortunately, it turns out the downhills and the flats are where I really suck, as I would inevitably get passed back by all the people I had just out climbed.
For most of the bike leg I spent a lot of time jockeying back and forth with another girl who looked about my age [turns out, nope – she was in the 20-29 age group], so she was a good motivator to keep pushing. It was interesting too, when she finally pulled away from me for good toward the end of the bike, my thought was “just keep her in sight and run her down.” I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I could “run someone down” before, but I was totally confident that I’d be able to (even having no idea what kind of a runner she was). And you know, it was pretty nice to actually have that confidence.
Anyway, I’d say the bike was good. Not spectacular, but good. I once again felt like I was pretty steady and like I was giving it all that I could, but at times felt a little disheartened as I watched people pass by me with ease. I guess I just wish I were faster, but am not quite sure how to get to that place. (I suppose if I keep having to chase Shane through training rides that might help).
I had a good dismount and a pretty good T2 aside from a minor flub trying to rack my bike. Also, I think I made up a bit of time in transition, as I ended up running out with 2 other girls that had entered ahead of me.
The run was interesting. Plain and simple, it was pretty slow, but I can’t say I’m unhappy with it. I think for the first time ever, I didn’t get passed on the run by any women (and only a few men), and I was actually the one doing a fair bit of passing.
I always find the initial run out of the park up to the TC trail really challenging, so I just stuck with the two girls I left transition with, as their pace was quite manageable. Once on the trail I overtook one of the girls right away and just stuck right behind the other one (which was actually the girl I had been jockeying with on the bike).
We passed a number of women and while I knew I could be running faster, I also got to the point where we had passed everyone that I knew I could realistically catch (I’m pretty sure the next woman was like 3’ ahead).
It’s weird, but I just felt really in control the whole time on the run. Like I absolutely knew that I was going to beat the girl from the bike that was just in front of me, so I let her set the pace until just after the turn around, and then I finally passed her and focused on trying to build through to the end.
[I guess I knew running :30 to :60 faster was not going to get me a higher placing and I was quite happy to run comfortably. Maybe that is not the best attitude to have (especially in a sprint where I should be leaving it all out there) and I should have been trying to push myself to my max through the whole thing, but what's done is done.]
Anyway, when I did finally pass the girl from the bike, I knew I had her, but I also didn’t want to look back because I was afraid she was right on my shoulder, haha. As I came down the little connector trail and into the park I peeked over my shoulder a couple times and tried to pick it up into the finish. Happily crossing the finish line under my goal time (and beating my time from last year at this race by more than 3’) and feeling pretty good.
I guess, in the end, it was nice to be in the moment on the run and feel totally confident, and know that I had more to give if I needed to and that I was completely in control of what was happening.
As always, I still need to work on embracing the hurt a little bit more, but it is definitely coming along.
Shane, Kirsten and Tyler all ran great races in the sprint as well... With Shane kicking my butt on his very first triathlon ever (not that it's a competition or anything).
Overall, it was a pretty great day at the races.