When I originally decided on Guelph Lake as my A race for the triathlon season, I was picturing 2017 going in a very different way. Yes everyone is totally sick of hearing about Emma's Alarming Influenza, followed by the Spring of Painful Coughing. I'm sick of talking about it too! While I've settled back into my usual 2:00/100m or so for swimming, and biking is pretty much feeling back to normal, running has, to put it bluntly, been pretty shitty. Getting your run fitness back after a break sucks. Especially when you weren't exactly a strong runner in the first place!
So once again, into a race with low expectations. But I was looking forward to it, too, since Sam and Ivanka would be there, and a bunch of people from Iron Canucks signed up, and it's always a good day when you get to see your tri friends. Plus, having done the duathlon at GLII a few years ago, I was somewhat familiar with the course and knew the bike, at least, could not be better suited to my strengths - lots of rolling hills, but nothing too long or steep. Enough to keep it interesting, but not enough to force me to redzone.
And I was pretty pumped to have Bad Wolf off the trainer and ready to go. The road bike is fun, but the tri bike just wants to go fast. At the very least, I knew the bike leg would be good times.
I got to the race really early after allowing myself way more time than I needed to buy gas. It was opposite land from Milton, in that I scored a parking space about 50 feet from transition rather than two counties away. So things were looking good from the start!
|When you arrive early, you get a primo space on the rack.|
|Kit pick up|
|Transition setup, just proving I did in fact remember how.|
Age Group: 5/23
This race had a beach start, which I think is only my second time doing one of those. Felt a little weird, to be honest, running into the water, and there were an inordinate number of people all trying to hang back and not be in front! That's my territory, jerks! (I have to stop thinking like that, since at this point I'm clearly midpack). Somehow, I almost immediately had clear water, despite starting from the side closest to the buoys and with the most direct line. Very little contact, so I settled in, followed feet when they seemed useful, and focused on just getting to the next buoy, nice and relaxed.
I felt like I was swimming slowly (my arm turnover felt really slow and lazy), but I was pretty comfortable and focused on sighting every 10 strokes and catching feet when I could. Especially in the back half of the swim I was able to latch on to some faster swimmers from the last wave to pull me for short periods, which was extremely helpful because that was also when my sighting went completely to shit and I kept pulling hard to the right when I wasn't checking every other stroke. Very weird. But overall, an uneventful swim and I was out of the water with 31 minutes showing on my watch - pretty much exactly what I expected.
(the actual time is different because the timing mat was way up the long ass hill at the transition zone, which mucks up the swim timing a bit)
When I made it up that stupidly long hill, I was pleasantly surprised to see they'd covered the gravel road with a carpet. Nice work, Subaru series - I had been dreading running across that, because they were pretty sharp and pointy little rocks. This princess's feet are far too delicate for that nonsense.
I noticed my age group's bike rack was still almost full, but I didn't think much of it at the time. Plus I was distracted trying to get my wetsuit off over my giant calves. I have got to practice that, because the damn thing is practically glued to my legs. Now I see I was fifth, which I think is my best swim age group placing ever? All the fast swimmers must have been at Nationals in Ottawa or tapering for Tremblant!
Time: 1:16:48.9 (31.24 km/hr)
Age Group: 2/23
Bike was good, happy place, passed lots of people, blah blah blah blah usual. I like bikes.
Well, ok, except for the last 5k. The road surface was a complete disaster, which wasn't as noticeable on the way out because it was slightly uphill plus fresh legs. But on the way back, ouch. My shoulders were getting sore from gripping the aero bars and all the bone-rattling bumpiness. I was pretty glad when we got to the conservation area and back onto some smooth road again for the last few hundred meters!
My thoughts entering transition: Why is there only one bike on the W40-44 rack??! Is there another rack somewhere?? Is it possible I'm actually second off the bike?!
(I know now that yes, yes I was, and in fact I had the fastest bike time in my age group. But I didn't totally believe it at the time)
Overall race time: 2:53:44
Age group: 5/23
The whole second place off the bike thing lasted about 12 seconds. I had literally just crossed the timing mat to leave transition when a woman from my age group flew past like she had rockets on her back. You go girl, I thought to myself, as I clutched the gel I planned to take and reconsidered my life choices.
It was really, really hot. I think we all know by now how well that goes for me. Add to that the fact my longest run since March was a painful 10k last weekend, well, let's just say I didn't have a super great time on the run course.
There were a lot of long gradual inclines, that sucked, and then gradual declines where running felt easy but I sort of hated them because I knew, given that the course was out and back, I'd have to run back up them and that sounded like a terrible idea. I talked myself into eating the gel at about 4k, and that helped, and walked the aid stations to drink and fairly pointlessly splash water on myself (I mean, I was still wet from the swim somehow, so it didn't really make any difference).
I did enjoy spotting my teammates and other friends along the way. At around 7k a guy I'd traded place with a few times (he'd walk, I'd run, I'd walk, he'd run) exclaimed, after I exchanged about my fifth high five of the day with someone going the other way, "do you know EVERYONE out here?". Which was almost immediately followed by me spotting a Tri Chick and yelling encouragement at her. Why yes, it seems I do know everyone! I think my socializing annoyed him enough that he picked up the pace and I never saw him again.
Midway or so I got passed by another woman in my age group, but I was well past caring at that point. Although it did sting a little when yet another woman passed me with about 300 m to go, and she was running way too fast for me to even think about keeping up with her. I really miss being able to run faster, and hopefully over the next few weeks I can regain some of that!
The Iron Canucks cheer squad was waiting at the top of the finish chute, so I grabbed some high fives and wrapped the thing up. Although not before some dude doing his best Andre Degrasse impression went flying past me. I never quite get those guys - if you have the energy to lay down a 100m sprint like you are trying to qualify for the Olympics in the sprints at the end, maybe your pacing sucked the rest of the race!
(I'd put a finish line picture here because my pics are actually pretty good, but I'm far to cheap to pay $50 for them).
Waited for Ivanka to finish, since I knew she was not far behind me, and then wandered up to join the rest of the team and cheer on everyone else finishing.
|Iron Canucks cheer squad + sweaty race finishers|
|Sam heading for the finish line|
|More sweaty racers + cheer squad. We smelled fantastic, I assure you.|
(ha not really. I'm not exactly sure what kind of metal is supposed to be represented by 5th place - dulled bronze? rust?)
|I swear I rotated this photo like six times and it's not going to take, so screw it.|
|if you give me a medal, I'm going to smile big|
So standing on the podium was pretty cool, but also a little frustrating. If my run wasn't such a mess right now... well I doubt I could have held onto second, not with the speed the eventual second place winner went past me. But I could have held fourth and maybe even third. Could woulda shoulda whatever. Curse you flu!
At any rate, on to the Niagara sprint! No more of this running 10k nonsense. 7k seems so much more reasonable. And then Iron Girl, which happens to be 8 weeks away, which happens to be enough time to do a Trainerroad block... New A goal, perhaps?