Nothing like signing up for a half iron distance race 12 days before the gun goes off. Yes, 12 days. After Victoria 70.3 I took a few weeks to hangout and enjoy some fun summer days and let my body recharge before hitting it with more endurance. I did a few long rides with zero intensity, about 5 swims and a fair bit of short distance running. There had been big plans for a nice slow build towards a fall 70.3, but that fell through with just enough time to sign up last minute for Challenge Penticton Half. So after a big two day build, I headed into my 10 day taper.
Pre-race consisted of the usual eat-all-the-things, drink some carbo beer and relax. And I was. I was so relaxed it almost didn’t occur to me to race. It’s kinda nice feeling zero pressure to preform and know the main goal is to have a good time. Here’s how my day went down.
Swim. I’m fairly certain that for about 6 seconds I was leading the entire race. I started front row and dolphin-dove my way through the shallow water. The men around me had started swimming right away so I as about 2 body lengths out front. Then they caught up and I felt like a piece of grass under a lawnmower. Somewhere out there I also lost my swim cap, but seeing as the water was 24C and I was in a full sleeve wetsuit (the pros had a no-wetsuit swim), the cooling water on my head was pleasant despite ruining my hair-do. I had opted to race without a watch so I had to find the clock to see my split. 32min. The same time I swam in St George with 2-3 hrs of training/week. Gotcha. Training in swimming means nothing. Move on.
Bike. I had one goal on the bike: stay relaxed. The course included some of my favorite parts from the full distance and some legit climbing. A mishap happened early. I hit a bump at 2.9km into the bike and lost all my salty balls and a few gels. Whoops. I still had three gels so I didn’t worry too much figuring that would be enough. I felt great most of the ride. I had made a few tweaks to my bike fit and I love how it rides now. Steady climbing, powerful flats, fun sweeping descents. I battled a little with what I can only describe as a pee-stitch and wished (yet again) that I could pee on the bike. Can someone please teach me that? I didn’t even mind the poor road quality that I’m sure vibrated off a few inches of fat in a few hours.
I cruised into town feeling ready to hit the run.
Run. (Or lack thereof.) I came out of T2 in 5th place and quickly caught 4th and 3rd. I was feeling great. There’s even a video of leaving T2 as proof (I didn’t purchase said video) Wow, so cool being up there. All these people tell you your splits, including a young boy that said if I sprinted I could catch 1st. His wise older sister informed him it’s not that kind of race stupid. Ha. Feeling good was short lived. At 2k, my underused muscles from my awesome new bike fit seized and I slowed to a shuffle. Then I shuffled up the long hill out of town, stopped to pee finally, and shuffled out to Skaha Lake. You know that point in a race where you are at your lowest and every step is a battle? That’s when SMO caught me (squirrel!). She looked the exact opposite to how I felt. I told her she had just taken over 3rd place and off she went. I focused on getting in some fuel as my battle was leaving me very low. I watched a few more women pass me and figured I was now sitting in 7th place and just needed to finish. Finally, at around 13km I started to run again. The coke/gels/water were working and I was feeling better. I ran down 6th, then 5th, then 4th. I posted a 10min negative split on the run, a 5:24 overall and managed 2nd in the 30-39 (yes 10 year AG) and 4th overall. SMO had finished 3rd! Great results for “off the couch” racing eh?
Post-race went better for me than SMO. I listened to her play-by-play of trying to get out of bed so we could go drink beer. We drank beer and hung out with friends and watched the full distance solo and relay teams come across the line. All in all, it was a good trip and a good reminder that triathlon is as fun as you want to make it.
I think that’s it for the season up here. Time to put away my TT bike and lace up the runners. Maui Half Marathon: 3 weeks to go!